I started thinking about this subject as I read through some of the blogs in this series. Didn’t take me but a moment to recall a memory that I’d tried to forget.
I wasn’t long out of college, but enough time had passed without a job offer in my field of public relations that I was growing antsy. My parents had paid for me to fly from Florida up to New York to visit them, and on the way back, I was exhausted. So I slipped on my headphones (this was long before earbuds) and turned on my Walkman, ignoring the thirty-ish gentleman seated next to me on the plane ride home to Gainesville.
Too bad for me, the guy refused to respect the implied wall I’d erected around myself. When the flight attendant came around with the booze cart, I politely refused my neighbor’s offer to buy me a drink. Minutes later, the man started shaking my arm. Assuming there was some problem, I turned off my music and asked him if everything was okay.
“Are you trying to travel incognito?” he said. “Your secret’s safe with me.”
“Huh?” Who did he think I was? “Um, no.”
Narrowing his eyes at me, he sipped his rum and Coke. “I guess a TV star wouldn’t fly coach. But you sure look like her.”
I gave him another look. Dark hair, blue eyes, a light moustache, a bit shorter than I preferred, but not bad. Okay, he’d garnered a modicum of my interest now. “Like whom?”
“The lady from Star Trek: The Next Generation. You know, the counselor lady.”
Actually, I didn’t know. I’d never seen the show.
“Nah, never mind. You’re too young,” he continued. “But you’re just as pretty.”
Now I admit, I was a total sucker for an older, more worldly man than I’d ever dated thinking that I looked like some apparently attractive television star. And frankly, I was too young and inexperienced with men to realize that it was a line. I suspect that fact wasn’t lost on him because the bull only got deeper from there.
Our conversation turned to work, and I told him of my employment situation. He had a friend, he said, a man with a great start-up company that had just invented a part for airplanes that was going to revolutionize the industry. Said friend needed a PR person to hype this new invention. If I wanted, he’d put in a good word for me.
A couple days later we went out on a date. Which was when I realized that the guy was full of it about the friend with a job. Not only that, but his tactics for trying to get me into bed on the first date weren’t any more sophisticated than those of college boys. He took me to the nicest restaurant in Gainesville, then made it clear that he expected sex since he’d spent all that money on me. Worse, he’d talked about his bitchy ex-wife for half the night.
Needless to say, there was no second date.
I chalked the experience up to part of my education. And just to satisfy my curiosity, I looked up the TV star he claimed I resembled, Marina Sirtis. Sure, we both had dark hair and eyes. Maybe there was the slightest similarity in the way we wore our hair. Okay, she was gorgeous. I’ll give him props for paying me a very nice compliment. But that’s all you get, buddy! Dumb pick-up line. But I fell for it.
Lucy, my heroine from The Surrogate Husband, is so much more savvy than I ever was. Maybe that’s why she’s my hero…er, heroine.
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