Flirting in the year 2048

An un-actionable conversation between a man and a woman in the future

Image by Chester Wade

Due to the avalanche of sexual harassment stories and litigation that surfaced from 2017 through 2025, interactions between all humans changed.

Social and occupational traditions are now changed for the better. New laws have been enacted, and businesses instituted voluntary measures to protect employees, management, and customers from each other.

At the same time, popular and social media’s publicizing of accusations caused panic throughout the general population. Men and women became petrified that they too could be accused of sexual harassment, assault and rape. Sensitivity and caution became pillars to guide behavior.

Interaction between men and women (out of marriage) was forever altered.

Were these changes good or bad? We debated. All the way up until debate was outlawed in 2032. There were too many hurt feelings.

What you are about to read is a brief account of a man and woman meeting in Los Angeles on November 5, 2048.

Saturday night, 8 p.m.: Sam, an attractive male, age 28, approaches the Amazon Mixed Gender Social taking place inside the 20,000 square foot, Kale Emporium located on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica*, California.

(*brought to you by Amazon)

Sam walks up to the bouncer standing outside the social area.

Sidenote 1
We are using the term, “Bouncer” in this story, even though it’s considered to be derogative and presumptive. The new popular title of “Nightlife Shepard” will not be utilized here. This is done at the author’s discretion.

The bouncer greets Sam with the customary, “I apologize if I’ve met you before, I don’t recognize you. I’m Alex.”

Sam replies in turn, “I apologize to YOU if we’ve met. I don’t recognize you. I’m Sam.”

The bouncer continues, “Welcome to the Amazon Kale Emporium, Sam. This is a mixed gender event, so we will NOT be serving alcohol tonight, but I’m sure you knew that.”

Sam gives him the once popular “duh” face, but corrects himself. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that face in any way.”

“No offense taken, Sam. So, as I said, no alcohol, but we are serving iced tea!”

Sam perks up, “Whoa, really? Fully caffeinated?”

“Half-caf. The legal department wouldn’t let us go Full-C. It is a Saturday night after all.”

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Sam quips but changes direction. “Not that there’s anything wrong with beggers. They can be choosers if they want. Who am I to say?” Sam sighs. “I’m sorry Alex. I’m just nervous because of the whole women thing.”

The bouncer opens up the velvet rope. “No problem, Sam. Have a great time. Good luck. And when I say ‘luck,’ I don’t mean to belittle or call into question your belief system. I believe in God, myself. But, there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t.”

Sam thanks Alex and moves throught the passage into the social area.

Sidenote 2
Doors no longer exist. In this new era of transparency, doors have been outlawed all together in public buildings and there are now only passages and doorways. This causes problems in the designing of bathrooms.

The Kale Emporium Social Area is filled with males and females in their 20s. The lights are very bright inside, and there’s music playing. Tonight’s musical theme is “Yacht Rock.” This is not surprising as Yacht Rock has been the most popular musical genre for the past 20 years. Right now, the Kenny Loggins song, “This is It” is playing.

The male section of the social area is situated on the left side of the room, while the female section is on the elevated right side of the room. Most “mixed gender” gathering spaces are designed like this to allow an excellent visual vantage point for the women. As most single men don’t make eye contact with women they’ve never met, it’s pointless to put them on the same plane.

Sam writes his cell phone’s number on a sign and wears the sign on a rope around his neck. This is also customary at social gatherings.

Sam then goes to the bar. He shows his Amazon ID and orders a mango ice-tea. He pays only $30 for the 6-ounce tea with his Amazon ID.

Sam walks over and greets his twenty male roommates over by the giant television on the wall.

The TV is showing the Saturday Night NFL Touch Football Game. The New England Footballers are playing the L.A. Public Spaces.

Sidenote 3
All football in 2048 is touch and football team names have been changed to be the most non-offensive things possible.
Sidenote 4
Shockingly, the Washington Redskins are STILL the Washington Redskins. Many believe this is due to Daniel Snyder, owner of the shipper FedEx, and his relationship with Amazon.
Sidenote 5
Amazon owns the NFL.
Sidenote 6
Amazon pretty much owns everything. ALL HAIL AMAZON!

Over the next 2 hours, Sam talks with his roommates and watches the game.

Sam feels great tonight and has two more iced teas. Feeling loose, Sam steals a couple of glances over at the female section. When he does this for the last time, he notices a stunning brunette in a blue dress.

Sam thinks the woman is beautiful. The blue dress is a bit more risque than the most popular female fashions of the day. The dress is a bit retro with a plunging neckline. The length of the dress is cut to show the woman’s knees. Sam thinks it’s the greatest dress he has ever seen.

Sam’s friend, Corey notices Sam looking at the women’s section and mentions it to Sam. Corey tells Sam that he admires him for looking without authorization. Yet, Corey also cautions Sam and tells him, “Maybe, this should be your last iced tea.” Sam agrees.

The Michael McDonald song, “I Keep Forgettin” is playing as Sam gets a text message on his phone.

The text reads, “I apologize to you if we’ve met. I don’t recognize you. My name is Taylor. I’m in the woman’s lounge, and I’d like to authorize a conversation between the two of us. If you’d like to have a conversation with me, meet in the convo lounge.”

Sam’s heart races and he shows the text to Corey.

Corey replies, “I think I’m going to throw up. I’m too nervous for you. I can’t be here. I’m going home.” Corey leaves, throws up in the public parking garage and drives home.

Sam moves past the bar and walks into the convo lounge. He shows the text to the Amazon representative at the chaperone station. The Amazon Rep points Sam to two cushioned chairs facing each other on the other side of the room.

Sam sits down and starts to eat the ice out of the bottom of his iced tea glass.

Moments later, Taylor, female age 26, enters as the Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like The Wind” blasts over the speakers. She waves to Sam and walks over.

Sam recognizes Taylor as the girl in the blue dress. He’s now very nervous.

Taylor approaches Sam and takes her phone out. “Hi. Let’s quickly put the authorization on Amazon Facebook so that we can chat. Okay? I just hate forgetting to do that.”

Taylor points her camera at herself and begins filming. “Hi, It’s Taylor. I’m at the Kale Social, and I’m about to have a conversation with …” She turns the phone to Sam.

“Sam Franklin. I live at 347 North Curson Ave. Apartment B in Los Angeles. My phone number is 818–555–3829. I am 28 years old and have no diseases or mental disorders per my Doctor. Dr. Ed Bornstein.”

Taylor smiles at Sam and says into the camera. “I authorize this meeting and would like to talk with Sam. It’s 10:06 p.m. on Saturday, November 5th.”

Taylor puts her phone away and sits down.

“Thanks for posting the autho. I always forget” says Sam.

“Oh, you talk to women all the time? Are you implying that you’re a womanizer?” Taylor snaps back.

“No. I’m … this is like the fifth time I’ve talked to a woman. Damn. I’m sorry. My bad.” Sam’s waves his hands to dry them off. They’re sweating.

“It’s okay. I’m sorry I said anything. I guess I’m a bit nervous too, Sam.”

They both share an awkward laugh and smile awkwardly at each other.

Taylor uses the laughter to segue. “Where do you work, Sam?”

“Amazon” replies Sam.

“Well of course Sam. We ALL work at Amazon, what do you do?”

“I’m an influencer.”

Taylor laughs. “I know THAT, Sam. We’re ALL influencers. What type of influencer are you?” Taylor finds Sam charming. He’s less nervous than most of the men she’s dated.

“Yes, of course. I’m an influencer for Pizza.”

“Oh cool. I like Pizza. I’ve had it a couple of times. I like the chocolate flavored pizza the best.” Taylor says with a smile. This statement is a lie. Taylor has never had pizza. Pizza is incredibly unpopular with “Generation Personal Space.”

Sidenote 7
“Generation Personal Space” is a derogatory term coined by ultra-conservative talk show host, Keith Olbermann, who has had the top-rated show on Breitbart TV for the past 10 years. Keith’s body actually died five years ago. The show is hosted by his brain in a jar.

“What kind of influencer are you, Taylor?” Sam asks.

“Fashion. Men’s fashion mostly. I choose clothes for a lot of the Amazon execs on the west side.” Taylor says confidently. This is true, and Sam is impressed.

“Wow. I figured you were in fashion. That dress you’re wearing is great.”

Taylor loses her smile. She’s disappointed. “What do you mean by that, Sam?”

Sam panics. “Nothing. I just mean you look great. You … uh … look … beautiful.”

Sam’s stomach drops. He’s blown it. He can’t believe what he just said. This sort of talk is unheard of. To call a woman beautiful upon being authorized to have a conversation. It breaks every social norm set up for young people. Sam is panicked.

It just came out of him, he thinks. All the dumb luck. Sam’s stomach turns, he starts to sweat cold, and for a moment he feels faint. He manages to stand from his chair.

“I’m sorry Taylor. I realize what I just said is wrong. It’s awful. I am SO very ashamed. I will now avert my eyes.” He does. Sam looks at the floor. “I have enjoyed talking with you. I will leave the room now. If you need to post this on Amazon Facebook, I completely understand. I take full responsibility.”

As Sam begins to walk away, he hears Taylor call after him, “You don’t have to go. Sam. Really. It’s okay.”

Sam looks up at Taylor. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, Sam. It’s fine. Come on. It’s Saturday night. Let’s be crazy.” Taylor smiles, and pats the empy chair across from her. Sam sits back down.

Taylor leans in and whispers, “Besides, it’s not like you said I was sexy or anything.”

“Oh wow … can you imagine?” Sam snorts.

Sam and Taylor share another laugh. This one is very genuine, and there is a new energy … sorta like after you witness a car crash.

The waitress arrives, and Taylor orders two Iced Teas. Sam insists that he pays. It’s the least he can do.

The waitress leaves, and Sam addresses the elephant in the room. “Look, Taylor, I just want you to know, I’m not judging you on your looks. I want to make that clear. What I said came out wrong.” Sam feels good about saying it.

He gets an idea. “I can post a video of me saying that if you want?”

“That’s not necessary, Sam. I appreciated what you said.” Taylor says. “To be honest. It felt terrific. I spend a lot of time trying to look good when I go out. It’s nice to get that feedback. I’m flattered you said that.” Taylor surprises herself by saying this. It’s like she’s thinking out loud. She feels even more excitement.

The waitress returns with the iced teas. Sam pays.

There’s complete silence as Taylor and Sam each take a sip.

More silence. They both look at each other and laugh nervously.

Sam feels nervous but in a new and unfamiliar way. He blurts out. “It felt kinda dangerous when I said that to you, right?”

Taylor’s eyes light up, “YES. That’s it! That’s what I’ve been thinking. It was a rush. Wow. Huh. Weird.”

Taylor thinks hard and then she smiles at Sam. It’s a new smile. The smile is ripe with subtext.

Sam downs the rest of his iced tea in one gulp. The half-caffeine is now coursing through his veins. His head is buzzing.

He looks at Taylor with purpose. Then, like he’s ordering a sandwich in a crowded deli, Sam says the following with no inflection in his voice, “I think your legs are fantastic!”

Sams smiles at Taylor like a slow child. It’s weird and awkward. Taylor finds this interaction less thrilling, but she’s excited that she’s not offended. She thinks this to herself and smiles big.

Taylor racks her brain for something to say back to Sam. Then, she leans in and whispers to Sam, “I’d like to pick out CLOTHES for you to wear to work.” Taylor looks at Sam with intensity. She pauses for a moment, and purses her lips, before relaxing back in her chair, exhibiting how proud she is of herself.

Whoa. “She’s incredible,” Sam thinks to himself. He feels like he can’t breathe. What’s going on?

Then, he realizes what’s going on. Sam has heard about this type of talking. 
His dad told him about it. His Dad called this talking … flirping or fluting or something. Who knows? He doesn’t much pay attention to his dad.

To be fair, Sam thinks his dad is a kook. He likes to watch Fox News all day and talk about how the world’s too uptight. Sam’s dad also loves to get a rise out of Sam.

His dad says, “I tell your mom she’s a piece of ass all the time! And she is. Your mom is a piece of ass!” When his dad talks like this, it makes Sam VERY uncomfortable. And what’s crazy is, Sam’s mom just giggles at it. It’s like she finds it charming.

Even when Sam threatens to report his dad, his mom tells him to lighten up. Sam feels sorry for her. Obviously, it‘s a pattern of abuse.

But, this conversation with Taylor is exciting. It’s like a game.

They both sit staring at each other, feeling amped up with energy. Each is trying to think of what to say next. Neither has experienced this much tension in their lives. Sam is starting to sweat through his clothes. Taylor hasn’t blinked for 193 seconds straight.

Sam gets an idea. He locks eyes with Taylor. “Taylor, I think your hair is a great color.”

“Your teeth look clean.” Taylor fires back without ever breaking eye contact. They both are dying to express themselves. Game on.

“Your eyes are pretty.”

“That shirt is dazzling.”

“Taylor, I love the way your neck looks.”

“Sam, you look like you work out.”

“I don’t lift weights, but I do various forms of resistance band training.

“Your hands look strong.”

“They ARE strong. I can open jars like nobody’s business.”

Whoosh! The air flows out of Taylor’s lungs. Her temperature shoots through the roof and her color changes. In her mind, she pictures Sam opening this jar of peanut butter that she hasn’t been able to crack for three solid months.

She fantasizes of Sam opening that jar in her kitchen. Taylor watches on, as a huge gust of wind blows her hair back like in one of those old Beyonce videos they show at the Smithsonian.

Taylor calms down and thinks to herself, “STOP! This is all so wrong. Girl, put an end to this now.”

“I have to go, Sam. It was nice meeting you.” Taylor stands up.

Sam tries to reverse the situation. “Don’t go, Taylor. I’m sorry. Stay and talk longer. We can talk normal. That jar thing was way, way wrong of me.”

“No, it wasn’t. We’ll talk again. I promise.”

Then, Taylor looks around and makes sure nobody is looking. She leans into Sam, puts her mouth right up to his right ear and says the following words in one heavy breath, “Mama needs her body opened up like a goddam jar of Skippy.”

Sam’s vision goes cloudy for a moment. He feels pressure on his chest, smells sautéed onions and then passes out.

When he wakes up, the Hall and Oates song “One on One” is playing and he’s still sitting in the chair. Taylor is gone.

The Amazon Rep stands over him. “Are you okay?”

Sam wipes a little drool from the corner of his mouth. “Yes. I’m sorry. I overdid it on the iced tea.”

The rep smiles. “That girl seems nice.”

Sam turns and looks over across the room. He sees Taylor walking out the front door of the social area with her coat in her hand. Her blue dress looks great on her.

Sam smiles and says to nobody, “Damn. That girl’s got a great ass.”

That was good for me. Was it good for you?

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