1. If I don't think a woman is interested in me, I don't go after her.
2. I never think women are interested in me.
It's equal parts obliviousness and low self-esteem (A term which sounds better than "shyness." Or "chickenshit." More clinical.)
Take last weekend, for example. I went up to Philly for Gel-Man's post-wedding party (the pictures from which I haven't posted yet), and was chatting up this interesting young miss who was taking far too much enjoyment from the fact that she graduated high school the year Steve graduated law school.
(Steve's just a year or so ahead of me. The math is pretty easy.)
Anyway, we were getting along well. How well, I could not say, but it turns out she didn't have a car and was making foolish sounds about taking the bus home.
Pish-tosh, I said (well, I didn't, but I might as well have), let me give you a lift home.
(This opened the door to all sorts of potential sitcom wackiness about getting lost in downtown Philadelphia, though it was actually a pretty straight shot back to the interstate.)
So, I gave her a ride to her apartment. A gloriously sunny day was winding down; we were talking and even singing along to my Johnny Cash CD.
Looking pretty good, yes? One would think.
We get to her place. kthxbye.
She gets out and I drive away.
It's not like I made a clumsy pass and struck out, or leaned in for a kiss and got slapped, or even completely misread the situation and got gently turned away. That would have been something.
Instead, I just froze and did nothing, and as a result, got bupkes.
In fact, at several points during the drive home (and even in the intervening days), I found myself yelling "BUPKES", when the enormity of my lameness hit me.
Bupkes is Yiddish for "nothing" -- literally, "beans" -- but it has a deeper meaning, according to The Word Detective:
But there's more to "bupkes" than just "nothing." When you say you got "bupkes" from a deal you brokered, for instance, it really means "you got nothing when you should have gotten at least something if there were any justice at all in this world." All of which is a lot for one word to say, but Yiddish is good at that.
Look, here I am being all clinical and detached again.