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fishing with floss
not as shiny as fishing line
by reem al-omari (@Reemawi)

I was at Walmart Saturday night, when a seemingly flattering event took place. I was in the dental hygiene aisle, trying to pick out just regular waxed floss out of the entire wall of the stuff that comes in so many different ways save for ridden with glitter-- when all of a sudden a cart sidled up next to me.

I was too engrossed in the world of floss to peel my eyes away right away, but my curiosity about why someone would park their shopping cart that close to me was very soon satisfied.

"Hi. How are you doing?" a male voice asked.

I often wonder what my reaction would be if a guy I actually found attractive were to come over and talk to me out of the blue in the dental hygiene aisle at Walmart on a Saturday night…

In a perfect world for me, as well as the guy in this kind of situation, I imagine the scenario would run a little something like this:

I'm in the dental hygiene aisle knowing exactly which floss I need to buy.

I grab the package, and turn to throw it in the cart, when a cart sidles up to me.

I look up and see the cute guy I'd smiled at while squeezing into the busy shampoo aisle just minutes earlier.

He smiles at me and says, "Hi. How are you doing?"

I smile back and feel myself blush slightly.

"Hi. I'm good, thanks. How are you?" I reply.

My smile and body language become an invitation for the cute guy to let his self-confidence soar like an eagle, way up high in the sky. My smile tells him to go ahead and make that lucrative move that seals the deal.

He tells me his name, I tell him mine.

He proceeds to ask me if I would let him take me out to dinner sometime.

I accept and we exchange contact information.

We both leave the store feeling so awesome we both forget at least one bag full of stuff at the cashier, the bag I forget being the one with the floss in it...

If only it were as simple as that.

After hearing the seemingly innocent question, I hesitantly turned my head to look at the source. A flash from a few minutes before went through my head. The source was a mediocre-looking guy in a baseball cap I had smiled at while squeezing past to get into the shampoo aisle. He had a smile on his face now, full of confidence bordering on cockiness.

Apparently, getting a smile from a woman is just what this guy needed to let his self-confidence soar like an eagle; it had soared so high, even a wall of floss couldn't stop his flight.

Not wanting to completely turn this courageous guy away from the idea of confidently going up to women of interest in the dental hygiene aisle (let’s face it, how many cute guys have we run into we wished would be so bold?), and appreciating him not using some cheesy or sleazy opening line, I replied appropriately.

"Hi. I'm good, thank you. How are you?"

I turned back to the great world of floss, barely hearing whether he was good or not, hoping I was nice enough, yet uninterested enough to slightly lower the altitude of this eagle's flight.

I could see him out of the corner of my eye lingering, waiting for me to turn back to him with a big smile; the next step of reassurance he needed to go further. He was watching me pretending to still be engrossed in floss. I felt it would be too rude to just walk away, so I lingered on two packs of floss while he lingered on me.

After an awkward moment or two of silence, the guy finally got the point and left the aisle quietly. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and was thankful for the abundance of floss choices to keep me occupied.

I really hate being in these kinds of situations.

I recognize that there are few men who have enough courage to approach a woman in a setting outside of a party, or a bar, where there is no buffer zone for when one is rejected, but it only works and seems like the right thing to do when the person approaching you is a person you find attractive.

Though I think the guy who approached me on Saturday deserves kudos for his courage, and not-so-sleazy opener, I still hated being so confidently approached by someone I had no interest in. Someone I had simply smiled at to thank for making way for me to get by.

Perhaps it is unfair, but though there was nothing wrong with the approach itself, it did conjure up mini throw up when the source was someone I wasn’t interested in.

Was his approach sleazy? Not really.

Was his way wrong? Not really.

Did his pickup attempt hit my gag reflex? Not completely.

Could his pickup attempt been improved? No. It was fine.

Was he repulsive? Not really.

I left Walmart on Saturday night asking myself these questions.

Sure, I get plenty of attention from men, obnoxious as well as perfectly acceptable. I’ve been whistled at, smiled at, winked at, asked out politely… I’ve even had a “DAAAAMN!” directed at my backside.

Sounds like I’m tooting my horn, but I’m really not. None of those instances equaled more than awkwardness between me and the issuing parties. When the approach was tasteful and sweet, the fairytale wasn’t complete. The knight’s armor wasn’t shiny enough, I guess.

After much hindsight triggered by Saturday night’s instance, I found that it’s better to keep the perfect approach by the perfect guy a perfect fantasy.

Sometimes floss is all one has to fish with.


Reem lives and writes about it. She thinks that's what writers do, anyway. If it's not, then she also has a degree in journalism under her belt, along with the titles of reporter, editor (in chief, even) and, of course, opinion columnist.

more about reem al-omari


trick or treat!
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topic: humor
published: 9.27.07

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by reem al-omari
topic: humor
published: 6.4.07


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