She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. It would take too long to describe every aspect of her, so to keep it brief, I met her at dancing practice. We exchanged a few pleasantries the first night; as the partners rotated regularly, we danced a few times. In the face of beauty, I am always acutely aware of my own lack of physical appeal. The next week, when we danced, I told her, you may not be the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, but whoever’s in third place can’t even see your dust. She laughed and lost concentration on her dancing. That was helpful; so had I.

I didn’t see her last week but she was back again tonight. I noticed the novel style of her glasses and commented on it. (Those eyes, though..! Until I met her, I’d never seen eyes the colour of honey.) I also noticed her long, slender fingers with trimmed nails; the shape of her jaw, the curves of her lips and eyebrows, her blemishless skin, but didn’t comment on these. And that was it. I waited until the end of the class to talk to her but like every week, she left as soon as class was over.

She’ll certainly have her share of admirers – any male with a pulse – and no doubt there’ll be some who could be lumped in the ‘oddball’ basket. I’m not sure that she thinks I’m weird or a potential stalker, but I doubt I’m one of her favourite things, unless I was in a brown package tied up with string, at the bottom of the sea. Either way I have little chance. Slightly greater than a coelacanth with athlete’s foot but little enough nonetheless.

Anyway, no matter how gorgeous she is, I wouldn’t want to marry her if she wasn’t a girl I could like, respect, admire, and trust. I don’t know what kind of person she is but her apparel gives some indication. She hasn’t dressed to cause rivers of lustful saliva: no cleavage, no form-clinging material, no bare belly, no makeup even. Jeans at mid-calf – showing perfectly curved ankles – and a loose-fitting top. But it’s only a dance class: who knows what a more formal setting might bring? Still, both her dress and her manner are relaxed and unpretentious.

Perhaps you think I shouldn’t have said anything complimentary to her, just let her get to know me (and when was that going to happen? how long would it take?), or else not have been so effusive. Well, I’ve nothing going for me on the outside – I am the avatar of bland – and I’m naturally shy, so I have to force myself to take the initiative. In doing so, I may be a little dramatic or slightly overenthusiastic make up for my lack of physical appeal, and that may turn people off. Be yourself, people say. Right. If I was effusive, that was me being me, also being aware that I didn’t have much time to make an impression. If you only get to talk with them for five minutes a week, then getting to know them until they’re favourably impressed enough with you takes too long.

Consider a simile using with the animal kingdom; in particular, the cow. The cow is the quintessence of dull, as boring as starving termite in a pine forest, but over centuries the cow has worked its way inextricably into human culture via diet, clothing and language. But the human doesn’t have that long to make an impression on a potential mate. Now, on the other hand, consider lemmings: suicidal rats they might be, but at least they make a splash. I haven’t had, and won’t have, as long as the cow on the world stage, so I must follow the way of the lemming, even if I do crash instead of splash.

Hindsight may not be an exact science but it certainly can generate marvellously unhelpful statements about what a person should have done. However, we’re dealing with people, so there are rarely such formulas. Nothing is so inexact a science as psychology.

So I went home.

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