‘This TV dinner tastes like shattered dreams and singledom’

I can read women like a book.

Of course, that book is an indecipherable, sprawling tome written in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

It also sits on a high shelf, where I can’t reach. Plus, the writing’s faint.

But beyond that, my expertise is unparalleled.

My search for love hasn't been going too well.

My search for love hasn’t been going too well.

In fact, when it comes to comprehending the mystifying intricacies of the female mindset, I consider myself a scholar. And if I could find a girlfriend, I imagine she’d agree.

I’m confused on a few things, however. For example, how do you tell if a woman is interested in you?

In my case, the answer is simple: no woman has ever been interested in me. I have a fridge full of TV dinners to attest to that fact … as well as my horrific experiences with online dating.

Plus, if you introduce yourself to a woman, and she throws up a little bit in her mouth, I tend to assume there’s no relationship potential.

But in general, how can a man tell if a woman is interested?

It’s a good question, because women tend to resort to subtlety, whereas a man’s motives are rarely in doubt.

For example, a woman might convey interest with a discrete glance from across the room.

On the other hand, a man will demonstrate his amorous intentions by offering to buy a woman a drink … or gawking at her with his mouth hanging open … or even hollering sexual disparagements while grabbing his crotch.

Such are the distinctions that separate the sexes.

I decided to interview a few women to get their perspective. Once I explained that I wasn’t trying to proposition them, they put away their Mace and agreed to talk.

As it turned out, the women themselves shed little light on the subject:

“If I like a guy, I’ll ignore him and pretend he doesn’t exist,” said Melanie, a 26-year-old property manager from Sacramento.

Ignoring a man and pretending he doesn’t exist?

“Forgive my confusion,” I said, “but doesn’t that sound an awful lot like a woman who isn’t interested? I mean, if I counted all the women who ignore me, I’d be a pimp.”

“Trust me,” Melanie said, “guys go crazy for a woman who ignores them. They’ll do anything to get my number.”

Jeanne, a 31-year-old schoolteacher from Pittsburgh, muddled my judgement even further:

“I was upset with this one guy at a party, because he actually thought I liked him,” she said. “All I had done was initiate conversation and ask him questions about himself.”

“Um … OK,” I said. “Then how would you go about approaching a guy you were interested in?”

“Well,” she said, “I might initiate conversation and ask him questions about himself.”

I was more confused than ever by that point, so I headed home to reheat a TV dinner. And as I tromped through the late-night darkness, considering a lifetime of celibacy, I spotted a woman on a bench. She was reading a magazine as she waited for the bus.

I sat next to her on the far end of the bench. “Good evening,” I said.

She ignored me.

“Waiting for the bus?” I asked.

She looked at me out of the corner of her eye and gurgled, holding a hand to her lips. It took me a moment to realize it, but she had just thrown up a little bit in her mouth.

I bit my lip and waited a moment. Then I tried again: “Pleasant weather. The air’s a bit crisp, but I guess we’re headed into a cold spell. That’s what the weatherman said, anyway.”

The woman sighed and held the magazine closer to her face.

Suddenly, I remembered Melanie’s advice — that if a woman likes a guy, she’ll ignore him and pretend he doesn’t exist. My eyes lit up, and I grinned.

“Say,” I said, scooting closer, “would you be interested —”

She whipped out a can of Mace and sprayed it in my eyes — giving me the distinct impression that, despite all indications to the contrary, she was definitely not interested.

I went home and reheated my TV dinner. It tasted like shattered dreams and singledom.

26 comments on “‘This TV dinner tastes like shattered dreams and singledom’

  1. Woman are very mysterious. I’m guessing the Mace in the eyes is not a good sign, but given the other facts you mention in your post, who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    • “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets,” I once said to a date, trying my best to impress her with my poetic observations.

      “You stole that line from ‘Titanic,'” she said, glaring.

      I blinked. Then, slowly, I reached out and took her hand.

      “I’ll never let go,” I said.

      Liked by 1 person

      • How did your date react to that? Perhaps she stretched out her arms and exclaimed, “I’m flying!” Alternatively, she may just have had that sinking feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think she’s the type of person who would make me bob in the Atlantic alongside her, even though there’s plenty of room on the floating door.

        And then she’ll say, “I’ll never let you go” … even as she’s prying my frozen fingers from her hand and watching me sink to the depths below.

        Not a great way to end a date, btw.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That does sound like a rough date. Not as rough as actually watching the movie, though. I remember sitting through it in the theater with my wife. I must admit to being bored rigid. By about the 2 hour 30 minute mark, my backside was completely numb and I just wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to hurry up and die. When he finally had the decency to sink under the waves for the last time about thirty minutes later, I nearly cried for joy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh — yes. Leo’s stilted, wooden expression as he sank into the ocean matched the stilted, wooden dialogue that pervaded the rest of the film.

        For example:

        “I did the sum in my head,” Rose says, “and with the number of lifeboats times the capacity you mentioned … forgive me, but it seems that there are not enough for everyone aboard.”

        What legendary scribe penned this profound, masterful utterance? It drips with expositional overtones, astonishing audiences with its subtlety. Never before has such a poetic, lyrical sentence been spoken on the silver screen.

        In fact, this one astonishing line accomplishes the unthinkable: it makes the character sound like a computer in an era that predates computers.

        If that was the intent of the filmmakers, then it was executed flawlessly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s all just part of the tragedy. The ship may well have survived the initial collision with the iceberg, but it was the weight of exposition that finally dragged her to the bottom.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ha — exactly! And with such a long running time, not only will my heart go on and on, but so will the film … apparently.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That actually made me lol,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! You make me laugh. Egyptian hieroglyphics, faintly written. No it says that not THAT. (rolling of eyes to her girlfriends) as they all laugh at you and walk away.

    A woman needs to talk to you so they can see how clever you are and your sense of humor!

    Hmmm. How to tell if someone is interested in you. Yeah, that’s a hard one…just do that online dating stuff and ask all those crazy sexually questions I read so much about on those women who blog about their internet dates. Although they complain in a post, they certainly go back for 2nds, and 3rds. So… there’s a chance for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Allen, after reading your interviews with the opposite sex, I started to realize just how hopeless this whole dating thing is. And sense the old Thag way of getting a date—by thumping the girl over the head with a dinosaur bone—went out with the Dodo, I started wondering…is there possibly another opposite sex that man can ask out for a date?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would struggle to put it into words myself, but I can definitely tell when a woman is into a man. Men, however, do seem oblivious. I always have to point out to Sean when a woman is hitting on him\ogling him, and he still disbelieves that it’s interest, and I actually sent Matt back to a woman who I deemed interested just hearing his side of the story (and I was right. They dated for several months).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weird. As a guy, I hope I’m not missing any discrete glances or subtle gestures. But whenever a woman does approach me, it’s usually to ask if I can introduce her to one of the guys I’m hanging out with. So there’s that.

      In my experience, I’ve seen men take the opposite approach and assume that every woman is interested in them. I had a friend who once said, “Hey, man, that waitress was into me big time. She was smiling and nodding as she took my order.”

      Well, yeah. That’s sort of her job. She was smiling and nodding at everyone in the diner. But my friend was convinced she was smitten and he was baffled when he didn’t get her number.


  6. The thing about women is that we’re always thinking, wondering, worrying, second-guessing and hoping, and looking for someone to listen and relate. If you want to strike up a conversation, ask her what’s on her mind. If she’s interested in you and thinks the feeling is mutual, you’ll get an earful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a really good perspective, Gail. As a guy, though, I’m a little concerned about the listening part. It sounds like a lot of effort, and it’s not my most-developed skill. I would love to cultivate a strong and healthy relationship built upon mutual respect and trust, but can it wait until after the game?

      I wonder of I could just sort-of listen while watching the TV? I mean, of course I would nod and murmur on occasion, to let her know I’m aware of her general presence. Because I’m the type of man who’s willing to put work into his relationships.

      Nobody told me that dating would be this hard. (Or maybe they did, and I just wasn’t listening.)

      Liked by 1 person

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