In my life many weird things have happened to me. I have been insulted by The Bitterest Man in the World, and I believe insulted as an attempt to indicate sexual interest - so one weird thing, plus one thing that's weird when you're over 12. I have had a pass made at me by a man at least 30 years my senior. I have been insulted by the reader of my book, but recommended to the press nonetheless. I have sat next to an executive of my favourite make-up brand on a train by complete coincidence. I have had sex with someone 13 years younger than I, who has then pathologically avoided me - again, two for the price of one, there. I think we can agree that these are weird things: not things that would never happen, but things you might expect never to have happen to you, or things that are out of the ordinary.
Today, however, one of the most disconcerting weird things I've ever had happen, happened. In fact, I'd rank it in my top four, along with being insulted by TBMITW, the being avoided, and the experience in which a one-night stand 6,000 miles away from me turned into a six-month connection. And here it is. At lunch I sat across from a man I scarcely know; I just know he's a Romanticist, which is why I sat across from him. I was telling him about Hunger, and I told him, in essence, the paragraph below about my confusion over the film's purpose. I said, "Was it trying to say Bobby Sands should be admired? Well, I already knew that. Was it trying to saying Margaret Thatcher was repellent? Well, I already knew that, too." And he said, in a sort of musing tone, "Your politics sound very much like mine." The weird thing about this was that that's normally a statement you would make in your head, I think. I got evaluated to my face! Does this guy have no inner monologue?
In addition, I think I may have inadvertently been asked out on a date by him. I thought he said a bunch of people were going to see Terence Davies's Of Time and the City, and did I want to go? Well, I do want to go, and I would like going with a group (a friend-making exercise, doncha know). But this afternoon when the arrangement e-mail came it sounded as if it was going to be just the two of us ("we can go see..."). Of course, even that isn't an indication that it's a date, but it does increase the odds. If this is a date, it will make the second inadvertent-date-asking I've experienced in the past month, and - although I'm grateful - in a general way I'd like to say, I think it should be clear if you are asking someone on a date. Last time I got, "Are you going to that one-day conference on Victorianism?" (only considerably later did I deduce that this was a date-y salvo.) I know asking is hard, but I think askers should go with the following rubric:
Boldest: "Would you like to [go to] xxxx with me?" or
Mid-level Bold: "Maybe after everyone goes to xxxx, you and I could go [for coffee, or whatever]?"
Timid: "Are you going to xxxx? Maybe we could go together?"
I think this would clear up a lot of mystery for askees, and could lead to a lot less sorrow for askers ("Wait - that was a date? I thought we were just walking to a conference together!").
It's a bit of a shame, because inadvertent-date-asker #1 was, although totally inappropriate in a variety of ways, quite an attractive fellow, but since made unavailable. Whereas possibly-inadvertent-date-asker #2 is, frankly, not an attractive fellow to me (although much more appropriate).
Well, not to fear, love-life fans! I'll keep you posted.