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The Pacific sun glared off the sand, nearly blinding me. A shuffle at the small table adjacent grabbed my attention. A slim brunette had sat down and was reading a woman’s magazine, Self I think, or maybe Glamour. She reclined a bit in her chair, allowing the sun’s rays to hit her stomach more directly. She hadn’t bothered to wrap a mini-sarong around her bikini bottom; the stretchy material pulled away in spots from her waist, leaving a narrow gap between bikini and skin, like a portal to her nethers. It tempted an incipient chub.
I returned to my lemon-doused water, keeping my peripheral vision loosely focused on her. Five minutes passed and not once did she glance over. This is going to be a very cold open, I thought to myself.
She looked over, finally. “Hey.”
“The article in there…”, I waved my finger at her magazine, “about finding your man’s hot zones… total bullshit.” (Ugh. I cringed after saying it, but it was the first thing that jumped to mind.)
“You mean this?” She held up the mag. “Really. I don’t see that article anywhere in here.”
“Oh, must’ve been last month’s edition.” I paused. “I read a lot of women’s mags.”
“That’s… weird.” She’s turned her torso to me now, and I can see that she’s given me a minute to make my pitch.
“Maybe. But you’re not going to get expert skin care tips in Sports Illustrated.”
She scrunched her mouth at the corners. “Why would you need that? Sounds a little girly for a man.”
“It’s a new age we live in. Men have to look good for their female bosses. Now I know what you ladies feel like, to be treated like a piece of meat.” I kept a straight face saying this, and avoided defensively reacting to her edgy shit test. I wanted her to wonder right up to the last microsecond whether I’m joking or not.
She pressed her legs a little closer together. I took this as a good sign, because a girl in a bikini would start to feel somewhat exposed when talking to a man who is piquing her interest. Nonetheless, it required all my willpower to keep my eyes on her face and not wandering down over the rolling meadows and velvet gullies of her body.
She smiled for the first time. “Ha, I bet you do. So… is this supposed to be some kind of come on? Because, you know, I don’t normally talk to strangers at…
“Hold it! Did you see that? Shark fin. There’s a shark swimming out there.”
“I don’t see anything.”
“You might want to put on your prescription sunglasses. It’s pretty far out there.”
“I don’t wear prescription. Perfect 20/20 vision.”
“Oh, you looked like the bookish type who wears coke bottle glasses in the library.”
She shrugged her shoulders and cocked her head. “That’s the first time anyone thought that about me.”
“People aren’t very perceptive, in general.”
I’ve begun to feel that the time had come to start delving into more personal topics when one of her friends, a short black-haired pale girl, waltzed up and inserted herself between me and Magazinegirl. She looked at me briefly, to which I returned a nod in her direction, then hugged her friend and addressed her.
“Heeey, darlin’! We’re going to a late dinner at 9, and Debbie’s driving. You can leave your stuff at my place, but don’t use the shower upstairs. It’s cold water only.”
I sipped my drink and gazed at the middle-distance.
“Ok, I’ll be there around 8:30. Don’t wait up if I’m late.”
“Ok.” As she trotted off, she calls back, “Don’t forget to say hi to David for me!”
The dreaded pickup interruptus. The momentum lost by an inadvertent cockblock and a reference to a possible boyfriend, I pondered whether it was worth reengaging. Maggirl had begun collecting her stuff and shoving it into a gargantuan canvas bag. She glanced sidelong at me for a second, full of sass and flourish, signifying everything.
She smiled, or maybe smirked. “Well, I’ve gotta go. It was nice talking about invisible sharks with you.”
Now is the time to test your game. In this real life scenario, had you been me, what would you have done at this point? Winner gets my glorious recognition, plus two tickets to the movie Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I will post an update describing how this pickup attempt resolved itself.