Socially naive once, I have little reason to believe I am any better since. People have usually had to illustrate to me when I’m being hit on. And until I quit imposing my own thoughts upon others’ perceptions of myself, it’s probably not going to change.

I had a friend in town for the weekend, and while she lightly mocked me for eating gelato1 in this ridiculous cold2, I related to her a previous experience eating gelato. One in which I was caught a bit unaware by an unusually visitor.

I was enjoying some gelato at La Paloma, a short kilometer jaunt from my place. While sitting outside, some young Italian fellow was walking past, and remarking to me, “aw man, eating gelato alone??” As someone who has kind of pushed hard to enjoy doing things on his own (and not requiring company to do so), I felt it was a bit judgmental & annoying to hear.

Just trying to brush off the comment expecting him to just be a random passerby, I casually responded with some snark about there being nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy it on my own. That ended up furthering the conversation into something else. Some dialogue followed, and next thing I know, he’s trying to show off some $5 silver Canadian coins he’s acquired. Next thought in my head? This young man’s trying to pull a con on me

I waited for the hammer to drop: that he wanted to know if I wanted to buy any. I played my typical feigned interest but not really pursuing the conversation exchange, expecting to denying any advances. Ironically, they never came. Either he read my feigned interest, or he just legitimately wanted to show them off. Okay, cool…now he’s wrapping it up, and I’ll let him be on his way! Not so much.

He began asking if I liked video games. He went on to elaborate on some recent games he’s played. And another he was involved in programming. And suggestions for some new ones.

He wanted to know what kind of gelato I got. If that was my favorite. What is my favorite. Whether I liked avocado ice cream. That I should try it. I should request for La Paloma to make it. That I should, “shout it out” until they make some. At this point, I was just thinking he’s kind of crazy.

He continued on with where he was going. Then that he was leaving. And where he was going. In a semi-lingering fashion, like an unfamiliar, friendly child, reluctant to leave. Such a bizarre experience.

Until I related it to some others. Essentially all of which suggested or implied I was likely being hit on. Which…was a first? I’m pretty sure I have not been hit on by a man before. But considering my past track record3, it’s unlikely that I would have noticed, even if so.

To which my friend, after a short relation of the story, replied with “what’s so strange about that? It can’t be that unusual.” I thought she was referring to being hit on by men; apparently she meant being hit on in general. Which is still not something I’m terribly familiar with, or at least if I’ve been exposed to it I likely haven’t noticed.

Should I be used to this? Why can’t I be? Why am I so hung up on my own preconceptions on what others think of me? I need to purge this shit from my head. Quit having these expectations of what others think of me, and quit acting accordingly.

Be true to myself (duh). Act how I want. Do what I want. Quit limiting myself to some preconceived notions, and just let others decide for themselves.

And god forbid, maybe I can finally learn when I’m being hit on. So I know what to do with it when I get back to the point I can do something about it. Practice makes perfect hardly seems like the appropriate way to address this situation. How does one really “learn” this (hence this post’s title)?

Ugh. I’m so good at telling myself this. Now, I just need that magical dose of conviction I keep struggling with.

1How could I possibly say no to a chocolate hazelnut gelato with legit hazelnut pieces in it?!?
2It isn’t that cold; it’s only supposed to get down to -18˚C/-2˚F tonight.
3That’s another (old, almost fiften years old) story for another time.

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