Speed Dating

I ride the bus every day, so I’ve witnessed plenty of folks making amorous advances toward fellow riders – but I had never seen anyone like this guy on the #35. He bounded onto the bus as if he had just arrived at his own birthday party, his confident smile lighting the way as he made eye contact with each woman on the bus while he looked for a seat. The seat he found was, as luck would have it, across the aisle from one of the loveliest women on the bus. His self-assurance was immediately on display as he began the most efficient flirtation I have ever witnessed.

“What’re you reading?” he asked, pointing at the magazine in the woman’s hands. The woman acknowledged him with a brief, polite smile, showing him the cover without saying a word.

“You like him?” he asked, pointing at the man on the cover of the magazine. I couldn’t see who it is, but I was amused at how his question was a calculated effort to spark conversation without having to commit to an opinion, lest he lose points if he’s wrong.

“He’s okay,” she replied. Her body language made it clear she knew where he was going, and that she didn’t want to go there, but he didn’t seem to notice or his simply didn’t care.  The ball was now in play, and he wasn’t going to be dissuaded from trying to score.

“But he can dance, huh?” She gives the polite smile again, with a little shrug of her shoulders.

“Do you like to dance?” Again, a little shrug. Clearly she was less impressed than I was with how quickly he was getting to his point. Most flirting on the bus falls under the “I’m just making conversation” variety, men trying to ingratiate themselves with wit or intelligence without seeming like a creep who hits on strangers on the bus; this guy was hurrying to seem that way.

“I like to go dancing at Bookie’s on Fridays. Hot place. You ever go to Bookie’s?”

She reached up and pulled the stop cord, making sure he saw the action before replying flatly, “I have a fiancé.” While that didn’t answer his question, it certainly anticipated his next one.

“He’s a lucky man,” he said, acknowledging the blow-off but still giving her the opportunity to break up with her future husband so she could go dancing with a stranger she met on the bus. She didn’t seize the opportunity.

The bus came to a stop. I got off first and held the door for the woman, smiling incredulously. She just rolled her eyes and shook her head as she said “thanks” and walked past. As the door closed, I looked back into the bus and saw the guy moving to a seat near the back – and as luck would have it, there was another woman just one seat away.

(This post originally appeared on TriMetDiaries.com)

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