3.4 Winter 2021-2022

January 8, Be careful what you wish for

As I was stretching after my Saturday workout, I watched a man in the mirror do an interesting set of yoga moves that I mentally added to my list of exercises to try at home in privacy.

I didn’t think of it again and went to take a shower, then exited the gym to stuff all my body wash and lotion back in my locker. The yoga man was lingering by the elevator and I hesitated. Should I take the stairs? Should I wait for the next elevator? He seemed to be dallying.

Ah, screw it. Who am I if not an instigator? I joined him in the elevator.

He turned to me and I already knew what was coming. I had probably known before I even got on the elevator. Chalk it up to feminine intuition, or whatever.

“Hello,” he said nervously, looking into my eyes. “Do you… speak English?” Once again I reminded myself to take Russian lessons so that I can mess with people.

“Yes. Do you speak Korean?” I asked, hiding my laugh.

“Yes, of course! I am Korean.” He replied. He asked if I speak Korean to which I replied “a little”. Luckily, he didn’t switch from English, because this wasn’t a conversation I was ready to have outside of my native language.

The elevator dinged and we walked out into the lobby. He told me he works for the navy and separately I filed that away. As suspected, most of the men at the gym must work for the navy. This city is too small to have so many young men in one place.

He explained that he is a ship engineer and word vomited for a moment about his job. He paused and then asked haltingly, “Do you.. want to get coffee.. sometime?”

As often as this happens, I’m still never prepared. But what the hell.

“Uh okay. Sure.”

Because I am a horrible, vain person, I lamented that it wasn’t the 8 foot tall body-building navy guy asking me this question. But I can’t spend the morning questioning my single status only to turn down a literal date offer. Plus, I’m willing to try anything once. What’s the worst that could happen?

(I actually already knew the answer and batted it down swiftly, no time for trauma please!)

I stalled for a moment asking when and where and then we tried to make plans. He suggested going right then but it was 7pm and I didn’t feel comfortable meeting so late. Plus, I had this website to work on.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until near the end that he asked if I had a boyfriend.

“No,” I answered neutrally, hoping that this all wouldn’t come to bite me.

“Oh good. Because I am.. attractive… for you.”

Well that’s, um, a bit much but I know in Korean the meaning is a lot less sexual. My coworkers often use “attracted” in very weird situations like, “I am attracted to that school” or “this mountain is attractive to me”. So you can guess that the meaning in Korean is a lot less intense. I mentally noted that my increasingly yoked pull-up arms were not a turn off.

“I’ve never asked for someone’s phone number like this. It’s my first time. I’m nervous.”

I clapped for him sincerely. His honesty was appreciated, but then I wondered why I feel like I have to be generous to strangers. He, oblivious to my internal spiraling, pulled out his cell phone. I typed in my number, praying I wouldn’t have to change it again if things went south.

He didn’t push me to take out my phone and check, and he didn’t push to set a date right away which I appreciated. It overall seemed like a wholesome interaction.

If there’s no romantic connection, I hope that we can be gym buddies. I do need a spotter. Or maybe I can end up with a big friend group of navy bros. That would be amazing: I can finally live like my favorite villainess of all time.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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