This is a true story from many years ago.I had just gotten married and worked in a small town appliance store selling televisions, stereos and white 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. The boss, myself and another saleslady made up the sales staff, and there were two bookkeepers who looked after the cash transactions and any credit arrangements with customers. 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 was a young girl in her early twenties. She did most of the details of bookkeeping under the day to day direction of the older lady. They had a severe personality clash between them, but most of the time that did not affect their work. The younger girl just loved to catch the older ladies mistakes, and often I heard all about the latest fiasco over lunch.
On Monday morning when we first arrived, we tended to BS about our weekend happenings. Since I was recently married and cash was tight, my wife and I mostly just hung out with friends. The older lady did virtually nothing on Sunday but go to church, but I was told she loved to drink scotch all day afterwards. Certainly she was grumpy enough most Mondays that I could easily believe that she was hung over. The other salesperson was a woman in her 50's who mostly put on dinners for her family and extended family every Sunday. The boss seldom showed up before 10:00 AM which is why we got to BS over coffee before 10:00 every day.
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. Because all of the rest of us could only talk about the same stuff we talked about last week, invariably, the conversation on Monday tended to center on Cathy's latest exploits. She had a way of dramatizing the mundane, so if nothing else, her stories were more interesting than – 'I cooked dinner for my family'. She was not ugly, but not exactly the prettiest girl in the world either, so her trials and vexations were many. All of the rest of the staff had a different opinion though. We all felt her problem was her attitude. The following story best illustrates this.
One particular Monday, Cathy was talking about her Saturday night. As usual, she was out with her usual crowd of girlfriends. She complained that she never got to dance a single dance on Saturday night, and that the whole evening was a bust. She then told us about this guy who had come up to their table just as they walked in and asked one of her girlfriends to dance. She turned him down. He asked each of the other girls at the table, and they all turned him down too, including Cathy. She said that she had watched him for the next hour going to different girls and asking them to dance and they all turned him down. At this point he left. She then went on about how stupid he was. I was curious why she thought it was stupid so I asked her.
She said that once one of the girls at her table said no, then all the other girls just had to say no. Otherwise they would look desperate. 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 asked why, she said that it would have made them seem needy. Like they would just dance with anybody else's leavings.
In an effort to truly understand what to me was a twisted point of view, I asked her some more questions. I asked him if he was someone that women would not want to be caught dead with because he had warts on his face or something. She said that he was actually quite good looking, and she had been hoping for weeks that he would ask her to dance. Then I asked why it was the first girl had turned him down. She said that they had just gotten there, and that that she did not feel like dancing yet. So I asked Cathy if the guy would have asked her first, would she have danced with him. She said that she had wanted him to ask her for weeks, so of course she would have said yes. I was finding it difficult not to burst out laughing about the bizarre nature of her thought process.
At this point I decided to summarize what I had heard to make sure that I got it right. 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, thats just the way it goes sometimes.
By now, I was feeling that I should show her the errors of her ways, so I asked a few more questions. 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 said that she had never given him the opportunity to talk to her because she had refused to dance with him. How was he supposed to know that she had a better personality? She looked at me like I had the thinking prowess of a great ape. “Why can't you get it through your thick skull that I could not dance with him! I already told you that I could not!” I walked away at that point. We were both convinced that the other was a moron.
A couple of weeks later, I noticed that Cathy was not her usual perky self. I talked to her a bit and got her to open up as to 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 said, too bad you messed up your chance. So again, she looked at me like I had the IQ of a slug and said, “I already told you that it was impossible for me to say yes to him that night!” 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. Believe it or not, other than refuse to dance with him, she had never spoken to the guy!
I did not stay at that store much longer. I found a much better paying job with a more stable future elsewhere in the city. A friend of mind took my place and worked there for another ten years before he too went on to greener pastures. When he left, Cathy was still working at the store, still all alone, and still searching the bars for Mr. Right.
I guess she never changed!
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