Yesterday I walked into the local Coffee Bean at about 9:30 in the morning. One customer sat a table drinking something and playing on their phone; otherwise, the place was empty. Everyone was shopping, apparently. Most Coffee Bean employees are friendly and will greet you with a HI! loudly and cheerily. They make people feel welcome in their little den of caffeine. I was expecting such a reception from the idle girl behind the counter but was met only with stony silence. I didn’t go straight to the counter as I was studying the coffee powders and other holiday items, but she obviously did not feel impelled to trouble herself to acknowledge me. When I paid for my item she could barely summon the energy required to make me feel minimally welcome. Oh well. I’m too old to care, but I did note it. As I walked out I heard her greet the customer who walked in as I left in a cheery tone unlike anything I received.
The Coffee Bean chick? Youngish, round face, hawk-nosed, not attractive whatsoever.
Later in the day, evening, after dinner time, we stood in the check-out line of the local Dollar Tree. The cashier was talkative and friendly as she collected payment from the customer ahead of us. When they finished up, I was next. The cashier dashed impersonally through her routine without looking me in the eye nor budging the slightest smile. We walked out with our stuff after paying and I felt ignored, disregarded. Once again, I’m too old to care, but nevertheless…noted.
The Dollar Tree chick? Middle-aged-ish, any youthful vigor long departed, mottled skin, if she was ever attractive I think that stage ended when she was like maybe…9.
Later, in the checkout line at Sprouts, we waited patiently. Patience was called for as the cashier was a poor young guy who needed to refer to the store’s price list book for every item (or audibly to his cashier neighbor when he just didn’t want to look up the produce code) he scanned from the customer baskets. It was agonizing. I felt for the guy. Impatience will get you nowhere other than angry, not a useful place to be. Another lesson of my advanced age. The lady in front of us kept picking at grapes from her bag while waiting and she turned to me and joked, “By the time I get to the cashier these will weigh a lot less!” implying that she was eating down the price of her fruits. I smiled and said yes, there will be nothing left. As we inched along (and I mean that literally), the rubber divider lazily sat in the slot too far ahead of me to reach politely in order to create a border between me and this lady with the grapes. The problem was that the cashier kid was moving so slowly that he was not pushing the dividers along, and sensing this, the lady grabbed the one that she was using between herself and the customer ahead of her and handed it to me as she smiled somewhat slyly from the corner of her eyes. I said thank you and felt good. I’m too old to care, but it was noted; nice gestures and friendliness are welcome.
The Sprouts customer? Mid-40’s, cougar material (can I ever refer to a woman’s cougar appeal when, in fact, I’m most likely older than her?), nice bod, sufficiently attractive.
Everyone knows, or should, especially men, one immutable tenet of female-ality: ugly women are unfriendly and have detestable personalities. Conversely, attractive women are usually friendly, nice and exude warmth (whether it’s real or not). In micro-interactions, who really gives a shit how sincere friendliness is, anyhow? I certainly don’t believe all these pretty women want me. I have a more realistic self-image than to allow myself to fall prey to such delusion, but I realize much of the reaction we (men) derive from women is more a function of their headspace, than our meatspace.
If only I had integrated this mindset like 30 years ago instead of taking offense to each and every instance of female unfriendliness.