SCAD Connector Column: Just say no

I am officially the last single girl out of all of my friends from high school and undergrad. All are either awaiting proposals or have already accepted proposals from a range of men. Some of these couples are perfectly matched, some very obviously settling. Between bridesmaid-dress shopping and talk of flowers and rings, I should have been ready to embrace any scenario that got a diamond on this finger. But luckily, the abundance of silk and lilies hasn’t clouded my judgement.

I was in Savannah a few weeks ago and had gone there with the sole purpose of eating my way through the city. My food crawl began at Green Truck Pub and ended at Olde Pink House. In between, I stopped off at my hotel on Bay Street and changed into looser pants. I had an hour to kill before my reservation, so I went down to my hotel’s bar to have a complimentary drink. It was crowded with guests refueling for the night’s festivities, but I found a table in the corner that overlooked the river.

Minding my own business, I sipped my glass of wine and tried to convince myself that I could fit one more meal in my stomach. All other patrons were minding their own business: small talking with their spouses, having subdued conversations with friends. All except one person, a middle-aged man who seemed to be walking in my direction, loudly saying hello to everyone he passed. I averted my eyes and took a prolonged sip from my glass that I hoped said, “Please, don’t talk to me.”

My message wasn’t received. He walked right up to where I was seated, stuck out his hand and introduced himself. Even though I ended our introduction with a have a nice night, he continued on talking. He asked if I had a boyfriend, and what brought me to Savannah. He began finding weird segues into sexual innuendos. I could feel my face growing hot and the sweat beginning to drip. I looked from guest to guest with a plea for assistance, but no one budged. They were hearing every word out of this obnoxious man’s mouth and, from the disgusted looks on their faces when I turned their way, I think they thought I was in on it.

What I thought was my final straw was when he asked me how old I was, exclaimed I was just a baby, and then tried to pick me up and carry me away. I held onto my chair for dear life and screamed. Enough was enough. He put his hands up in surrender and bid adieu. Crisis averted. Or so I thought. It was a mere 5-minutes later when I heard a familiar voice yelling, “Everyone please, can I have your attention, I have a very important announcement to make.”

I could hear the voice coming my way, but I kept my head down and a hand on my purse. Everyone in the bar got eerily silent. “I would like everyone’s attention please, because I am going to propose to my very beautiful girlfriend over there,” he said. I stared at the white table cloth and could feel the eyes boring into me from every direction. A second later, there he was, down on one knee, asking me a question that I had always hoped would be done in a more private way, or at least by someone I actually knew.

No is often one of the hardest words to say. Especially when there are emotions mixed in and public displays. But in the end, if something is not right – and this was completely not right – it works out for everyone if that simple little word is politely uttered. Leaving the two parties to go their separate ways. This is exactly what I did. I said my peace, got up, pushed in my chair next to this kneeling man and walked out. I had a very delicious meal to catch.

I headed over the to the Olde Pink House in the romantic lamp light that engulfs Savannah once the sun goes down and didn’t feel the slightest bit sad that I didn’t have a man on my arm. I walked up to the hostess to alert her that I was there. “Hi, Miss Huftalen, and for how many was the reservation for?” she asked. “Just one, thank God,” I told her and was happily led to my table to enjoy their signature flounder, the piano playing in the background.

*Previously published on, February 2012.


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