At Easter brunch, my ever-so-sweet cousin and I landed on the topic of our dating lives–or lack thereof. The conversation was actually introduced by my grandfather, who is determined to see us all married off before he goes. I was complaining that I get a lot of eye contact with guys, but one or both of us is always too chicken to initiate an actual conversation. (Eye contact has more or less been the extent of my dating life over the past year.)
I work in downtown Minneapolis, and I have to say, the gene pool for 20-something males that work there is spectacular. The problem is that there’s no opportunity to engage with these prime physical specimen, because for the most part (unless he’s behind me in line at Starbucks), we are just passersby in the skyways; two cars driving in opposite lanes, one going north, the other south–to never cross paths again, mostly likely.
So I have to rely on a lot of eye contact to make anything happen. I’m not an advocate of dropping things on purpose to start a conversation (though, that’s always my mother’s first suggestion). But I have been known to make up an excuse to talk to a cute guy. (”I’m sorry. I think I’m totally lost. Where’s Target from here?” Lame, right? *mentally stabs self*)
I hate myself for doing it, but I’ll probably continue to do it. Am I just supposed to meet someone organically?
Or can I make him think it was organic, when it was really me secretly plotting our meet-cute the entire time. (Cue evil laugh.)
These excuses don’t always prove particularly helpful, but hey, it’s some form of interaction with a hot guy. These days, I’ll take it. But if I fall back on eye contact alone, the odds of an accidental bump-in or verbal engagement are not only small; they’re decimal.
So, I’m sitting at Easter, bitching about my singleness, when my cousin looks me straight in the eye and says, “Maybe you should think about taking down the ‘Fuck off’ sign on your forehead.”
Normally, I’d listen to my cousin’s dating advice about as often as I would my dad’s fashion advice. But I got to thinking…maybe he has a point? Maybe I unintentionally give off this negative vibe that repels men? (Finally, an answer for my singleness? Maybe? No?)
I reflect over my walks to and from work. Headphone are usually in. Eyes are usually shifted down, only looking up if someone invades my personal space. But when I do look up, is my fuck-off sign up?
There’s a phenomenon here in Minnesota that we call “Minnesota nice.” Essentially, “Minnesota nice” entails everyone at a four-way stop pausing for the other person to go. “No, you go.” “No you.” “No, you.” Ohmygod. Someone drive their car already.
(I’m not 100 percent sure that “Minnesota nice” is a phenomenon originating strictly from Minnesota, because I’ve experienced it living in Nebraska, as well. So maybe “Midwest nice” is a more fitting term?)
So now I’m left wondering, if I’m not in my “Minnesota nice” mode, is my fuck-off sign up? Is there no in-between ground? What about Resting Bitch Face or RBF? For those of you unfamiliar with RBF, Urban Dictionary defines it as “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.”
I’ve heard that studies have been done on the effects of RBF. It can actually provide more safety for a woman walking alone. Apparently, a person is less likely to rob or assault you if you look like a bitch. Who knew, right? Maybe the only weapon you need is on your face. (But actually, carry something when choosing to walk alone. It’s a sad fact of reality that we need to be prepared at all times.)
It’s a little ironic to me that Mr. Darcy was able to notice Elizabeth’s “fine eyes” beneath her fuck-off sign. Let’s be real. She was less than cordial to the man, and rightfully so, I would say: “We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.”
If Elizabeth Bennet is many things, one thing she is not is passive aggressive–a trait I admire greatly in a woman, for I am the epitome of passive aggression. Elizabeth is so subtly sarcastic to Mr. Darcy; it literally makes me laugh out loud sometimes. “It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples.” Even if I don’t like somebody, I’m generally pretty good at hiding it. At the very least, I’m not openly disdainful. Elizabeth really makes no visible effort to hide her opinion of his character, and maybe she shouldn’t have to hide it. But that might just be my “Minnesota nice” showing.
After reflection upon this portion of Austen’s novel, I must say I never before realized just how harsh Elizabeth is. Yes; she was under a misinformed understanding of Mr. Darcy’s character, an idea placed in her mind by the ever-wicked Mr. Wickham. But does Darcy’s pride and Wickham’s willful deception validate her own behavior? As she scolds him for his own attitude, his own pride, she herself is not faultless; she demonstrates the unattractive quality of prejudice–so much for innocent until proven guilty.
Luckily, their combined flaws make for quite an interesting read for the rest of us.