gall and gumption

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gambits, or From A to B

I don't know what prompted me to think of this but I was sitting outside just now (sans notebooks) and my mind started running back to -- oh wait now I remember what made me think of it, the distinct sensation that occurred a couple days ago downtown, of being ogled. Not once but a few times. Oh, and the older black conductor on my commute train has taken to bowing to me. Which is nice, when you reach the age where the bank teller calls you "Ma'am."

I made a few friends while I was working at the gummint. One of them was a bureaucrat from one of the higher floors in that large building: we were sitting on a bench having a smoke break one morning and exchanged some polite remarks about the weather and noted that we both worked at the same gummint place, and that got us more conversational, and at one point he said, rather ruefully, "I suppose I'm old enough now that you can feel safe talking to me." To which I replied, "Well, maybe it's me that's old enough." That made us friends, and we had some great talks sitting outside. He gave me two antique fountain pens when I left, a nice, nice man. My impulse in such situations is to burn a CD of choicest items from my collection but I can't because my iTunes isn't working. In my mind I am composing him a playlist.

So that got me thinking about gambits. A friend and I were talking about this last night (the only one I found) and he said something about "...the way a guy feels walking across the room to ask a woman to dance." And I said, "What about it?" And he said (he used to be quite the dancer) it could be terrifying. I did not know this. Because where I grew up girls didn't ask boys to dance. So I do know all about waiting to be asked to dance, and surely the boys, who only had to muster their courage and act, had it better. Whereas if you weren't asked what were you to do? Stand there and feel like a gump while hoping you weren't looking like one.

So in my idle moment this morning I was recalling gambits. Here are a few, in dialogue form. Some are mine, some I heard about from other people. For the sake of simplicity I have called the two characters John and Marsha. Some worked, some did not.

John: You have nice breasts.
Marsha: (walking away faster)

John: Are you in a relationship?
Marsha: Sorry, I can't stop to talk.

Marsha: (speaking to artist who has drawn a self-portrait of himself, nude and floating above a shark, which is on display in a local gallery) Your legs are longer in real life than they are in that drawing.
John: Oh, really?

Marsha: (walks out of bar and throws her arms around the man she has just met there and kisses him)

John: (dashing out of bar) Wait! Wait! Stopstopstop I want to talk to you!
Marsha: (walking faster)
John: (pursuing her down the block and shouting) One day you are going to fall down in a hole and you're going to be there screaming and I am not going to help you out!

Marsha: (out for a walk with John) You know, I'm thinking why bother with all this relationship stuff? Maybe I could just have a sex slave, just some guy on call who would come over when I wanted him and then go away.
John: Maybe we could go in for a time share.

I shall not say which ones worked and which ones didn't. I leave that to you to guess. You are invited to contribute some gambits of your own.


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