Ugly sticks

by Steve McGrath

I am sitting on the patio having a cocktail or two, I am enjoying the view, blonde brunette… Having a glance around my eyes make contact with a very cute woman, mid twenties, early summer tan long brown hair sitting with her friends. She smiles, I smile back. I attempt to subtly look around to make sure she is smiling at me.

I don’t see anyone and I am fairly certain I am the object of the smile. Cool, I think. I look back again. She looks again and another smile, this time she quickly diverts her eyes reaches for her drink and does throws back her hair with a single graceful swoosh exposing a slender sensual neck. I think to myself this is a good sign.

Confidence up I am already thinking about about some way to engage in conversation with her. Just one more test. The Seinfeld 30 sec rule. If she looks at you 3 times in 30 secs she is interested. This is the rule of choice of the players that I know. Thousands of hours of anthropological research only to be outdone by a comedian.

There it is, the third glance. Alright game on, my pulse starts to increase a little nervousness sets in. I am now thinking of an opening. Not what to say that will have to be spontaneous, but rather where to say it. How easy would it be to approach her table? Maybe I should wait until she gets up? I have to appear not too eager yet still convey interest.

The glances continue and if I do not do something soon it will start to get boring and uncomfortable. I get up and walk over to her and say hello. She says hello back and all of her friends look around wondering what is going on. I ask if I can pull up a chair she replies “of course and proceeds to make space”. We chat for a bit, she is very cool. Wow I think, she looks great. Tank top shows off toned shoulders and great skin. We have lots in common. Our conversation flows naturally, she is intelligent, attractive, has a great body, laughs easily with a great smile and these deep dark eyes that when you look into they draw you into wanting to get to the source of the intensity.

She is clearly becoming comfortable with me and it is like we are old friends in no time. Her friends now join the conversation. I think I have met their approval too.

It is all going along so well. I am thinking to myself this never happens. As the words go through my mind she reaches for her purse. Out comes a pack of cigarettes, she takes one out puts it in her mouth offers me one, I reply no, she closes the pack puts it in her purse, pulls out a lighter and lights one up. BLAAEKKK. A crushing blow. The horror. Ugly sticks.

“You smoke?” I ask bewildered. She replies “yes, since high school. I tried to quit a couple of times, I would like to, maybe one day.” She blows a plume of smoke into the air. She tries to resume the conversation. I am disgusted and dumbfounded, the thought Why? keeps crossing my mind.

Well that just killed it for me. The single most effective way to turn a beautiful woman into medusa. Poor health and bad breath. Stinking up my car, my apartment my clothes. I would never consider a short or long term relationship with a smoker. What about making a friend I think. Well perhaps, if I bump into her again on a hike or paddling down the river. I am not asking her out this is for sure.

I do not understand. Nice shoes, perfect hair, make up, nice clothes… Women spend all this time and money on being attractive. Then throw it all away with a cigarette. Who enjoys looking at their girlfriends yellow teeth or hardened yellow stained smoking fingers. Gross. Who wants to look forward to rolling their spouse around in a wheel chair with attached oxygen tank. Who wants to spend unnecessary time at the cancer ward or cleaning the smokey residue off the ceiling and walls of your home. Isn’t it hard enough to pay the rent or mortgage these days without the added expense?

I don’t get it.

I am sure she didn’t either. After a little time I politely excused myself and disappointedly returned to my table. My friends asked what happened? It looked like it was going so good. When I told them they all understood.

I saw her on the way to the washroom a little later. We chatted a little. She was great. I think she was at least expecting me to ask for her number. It was too late I was already disinterested.

  • Ugly sticks
  • by Steve McGrath
  • Published on June 1st, 2003

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