Step one, two, and your ears have judged him sight unseen. He echoes loud and long, so careless the noise as he steps and turns; you, cotton foot, let his sound damn himself.

Turn and step. He is more chest than collarbone, more arm than finger, more lip than lobe. If you simply push him away, you risk retaliation--though he seems sickly sweet, with violence restricted to his margins, a real nice boy when he's alone in his head. You could be slug or ice to his salt. If you wanted.

The dance continues; he empties his mouth of ridiculous compliments, then loads it with more. Limply scripted praises issue as if ejected, only to splatter wearily against your eardrums. His bearing is overbearing, his hunger pathetic; his eyes derogate, then dare to beg. With nonchalant control, you bulge his veins, tighten his skin, tense his muscles--all by doing exactly nothing.

Perhaps after this turn, or the next, or the next, he will lose interest. Perhaps you will feign clumsiness or daftness. Perhaps you will glaze your eyes, loll your mind lifeless, and try to convince him that you are a placebo of love, a plastic capsule filled with meaningless calories. But that may be exactly what he wants.

In five pirouettes or less, what is your safest rejection strategy?

© 1997-2001 Narciso Jaramillo second person | dyslexikon | nj's face