Smooth Operator


His name was Ryan, and he wore the brightest shirts – screaming teal, bullfighter red, and obnoxious orange. It was easy to pick him out of the crowd. He was a dancer at the Thursday night venues and would come find me each night for one dance.
“I just want you to know,” he’d say after the song was over, “that you’re one of the five prettiest women here tonight.”
“Thanks, Ryan,” I’d say, watching him move on to his next dance partner.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him to tone down his shirt colors.
This pattern went on week after week — one neon dude comes over, one dance, one compliment, then gone.
Once we had a conversation that lasted five minutes. Ryan told me that he had seven sisters and that he knew how to treat women.
“You’re one of the five prettiest women here tonight, Susan,” he said as he walked away.
He never asked me out. He never asked anyone out. He was pleasant and an energetic free style dancer.
Then one night I overheard him tell a woman he’d just finished dancing with . . .
“Paula, you’re one of the five prettiest women here tonight.”
You sly dog, Ryan. Manipulating all of us to dance with you.
Maybe those brightly-colored shirts were part of the plan. Draw attention to yourself by standing out in the crowd — then schmooze your way through the masses, one woman at a time.
If Ryan danced thirty dances on a Thursday night, all with different women, and he told each of us we were one of the five prettiest women there, then two dozen of us were being lied to.
Had his sisters trained him? Or had he manipulated them, too?
“Tammy, you’re my prettiest sister! Could you loan me twenty bucks?”
“Sally, of all the sisters, you’re the smartest. Would you do my math homework?”
“Becky, you know I like you the best. Would you cover for me while I climb out the window to meet Susie?”
I haven’t seen Ryan in a while. I’m sure I haven’t missed him in the crowd in those neon shirts.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If Ryan and I would’ve dated, I would soon learn to play his game. “Ryan, you are so strong. Would you carry these boxes to the garage for me? Ryan you are so agile. Would you climb onto this ladder and clean out my gutters? Ryan, you are so numbers savvy. Would you do my income taxes?”
As my grandma used to say, ”You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Maybe Ryan’s grandma had told him the same.

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