Friday, December 30, 2011

Thoughtless Thinking!

This is a story from when I had just started in the work world. I was 23 and had just been married, and worked in a as a salesperson in a small town retail store selling stereos, televisions and appliances. The staff was quite small, only five people on the upstairs floor and two in the service shop downstairs. The service people seldom interacted with staff socially. There was the boss of course, another salesperson besides me, and two bookkeepers in the back office. The senior of the two bookkeepers had been with the store for over 35 years. She had been single all of her life, and was in her seventies. The other bookkeeper, Cathy, was barely twenty. This was her first full time job. (She did a lot of the routine work under the direction of the more senior staff member. She did most of the routine work under the direction of the older lady. The senior person dealt with paying invoices from our wholesalers, and in payment delinquencies from customers. She did most of the details of bookkeeping under the day to day direction of the older lady. To say there was friction between them was an understatement, but that might be another story to tell some day.

Back then, stores were closed on Sundays. Every Monday morning we would tend to shoot the breeze about what we had done on Saturday Night and Sunday.  Being recently married had put a serious cash crunch on my entry level wages, so all we could afford to do was hang out with our friends playing cards or just talking. I was told the old lady spent most of her Saturday night and Sunday after church drinking scotch. The other sales associate was a woman around 55 years old who spent most of her weekend cooking for her family and extended family. We managed to kibbutz around in the morning almost every day because the boss was usually a no-show until about 10:00 AM

That leaves the younger office girl Cathy. She was young, on the prowl, and her weekends were spent frequenting the local watering holes as she looked for guys. Her ultimate objective was to find a guy to marry. Defacto, most of our Monday morning chats ended up centered on Cathy's latest life drama. She could make the most common occurrences sound like a major stage production. Likely she would have been better served in the movie industry. She was fairly average in the looks department with a very slight weight issue. It was not bad, but she fussed over it all the time. All of the rest of the staff had a different opinion though. We all felt her problem was her attitude. The following exemplifies the extent of her attitude issue to my mind.

One Monday, Cathy was going on about her weekend with her chums. Par for the course, she had been out on the town with her closest friends. She complained that Saturday night was a bust because she never got to dance a single dance. She then proceeded to mention about a guy who had come up to their table just as they were sitting down and asked one of her crowd to dance, but was turned down. He asked each of the girls at the table if any of them wanted to dance, even Cathy, but they all turned him down as well. She said she watched him over the next hour. He had went to every girl in the bar and asked them to dance, and they all turned him down. She then laughed at how stupid he was to be so persistent.  I asked her why it was stupid, because from my point of view it looked like he just wanted to dance.

She said that once one girl at her table had turned him down, if any of them would have said yes, they would have looked like they were picking up the leavings of the first girl who turned him down. Thus losing face I guess. Not sure if I fully understood I asked her to tell me more.  Well she said, when he went around to the other tables, all the girls there had to turn him down too, even if they thought he was cute. When I enquired why, she said that all the other girls would not want to look second best to the ones who had already refused him. So they had to refuse him too. Otherwise, they would have pretty much admitted to being second best to the other women in the room.

In an effort to truly understand what to me was a twisted point of view, I asked her some more questions. I asked her what was wrong with him. Did he look like an ape or something? She responded that he had attracted her eye some weeks before and she had been hoping against hope that he would ask her to dance. So I asked if she knew why the first girl had turned him down. She said is was mainly because they had been out walking around and were a bit tired, so she had wanted to sit for a bit before dancing. So I asked her if the guy would have asked her (Cathy) first would she have danced with him. She said yes because she had been hoping that he would have asked her for weeks.  I was struggling now to hold in the laughter as she continued to amaze me with the twists and turns of her strange reasoning.

At this juncture, I summarized my understanding to make sure I had not missed anything. I said that you knew your girlfriend had turned him down just because she was tired, and that you had wanted him to ask you to dance for weeks. She agreed with that. But he did ask you and you turned him down, and then had a crappy Saturday night because nobody else asked you to dance. She said yes, that's just the way it goes sometimes.

Being young and brash I was sure that I could help her change her reasoning, so I persisted. So I asked her to put herself in the place of the guy. I said if you were a guy, who at the table would you have approached to dance first? She said she would have asked the girl that he asked first because she was cuter. But then she proceeded to say that the cuter girl did not have as good a personality as she did. So I asked if she had ever talked to the guy, and she indicated that she had not. So I asked her how was he ever to know that she had a better personality if she did not talk to him when she had the opportunity. She looked at me like I was mentally deficient or something. She said, “I already told you that I couldn't! Weren't you listening”? I gave up at that point.

A week or two later, I noticed that Cathy was moping around for a couple of days. So I cajoled her into telling me what her problem was. She said that the guy that she wanted to ask her to dance had shown up at the club with a girl in tow. She said that she wasn't even that good looking. I suggested that it was a shame that she had screwed up her chance to be with him. Once again, she looked at me like I was some neanderthal from the ice age. “I told you I could not say yes to him. How many times do I have to repeat myself!”, she said.  About a year later, Cathy was moping around the office for a couple of months. One of her girlfriends told me that they guy she really liked had married that girl. She never had actually talked to the guy.

I left that store shortly afterwards but stayed in the city. I stayed on long enough to train my replacement, and would run into him from time to time. He stayed on a decade before leaving as well. When he left, Cathy was still there, still single, and still wandering the bars looking for Mr. Goodbar.

Looks like she never did change!

For more advice with online dating and male – female relationships, follow the link below:

Dating Advice For Men

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