Years ago, as I made my way through my adolescent and teenage periods, I was “too busy for boys”. Between school, 4-H, NJHA, and sports, not to mention having farm animals to care for, I was kept busy. Those fleeting moments that I thought about boys and wondered why they rarely asked me out or to “go with them”, passed quickly in retrospect as I moved onto the next thing that had to be done or meeting I had to attend.
My first real introduction to the opposite sex came in Catholic grade school, specifically in the kitchen of the lunch room as I washed mashed potatoes out of a large pan in a sink with water hot enough to leave my hands red and my pores clear from the steam. My good friend at the time, Jamie, rushed away from her station in the washing line to me, excitedly announcing that a boy working at the sprayer unit on the far side of the kitchen, whose name now escapes me, wanted to “go with me”. Go with me? I finished with the mashed potato pan and moved onto the green pea cauldron, giving Jamie a puzzled look.
“We can’t go anywhere… we have kitchen duty today.”
Jamie stood in silence, raised an eyebrow, and leaning in she raised its partner to match to emphasize, at least so she thought, “No, Sarah. He wants TO GO WITH YOU.”
I heaved the green pea cauldron out of the way and reached for the next pan, utterly puzzled at just where this boy wanted to go as we had kitchen duty and then had music class immediately afterwards. Music class for goodness sake. So, I shook my head as I scrubbed and looked over my shoulder at Jamie and repeated my “we have kitchen duty today” and punctuated it with “and music class is next”.
Just what was this boy thinking? Shirking duties assigned by the kitchen ladies and nuns? I don’t think so! The school wasn’t that big, no matter where he wanted to go with me, surely we’d get in trouble for leaving our post.
Later that day he kept shooting me hurt looks and eventually asked why I wouldn’t “go with him” – of course, I replied *drum roll please*, “We had kitchen duty. I couldn’t go anywhere with you.”
Fast forwarding to college and my utter oblivion to the wooing ways of the masculine sex continued. I dated (finally) a lot of men, and my best friend was Mr. Muse-before-he-was-Mr. Muse. He got to hear about every botched date, what the guys did right, what they did wrong and he refers to that time as “Reconnaissance”. But, what I didn’t notice, because I’m Captain Oblivious, is that Mr. Muse wanted “to go with me”.
Friends started pointing out the second year at college that Mr. Muse “liked me”. I’d laugh and say matter-of-factly, “Of course he likes me… we’re friends. Friends like each other.” I missed the pointed “he likes you” references, that he didn’t just like me, but he LIKED me. They’d say, “he hugs you all the time” and I’d reply, “but he hugs you guys all the time too. He’s a huggy person.” They’d roll their eyes, sigh and on one particularly intense night of Boone’s Farm Fuzzy Navel pass-the-bottle, tried everything in their power to get me to realize that Mr. Muse LIKED me liked me and still, there I was, stuck at that grade school sink on kitchen duty wondering just where he wanted to go.
I know you’re all relieved to know that eventually, after a “Eureka Moment” with Mr. Muse – and my realization that he LIKED me liked me – it all worked out.
And that brings me to my recent adventure once again sailing with Bare Necessities. One of the ports we stopped in was Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. Mr. Muse and I had been to the island twice before and we knew that this time our goal was to head to famous, perhaps infamous, Maho Beach to watch the planes land and take-off and see people be stupid.
We’d set ourselves up nicely at the Sunset Bar and Grill, famous on Maho Beach, where from our perch we could watch the people on the beach and the planes coming in to land. While we didn’t have great views of the planes that were taking off at the end of the runway, we did have a view of the cyclone fence that
idiots people-prone-to-risky-behavior-who-ignore-warning-signs attempted to hang onto in the jet-wash of the planes. It was at the bar, where as I headed back to the table from a trip to the loo, that a man in aviator sunglasses (who’d had his back to me) stopped me with, “Where do I know you from?”
Me, being the polite Midwesterner that I am, shook my head in bewilderment and said that he must have me confused with someone else. He persisted, “No. I know I know you; I just can’t think of where.”
I’m a helpful person, so I attempted to jog his memory despite that fact that I was 99% certain I had never met this man in my life. “Well, are you from Wisconsin? Are you on the nude cruise in port today? I’m a model – maybe you’ve seen a photo of me? I write – perhaps you’ve read my blog? Twitter? Facebook fan page?” He shook his head to all of my suggestions and then I tossed out, “People tell me I look like Dana Delany.” He agreed that he could see the resemblance in my eyes. I smiled politely, because that’s what I do, and told him that if he thought of where he knew me from to let me know, handed him my business card and headed back to the table where Mr. Muse was waiting.
I relayed what had just transpired to Mr. Muse who smiled and nodded as he usually does and we continued to watch the planes, people and chat to the group that sat down at our table. Soon, the man, who I’d found out was a private jet pilot, was at the next table with his coworker (who was frequently on his phone getting updates from mechanics so the story holds up). We said hello again, we chatted about the planes, considered odds on whether people on the beach were going to go down in the surf or not and he asked me about the nude cruise.
I didn’t think anything of the unusual conversation until seven hours later when suddenly it dawned on me that this man may have been hitting on me. Mr. Muse and I were making our way down the corridor of the cruise ship by then and in another of my “Eureka Moments” I stopped, turned to Mr. Muse and said, “Wasn’t it weird that the guy kept saying he knew me? His back was turned to me when I came out of the bathroom…. I mean, maybe he saw me when I headed in there, but…. *dramatic pause as the light bulb over my head begins to glow* Okay, it just occurred to me that maybe he was hitting on me. Weird! Do you think he was hitting on me?” Mr. Muse just smiled and nodded and we proceeded down the corridor.
At dinner, I relayed this story to my fellow staffers, they all laughed with one dear woman I adore declaring, “Goodness child! He was trying to pick you up!” I commented that the thought had occurred to me an hour earlier and we all laughed harder that it only took me seven hours to figure that out. More hearty laughter followed with more questions about how I didn’t figure it out at the time to which I responded, “I choose to believe my not noticing is part of my charm.” I’m a smart cookie people – but social cues of interest from the opposite sex are NOT my strong suit – I fully admit that.
So, to the pilot who was stranded in Sint Maarten for the second day do to mechanical issues…. I never got your name, but if you’re reading this, now you know the rest of the story.
Just call me Captain Oblivious.
Are there certain social cues that you miss? What are they?
Entertained by this post? Let me know. Just make it obvious. :P