Some of us would consider ourselves fortunate were this to occur:
Yesterday morning, on the way to the office, I unexpectedly had a very pleasant conversation on the train. She was quite articulate, very engaging, full of wit, and — oh yeah — a knockout.
And, of course, Not Available:
And I feel like a jerk. Because I spotted her wedding ring straight away, and pretty much auto-responded to her for the whole 20 minute ride.
Yes, I went into shut-down mode because, since she was married, my interest level dropped precipitously. Knowing I didn’t have a chance with her made me lose interest instantly, despite her very obvious social charms. (The idea that I would have a chance with her, despite the wedding band — and I’m not saying that that was the case — is something I’d rather not explore.)
Yeah, there are some serious Thou Shalt Nots involved, and we won’t go there. But it gets more complicated:
I’d like to think that I’m not at the point where I won’t bother trying to befriend a woman if the possibility of sexual gratification wasn’t high. But reflecting upon this episode, I have to conclude that this is probably where my head is at. And I’m not too thrilled about it.
Were I to adopt this as a policy, I’d never speak to women at all. This is obviously not acceptable, at least to me; the women might feel otherwise.
Once seen on a T-shirt: “Since I gave up hope, I feel much better.” Purely in the romantic sense, this has worked rather well for me: I don’t have to worry about jeopardizing a future relationship because, well, there isn’t any future relationship to jeopardize. Thus freed from the burden of trying to avoid screwing up, I do much better, or at least less horrendously. Okay, there’s no obvious payoff at the end: but I feel that I’ve gained something from the experience, even if it’s only the satisfaction of not having bored her to tears.
As regular readers know, I am subject to deep and inexplicable crushes. I used to worry about this. Now it’s more like “Enjoy it, what there is to it that can be enjoyed. Just don’t be a jerk about it.”
Speaking of which:
So am I being a complete jerk in not wanting to “bother” with a woman who’s already attached? Brutal frankness is encouraged, and appreciated.
Complete? No. But I think you should give her a chance to respond to you in some small way. You can’t assume that she’s interested, or that you could persuade her to become interested; however, she’s off to the daily grind just like you are, and if she comes away from that 20-minute stretch thinking that, well, at least somebody appreciates me today, perhaps you’ve done her a kindness, which needs no justification. And it’s a fair trade, since if you’re anything like me you’re getting memories which will stick with you indefinitely, possibly useful as part of the evaluation should someone actually available show up.
And who knows? Four years from now, you’ll meet on the D train, and her divorce will have just become final, and — no, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.