As I was writing this, in a bookstore, a twenty something woman approaches a table two away from mine. Next a man approaches, and he chooses the table that is in between mine and hers. For the next fifteen minutes he pretends to read a book. He may as well be eating a plate of spiders or playing with uranium, it is impossible not to focus on him, his nonchalance is tremendously distracting.
But the woman doesn't notice him. She is engrossed in her magazine and soup. That is the lie he is telling himself.
Of course she noticed him. She noticed him as soon as he walked in. Why do men assume pretty girls have visual field defects? Hope. The fact that she hasn't looked up at him is evidence that she noticed. She doesn't dare reveal it.
I've seen this movie before, and I've also seen the sequels. What he should do, if this is the suicide mission he wants, is to walk up to her early on, "hi..." and do his audition. Then she could either ask for his headshot or tell him she really likes his work but she's looking for someone who can play younger and less gay. But he doesn't audition, Instead, he stalks her for the duration of her tolerance. There's no other thing in the universe we get this way, not a job or food or airplane tickets, but somehow sitting at a table and not not looking at someone is somehow magically supposed to somehow result in anal. (Woah, that was jarring.)
I can't focus on either my computer or my sandwich, I am certain she can't either. But she's trapped in herself, too. She can't read her book and she can't get up and leave because it would be too obvious why she was leaving and she has that middle class guilt of making people feel rejected "for no reason." So we three sit, each pretending we're not aware of the others. None of us gets anything accomplished (well, this.)
How long you wait before your audition is inversely proportional to how much she wants to talk to you. Read that again: not will be-- is. That's quantum mechanics.
So how's a modern woman supposed to politely decline the advances of a future parole violator? If you say, "I just want to read my book," it's easily taken as an insult by comparison, "what, I'm not more important than a stupid book? Who knew sluts could read. Oh, it's Vogue and you're just looking at the pictures. Dumb whore." (Hey wildman, easy...)
A good rejection can't leave room for comparison. For example, what she could say is, "no thank you, I just came because I need some time alone." A neutral, soft, non-ego threatening dismissal. You don't know what's going on in this woman's life, something, but whatever it is it was enough for her to want to be Alone. Ok. No one, least of all the most pathological narcissist, will argue with the logic that self takes precedence over non-self.
And this dismissal can also yield important information: anyone who doesn't respect the message is probably registered in a database, because it always means: "well, my self is more important than your self."
"Hold on, Backbeard, I don't know what kind of women you have trapped on the quarterdeck but how do you know she isn't nervous herself, and wants you to come over?" Stop it. You're going to meat [no sic] your future wife in a bookstore with an unrehearsed cold approach, Cat's Cradle, and a triple espresso? Really? Has that ever worked for you before?
"Well, no, if I'm being honest I just want to sleep with her." Well, ho me wench. You're that guy? Take a look at yourself. You're so smooth you can operate in daylight? Sober? And she's sober? You know there are security cameras around, right? You think you're going to lay your ycombinator rap on her?
"Well, some people can meet a girl in a bookstore." NOT YOU. "It worked one time." Then you didn't stalk her, did you?
I don't blame the guy for being nervous, I blame him for thinking he can bend reality to his will. Figure out what kinds of environments you are good in, think where are the types of women that are right for you, go there. Being good at football doesn't mean you are good at soccer. Or dancing. Or Spanish. Ask Chad Ochocinco. "But I like soccer!" Stop it. No one likes soccer. Don't do this to yourself, or to some girl who will add the construct of you to her Fiend Folio and ruin it for the next potential soccer player who wants to audition/register. Oh, have I placed metaphors where they don't belong? Exactly.
Don't torment and punish yourself with things you don't really want anyway. Things you want for the wrong reasons.
And don't do it in public. We're all trying to eat here.