What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Eye Contact Evasion June 15, 2015

As a part of the show that I’m doing this summer, we do a little melodrama section.  The audience gets to “Booo,” and everyone loves it. Two lucky men are chosen to have a gun fight, and then one comes up on stage. My character is in love with the, now dead, gunman, and part of the script is that I kiss him. Not on the mouth. Even Julia Roberts doesn’t do that. First, I give him a peck on the cheek. The man usually blushes, and the narrator of the melodrama tells me to kiss him again. So I kiss Mr. Gunman on the top of the head.

That usually gets a little titter from the audience.

Then the narrator says, “Oh come on, let’s see that again.”

And I spin in, perch on that lucky gunman’s lap, clap a hand over my mouth, and pretend to make out with that audience member like it’s the last dance at prom.

That right there is the most awkward part of my job. It’s not the thigh strength I takes to pretend to sit on someone’s lap. It’s not the occasional stank breath from the old men. It’s when my victim tries to look me in the eyes. The scenario usually goes one of three ways:

1) Old man looks me straight in the eye, clearly terrified of me and afraid I might be the last thing he ever sees.

2) Old man glances down at my hand covering my mouth and then gives me grumpy face like a two year old who just dropped his lollipop on a hair ball for not actually kissing him.

3) Old man gives me bedroom eyes as though hoping I’m going to drop my hand, plant one on his mouth, and see how fast his Viagra works.

NONE of these three options are acceptable.

The etiquette when someone pretends to kiss you should mimic the behavior of the unnecessary nurse at a pelvic exam. Politely avert your eyes from the action till it’s over.

Don’t make eye contact with me six inches from your face, sir. I know you didn’t volunteer for this, but please study my left ear like it holds the secrets of the universe until this is all over.

I promise it’ll be better for both of us.


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