67 degrees in Philadelphia in February? This mixed-up weather is driving me nuts, but yesterday’s unseasonable warmth did send one clear signal: Spring! Some less-evolved parts of my brain picked up that signal and passed it along as a dangerous and delicious cascade of chemicals that telegraphs T-R-O-U-B-L-E to other parts of my anatomy loud and clear.
If you watch me on Twitter, you know I went to Five Guys for a burger yesterday. Actually, I hit the Borders first to pick up VB’s recommendation [Amazon.com: A Spot of Bother], the AP Style Guide, and another book on grammar. This new podcast at qdnow.com has me fascinated and obsessed. Curse you, Grammar Girl! The other podcasts are also great, so I’ll have plenty of catching up to do while traveling. The burger came between buying books and picking up my car from the dealer in Northeast Philly.
I was definitely tricked into feeling the effects of Seasonal Affection Disorder. There were plenty of visual distractions within the blocks bounded by home, Borders, Five Guys, and Market East Station. Are men are looking better again this year, or has my change of address put me in a more target rich environment? Maybe it’s a little of both. Add my excitement about San Francisco, and it’s a perfect storm for walking into trash cans and street signs because of the extreme visual distraction effect.
So I’m in Five Guys and I notice this guy, a tall-dark-handsome twenty-something. I’m not as bad as the straight guys I see rubbernecking for five seconds when a particularly booty-full babe passes them; however, he notices me noticing him. He doesn’t send off an “Oh my God another man is checking me out!” vibe–but guys never do. Straight men are usually completely oblivious, and gay men will at least usually respond with a quick ping on the gaydar of solidarity. That reminds me, I need to turn down the gaydar before getting off the plane; my first visit to SF almost burned mine out from all the over-stimulation.
Enter the problem of the decade: The metrosexual. This often-younger man is well-groomed, well-mannered, and aware of his surroundings–barring the mobile mindset problem. When you ping them, they are likely to respond in some ambiguously positive way. Most are open-minded and don’t get offended by being noticed, and some enjoy whatever attention their efforts attract. Midtown Manhattan can be so confusing with all the false-positives running around.
There wasn’t really time for anything more than a few glances with all the errands to run. I sat down first, by the window to people-watch as usual. He sat further back, out of view, so I satisfied myself with a daydream starting with him walking up and asking “Is this seat taken?” in a seductive, accented voice. The burger barely lasted longer than the daydream; my more-evolved brain shoved it aside to make lists and schedules and plans. Burger scarfed, I hurried out the door for the subway and we exchanged one last glance. Another pleasant urban moment, as enjoyable and fleeting as the snippets of interesting conversations overheard on a busy street, gets filed under unsolved mysteries since I’d probably never see him again.
Imagine my surprise when I get this message from a guy I bookmarked months ago: “Five guys!” Philly can be such a small town. I didn’t recognize him (consciously at least) from his profile pictures because he’s too far away, making it hard to recognize his face–a confirmed shame since he’s rather handsome. Unfortunately he sent the message at 12:30 and was offline by the time I’d come up for air. Typical!
(2008-02-15) After a few messages back and forth, nothing. Oh well!
I dedicate the titular malaprop to Grammar Girl and her excellent episode on wordplay.