Love Notes: A (Not So) Secret Admirer

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I first noticed Cute Apartment Guy, who lived a few floors above me, for his green eyes, dark curly hair, and quick smile. Every time we passed each other in the hallway, we'd exchange dopey grins — a flirtation that brought the potential for romance to otherwise mundane tasks like walking the dog.

Then one day, he spoke to me. "Hi," he said. I think I smiled but was too surprised to respond. And though he didn't ask me out, it was enough to convince me that he was interested. Maybe he was playing the game. Maybe he was just shy. Either way, I didn't see a reason to languish in the passive behavior of yesteryear. If men and women could split the bill at dinner and handle the same work at the office, why couldn't I make the first move here? Why should I wait for some grand romantic gesture that might never come? Why not sweep him off his damn feet?

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So I called up my moxie and wrote him a note. Not knowing his name or apartment number, I stuck it to the inside of the building's front door, where everyone would see it:

Guy who was coming into the building as I was leaving for a run this morning: I think you're cute. Want to get a drink with me?

I was giddy. Here I was, empowered feminist superhero, creating a romantic-comedy how-we-met that was so much more thrilling than the usual "drunk, at a bar."

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But for two days, there was no response — just my own dumb, lonely note taped to the door that I had to look at every time I walked my dog.

Then, on day three, a response:

Need more info. Tall, short? Long hair, short hair? Anything stand out?

Triumph!

Emboldened, I wrote back:

I make googly eyes at you. Sound familiar?

A few hours later, I sneaked down the three flights of stairs to check what he'd written back.

All the notes were gone. I took this as a good sign, convinced he was busy contemplating how to fit a full bouquet of gerbera daisies under my door.

But then . . . nothing. Finally, weeks later, I passed him again in the hallway, and he just squinted and looked down, as if trying to shield himself from the blistering rays of my embarrassment. Yes, I felt like an idiot — an idiot with eight months left on her lease. But I'm still proud of my "lady balls," that these days I can go after what I want with the same pride-be-damned fearlessness of Dustin Hoffman banging on the glass at Elaine's wedding in The Graduate. Once I put down the pint of Haagen-Dazs.

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