Good advice from Wife M

We were waiting for dinner with my parents and I was standing next to two young women while Wife M talked to my parents.  The way the line worked, I was facing right the women, who were two feet away from me.  Silence bothers me, so I asked one of the women what her drink was since it looked cool, and that started a conversation, which I quickly brought in Wife M (it turnd out the second woman happened to be standing with that woman but was with another group).  A minute or two later, the woman’s male partner returned, and I said, “Hi there, I was just asking…”  At that moment, I paused, not wanting to offend them.  Was it his girlfriend?  WIfe?  Friend?  Life partner?  WHo knew?  As I thought through this, I decided to say, “she” so then finished with, “what she was drinking.”  That launched another conversation in which I again made sure I was including the guy plus Wife M.  Soon, it was time to go into the restaurant and the conversation ended.

Later, Wife M said, “You have to be careful talking to people.  They thought you were hitting on her?”

“Are you kidding?” I said.  “She was half my age and I am with you.”

“First of all, you look young for your age, and second of all, that doesn’t stop a lot of men,” Wife M said.  “THey realized eventually that you weren’t hitting on her, but it was awkward at first.”  We realized at that point that my hesitation made it seem like I was thinking of an excuse to cover up that I was hitting on his partner/friend/wife/girflriend.

“Just be aware of that,” she said.  “You don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.”

Since then, I’ve been really careful, and appreicate that Wife M told me that.  It is also a little discouraging – I’ve been appreciating that in middle age that women don’t approach me anymore (it has been 6 years since a woman approached me, something that used to happen semi-regularly when I was young, which was hard since I had to risk hurting someone’s feelings by telling them I was happily married), but also appreciating that I could talk to women withouth them thiking I aws hitting on them (I am friendly, and a lot of women used to mistake that for flirting, which always annoyed the sh*t out of me since I was happily married).  Turns out, I was only half right, that women still might think I am hitting on them when starting innocent conversation, and Wife M is right – there are a lot of creeps out there willing to approach women who are young enough to be there daughter.  I am not one of them, but women who don’t know me have no way of knowing that.

Sigh.  The creeps out there make it harder for the rest of us.

Good advice from Wife M

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