Better than

It’s pretty clear to me that if I ever want a boyfriend again, all I need to do is stand outside my door and one will appear. It might not be the one I want, but still: men are milling about on my stoop, waiting for single ladies.

This evening, I got home in the rain and stood for a moment on my step to have a smoke before going inside. Two men were standing under the awning, smoking and waiting for the line to clear at the nightclub next door.

One of them noticed me and looked up. “Hey, how ya doing?”

“Fine. You?”

“Fine. You going home?”


“Your husband waiting for you?”

That threw me off for a second.

“Um. I have a boyfriend.”

“You been together a long time?”

No fool, I: “A year.”

“Are you in love?”

“Yes. Yes, we are.” I ground out my cigarette. This, eventually, is why I’ll quit entirely. Anyone will speak to you when you’re smoking.

“You have a problem with dating black guys?”

“Uh. No.”

“Is this guy black?”

“Uh. No?”

“A year, you said? Shit. If it was three months or something, I’d have a try.”

I laughed and dug out my keys. The bouncer next door is huge and burly, and smiles at me when I go by. Otherwise, maybe I wouldn’t have stopped. But now I was maybe a little nervous.

“Are you going to marry him?”

“Yes. Yes, I think I will.”

He shook his head. “Shit. Everyone is getting married.”

I smiled politely and let myself into the building.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

11 thoughts on “Better than

  1. You seem to jump to a lot of conclusions about men. What is so humorous about lying to a nice person outside your apartment?

  2. See, what an advantage it is to be a girl. No woman ever stopped me on the street to ask me for a date that didn’t involved the exchange of cash.

    I’m sure, however, that your gut reaction was the same as mine, “So, sweethang, I actually look to you like someone who will respond to a pickup on the street, and why is it I feel that I need to explain ‘no thanks’ to you?”

    At times like that, I get to think I have to up my non-verbal “go away” broadcast volume, which is a surprise because even pan handlers apologise when they take a good look. Must be the gray hair, ‘cuze I used to be very scary..

  3. Nice people don’t ask strangers if they’re married. He hadn’t even spoken to me yet. I could have been a total ass. I could have been stupid. I could have been the type of person who makes fun of people on the Internets, ho ho. I don’t think he was interested in my mind.

  4. So, is youse sayin’ youse have a nice rack, or what?


    (The bastard child of Magnum PI, Maxim and Sommerset Maughum

  5. a rack has better sidewalk presence than a mind. asking if someone is married before hitting on them could be construed as manners. perhaps off-putting and not your style, being forward hardly excludes being a nice person.

  6. These were not just random guys waiting for a friend to buzz them in. They were going to the nightclub next door. That’s what’s funny about it.

    Some girls go for the direct approach. Some just want to avoid that situation with the least bit of confrontation possible. Some girls have a nightclub next door.

  7. yeah. what’s so funny about lying to a perfectly nice person, simply trying to find some comfort in this cold, cold world by engaging in small talk with perhaps the only kind face they’d seen all day? i think you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror miss smash. (you coldhearted lying manhater.)

  8. Ok, I’m going to turn the haters towards Ma Smash with this one but here goes.
    If a guy is standing on his doorstep having a cigarette and a girl smiles and asks if he’s married, he and his Johnson are all ecstatic. No scary confrontation for them.
    When the same thing happens to a woman, any woman who is alone late at night considers it a possible threatening situation. For those of you who thought this guy was just greeting the only kind face he’d seen all day, I have something to tell you. There is no Santa Claus.
    Ma Smash

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