The other day on my way back from the gym I stepped into one of four elevators in the lobby of my building. A normal-looking-enough guy stepped in behind me. I don't ever get awkward in situations where strangers strike up conversation (be warned: usually I'm that stranger), so naturally I didn't think twice when he asked how I was doing. We were neighbors, after all, albeit separated by seven floors.
"How're you doing?" he mumbled as he got on.
"Fine," I responded, Lola in my arms. I was still wearing my workout clothes, no makeup, hair pulled back.
Customary elevator silence.
"I need to say this. You're beautiful," he said. "A beautiful woman..."
"Oh, haha. Thanks," I said. "I just got back from the gym, but thanks for the compliment."
"Yeah, well, you're very beautiful." Pause. Apparently he'd been staring at me out of the corner of his eye. Creeper. "...Tight..." he said out loud to himself, and with that he began leering at me up and down.
"Heh..." was all I could manage to muster.
This wasn't a hot Don Draper-esque come on. Not that I would have reciprocated that kind of come-on anyway (I'm married, people). Instead, it felt predatory. Like an I-think-you're-beautiful-and-want-to-wear-your-skin-as-a-mask-in-a-cellar-surrounded-by-mannequins kind of predatory. In other words, it dawned on me he seemed a little cray cray. I've watched Silence of the Lambs enough to know about these things.
At this point the elevator suddenly seemed way too small to fit the both of us. My eyes flitted up to the digital numbers passing each level. All I could think was: "I don't want to put any lotion in anyone's basket. If he gets close to me I'm roundhouse kicking his head off. Not like this elevator would be big enough for my leg to freely swing around at the 50mph+ it would actually take to seriously hurt him. But I could try..."
He continued to stare at me full on. Smiling. Like I was some diamond-studded Faberge egg in a store window that he just had to have to store the molars of his victims in. I kept my eyes on the numbers above us. As I deliberated the physics of my leg mid-kick in the elevator, the doors parted. Freedom. Whew. I began to step off into my empty 10th floor hallway and heard him take a step toward me as I left.
"Shit! American Psycho, anyone?" I thought, as I realized that my long curved hallway looked exactly like that one in the movie that the naked Christian Bale ran through with his chainsaw.
What if he follows me out? I didn't want him to know where I lived, but it's not like I had anywhere to go 10 floors up. The concierge in the lobby downstairs felt so far away. Afraid he was going to follow me out into the empty corridor, my eyes darted toward the stairwell. But then what? I get trapped in a stairwell with a potential rapist? Yeah, great idea, Crystal.
"Can I call you or something?" I heard him say, his hand holding the elevator door open. His question was direct, more like a demand then a question. Did he not see the ring on my finger? I mean, it's not like you can miss the thing, the cut of the diamond picks up every hint of light in its presence. But I suppose this wasn't something men like him cared about.
"No!" I half-yelled as I hurried down the hallway. I heard the elevator doors close and looked over my shoulder and...
He wasn't there. He had stayed in the elevator. Thank God.
Men, take note: Picking up women is a two-way street. There is a huge difference between borderline sexual harassment and a little harmless flirting that scores you a phone number. Maybe the Crazy Elevator Guy was actually just a lonely, normal man looking for love. But his tactic not only seemed desperate, it creeped out the girl involved. And now he will forever be known as Crazy Elevator Guy. (Something tells me he's earned this name with more than one circle of women.)
"If you talk to a woman on an elevator and she is giving you one-line answers or stock uninterested/unengaged answers, probably not a good idea to hit on her," J opines. "To do so is like jumping into an ice cold swimming pool when you are looking for a hot-tub. You're going to walk away with shriveled testes."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Many men these days take either one of two approaches:
- The shotgun approach to picking up women. Hello, you're not a caveman anymore and I'm not on display at a strip club. Telling me I'm beautiful? All right, that's cute. Especially if you ease up and leave after I tell you I'm married (This has happened to me more times than I can count and you've got to hand it to the men for having the guts to do so in front of an entire audience of Border's coffee-goers). Whistling at me from across the street slash honking as you pass by? Not a big deal; will elicit a smile and a head-nod acknowledgement of my awesomeness. Telling me I'm beautiful and then standing there leering at me and assuming I'll give you my phone number afterward? Caveman behavior that deserves a lonely, celibate life. A little discreetness goes a long way.
- The "I'm amazing approach". These men are so infatuated with themselves they think "I'm awesome, so she must be in to me by default." Sadly this is not how it works. Generally these men also think dressing well, owning a snazzy sports car, getting reservations at Dorsia and bantering on about their ivy league educations will earn them major brownie points. And for some women it will. But, if you're still a jerk with all these toys and accolades, then others will see you as a pretentious asshat who needs to get over himself.