There's a bar called "The Vault" in Hot Springs, SD. It's about the only place that fits my age, has decent food and internet access.
I was working my mother's-basement-based internet media empire when two very attractive young women walked in. They were decked out, in heels and groomed perfectly.
I naturally assumed they were with the "Ms. South Dakota" pageant which is hosted in Hot Springs and thus ignored them. I continued with my work, finished my burger and went up to the bar to pay my tab.
However, my path had me go right past the two entrants and so enroute to the cashier I stopped and asked,
"Are you girls entrants in the beauty pageant?"
They, surprisingly said, "no." I continued on to the bar to pay my tab, but in that short 3 minutes I was confused. They were WAY too good looking to be locals. Too young to be natives. And too dressed up to be from the area. I caught a hint of an accent and so on the return trip to my table I stopped by again and asked,
"Excuse me, but do you mind if I ask you a question."
They said, "sure."
"If you're not with the beauty pageant, then why are you here?"
They giggled a little bit and said, "What beauty pageant?"
I said, "The Ms. South Dakota beauty pageant. It's hosted here every summer."
The one on the right said, "No, we're not with the beauty pageant. We're workers at the Vista Hotel. We're from Russia."
And then the light went on.
To handle tourist season a lot of the local hotels, gift shops, and so forth, hire eastern European kids to handle the excess traffic. They get to see some of the most beautiful parts of the US and the employers get cheap labor. And when they said they were from Russia and working at the hotel, it all made sense.
But here is where it gets interesting.
Had they been American women, my inquiry as to whether they were part of the beauty pageant would have been a complete failure. It would have been viewed as sucking up, dismissed, poo pooed, "yeah we know we're hot," and I would have been guaranteed a 100% failure. But since these were girls from Russia, it was the complete opposite.
They were completely flattered.
"Did you really think we were in the beauty pageant?" one said with a smile on her face.
I said, "Yes, but you have to understand. NOBODY dresses up like you girls do in this town and most of the women are old or ugly. You stand out and since the pageant was in town I figured you were part of it."
This innocent and sincere statement only endeared me to them further. They genuinely appreciated the fact I mistook them for beauty pageant contestants. They started asking what I did, why I was there, as I also inquired about them and what they were doing.
However, it was sad because I only had one more day in town and wanted to make sure these young ladies got the most out of their trip. Since I couldn't play the role of tour guide, I wrote everything I loved about the Black Hills and the Badlands down on a napkin making them promise me they would visit these sites even if it took a little money. They thanked me and then something very rare happened.
One of them asked me to pull up a chair and join them.
I don't mean this to sound like "Gee shucks whillikers howdy" moment as if a girl never asked me to join them. I mean this as a "holy cow, a courteous gesture on the part of a young woman to be considerate enough to OBSERVE the situation and make a stranger feel welcome." Though I would have liked to talk to them more, I was deadly tired from 300 miles of riding and climbing Bear Butte, and very politely declined the offer, said I had to get some sleep and reiterated the importance they explore and enjoy the Black Hills.
The moral of this story is a simple one.
This is HOW IT SHOULD BE.
Notice there were no sexual overtones or romantic interests. There was no presumptions on the part of the girls. It was just a simple and honest interaction between a guy and two gals. And the women were cordial, kind, sweet, and (dare I point out) physically presentable to the public. When I made my approach they were not rude, dismissive or condescending. Instead they listened, were polite and took me for my word, never once considering engaging in mind games. It resulted in a very enjoyable experience where instead of pulling teeth to merely engage a member of the opposite sex in a non-sexual, genuinely interested, curiosity-based, grounds, I got to enjoy a good conversation with two nice girls that will make two lucky men very happy in the future.
They were ladies. And I suggest American and western women start paying attention if they wish to achieve the same status and respect.