I can usually tell when a man is all about Sujeiry. He flickers his eyes, licks his lips, smiles shyly if he’s shy and puffs his chest if he’s proud. And he always, always involves me in conversation. Whether waiting on an ATM line, sipping water by the water cooler, or sipping on a drink by the bar, he will comment about: the weather, my smile (or lack there of), my career, or anything in the environment that will lead to a conversation. He will ask about: my hobbies and interests, my social life and “where I hang out”, my neighborhood and more specifically my street (creepy!), or anything in the environment that will lead to a conversation.
What’s comical about these redundant interactions is that he will not ask about my relationship status. He will assume that my smile, my friendliness, and my natural exuberance has something to do with our interaction. And then he drops me his number, assuming I want to call him when I’m not even interested in texting him, “Lol.”
This is exactly what occurred this past Thursday night. I sat in my jobs computer lab, the students of the program surrounding me, when the Global Studies Regents Prep teacher walked toward me. He stood tall, peering over my shoulder as I secretly wrote a post for LoveSujeiry.com. His presence made me jump and so I minimized the screen which then revealed my work email. I looked up and smiled, wondering what he wanted. Did he need more notebooks? Did he want his paycheck before class ended? Did he need to leave early? He smiled back but said nothing. I returned to my screen.
Seconds later, he tapped me on my shoulder. I looked up and he mumbled some words as he slipped a folded piece of paper onto my computer desk. He then walked away. I picked up the paper quickly, unsure of what had just happened but afraid that the students may assume something inappropriate was occurring. I walked away from the computer, paper crumpled in my right hand, and entered my manager’s vacant office.
The white folds straightened out, revealing 9-digits in red ink. His name in capital letters above the digits also in red. I gaped, shocked that he was so forward when I had never suggested I was interested. Or had I? My mind raced. I thought back to a time where I may have given him a signal. A smile here, a laugh there, a conversation about wanting to learn how to sew…but nothing else. I had never indicated that I wanted a romantic interlude or liaison with our Global Studies Regents Prep teacher. But there was his number in my hands.
I folded the sheet of lined paper and stuffed it in my pocket. I wasn’t going to call. But I am writing about him and using a photo of the paper in this post. I was also going to tell my boyfriend what happened. I would want to know if a coworker approached him romantically. And let’s face, this will happen again. There will be other men who will comment on my smile, my career, and the weather. There will be other men who will never ask about my relationship status. There will be other men that, like the teacher, will pick me up based on a false assumption. Too bad I will never pick up the phone to call him.
I’m not even interested in texting,”Lol.”