I walked into the lounge with my friends, and as soon as I set foot through the door, my relationship status was questioned. Because I was trailing Chuck and Pollo and brought with me no man of my own, it was assumed that I was single and looking. I was cornered by a woman in plaid flannel as I waited by the bar with my friends for our first drink.
“Who are these ladies you’re with, Chuck?” She called over the music.
“This is my wife Patty, and this is our friend Laurie,” he replied, leaning into the woman to make sure she heard.
“Nice to meet you,” she said to Pollo, offering her hand to shake.
Pollo returned the handshake halfheartedly, giving Chuck a look that said How the hell do you know this woman?
The woman turned to me. “I’m Lizette.” She said, extending her hand.
“I’m Laurie,” I said, looking for the bartender and the drink she was supposed to bring me.
“Are you single?” She asked.
“Oooooooooooh.” She said, looking over her shoulder at the table from which she came. She tried to catch one of her friends’ eyes, but was unsuccessful. “How old are you?”
“Perfect. Come with me.”
Before I could object, she pulled me by the hand over to her table, filled with forty-something women and one young guy. She introduced me to the women first, who looked me up and down, eyeballing the cleavage and bared belly my shirt afforded.
“And this….Is Jason.” She said, pulling a guy from the corner into my line of sight. He slouched his way toward me, offering me a shy smile and his hand.
“Hi.” He said.
One of the women at the table shoved her way between us. “You guys should hook up!” She slurred, pointing at us with the mixed drink in her hand.
Unintentionally, I rolled my eyes. He wasn’t even close to my type. His weak jaw and apparent lack of confidence did nothing for me. Not to mention the ancient baseball cap and T-shirt he sported for the outing.
“He’s thinking about moving here,” the drunken woman announced, still sloshing her drink between the two of us. “You should show him around.”
I crossed my arms and shifted my weight awkwardly, unsure of how to tell her that I had no intention of giving this guy a tour of Milford. I looked behind me and saw that the bartender had placed my drink on the ledge of the bar. “Oh, I’m sorry, you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go, uh…you know, over there…Because…My drink’s here.” I said, pointing at the vodka and cranberry sitting all alone on the bar as proof. I backed away from the group, not really sorry at all that I had somewhere else to go. I pushed my way through the crowd, retrieved my drink and stood with Chuck and Pollo.
“Thanks guys,” I said, bringing the red straw to my lips, “for letting me get abducted.”
Chuck and Pollo laughed.
“But he’s so hot,” Pollo said, facetiously. “We tought jou’d like to talk wid him.” She smiled at me and rolled her eyes.
I took a gulp of my drink and looked around the bar and the crowd present. As I surveyed the room, Lizette came up to me again.
“Laurie?” She said, pushing her way between Pollo and me.
“Could you just do me a favor and talk to Jason? I think you guys would be great together…”
I almost spit out my drink. How in the world could she know that we’d be good together? She doesn’t know me at all. And I’d be lying if I said I thought the two of us were in the same league. Besides, I didn’t go there to meet anyone. I went to dance, not to be at the mercy of a drunken cupid.
“Well, I don’t know.” I said, stirring my drink.
“Well, maybe, if, you know…I get really bored later.”
Her jaw dropped. She turned on her heel and walked away.
I felt a little bad for being so obnoxiously rude, but I felt cornered. I knew if I didn’t make it clear that I wasn’t interested in talking to this Jason character, they wouldn’t leave me alone for the rest of the night.
But, despite what I thought was an obvious sign to back off, the ladies continued to approach me on behalf of their shy friend.
“I’m sorry for being so pushy earlier,” one woman said to me. “But I still think you should talk to him.”
Whenever I gave some sorry excuse to not converse with the man, I was met with “But you’re single.”
Single. Yes, it’s true. I’m single. I wear no wedding band, I don’t claim a man as my significant other…But just because I’m single does not mean that I’m interested in every other guy who also happens to carry the single tag line.
And it’s not just in loud bars in the Poconos that I’m met with the opportunity to hook up with somebody’s friend, nephew, grandson or brother. Every day, as I sit at my desk at work, blatant attempts at love matches are hurled at me from women who know the “perfect guy” for me. Women who, coincidentally, also have no idea who I really am.
And there’s no nice way to look at the picture of their homely grandson and announce that I’m not at all interested. So I shrug and say “Maybe. Ha ha. You never know,” then say a silent prayer that they forget all about our exchange and never send the man in to meet me.
Because, when it comes down to it, I’d rather meet someone on my own instead of suffering the awkward introduction that a blind date brings. It may be difficult for me to meet a man on my own; It may take months before I can actually say I’ve found somebody worth my time. But I’m certain that if I do take a lead from someone with the perfect guy for me, that person will at least have to know me.
An hour or so later, Chuck yelled at me over the heavy beat of the R&B music pulsating through the bar. “So she says to me, ‘you should hook your friend Laurie up with my friend Jason over there,’ and I thought ‘sure, as soon as she’s into ugly guys I’ll let you know.’”
What he really said was something along the lines of I don't think she's looking for anyone right now. But it still felt good to know that there was at least one person in the room not willing to pimp me out just because I'm single.