Oops: A Guy Asked Me On A Date And I Laughed At Him

Jessica’s Note on 11/23/11: An update to this post has been published here.

Late Sunday afternoon, I was lying around watching reruns of “Millionaire Matchmaker” when I realized I would fall asleep if I didn’t caffienate, pronto. I paused Patti Stanger, threw on my coat, and scurried to the local coffee shop. I expected a quick in-and-out, but one of the employees stopped to chat with me near a bag of beans.

You see, I go to this coffee shop three or four times a week and its always the same people working there. Ever since I moved into the neighborhood and quickly became a regular customer, I’ve had regular, friendly nod-smile-ask-how-are-you chitchat with them.  You know, the kind of pleasantries that makes a neighborhood feel like “yours.”

So it wasn’t out of the ordinary to start chatting with this guy. Yesterday, as with every other day I run into him, we discussed only two topics: how are you and how’s the weather. I really didn’t want to chat; I wanted to get back to my TiVo on pause. So, I was caught off guard when he asked my name for the first time, told me his for the first time, and then said, “Sometime, I would like to take you out to dinner.”

Then I did something I’m not proud of: I burst out laughing, turned my back on him, and walked away.

Not five seconds after my back was turned, I felt like an a**hole. I swear to God, I was laughing to myself, not laughing at him, but it probably didn’t look that way — or feel that way — at all.  I believe the exact thought that ran through my head was, “Wow, the way you just reacted? That is the reason guys are afraid to ask women out. You’re such a c**t!”

I wish I knew why I responded like a 13-year-old girl. I genuinely was in a rush to get out of the coffee shop and wasn’t expecting “Romeo & Juliet” to occur. I also suppose I’m not used to being asked on a date so forwardly. Ninety-nine percent of the times I’ve asked someone out or been asked out in the past year have taken place over email, on an online dating site, where an immediate response is not expected. Online dating is actually  the way I met my current boyfriend.  

Oh yes, the boyfriend. Why didn’t I just say, “Oh, you’re so sweet! I have a boyfriend actually” or something in that vein? I think that’s actually why I started laughing in the first place: coffee shop guy, despite seeing me 3+ times a week when I buy my java, had no clue that I am spoken for. (My dude and I spend more time at his place.) Clearly now I can see it would have been kinder to actually tell the guy why I couldn’t/wouldn’t go out to dinner with him, rather than laughing and fleeing the scene.

Coffee shop guy and I had to make eye contact again, because, of course, he was behind the counter when I paid. He avoided eye contact awkwardly, looking embarrassed, and I felt like an even bigger jerk. It’s like I could see his ego purpling into a deep bruise. I scuttled out of there as quickly as I could.

If coffee shop guy ever brings going out to dinner up again, I’m totally going to tell him, firmly, that I am flattered by the invitation, but I am already taken. That’s what I wish I had said yesterday. But let’s be honest, he probably won’t bring it up again.

So, Universe and the dudes in it, my apologies for that big heaping pile of sensitivity FAIL.  I am sorry about my tiny grain of sand on the beach of ego-bruising rejection. I know it sucks — and I know firsthand it sucks because I’ve gotten rejected in the past as well. But let it be known that if you ask a girl out to dinner and she laughs in your face and turns her back on you, it doesn’t mean you’re a pathetic loser or she’s a raging bitch. It might just have been totally unintentional.

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