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20: Marisa, Jenine or Paulette

October 14, 2010 | by  |  Confessions of a Lonely, Single Guy

And, just like that, the internet floodgates opened.

travel_gurrl wanted to hang out the following week. Nickininedoors_13 emailed to say she thought I looked like fun. PhotoLily messaged to see if I was going to the Arcade Fire concert. Considering that the pinnacle of my interactions with women in the preceding weeks had been limited to a single discussion in a grocery store (we spent no more than five seconds having a scintillating discussion about limes), I barely knew how to respond. It was as though, with my arrival on PlentyOfFish, a signal had been sent to the women of the lower mainland, a signal that said I was interested, available, and, apparently, attractive.

I diligently responded to each email.

travel_gurrl and I set up a date.

Nickininedoors_13 and I had a red-hot flirtation about the use of capital letters.

It was incredible. I only had one hard and fast rule: I wouldn’t say no to anybody. As someone with a good deal of experience with rejection, I didn’t want to abuse my new-found power, and do to them what dozens of women had done to me over the years. I wouldn’t “forget” to respond. I wouldn’t tell them I was really busy when what I meant was “I’m not interested”. No matter how awkward they were, no matter how unattractive, I would treat each person with courtesy, respect, and interest.

I would be the bigger man, dammit.

By the end of the week, I was euphoric.

The attention was intoxicating. And so, that Friday, as a kind of private celebration, I put PlentyOfFish on hold, threw on my $300 jeans, and hit the town.

Which is how I awoke on a holiday Monday with a dry mouth, a pounding headache, and a mysterious text-message on my phone that read simply: “Hey, mister.”

To say that I was excited would be something of an understatement.

The mysterious correspondent seemed saucy, interesting, and, most intriguing of all, I had absolutely no idea who it was. I didn’t remember giving my phone number to anybody all weekend (then again, I also didn’t remember sweating so hard on the dance-floor that I shorted out my cell-phone, which both my friends and Fido assure me happened, so my status as a reliable source is a trifle suspect).

It was a complete mystery. Obviously, I’d made an impression on somebody. I just didn’t have any goddamn idea who.

“Hey, yourself,” I replied, buying time.

Then, I spent the next hour browsing through whatever photographs I could find, attempting to piece the weekend together. As it turned out, I’d been quite the popular devil. In fact, it appeared that my attractiveness in the online world was holding strong in the real one. Whether it was DJ StrangeLove’s tactics, my new clothes, a new-found confidence, or something altogether different, I’d interacted with more women in that single weekend than I ever had in my entire life. It took nearly two hours of painstaking reconstructions, but in the end, I had it narrowed down to three separate possibilities.


Friday night. Yaletown.

Her name was Marisa; she was blonde, Australian, and a little tipsy. In addition, she belonged to a particular class of woman I like to call “Out of My League”, and when, around 11:00, she and a friend approached Leon and I as we were midway through a game of pool, I was totally unsure how to proceed.

“Will you play pool with us?” she screeched.

I was speechless.

Luckily, Leon, a few beers deeper than I, managed to swoop in, and save the situation.

“I don’t know,” he responded, “there’s another guy running the table. He just stepped out for a smoke, and, if you win, I’m pretty sure he’ll kill us all.”

They both giggled, and, a minute later, we were in the middle of a game. Marisa’s friend, whose name escapes me, sunk a few balls in quick succession. I feigned terror, and, conspiratorial, leaned over to Marisa.

“You realize,” I said, in a low voice, “your friend is putting us all in grave danger by playing so well.”
She tried to keep a straight face.
“She doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

And, as the game went on, we found ourselves having a genuine conversation. She asked how I was. I said I was one-and-a-half thumbs up. She told me about herself. I threw down a few solid disses that even DJ StrangeLove would have been proud of. Things were moving well, and I’d even begun to consider implementing a number-grab. Everything was going swimmingly.

And then, Leon decided to “help.”

As Marisa and I were laughing, and talking, I suddenly found myself grabbed from behind, and pulled in for such an intense bear-hug, that I nearly flew off my stool.

“This guy is such an awesome guy. This guy is the best.”
His voice was slurred, his eyes hazy. He’d been drinking solidly throughout the game, and by now, he was absolutely wasted.
“I’m sure,” Marisa replied, a pained expression on her face.
“No, really,” Leon continued, fingers clamped vise-tight around my shoulder, “this guy is the best. I love this guy.”
“I’m sure,” she repeated, testy.
But Leon didn’t stop there.

In fact, he was so emphatic about my alleged awesomeness, that he continued to push the point for another three-and-a-half minutes, while I burned with embarrassment, and thought about stabbing him with a beer-bottle.

Another agonizing minute or two later, she walked away without a word.

We talked again awhile later, and, despite my best attempts to salvage the interaction, the damage had been done.

“Sorry about that,” I attempted, weakly, “he’s really drunk.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“You guys are quite the team.”
“Ha. Yeah,” I chuckled nervously, “he’s one hell of a wingman, isn’t he?”
She smiled thinly, and then, was gone.

There are few silverbacks more effective than an intoxicated Leon.


Saturday. Arcade Fire Concert. A raven-haired beauty with impressively-proportioned breasts, that I ran into in the refreshment lineup. I was standing with my friend Paul as she approached, and said:

“Hey, you look like a guy who knows what’s good.”
“Uhh..” I replied.

Eloquent as always.

She pointed to her belt-buckle, and said:
“It’s broken. What do I do? I mean, in your fashionable opinion.”

I couldn’t believe it.

For the second time in two days, an attractive woman had started a conversation with me. And, not only that, but her conversation-starter felt like it had been pulled straight from the DJ StrangeLove Playbook.

“Well, you can’t walk around looking like that,” I replied, authoritatively, “not in a nice place like this. I think your only option is to lose it.”
She grinned, and pulled it from her waistband.
“I think you’re right.”
“And look, you can use it for all kinds of different things,” I continued, taking the belt, and whipping Paul in the ass with it.
She laughed.
“I think you’re onto something.”

We talked for a moment more, about some basics: her name (Jenine), where she was from. And then, before I knew what was happening, the conversation was over, and she was gone. I saw her later in the show, and she still wasn’t wearing the belt. Whatever that means. I tried dancing up to her, too, but she was too far away.

And, still, no phone-number.

I was beginning to despair. Two failures, and I still wasn’t any closer to identifying my mystery caller. Who was she? What did she want?

Suddenly, there was a chime from my phone.

“So, do you know who this is?” the text read.
“That depends. It’s my boss, isn’t it?” I replied. “I know he got a new cell-phone this weekend.”
“LOL. No. Try again.”

And then, mid-flirtation, it dawned on me. There was only ever one real possibility, and it was an interaction I’d completely forgotten.


Sunday. House party for a friend I hadn’t seen in five years.

Her name was Paulette, and she was, in a single word, a Bowser.

But, she was funny, and engaging, and interested in me, and, holding true to my mandate, I didn’t reject her. I didn’t excuse myself, or tell her I was busy, or pawn her off on a friend. I was, apparently, still riding a wave of positive female attention, and I didn’t want to fall prey to the same abuses of power that had claimed so many others. I sat, and talked to her for close to an hour. And, despite my complete lack of attraction, it was enjoyable.

Finally, when the evening came to a close, she stood to go.

“Well, I’m going to grab a cab. It was nice meeting you.”

What happened next, I still can’t entirely explain.

Perhaps it was sympathy.

Perhaps it was to hold true to my mandate.

Perhaps, by this point, I was drunk on power. Or the thirteen Pale Ales I’d consumed previously. But, for whatever reason, I blurted out: “I’ll come wait with you.”

Paulette looked pleased.

“To stand outside,” I coughed, “so you don’t… have to wait alone.”

But, the damage had been done.

She was playfully touching and pawing at me as we waited outside, laughing at my jokes, trying to keep the conversation going. And, before I even knew what had happened, she had up and number-grabbed me.

“We should hang out one of these days,” she said, smiling.
“Totally,” I replied, trying not to sound like a dick.

Then, she passed me her phone, and watched as I clumsily punched in my number, and spent the rest of the night hating myself for it.

I couldn’t believe it.

It really did work.

So, that was it.

After all of that excitement, it was Paulette after all. And, to make things worse, I hadn’t even honed my skills by initiaing a number-grab. She’d done it all on her own. In fact, for the entire weekend, it had been that way. Sure, I’d been popular, but in the end, I was little more than a passenger, carried this way and that by the machinations of women I’d barely met. It was a start. But, it wasn’t enough.

And now this.

Unwanted attention? What a novel concept. Who knew there was such an unexpected downside to being attractive. If I hadn’t been so busy hyperventilating, I may have even found it funny.

I began to sweat.

Now what?

What did I say?

I certainly wasn’t into her. I didn’t want to date her, or hang out, or lead her on. I just wanted her to go away. Even DJ StrangeLove, with all his rules, wouldn’t hold this one against me.

But what should I do? Feign a protracted medical condition? Move away? Fake my own demise?

And, given the circumstances, I did the only thing I could think of:

I told her I was really busy.

Ian Hannon is currently lonely, single, and a guy.



  1. I just hope Paulette doesn’t discover this blog like that last girl!

  2. Also hope this doesn’t back fire on you in some other way as Karma seems to always do!

  3. Awesome as usual, you need to tag it under confessions though (that’s where my bookmark goes), I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t accidentally clicked on the banner at the top of the page.

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