FUNNY WOMEN #88: Retrospective Open Letters to the Ones Who Got Away


To the men who got away: Hey, let’s talk about it now that I have a fresh perspective.

To the man who asked me if I would like to spend the day with him while I was on the bus to work (and to the other man who used an identical pickup line at Starbucks like two years later): I was taken aback by your invitation; it was 8 a.m. on a workday. Now I appreciate your candor because it takes a real man to immediately admit he is unemployed.

To the man who asked me to dinner while I was walking down the street in a parka with a scarf wrapped around my head during a Chicago snowstorm: I used to think you were proof that some dudes will hit on anyone. Now I know that you just really like surprises. I’m guessing you play a lot of scratch ‘n win lotto. And I assume you spend all your quarters at those toy machines that dispense plastic eggs with prizes inside. You never know what you’re going to find under that parka or beneath that silver gunk that gets under your fingernails or inside that plastic egg. You’re adventurous. I admire that about you.

To the men who tell me that despite my choice of profession, I don’t look like a lawyer: I know. I’m pretty enough to be a struggling actress. What am I doing with my life? I bet you can advise me. 

To the jolly, middle-aged Dutch man who ran after me, arms outstretched, while I was trying to find the Van Gogh Museum: I didn’t know you were interested. You tried to help me interpret your mating dance by chanting “I like! I like!” after you had chased me for two blocks. I was too slow on the uptake and too quick on my feet. Now I’ll never know what I missed.

To the two dozen men who have informed me over the years that–like me–their ex-girlfriend is Filipino: I shouldn’t have accused you of being a racist. Maybe there was more to you. 

To the men who find faux-autism a turn-on because they saw Garden State in college: When you told me that I was different than the other girls in the bar, I accused you of being a racist and walked out the door. But it was just an excuse to go home and alphabetize my record collection. I bet you would have enjoyed watching that.

To the stranger who yelled “I love you” to me from his moving car while I was jogging: I was just about to yell “Nietzche once said that there is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness,” but you slipped through my fingers at 45 miles per hour. 

To the men who are so busy checking their iPhones while hitting on me that they don’t notice that I now wear a wedding band: One day, some lucky single girl will replace that unlucky iPhone as the object of your affection. Until then, I’ll keep refreshing Instagram.

And to the men who haven’t hit on me yet: What are you waiting for? 

Ever yours,

Maria Angela


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Maria Angela Johnson has written on human rights law and other law-related topics for the Seattle Journal of Social Justice, the National Women Lawyer's Journal, the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology, the Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter, the Birmingham News, and a high school textbook on immigration law that you've never heard of. This is her first attempt at a publication that will not make her friends fall asleep. More from this author →