On the 8th of March 2019 you work yourself up into a state not unlike the mindset soldiers in World War I must have had when they finally climbed out of the trenches and raced into no man’s land. A gesture like this, especially in these times where the lines of what is acceptable between a woman and a man are very much blurred it can get you mangled, also professionally, but you are going to do it anyway. Because to live with the thought you were a skulking coward will be infinitely worse. Scenarios of ever more frightful escalations occupy your mind. What if she rushes to her supervisor? What if you end up as the subject of a vicious #metoo campaign on Instagram? To give a woman a box full of chocolates, vouchers for outings, and a long love letter is not exactly the same as raping her, but these days it’s a thin line. A wrong look at the wrong moment and you can be publicly brandished a deranged pervert. Only for expressing, hey, I see you, you touched me without knowing it, I crave more of you.
One of her colleagues says: ‘The worst that can happen is that you won’t talk to each other. But you’re not talking to each other now either, so the worst that can happen is that things stay as they are.’
So there you go. It’s international women’s day. You are in Slovakia. It’s not so out of the ordinary to give women a gift here on this occasion. Even if she is almost a total stranger. Not really a stranger, since she’s been the full time live in guest up in your head for over a month now. Even if you are giving her more romantic tokens of affection than 99,99 percent of all husbands are giving their wives on this days. Especially the love letter and the personalized vouchers make this into a curiously old-fashioned gesture. This doesn’t count as flirting. This is old school 19th century courtship.
With your heart a couple months closer to its last beat you hand her the box. Like a guerilla warrior you jump out of nowhere and hand her the gift box. Wrapped with a blue string. It’s so full of stuff that she will overlook half of it. It will only drop out, accidentally, in the evening when she’s about to store it in a closet. She seems genuinely flattered. If not elated. What a gentleman thing to do, she says. Every word hits you with a delay. It’s hard to catch exactly what she is saying. In broken Slovak you mumble something about how you hope she will enjoy it.
Then nothing happens.
You assume that it was just too crazy what you did. All seduction manuals advice you to never ever pull such a stunt. These misogynist guidebooks teach you to not invest in a woman until she’s slept with you. You wonder if the writers of these books have ever been in love.
Four days later you get an sms. She thinks you are not reading your Whatsapp messages.
What is Whatsapp?
It turns out that at some point you installed an app on your phone. You have never used it. You have forgotten it’s there. She wrote you there the day you gave her the box.
She is overwhelmed, but she likes it.
Your heart breaks open and astonished you observe yourself texting whole love epistles on the spot running from one company to the other. Your eyes seeing only her.
One by one, brick by brick, walls will crumble now.
Two towers slowly blend into a majestic fortress.
The seeds to a most fertile connection have buried themselves in layers of nutritious ground.
It makes you shake inside.
You have come alive.