Sometimes it’s like this:
The woman carefully examines the art on the walls of a classic, white gallery cube-style room. There’s no perceivable order to her perusals but from time to time a smile breaks through as her eyes dart across the canvas, stopping for seconds at particular points of interest: brilliantly saturated color contrast, curious manipulations of media, abstracted sex.
She doesn’t fit in with the usual museum guests; she’s not here killing toddler time yet it’s in the middle of a weekday afternoon…what kind of work does she do? Does she work?
It’s a quiet day, she’s the only one in this room and there’s something about her that compels me to say something.
“Where are you from?”
“Oh…hi. I’m from around here but I don’t live here anymore, just visiting.”
She holds my gaze for a second then goes back to the work. She really digs this guy’s art; she must, as she’s oblivious to everything else around her. I try to take my eyes off her but the floor vents make the hem of her dress flit and tease up, which makes me need distractions, bodies squinting and peering too close to wall labels, daring to touch frames and beyond. Basically, I need to be working the Van Gogh room.
She’s disappeared into another room and soon she will have gone through this exhibit.
Shit. Why do I need to talk to her?
I just do.
“My name’s Mike.”
Why I’m reaching out to shake her hand, I don’t know. Except when her cool hand clasps mine, it’s awesome and her smile is everything. I want to take her out but that’s out of the question. I’m lucky she doesn’t see me as a creepy museum guard with stalker potential.
“I just need to tell you how beautiful you are.”
The words that make me sound like a maybe-douche just fall out, I never come on like this. Maybe it’s knowing that she’s just passing through town, maybe it’s something about her that reads detached openness. At least I know her name. And making her smile is incredible.
And sometimes it’s like this:
I sit in café. I don’t give shit for coffee but inside, there is A/C. August heat makes me sweat before I leave apartment. I look at people, of course the women. No one here is my type: too skinny, too much make-up, too much trying to be perfect for fun, I think. Then I see her— curls, dark brows and beautiful eyes. I study her, try to catch her eye. I smile.
I try again.
This time small smile. Good. I go to her table and try small talk. I look closer at her and I start wondering…
“Maybe this is odd question, but are you shemale?”
Uh-oh, she doesn’t like this. But it’s just wondering.
“I don’t mean it bad, I think you are pretty.”
I have offended her?