There's a guy at my gym who often works out at the same times that I do. I must confess that I sometimes spend more time working out on the nights that he's there at the gym; who knew that guy-watching could turn into an athletic activity?
I've never had the nerve to go up and speak to him. I couldn't say, "You know, you look a lot like the guy from the Carly Rae Jepsen video, so 'Call me Maybe'?" And then it DEFINITELY would not be cool to start singing the lyrics to that song. (Side note: He really does look like that guy from the video. Check out the video if you haven't already, and see for yourself.)
Also, if I tried to flirt with him, it would come out wrong. I'd probably say something like, "I've seen you around. You look really good in your...um, you run really fast."
Of course, I could go with "Hi." But when it comes to guys that I'm attracted to, it's very difficult for me to speak to them without feeling nervous. It was much easier to approach guys I was interested in through e-mails, which is why I joined online dating sites in the first place. Sending a cute guy an e-mail to say hi is one thing; going up to him in person for the first time is something else altogether. (Of course, I'm not one of those people who spends months e-mailing people on sites and claims to be "in love" without actually meeting them in person; I believe that the best way to figure out if you have chemistry with someone is to meet and talk with him in person, sooner rather than later.)
Unfortunately, the cute guy at the gym has never spoken to
me. And if there's one thing I've learned about guys as good-looking as
that one, it's that if they see women they're attracted to, nine times
out of ten they're not shy about approaching them.
I can talk to attractive guys with girlfriends, because once I find out a guy is taken I lose interest. And when I worked in retail, I was able to talk to cute male coworkers and customers. But that was mainly because when I talked to them, I wasn't really thinking, Hmm, he's cute. I wonder if he's single. Instead, I was thinking, I hate this job. I wonder if people can see past my fake smile right now and tell that I want to start throwing guitars and yelling like guys in a heavy metal video. Except instead of yelling about how mad I am at society/my ex/the fact that people in the corporate workplace expect guys to cut their long hair, I'd yell about how I really DON'T want the customers to have a nice day, I want to tell them to...oh, WHATEVER.
I wasn't always so shy. When I was in high school, I had more confidence in myself and in the belief that I could actually have something real with someone I liked. I managed to muster up enough courage to invite six different guys to various dances.
Four of them said no. One of them in particular was a boy that I really liked. When he rejected me, that self-confidence and youthful optimism I once had were replaced with pessimism and the fear of being rejected again. After that it wasn't so hard to talk to guys, because I stopped believing that anything romantic could happen for me.
I withdrew into my work. It was easier for me to concentrate on my work than it was on my dating life (or lack thereof). As a result, I unintentionally put off an "unapproachable vibe", as one of my male friends told me. I didn't venture back out into the dating scene until I was in my twenties.
I still plan to join an online dating site...soon. One thing that's holding me back is the fact that I really need to get my dissertation prospectus approved, which is taking up most of my time. Another thing that's holding me back is that I also have to focus on losing weight, because I went up one dress size (which I know isn't that much, but it still makes me feel self-conscious) since the last time my profile pictures were taken. And there's also the fact that what turned me off of online dating the last time I tried it was the loser who unsuccessfully tried to convince me that three wasn't a crowd.
But eventually, I'll try again. They make cell phone apps for pretty much everything these days. I wish
they made an app that gave shy people the courage to talk to attractive
strangers. (And yes, I know I sound like the lion from The Wizard of Oz who wished he had courage.) And of course, the app would also allow me to run a quick and discreet background check on the guys beforehand, just in case they turn out to be the kind of guys you'd see in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Because then I wouldn't be tempted to sing "Call Me Maybe"; I'd scream "Stay Away from Me DEFINITELY" before I ran away.
What about you? If you're single, do you ever feel shy about approaching people that you are interested in? How do you deal with it? If you're in a relationship, were you ever comfortable enough to make the first move back when you were single?
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