Hi Mark, I ran the poem by my daughter Jemma who is a practicing psychologist.
She accepted that ‘petrified’ qualified by ‘still’ was a plausible reaction on the girls part where the fellow, in his self absorption, only saw the lack of derision allowing him to sense some form of acceptance.
Your other suggestions are very worthwhile and will certainly feature in the rewrite.
Regarding the close, I had imagined that a terse, statacco response was appropriate hence the choppy meter, but I am well taken with your proposal.
Thanks for the encouraging comments, they are much appreciated,