Kind of Miss the Fondling

Okay, not really fondling. It’s the urge to fondle me that I’m missing.

I can’t hear. The last thing I heard clearly was Blink-182 vibrate my eardrums as I stood in front of their speakers after a day of stock car racing somewhere in Orange County 20 years ago. I don’t even know why I was there but I can still hear the saccharin, teeny-bopper, pseudo-punk music date-raping my soul. Of all the bands to disintegrate my ears, it had to be that one. Ugh. But I digress.

Missing the urge to fondle me doesn’t mean that I can’t hear the fondling. I can’t, but that’s not the point. I can’t hear at all when I can’t see their mouths.

Let me start over.

I’ve always known that I’ve had to read people’s lips to understand them. That’s not new, even the hearing-abled do that.

Shut up. It is too a word.

But in this mask-wearing, corona-avoiding state we’re living in, I noticed a weird side effect that it’s had on how I’m used to dealing with people.

Pre-virus, for me to understand people, I would have to stare intently at their mouths. As you can probably imagine, doing that creates situations that are…

uncomfortable at best.

Uncomfortable for me. And probably uncomfortable for the person who is suddenly being batted away from trying to put their mouth on mine. I can’t really blame them even though I do. If someone was staring intently at your mouth while you were speaking, you’d probably think they were not only enraptured by your conversational skills but also really wanted a taste of your pouty mouth. I mean, why else could someone not take their eyes off your luscious lips?

However, it’s always been because I can’t hear without actually seeing the words formed by someone’s dry cake hole. Unfortunately, me doing that has made for some awkward quick departures, or worse, a slow head tilt and a come hither.

What I didn’t realize is that since we’re all wearing these hot, have-I-been-walking-around-with-breath-like-this-all-the-time? masks recently, is that, suddenly, strangers aren’t trying to kiss me as often.

Am I going to have to actually discern how creepy a lot of men, and a larger amount of women than you’d think, are by how they block doorways and drive 55 in the fast lane? I don’t have time to follow everyone around! I feel like I’m missing a superpower I didn’t know I had.

I’ve had to realize that my terrible hearing had turned into a highly-refined social skill. One attuned to weeding out people as creeps who would so easily betray their loved ones for a taste of strange lips and a boob fondle just because I was staring at their mouths. I get how creepy of me it is to stare at people’s mouths but it’s not like I’m also massaging my drinking straw while I do it, either.

Yet, I miss it now. I miss the attempts. I miss my amused confusion when the previously mundane conversation strangely turns to innuendo and swatting them away when they go in to score. For now, I’ll have to go back to dating people for years to find out what horrible creeps they are. A cruel injustice, indeed.

Unless I’m able to somehow angle them into a doorway to see how long they stand there staring at their phone.

It’s true what they say, you never miss what you have until it’s gone.

-Cue 00’s teeny-bopper, psuedo-punk-