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.
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.