Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Brief Look at the Men of Greenwich

Devoted partner has been known to say that stereotypes exist for a reason: sometimes they're accurate. As a disliker of stereotypes, I won't regale you with all those that exist for the type of affluent protestants that have traditionally inhabited Fairfield County - especially since I live with and love a traditional inhabitant of Fairfield County for whom only a small number of those jokes apply - but I will say that I have noticed a distinct, shall we say, reservation surrounding the men of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Flirting is a skill which, like bike riding, is easy enough to have its basics remembered after a period of disuse, but which requires practice to attain former levels of proficiency. As a member of a devoted partnership, I flirt less than I used to. See also: I don't work in a big office where men and women freely speak with one another. Therefore, I will freely admit that my flirting skills are experiencing a state of atrophy and, as such, sometimes remembered devices of flirtation will escape at less than opportune moments. Still, I consider such lapses my psyche's way of letting me know that it thinks I should flirt more lest the skill escape me completely.

I ride the train with a dizzying number of well-kempt (if oft poor-mannered) gentlemen daily. These men would, in another environment, be considered my wheelhouse. Since an early age, I did exceptionally well flirting with the over-40 crowd. But there's something about these suburban men that I don't quite grok. The very few conversations I have had on the train (itself a bit of an anomaly) have been of the "I'm looking at the floor" variety, smile-less, and conducted with all the finesse of a demolition. I once joked with a female acquaintance when we had entered a popular bar that, no matter what, the oldest guy in the room would be the one who eventually tried to chat me up. Thirty minutes later, the joke was a prophecy. So what is it about these older gents that prevents chattiness? I need the practice.

Then take this past Saturday. Devoted partner and I were at Whole Foods being very domestic and shopping for the week. Since every man in Greenwich on a Saturday morning is wearing a Polo shirt and there are a finite number of colors of Polo shirt, it wasn't long before I turned to a complete stranger at the meat counter to inquire which meat looked best to him. Before I could manage the question, however, I noticed that it was not devoted partner, but another be-Polo-ed gent. I smiled and said (perhaps with less grace than I would have in peak form), "I was about to ask you which kebab you preferred and then I realized I'm not going home with you." Ok, not my best, but certainly cute enough for 9:30am on a Saturday. The look on this poor man's face made me think that I had said something far closer to: "I'd like for us to worship satan and then carnally know one another." I didn't even get a smile.

And I'll admit, it does a little damage to a girl's self-esteem. I've been paying more attention to grooming and hygiene - a slightly embarrassed smile isn't too much to want in return; or a chuckle. I don't want to assert definitively that the men of Manhattan are one way and the men of Greenwich are another, so I'm asking you, gentlemen, to cut a girl a break. Who knows, you might enjoy flirting with me at the checkout line from time to time.

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