Movies have ruined my social graces.
Whenever I meet someone new, I only have about two minutes of wit before I’m tapped out, as film has conditioned me to expect a scene change or significant plot twist at the end of those two minutes.
But no, you’re supposed to keep talking.
Nobody has that much good dialogue. Even Aaron Sorkin has to run out eventually.
At this point, you can discuss (a) the weather, (b) your major in college, or (c) your sudden awareness that the two of you have no conversational chemistry together and will fail to acknowledge each other the next time you pass on the street.
I recommend (c) because I like to watch the world burn.
Why talk about all this? Because I’m bored and I have the internet at my disposal. That’s why!
Oh, and a girl. Da-doyee.
Not present tense, mind you. I was recently reminded of a girl I last saw some four or five years ago. So let’s hop in the wayback machine and take a trip back to the distant year of 2008…
It was a marvelous day. Spring was in the air. The birds were shining, the sun was chirping, and Cupid was chasing people down dark alleys and bludgeoning them with romance.
Limping away from one of these altercations, I spied a girl who had caught my eye many a time before. I found her quite ‘fetching’, as we used to say back then. We had a class together, and by sheer coincidence, we happened to be leaving at exactly the same time, and I only had to use the drinking fountain for three minutes to make that happen.
I wisely avoided the urge to lapse into banal small talk as we walked to class together. I did so by not talking at all. And so we walked quietly to class, the silence broken only by this exchange.
“You…you is do homeworks? You is do homeworks GOOD?”
<Pained smile and nod>
“Is GOOD for to do homeworks!”
The next semester, she dropped out and enrolled somewhere else on the other side of the country. I’m sure that was just a coincidence.
* * *
Movies have also led me to believe that a successful romance can grow out of repeated eye contact and meaningful glances. This is a problem when your meaningful glances look like this:
After several months, it became clear that this was generating little to no progress in getting to know the hot girl in Shakespeare class.
You fool!, I chided myself, you can’t get to know a girl just through frequent eye contact in Shakespeare class.
As hard as that was to realize, I knew it was true, so I started making eye contact with her in lots of other places too. In the hallway, in the DC, halfway across the campus. This didn’t always turn out to be her, but since girls are telepathic, I’m sure she got the message eventually.
After a year and a half of this, I decided it was time to take things to the next level: idle chit-chat.
“Hey,” I said, casually galumphing over to where she sat, alooooone, in the dining commons. “I feel like we’re always making awkward eye contact, and thought maybe we could have a normal conversation for once.”
“Yeah, sure. Blah blah blah blah, something something, something, the price of tea in China, sex, drugs, rock and roll, I have a boyfriend, so tell me about yourself.”
“Oh, um…did you hear that?”
“I think I heard a…mime screaming. I’ll, uh, be right back.”
She already had a boyfriend?! I’ll bet the asshole only waited ten months before striking up a conversation with her. How’s a guy supposed to get a date when everybody else moves so damn fast?
This story has neither a happy nor sad ending. Just a weird one: the closest I’ve ever felt to being in a sitcom.
So a few years pass, I graduate, move into a house with some friends, and time passes. We have some extra space in the house, and one of my roommates says he has an engaged friend who is looking for somewhere to live for a few months, and he’s thinking about moving in with us. He’s coming over next Tuesday to check out the house.
I of course forget, so please don’t judge me too harshly for walking around the house wearing nothing but an undershirt and boxer shorts the next Tuesday. On a typical Tuesday, this is perfectly acceptable, but on this particular Tuesday, I walk into the kitchen and find myself face to face with Shakespeare girl, holding a box of donuts.
She is apparently engaged to Potential Roommate Guy, who comes in next. Followed by all of my roommates. We talk and eat donuts for an hour, during which at no point do I put on pants.
Because I suddenly realized that I didn’t care.
I didn’t give one flying shit about the fact that I had no pants on while talking with some complete stranger and his fiancee I’d creeped on years before. Despite being a monstrous affront to all things social, I was the least uncomfortable and awkward-feeling person in the room. I felt like a god.
The next day, the happy couple left town and moved to the other side of the country. I’m sure that was just a coincidence too.
* * *
For more stories about how I’ve humiliated myself and everyone around me, you may also enjoy This Post Is Definitely Not About Sex, ‘Boob Money’ Is An Unfortunate Phrase To Get Stuck In Your Head, There’s Nothing Quite As Scary As A Girl Around The Corner, and The Ubiquitous Nature Of The Girl Who Wears Hats.