It used to be that it was all about how boys did me wrong, how they threw deceptively inviting smiles my way and bought me that drink and looked oh so cute and danced all intimate-like with me and took my number and waited days and days to never call and disappeared like smoke.
But at a certain point—long after I stopped expecting any chance nighttime encounters to be anything more than a fleeting flirtation—I realized, I was doing it, too. (Sort of makes you think of how they say children of wife beaters will grow up to become wife beaters themselves, and how no matter how much you deny you will ever raise your children like your parents raised you, your parenting style becomes remarkably like theirs. Damn.)
I guess the trick is to become your own worst nightmare and be the hustler who views all members of the male gender as dispensable. (I know, I know: all those hours condemning the jaded views of older men… what a hypocrite, right?) Which they sort of are by now, anyway.
Last night, we’re out at Hiro Ballroom for a birthday celebration, and after an hour or so, the night’s already starting to wind down. Since I’m sort of off the market anyway (thank goodness), I start flexing the feminine wiles for the hell of it. When a guy passes me by in the crowd, I flash a coy little smile at him just to see what it’ll do. He stops, then slips his hand around my waist.
“Wanna dance?” he whispers in my ear.
I step back, hold my hand out and shake my head. “Nuh-uh, honey. Move on,” I snap.
As he moves on, blinking and looking utterly nonplussed, I spot my next victim.
“I feel like getting a drink,” I tell Deb from my group, then set off. “Hey, what’s your name,” I say, sidling up to my target. Alan looks taken aback by the random assertive girl, but looks relieved and even a little thrilled that I’ve spared him the work of the approach. I ask him a few more questions (“What you doin’ here tonight? Who you with?”) but I honestly don’t recall any of his answers nor do I care much.
“Do you want to maybe grab a drink?” he finally asks.
“Well, I shouldn’t…” I begin, feigning hesitation. “But why not.”
At the bar, we order Red Bull vodkas and talk some more. It’s the polite thing to do, right? Guy buys you a drink, you keep him company while it lasts. Having paid my due, I’m starting to get bored, and anyway I notice my friends are starting to trickle out the door.
“I think I’m going to go home,” I announce while he’s in the middle of telling me about his childhood in Southeast Asia.
Alan thinks I’m bluffing. “Go ahead,” he says, grinning and rubbing my arm.
“Okay,” I reply, then promptly turn around and leave the club. I looked back once to see him staring at me like a goldfish. I can’t lie: I’m a little smug.