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LOPs (Lotharios on the Prowl)
Dannah Sylvia T. Rubio
'I am referring to no other than the Casanovas-in-training, the wannabe philanderers, and the wannabe adulterers'

I would understand, really, if I were even just remotely good-looking. But the thing is, I'm not even the slightest bit pretty. So it stupefies me immeasurably how, lately, I seem to have morphed into some kind of femme fatale. I am of course being sarcastic. You are not about to read another first-hand account of how a klutzy duckling has, by some quirk of fortune, metamorphosed into a graceful swan. I am still as klutzy as the day I slipped and plunged headlong into a puddle of rainwater near the Philcoa overpass, or the day I stumbled and fell flat on my face in front of the U.P. College of Law. Neither are you about to read another story of how a gawky geek has been transformed overnight into a sophisticated seductress. I have long resigned myself to "My Undeniable and Indubitable Three-fold Truths" one, that geekiness is the very essence of me; two, that I am the concept's very epitome; and three, that elan is a quality I can only hope to have either when I'm in deep slumber and my imagination has run totally amok, or possibly when I'm intoxicated with liquor (which is never the case) and my senses have all but slipped my grip.

What you are about to glimpse is a sneak-peek of my steadily growing dossier of LOPs (lotharios on the prowl) a.k.a. Icky Idiots a.k.a Lecherous Scumbags -- those Don Juan Wannabes who have obviously not taken a good "beyond-the-mirror" look at themselves (or else they would have died of shame a long time ago). Stripped of the fanciful labels, I am referring to no other than the Casanovas-in-training, the wannabe philanderers, and the wannabe adulterers, furtively lurking -- nay scandalously hovering -- in our midst. I swear I do not resemble carrion in any way, nor do I smell like decaying flesh I hope. But the vultures keep on coming, and what enormous faith I once reposed in the male gender has been replaced with cynicism and foreboding.

I have been "approached" by a handful of creepy cretins over the past twelve months within the premises of the U.P. Diliman Campus of all places. For a person who is as indictaby introverted as I am, who rarely speaks unless first spoken to, and who often doesn't speak at all even when spoken to (I cannot count with the fingers on both my palms and the toes on both my feet - possibly not even with the aid of an abacus - the sheer number of people who have, through the years, commented on my alleged "shyness" and/or "quietness".), that is quite an amazing feat. (I am operating on the assumption that the more quiet you are, the less conspicuous you ought to be.)

Even granting that seven years in a school run by nuns may have made me more squeamish than most, I wager that alarm bells would start ringing in any reasonable-minded individual's mind once a total stranger who initiates a "conversation" under the pretense of inquiring about the U.P. College of Law curriculum begins telling her the story of his life, how dreadfully unhappy his "gun-shot" marriage is, and then later on in the course of the one-sided "conversation" (a monologue really) asks for her number and address, and proceeds to offer to drive her home. Or when a complete stranger more than twice her age initiates a "conversation" (a soliloquy verily) under the pretense that she bears a striking resemblance to somebody he once met and then when he has pretendedly determined that she's not the same person, rattles off one question after another (increasing incrementally in intrusiveness) which anyone with even just the slightest bit of common sense would not give the right answers to: "What time do you go to home?", "What route do you take?", "Can I have your schedule from Mondays to Saturdays?". Or when an absolute stranger after tailing her from one building to another in the U.P. Diliman campus, musters enough chutzpah to "spring out from the bushes", introduce himself, ask her where she’s headed, and not content with all that crass impropriety, has the gall to volunteer to accompany her wherever she’s headed -- thereafter nonchalantly and from out of the blue showing her his wedding ring as if she’d give a hoot as to his marital status.

I will spare you the grimy and soot-ridden specifics of my brushes with LOPs a.k.a. Vulpine Vermins a.k.a. Morally-decrepit Miscreants, but as I have their modus operandi down pat, I will spread the word to forewarn others of them.
1. LOPs look for women who are solitary - i.e, unaccompanied or unescorted. While I prefer going about my day-to-day agenda (or lack of it) by myself, I have a bottle of hairspray and a lot of sharp objects in my bag to wield in the event someone tries anything ugly.
2. LOPs look for women who appear "approachable and friendly" - to use the words a LOP used to describe me when I asked him why he zeroed in on me of all people. I still have not quite mastered The Menacing Leer that’ll keep LOPs at bay, but I am proud to say that thanks to the traumatic unfolding saga that is law school, I now have a perpetual scowl plastered on my face that’ll make LOPs think twice before they attempt to strike up a chat with me.
3. LOPs will leave you alone once you make it clear that you’re more than immune to - and are in fact antagonized by -- their vomit-inducing advances. While I do not have it in me to be as brutally frank as to say "Leave me alone", I compensate by giving curt responses.

Well, there you have it. Forget about the Cyclops - they exist only in Greek mythology. It’s the
crotch-itchy LOPs that you have to be wary of.

© Dannah Sylvia T. Rubio December 2002

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