Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Thin Red Line

I knew I would get myself into trouble sooner or later.

A guy at work has a clear case of the crushes. On me. I'll call him "M".

Now, I believe the office has a hierarchy of attraction understood to be distinct from sexual harassment. There's a) the Casual Glancer, b) the Lunchroom Mingler, and then there's c) the Excessive Flirter.

Currently, I've concluded that there's been some As (but that's inevitable given the high ratio of women), a few Bs (one of whom will happily break the ice with me about anything, including microwave popcorn), and then there's M.

M is in the third category. Here's the twist: He doesn't remember me. We'd met before. Years ago. Spent hours in each other's presence at the Toronto International Film Festival. Except rather than tight skirts and cardigans, I was wearing a polo shirt and a fanny pack because I was a dirty photography assistant (and he was an arrogant prick). In fact, Paul was even in M's department when he was an intern at the same company. He used to pepper Paul with questions, like whether Asian pussy was tight. (Answer: Yes, but only when it hasn't encountered much of a challenge.)

So it's quite amusing seeing him sweat from this side of the cubicle divider.

Like this time by the elevators. He asked me where I was headed.

"Eating," I said.

"I thought you'd be going out. Having a tryst. No tryst?" he asked.

"Yeah," I replied, nonchalantly. "Eating cock."

He was stammering all the way down the shaft (no pun intended).

In another series of expected occurrences, M's been walking past my desk and checking me out. I look straight ahead at my screen and pretend not to notice. Which, of course, leads him to chat me up wherever he thinks he could bump into me.

"Hi Lily!" he shouted just as I neared the kitchen door. "Just wanted to say hi," he smirked.

I winked at his coworker: "This guy has ulterior motives."

She laughed: "Likely!"

My neighbour even commented on how he talks and acts around me, adding: "I've always wanted to see what workplace flirtations were all about. Now I know." She thinks he's offensive due to his very un-PC/racist/sexist conversation nuggets. I, in contrast, find him endearingly obnoxious and enjoy taking swipes at his manhood. He is also in his mid-30s, but, tellingly, acts much younger.

Paul is aware of all this, of course; I tell him everything. The tension I create with a variety of men gets channeled into our sex life, so that's a perk. I'm also honest about my relationship status. And when I sense the conversation veering off to more intimate territories, I bail and limit interaction indefinitely.

It's quite stimulating sharing tête-à-têtes with new people every now and then, but I don't mistake their enthusiasm for sincere interest. Lord knows Paul still gives me butterflies (just not over the phone; he has atrocious phone manners). But I'm young and the daily grind can be tedious, so I allow these brief encounters to continue. And bluntly speaking, it's too fun to stop.

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