I apologise if I have misled you by this title; made you think that as you read ahead you will be beguiled by a story of two middle-aged, hopeless romantics finding love and solace in each other.
Please remove all images of Jane Austen style wooing with a dark and brooding, yet occasionally witty, Mr. Darcy.
No, no, no, the following lines are not meant to reaffirm your faith in finding love, no matter the age.
I am going to talk about a real menace that many of us face, day in and day out that is social media and its unsolicited messages.
The ones where 20 something, 40 something, 60 something, men suddenly feel it is okay to tell you, how beautiful they think you are, in the first five minutes of the conversation.
And then follow it up with lame pick up lines like; I want us to be good friends.
This morning I received a notification on Facebook saying that Arpan P. (name changed) wants to connect with you. On further investigation I realised that Arpan happens to be in a senior leadership role in a Global Bank.
Great, I think, perhaps he has heard of me as a Leadership Coach, and wants to connect. Although it did bother me that he’d rather connect on Facebook than Linkedin, but then again, you never know where new business might come in, right?
So, with oodles of hope and an entrepreneurial mindset, I responded to his “Hi” with a “Hello, how may I help you?”
The conversation went something like this.
Arpan: Lakshmi , As now we don’t know each other… has no intention to bother u
Me (thinking so far so good): Sure, tell me…
Arpan: Tell me if I am. No intention of bothering u…
Me (thinking..hmm): How did you come to know about me?
Arpan (completely ignoring my question): I don’t intend to bother u, but I new to Bangalore…so exploring
Me (completely on alert): …
Arpan: So, I am new here and I am only looking for a good friend.
Me: I wonder, why would you choose to connect with only a woman, when all you need is a good friend.
Arpan (again ignoring my question): I think I am bothering u. Tel me if I…
u are very pretty.
Arpan: Should I take ur silence as a “Yes”? It hard taking rejection from a girl this beautiful.
Arpan (perhaps realising there are unanswered questions): I…I saw ur author profile on Amazon.com. u really r very beautiful.
He saw my author profile and all he had to comment on was how I looked. I bet he didn’t buy a single book. Although, with that kind of language, I am not surprised.
It escapes my understanding how anyone can see your name on Linkedin, Amazon or any of those sites and then systematically set about searching you on Facebook, until they find you. And then actually message you with hopes that you will instantly become “good friends” with them, because they asked you to.
Can you even imagine how many “Lakshmi Priya’s” would be on Facebook?
This isn’t the first time I have received messages like this one, and this won’t be the last.
The reason I have chosen to share the conversation here and not within the Whatsapp group of my closest friends, is because I know that most of you are no strangers to attempts like this one.
Normally I would’ve screen-shotted it and shared it with my close friends and we would’ve laughed and laughed until we got bored of it.
But honestly today, I do feel offended.
Offended that just because I am a reasonably (this can be debated upon) successful professional, who is average looking and speaks her mind, doesn’t mean it is okay to text me and ask me to become your friend, by calling me pretty and beautiful, but not actually answering my questions.
I am 37 years old; I will call out on your mansplaining me and disrespecting me without batting an eyelid.
Did you really think I don’t know what I look like, in real life?
Did you really think I would believe you when you say I am beautiful?
Did you really think I am so insecure and craving for validation that I will run into your arms and be your “good friend”?
Did you really think, I haven’t had my share of being serenaded by good boys, bad boys, Mumma’s boys and absolutely fake boys?
I have two things to say to men like Arpan, first of all I have enough friends, second, I am writer, you really need to up your game, if you want me to be even remotely impressed by you.
Or wait, on second thoughts, I just have one thing to say;
I am too old for this shit.
Originally Published @ Women’s Web