This interaction is actually semi-successful and the most recent of my co-ed experiences.
Let me start at the ending, because that was the high point.
The ending was, a man who I met at the library, carried my books for me all the way to my car. And he carried them all the way to my car, which was parked at the grocery store.
This counts as going above and beyond my girlhood dreams.
Both meeting a man at the library and getting my books carried by a man are each on my bucket list. Or were each on my girlhood dream list when I was ages 11-19. I gave up on these sometime after college when I realized men, if they are going to get a book, do so online or in a bookstore.
If a man is at the library during the day it is possible that he doesn't have a job or possibly a home*, so around 2008 these dreams ended.
Those were the high points; now for the setup.
I was at the St. Louis Public library minding my own business, busily ordering book after book for my summer reading list and my personal betterment when an a normal looking guy walked in the front door and started typing on the computer that was adjacent to mine.
Twenty-five seconds revealed:
no wedding ring,
ability to have Saturday face stubble,
25-28 years of age (too young),
reads books, with
search engine and typing skills.
I took all this in at a glance and continued searching for David Foster Wallace books that I could possibly complete in a month or two and came up empty. Meanwhile, the guy was locating and printing out book titles from his computer instead of writing one long list with the freakishly mini golf pencils.
(Dear library, can you not afford a whole pencil? Or do you get real pencils and saw them into thirds somewhere in the back? Let me buy you real pencils. I love you that much.)
After the time it took to jot down a huge number of book call numbers with my teeny tiny pencil, I decided to lean over into the 3 foot bubble between computers.
Yeah. I leaned, and spoke. Ordinarily, you know, I would be proud of this, but this is where the pride stops, because in 5 more seconds I did something I regret.
I did something that is more effective than the Bend and Snap .
I leaned over and said,
"Oh! How do you do that? Can you show me?"
Readers, he was printing tiny pieces of paper. I could figure out how to do this, certainly, but instead of trying I treated it as if it were special knowledge. Note the italics; they imply flattery.
Now, I know asking a man for help works, and I know it's flirting, but really I expect better of me.
Granted, it's not appealing to be a know-it-all or aloof. Nor is it sexy to know how to learn how to do most things without ever requesting assistance. But to make myself appear less capable than I am?
That's slippery slope.
He showed me how to click on the button that looks just like a printer and...
It printed paper.
To help myself feel better, I asked what books he was looking up.
Cookbooks about Paleo.
I then choke/ laugh/ snorted and tried to tell a Paleo joke that I just remembered.
Explaining cartoon drawings you heard someone tell you about, which was based on something they saw on Pinterest, doesn't translate well. I tried a few times but every time, I did a poor job.
I clarified I was not laughing at him, just laughing about how Paleo is the new way to upset your friends who invite you to dinner and I got out of there.
To sum up, I had:
1.) lowered myself to ask for "help," as well as (unfortunately),
2.) been insulting to him by snorting at his book inquiries, and
3.) botched a pretty good Pinterest cartoon
all in 4 minutes.
I felt it was all for nothing.
But I guess the man just liked being snorted at because there he was again all dimples, in the cookbook section, which was near my book section, concerned about my upper body strength versus the number of books book I had raked from the shelves.
The conversation that followed is how I came to be my real-self, the girl who is quasi-knowledgeable and does not ask for help without fighting stubbornness.
It is also how, after getting to my car, I let him pile all of the books in the front seat, thanked him, and then forgot to offer him a ride back to the library. (He had walked about 2.5 blocks.)
The moment I realized all of this, was while passing him on the street. I slowed down to be parallel with him as he walked and apologized, then abashedly drove off.
I waved a wave that I hope expressed more than it ever could: gratitude, sheepishness, and whimsy.
It certainly didn't manage a flair of flirtatiousness.
That's right everyone. These have been the true accounts of my flirtatious attempts of the past 6 months.
(*Let it also be of said that around 2008 a lot of other people's dreams ended as well, due to the recession. I am not at all making a joke about the men I saw frequently at the library during that time. They were being resourceful and frugal and that is commendable.)