3.5 Stop pulling my pigtails.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you leave the country,” the customs guy said as he looked up from my passport. My friend Kelly, who’d gone through before me, spun around in disbelief and alarm. I mean come ON! It was Friday, we’d just finished work and there were trains to catch to PARIS! I just stood there with a gaping mouth, eyes growing larger by the second when the guy suddenly smiled and said, “I can’t let you leave because… you’re too beautiful.”

OH PUL-LEASE. I grabbed back my passport, gave him a huge grin and walked through the gates. Kelly started screeching, “ONLY YOU! Only you! this sort of ridiculous stuff happens to!” My heart was still palpitating from thinking my visa had expired or I somehow had cocaine smeared on my face. Certainly not palpitating because a guy had been flirting with me at customs. Which brings me to thinking I’m pretty damn sure a customs officer threatening that is ILLEGAL. Not to mention: when a guy think he’s oh-so-funny-flirting with you like that, does it really make you stop and think, “Wow. I want to date that guy”? I can’t speak for every woman out there but it certainly doesn’t float my friend-for-life-boat.

Now these tales of men and their ridiculous attention-grabbing flirt-machine tactics aren’t just every now and then. It’s every Friday night, it’s every line at the bar, it’s every time you’re waiting for the bathroom and a charming one who’s had too many unleashes his flirt spanners stronger than you’re holding in that wanting to burst bubbly.

Last Friday night we had two boys, cough, men – whatever, they were certainly over the age of 25 – first get loudly in my and my friend’s Friday post-work-pinot-personal-space. We ignored them, gently pushed them away, smiled and continued chatting. Next up an arm tap asking for a lighter (we’re inside and no, we don’t smoke). Around 32 seconds later one flung himself through our conversation again, grabbed my friend’s hand and tried to get her to dance (this was a Melbourne bar! playing hiphop/jazz/cooler than Sydney bar music that you barely hear over the bar chatter). She causally rebuffed and I just glared and waited with gritted teeth and clenched wine fist for the next interruption to come.

Alas it came about three minutes later when they “EXCUSE ME LAAAAADIES” tapped our arms again and loudly told us, “GOODNIGHT!” They were going, but, “HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.” Slur. Stumble. At that point I got down on my knees and begged for his phone number or if he was wanted we could just head home right now because I could barely control my lusting rage for him. Well clearly that’s what he was hoping for.. right? Or was I reading his signals of flirtation all wrong? Well I didn’t really ask him that so I guess we’ll never know.

A few years ago I had a young gentleman repeatedly poke and knock my handbag in a very UN-crowded bar – until I turned around, looked him straight in the eye and said, “STOP POKING MY BAG.” He and his friend scurried away. Sure, the bar was empty with a ratio of 14 men glugging beers to 2 girls sipping chardy – I get it, you’re doing your darn best to get some attention – but hey, a smile and a hello goes an awful long way, and crazy enough it’s the most normal, successful and tactful approach to get a girl engaging back with you.

This is no new startling observation by me – I’m sure for a very long time women have wondered at guys’ pea-cocking techniques. Be it whistling, pinching bottoms or poking hand bags, I would love to know what shoots through a man’s head before their light bulb idea of ‘getting our attention’ enters their beer brain path and I dearly hope it isn’t something like “If I grab her ass she’ll totally want to marry me”. Well that’s how us girls think… about marriage, all the time. Isn’t it? That’s our one and only true goal in life. Tongue, cheek, calm down.

I get the whole pulling the pigtails because you like them thing but come on guys, you’re in your 30s, you’re not scared of women anymore and you know what their boobs feel like. So stamp their passport, let them get on the Eurostar and drink their champagne in Parisian peace.