DudeBro II


If I’m standing at the bus stop, the only thing I’m interested in being picked up by is a bus. #Pleaseandthankyou
Just my luck: my iPod was dead. I’d charged it all afternoon the day before, but when I stepped out of the house in the morning it lit up briefly, insisted “I shall dieeee”, and then proceeded to actually do so. 

I was annoyed, but not greatly inconvenienced: I listen to music as a way to cultivate privacy more than for the actual entertainment: a tacit way of expressing “I do not wish to be engaged in conversation, thank you”. I could survive one day without headphones, couldn’t I? How often did anyone try to talk to me anyway?

Well…

I stood at the second bus stop waiting for the express bus. Typically, I like to wait on the high ground because it gives me a better view and because it makes it harder for someone to sneak up on me or back me into a corner. Today, the view largely consisted of a DudeBro who was chatting up another woman also waiting for the bus. His body language said: ” I’m interested whether you are or not.” Her body language said: “I AM NOT.”  

He stood too close to her, inside her personal space, backing her up against the bus stop bench. She was tall, but slender. He was taller. And bigger. And openly drinking from a flat glass bottle of vodka. At seven thirty in the morning. 

The woman  her ground, and evidently made her disinterest known because DudeBro eventually walked away and left her alone. Still, I was readying myself in my head to ask her for ‘directions’ if he came back to bother her again. 

He came to bother me instead. 

I was putting up my hair, which had evidently caught his eye. He marched up the small rise, head on, staring unselfconsciously the whole way. He stopped in front of me. Too close. Inside my personal space. His body language said “I am interested whether you are or not.” 

I was not. 

“How long is your hair?” He asked.

“About to my waist.” I said.

“Take it down. Let me see.”

“No. I’m putting it up now.” I said. 

I don’t usually mind obliging this kind of thing when someone wants to see my hair, but I knew for sure that I didn’t want to encourage him. I continued to put up my hair. 

DudeBro held out a hand as if for a handshake. I didn’t take it.

“You just going to leave me hanging?

“I’m afraid so.”

“Why? It’s just a handshake.”

“I’m not comfortable with that.” I said. 

“How about-” DudeBro turned his hand over in a loose fist for a fist bump instead. “Are you comfortable with that?” 

I grudgingly gave his knuckles a tap with my left hand, knocking my ring against the cabuchon stone in his ring. If he was looking for a ring, this was his chance to see it. I hated myself for having to resort to the ‘I’m the property of a man already’ argument, but if it made DudeBro go away, I want above using it. 

It did not make DudeBro go away. 

“You’re very beautiful.” He said. 

“Thank you.”

“On a scale of one to ten, you know what I give you?”

I didn’t care. I wasn’t a fucking number. He was going to tell me whether I wanted to know or not. 

“For your hair, I give you…” He paused for dramatic effect. “… A nine.”

“Nine, huh?”

I was surprised he went that high. I was pretty sure he was gaming me. I was expecting a neg. 

“For your eyes, I give you…. A nine.”

“That so.”

“Uh huh. You know what I give you for your lipstick?”

“No.”

“I give you a…. Seven.”

There it was. He wanted me to ask ‘why a seven?’ So that I’d feel compelled to try to win his approval. When it didn’t come, he took out his phone and held it up as if taking a picture. I held up my hand, blocking the camera. He moved the phone around, making shutter noises. 

“None of that.” I told him.

“It’s not for real.” He held up the screen to show me that the camera app wasn’t open.

“I said no.” 

“Why you gotta be like that?” He wanted to know. “You’re very beautiful. You going to work?”

“Yes.”

“Where do you work?”

None of you’re business. 

Santa Monica.” 

“Santa Monica?! Wow that’s far! And you commute all the way from here? Why?”

“Because that’s where the work is.” 

“You’re waiting for the bus?”

“Yes.”

“But, why this bus?” He pointed in the direction of the traffic. “Santa Monica is the other way.”

I shrugged. I didn’t want to have to explain to him that the bus route took an illogical jog North in order to get onto the southbound ramp for the highway. He either already knew, in which case I didn’t need to tell him, or he was trying to go northbound, in which case he was waiting for the other bus, and I didn’t need to tell him. 

“That’s just the way the bus goes.”

 There wasn’t anything else you say about that. The conversation should have ended there, but DudeBro was no quitter. He changed topics.

“How tall are you?”

“Six foot.” Not strictly true, but that was how tall I was standing in my current shoes. 

“You’re not!” He insisted. “I’m six one. You’re not taller than me.”

“I guess not, then.”

“How tall are your shoes?”

“I dunno. How tall do they look?”

He leaned back to look, taking the opportunity to follow my legs back up. He wasn’t helping his case. 

“Four inches?”

“Guess so.” 

“You’re beautiful.” He said again, like he’d run out of other things to say. 

“Thank you.” I said. “You need to go now.” I pointed to the sidewalk. 

“Why?”

“You’re making me uncomfortable.”

“Why you gotta do that? I’m just giving you a compliment- I say you’re beautiful.”

“And I said thank you.” I said. “You still have to go.” 

“It’s a compliment.” He reiterated, backing away a step, then coming back like he thought I might’ve changed my mind. “You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. Why do you say I have to go?”

I pointed to the sidewalk again. “I told you that you’re making me uncomfortable.” I said. “It’s time for you to go.” 

He did, eventually, back down the rise to the sidewalk, incanting “you’re beautiful” the whole way. When the bus came he got on it, exclaiming over the fact we were taking the same bus, but didn’t insist on sitting next to me. I wondered whether he was surprised to find himself heading south. He disembarked before I reached my stop, so I didn’t have to worry about him following me to work. 

Music or no music, I put in my headphones. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 12, 2018.

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