So, storytime and rambling observations. I was at Dorian's Parlor, something like a cross between a steampunk/neovictorian cabaret an a miniature con. I was there with friends, and feeling like I wanted to confront my fear that I'm a big giant unattractive mess of socially-inept, and the corollary fear that my decision to be abstinent until remarried is moot because I couldn't get any anyway.
Rook's husband the Progressive Gun Fan, who's been there several times, started out showing me around the place and introducing me to people, many of whom were very flirty women, which was very nice of him but I figured that wasn't the way he wanted to spend the whole evening. I faded out to let him go flirt (open marriage) and started talking to an acquaintance I don't know well, then graduated to trying to make friends with a complete stranger. I spotted a pretty woman hanging out by the wall alone. So, I went over and complimented her dress and struck up a conversation. We hung out watching the performances and chatting for the next two hours or so. I eventually explained a little about why I was not looking for a relationship and apologized if I'd been wasting her time, but I didn't get the vibe that I had been. Especially since we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers at the end of the evening. I told her about my need for volunteers to help me practice my old Swedish massage techniques, and it turns out she's studied too but also never went to the time and expense to get certified. (Certification/licensing in most states is basically a matter of going through some fairly brief training, then paying an instructor to watch you work on people for hundreds of hours more, 600 total in PA.) So we've been in email contact and are going to get together Thursday for a practice session.
I had totally forgotten until this that my ex used to say I was charming, many years ago.
Earlier in the evening, The Progressive Gun Fan introduced me to a very touchy, very conventionally attractive woman. She kept taking my hand or touching my chest, so apparently she found me attractive; I didn't touch back because 1) abstinent and 2) near total stranger. She has an interest in entomology and told me her theory about how ants were more advanced than humans because of the way they work together to promote the good of the colony. I pointed out how the worker ants were all sterile and their only opportunity to promote their own genes was through promoting the colony. At that point she wandered off, either because I was totally into the conversation not her body or she was a bit offended by my disagreement on ant motives. Hey, some of my best friends are human. Humans are actually a totally awesome species and tend to get put down by means of bad science all the time, like this ant comparison. Humans, I've got your back.
I noticed that when I was introduced to women, the women who I'd think were above my league were pretty flirty and the women who I'd think were in it were pretty reserved, even giving a subtle defensive vibe. It's possible I was causing this by being more forward with the ones I thought were in my league, but I don't think so. I think I was seeing the mirroring of something I used to do; I took this sort of "I will NOT make myself a fool for you" attitude when I met a woman who struck me as so hot she was hard for my brain to deal with. This has not happened to me in a very long time.
In honesty one part of my brain says I was one of the best-looking guys at the event, and another part says "no you are completely unattractive. Remember how your ex reacted. You are overweight and one of your eyes is higher than the other and the end of your nose is bulbous and only women can really be attractive etc."
If you are a man finding yourself at a steampunk event and can bring off bowing and kissing the air above a woman's hand naturally, when you are introduced, do it. It goes over very well. You do not actually kiss the hand or get all that close, a few inches is about right. It probably helps that I do this kind of thing, not because it goes over well, but because it's the kind of thing I always do in a venue that lets me get away with it.
BTW, if you're ever at an event and see me, please introduce yourself. I would be fascinated and honored to actually meet a reader. Please, though, as my meatspace friends do not know me as Mousie, just mention you read my blog rather than the name of the blog or my name.