Staying with my uncle these past couple weeks out on Lake Huron and spending my days helping out at his restaurant. Yesterday evening I came down from the staff room, having shed my sweater and rocking a sleeveless tank, ready to don an apron and begin helping out with dishes.
There were two attractive girls at the bar in the mid 30s age range and the blond one, let’s call her ‘Holly’, was like, “Wow, you have big muscles!” I looked at Holly, and from my peripherals I could tell the guy sitting behind her was narrowing his eyes at me.
“Thank-you,” I responded.
“You wanna arm wrestle?” the guy blurted out?
“No thanks, they’re just for show.” I responded with a smile.
“I bet!” he shot back.
I looked at him, widening my smile, “ and responded quickly, “None taken!” -a clever little retort for forms of aggression passive and veiled that I picked up from the Brits. Even he had to break eye contact and chuckle.
In a mild state of disbelief and amusement about how low this guy went right from the hop, I turned my attention back to Holly.
“Who are you?” she asked.
Smiling good-naturedly, I gave her my best George Costanza: “I’m the opposite of every man you ever met.”
I guess I must have reached my left hand up to my face as I sad this, because as he quickly interjected, “I doubt it!”, she exclaimed, “I would love to love you!” -the script tattooed on my left forearm.
She quickly turned to her husband to explain she was just reading my tattoo.
Him again: “You wanna come by our hot tub tonight?”
I said, “sure” not really expecting anything to materialize from it. I was right in assuming it was a desperate effort to regain face.
There was quiet for a second and I said, “Actually I’m gonna go hot tub my hands in the dish-pit. Nice meeting you guys.”
I turned to put on an apron and the girls came behind the bar and began invading the kitchen to have a look; they’re friends of my uncle and cousins who own the place so I just let it happen. After the girls passed me I was still tying up my apron still and the guy came behind the bar.
“What’s your name, brother?” I asked.
“D’Arcy” he responded.
He broke eye contact first and mumbled something about nothing, continuing on into the kitchen and through to the adjacent store where the girls were talking to the staff and having a look around.
I followed to collect dishes and overhead him saying some more comments about my unwillingness to arm wrestle.
“Fuck it!” I thought, “Why not?”
I noticed he had the name of a construction firm on his hat so I assumed that was his profession.
He looked at me and they walked over.
“You work in construction, right?”
“I work on my computer; I have no business arm-wrestling you.” I’m not sure if his wife got the sub-text, but he did: “I’m as fit as you and probably smarter than you.”
They left soon after. I’ve gotten a lot better at holding gaze and speaking slow and truthfully. In the past I would have gotten tripped up by such overt flirtation and aggression, but I really took this instance in stride, kept my composure and even gave a little back.