I’ve come to the conclusion that, at 54, I can no longer compliment a young girl on her good looks without looking like a complete creep.
Here’s how I came to this epiphany.
Every Wednesday, I pick up frozen yogurt at a place I will call Silver Spoon (that way you won’t know that it’s really Golden Spoon). Wednesday is the key day to go, you see, because that is—ta da!—Double-Stamp Wednesday. Customers actually get two stamps on their Silver Spoon card for every frozen yogurt they purchase, and then a free frozen yogurt for every 10 stamps they acquire. So, it only makes sense to visit Silver Spoon on Wednesday.
This, folks, is what my life has become.
Anyway, strapping young boys and petite bouncy girls work at the place, alongside the requisite Top 40 blasting away and the college fund tip jar. The girls are usually fairly cute and perky, and the boys—well, who gives a shit about them.
But the new girl scooping up the delicious dessert is like a young Meg Ryan, long before Meg’s face starting melting and morphing into something unfilmable.
This young girl’s face is just so perfect that as I stand in line I can’t seem to stop staring at her, hoping to God that she doesn’t notice. She doesn’t. Then I wonder why it’s just me; doesn’t everyone in this store realize how obviously beautiful she is? I guess they don’t.
Now please understand that this isn’t even a purely sexual thing I am talking about. I’m not trying to hide a boner or anything. It’s more like admiring a work of art, or being hypnotized by some ethereal unearthly being, minus the anal probe.
So, as I stand in line waiting for my turn, I begin to vary my ogling and decide that I need to look for some sort of flaw on her, because no one could have such perfect looks. And sure enough, there it was: a little red mark on the back of her neck. (That’s right, her blond hair was in a cute little bun, allowing for full back-of-neck viewing.) Yet, even this imperfect little dot was part of her perfection, sort of like a mistake you can see in your favorite movie or hear in your favorite song that makes it even more endearing.
My turn at the counter is coming up, and it looks like she, not the other average-looking girl, will be waiting on me. Then I begin wondering if there is something I can say to her just to compliment her on her beauty.
I know what you’re thinking, so let me make this perfectly clear. I’m not trying to come up with a pick-up line. I’m not trying to “get” anything out of it. Rather, it’s similar to running into one of your favorite writers, actors, musicians, etc., and telling him that you really enjoy his work. The problem in this situation, though, is that I’m a 50-something guy and she’s this young girl and I will just come off as some sort of creep or pervert or Republican.
Which brings me back to my original point. You see, if a young guy around her age asked her, “Have you ever thought about being a model?” it would be OK because they are both in the same age bracket, and that’s how the young-uns meet each other, or so I’m told. At the other extreme, if some old coot said that to the young chippy, he would be an adorable harmless old man. But a guy in his fifties? That’s a no-win situation that could end up with either a smack in the face or a spot on the Megan’s Law website.
Still, with that damned hope springing eternally, I ask myself if I could actually pull this off. But at that point, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrored wall, and that’s when reality rings my metaphorical doorbell. It’s all there: the glasses, the paunch, the kinky Jewish hair, the Lee jeans, the bloodshot eyes, the $10 Target sweatshirt. Nah, I don’t think so.
So I finally make it to the counter and mumble my orders for Mrs. Jerry K and Jerry K Jr., and then my own. Except that she gets my order wrong. Of course, I don’t correct her, and just take it as it is.
But the next day I think, wait a minute, that’s just the thing. This beautiful creature will always get what she wants in life, she’ll always end up on top, even if she screws up a frozen yogurt order, or a college essay, or a major business deal, or the first mission to Mars. Because of her impeccable looks, she will never have to struggle or prove herself.
And then I begin to reflect on my own life. The countless hours working in various offices—did they really matter? The receding hairline, liver spots, and other signs of aging. My little baby boy is suddenly 12 years old. People I know are looking incredibly old, or dying in car crashes or from a fatal illness. A website tells me at what age I will die. The years seem to be flying by at supersonic speed, and I see people half my age already accomplishing more than I ever have, and there is nothing I can do to control any of this.
And then I think back to that girl at Silver Spoon, and I realize: You know what? On second thought, to hell with that bitch.