...or just more smartassery?
I'm sure those of you with teens can relate - sometimes, one's child develops such skill with the latter that it's difficult to discern whether:
A) your child's being serious, and if so
B) the gravitas should be trusted.
In particular, I reference my son, Balthazar, and his ready dismissal of the (very few) men to have interested me romantically since his dad and I split up, lo so many years ago. Oh, he knew there'd been a dude after his dad, but he was about 3 at the time, so who knows what a child that age can really grasp of such matters. But there'd been a long drought since that fella and it was in The Kid's earlier teens that other contenders nearly entered the ring, so to speak.
I commute into Manhattan for work and, a while back, there'd been this guy on the train who eyeballed me with some frequency. He didn't make any moves to reach out to me, just stared and let me catch him staring a few times, you know how it goes. Well, there was something about him, an intensity to his gaze, that appealed, and I was not averse to an overture, should it have come. Then one night, as The Kid and I walked past our town's train trestle, we both happened to look up at the steps leading down from it, casually noting the descending commuters, and there he was! Our eyes met and held for a few heated seconds, then Balthy and I kept walking. I slowed my pace at some point so the guy could pass us and was gratified to see him looking back at us periodically. The Kid noticed him and commented on the fact that he sorta resembled one of our neighbors. I agreed, mentioned seeing him on the train once in a while, and that was the end of that.
UNTIL I boarded a homeward-bound train one night and saw him seated at a window seat, with the middle and aisle seats next to him free. I had my chance - it was now or never! (Or so some twisted little voice in my head assured me.) I took the aisle seat. He looked up, saw me, and an electric moment of mutual awareness passed.
This is the point in the story where things should've taken a delightful turn for the woof! They kinda didn't. He tried, several times, to engage me in conversation. But my natural timidity with men (go on, laugh, disbelieve me, but it's true - I get stupidly tongue-tied and blushy when an object of my interest approaches) didn't allow for the burgeoning of rapport (or anything else, for that matter). Too, the timbre of his voice put me off, for some reason, and I just couldn't relax into the moment. I was interested but antsy, and I couldn't figure why, but I couldn't shake my uneasiness and did nothing to encourage him. Still, he gamely tried to chat me up, valiant man. We disembarked at our stop, walked together for a bit, then parted ways.
When I got home, I ached to share the experience with someone, though I didn't think I was so pathetic as to need to gush to my son. In fact, I was.
Me: You remember that guy from the other night?
The Kid: Yeah?
Me: The guy we saw at the train station?
The Kid: Yeah?
Me: The guy you said looks like our neighbor?
The Kid: Yeah?
Me: We chatted on the train tonight. I think he likes me.
The Kid: (Smirks.)
The Kid: (Smirks and shakes his head.)
Me: What??? (I glare at his continued smirkage.) Well, what do you think of him?
The Kid: He looks like a murderer.
The Kid: He looks like a psychopath, Mom. So what's for dinner?
And that really was the end of that. Oh, I saw the guy a few more times. Once, he passed by me and tapped me on the arm, scaring the ever-loving crap outta me, but my son's words echoed in my mind and kept me from welcoming further advances. Maybe a few months later, I stopped seeing him around altogether.
Now, I've no way of knowing if The Kid was sharing real concern with me or just being a snot, but what he said seemed to support my unidentifiable discomfort during my brief interaction with the guy, so I chose to believe Balthy had some sixth sense and might just be looking out for me, after all. However, about a year later, I had cause to question his purported altruism.
On Facebook, a male friend of a friend sent me a friend request. The corresponding message read, "I like your hair and eyes." I told Balthazar about this and asked him if he thought I should befriend this dude.
The Kid: No, Mom. He obviously wants to rape you and feed you to a wood chipper.
He had no reason, at all, to suggest such a thing (except maybe he'd caught the tail end of Fargo recently), still he glibly harshed my buzz.
Me (sharply): You don't ever want me to date again, do you?
The Kid: No, I want you to stay lonely. Forever.
The Kid: It works for me.
Mind you, I accepted the friend request and later wound up un-friending (De-Facing!) the dude, on account of his weird rants (and truly alarming misspellings and appalling grammar). So, possibly, The Kid's Spidey-senses did actually pick up some vibes to which this chick's ears are not attuned.