South American men are infamous for their forwardness and catcalls. “chchch”, winks, amor! que linda sos, whistles, the occasional attempt at seduction through a car window: they’ve got it down. these don’t bother me, but there is one thing that never fails to make me uncomfortable: the looks of my doorman.
I really can’t pin down exactly what’s creepy about him. somewhere between his eye movements, the angle of his head when he talks to me, and the half-completed smile that seems permanently frozen on his face. he is unrelenting in eye contact and what really gets me is his determination to watch me when I wait for the elevator. even if we’re not talking.
and we’re usually not talking. aside from the “cómo estás?” and “todo bien” that has become our ritual, he rarely says anything else. unless it’s really, really, really obvious. I walked in tonight with some food that I’d picked up for dinner and he, in creepy, look with his head tilted mode, asked me “comida?” (food)?
I said no… and he spent an unreasonably long time laughing just a little bit too hard at my wildly unoriginal sarcasm, finally stopping and then just looking at me. saying nothing. the elevator was taking longer than usual. the silence hung heavily in the air for what seemed like ten minutes but was in all actuality… 50 seconds.
when I finally was able to close the elevator doors behind me and the intensely awkward moment had finally come to an end, it occurred to me that he is also never closer than 5 feet from me. the amount of discomfort I feel from a person who never stands in my near proximity is, in it’s own way, impressive.
so, while my doorman still creeps me out, I do have some newly found respect for his skills. I’ll let you know if he decides to start the “chchch,” though.