A young woman wonders if she’s receiving mixed signals. I am only to happy to adjust her antenna and other metaphors…
You’ve got a heck of a conundrum there. It’s tough to tell these days (or any days, really) if someone is interested in you or just wants to touch your arm.
I know I had to send a ton of signals to my future wife back when we were in high school. I started out subtly, by making eyes at her on the sly or passing by her several times a day, including a few awkward times in the women’s locker room.
As that didn’t seem to be working, I tried different tactics. I sent her anonymous notes, scented with her favorite perfume and worded with letters cut out of the local newspaper. They would say sweet, but innocuous things like, “When you turn around, I’ll be the first person you see.” Or, “You look like an angel when you sleep.” Sometimes I would throw her a curveball like, “I borrowed your dog.”
Well, she was obviously flustered and panicked by the extra attention, so much so that she had to take off several days from school. I passed the time by sending her locks of my hair and handcrafted dolls in her likeness.
When she returned to school (coinciding with the dismissal of our suddenly overwhelming law enforcement presence), I began to make another, more intense play for her affections.
The first thing I did was switch all my classes so I could have the desk directly behind hers. This was a bit of a struggle, but I was able to maintain my grades. I did draw a few questioning looks during the Home Economics class and was asked to leave the Rhythmic Gymnastics class entirely, but I remained faithful, eventually bringing home a B+ in Advanced Quilting.
It took nearly 18 months but one day I finally got through to her. While I was innocently carving my initials into her wooden leg, she glanced my way. At first she seemed apprehensive and mildly terrified, but as we got to know each other, her face regained some color and she agreed to accompany me to the Fireman’s Ball if I would agree to stop carving things in her leg.
All in all, it was a magical evening. We drank punch, ate tiny sandwiches and danced under the stars (thanks to a recent devastating fire at the VFW, during which most of the firemen were too drunk to put down their drinks and douse the flames). The night went off nearly without a hitch. The lone exception was a small leg fire caused by some careless cigar ashing by the Fire Chief. As we beat out the flames with some alcohol-soaked towels, she asked me if I would mind accompanying her at the Box Social the following Tuesday.
The rest is, as they say, history.
I’m hoping those signals start coming in loud and clear, Ashley. This could be the “one.” A quick hint: take a good look inside your locker or on your person for any anonymous letters or carvings.
Clifton L. Tanager