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Archive for the ‘missed opportunities’ Category

Intended NTKOG: The kind of cheekily confident, vaguely feminist girl who can poke fun at the whole modern meatmarket scene with a most excellent pick-up line. Like, oh, say, holding up a card rating you from one to ten?

I am: usually drawn to men for qualities like wit, charisma, and advanced degrees in physics.

I am not: too into traditionally good-looking men anyway. (Pssst, Seth Rogen: call me!)

The Scene: Hanging out in the best pizza joint in New England College Town last weekend, chowing down on a bacon and mashed potato pizza with Justice, Muscles, and Karma (Justice’s roommate). One of us observed that the restaurant was a total sausagefest — not, of course, referring to the menu — and for a few minutes we discussed the relative aesthetic merits of the fellows swarming the tables. Then I reached for the pad in my bag, tore out five pices of paper, and starting ripping them neatly into halves.

“What are you–” Karma started. I scribbled a large number 1.

“Noooooooooo!” Justice and Muscles shouted in — I really wish I were exaggerating here — complete unison.

Huh. Apparently they’re hip to my tricks.

“I am embarrassed,” Justice kept repeating with increasing urgency, as I labelled the pieces with bold numerals from 7-10. “Just make sure you don’t forget to say how mortified I was.” (Got your back, girl.) But come on, I argued! I’m not going to hurt anyone’s feelings! I’m only going to give them nice, positive scores. It’s really just a way of giving an across-the-room compliment!

Though I noted in the back of my head that, in the case of a severe hair or wardrobe malfunction, the 9 could always be flipped to reveal a 6.

“You can’t get us kicked out of here,” Karma warned me. “They have the best pizza in town.” A weighty argument.

For the next half hour, I furtively raised what I thought to be the appropriate numbers in the direction of passing men, though I did not hold them up for all to see. Once the judging was in progress, my dining companions took even more issue with my project.

“He’s not a nine!” Justice shrieked, snatching the 7 slip from across the table, while Muscles shook his head in horrified disbelief and picked up the 8. At various points in the meal, each of the four of us had a different slip in front of us, grease soaking through its edges, while hotly disputing the attractiveness (or, uh, age — whoops!) of some passer-by.

Only once did the cards have a chance to get properly displayed. Near the end of the meal, Muscles left the table, and as he returned, sauntered in mock-casual slow-motion toward the table, pantomiming a “Who, me?” gesture. I threw the 10 card up high in the air. Justice noticed the card but not its target and stiffened, blushing radioactive through her sweater dress so hard I could practically feel it. “Put that down,” she hissed. But when Muscles sat back down and she realized what had happened, not only did she relax but, for once, didn’t even dispute my rating.

The Verdict: Okay, so I totally see why my companions didn’t want to be associated with this silliness, and certainly also how, done in a mean-spirited or caustic way, this would be an incredibly cruel thing to do in a bar or restaurant. However, I still hold that if you’re only doling out top-shelf ratings like 9s or 10s, and it’s done in an obviously light-hearted manner, this might be a pretty cute uber-cheesy line to try in a bar. I’d still be up for trying it sometime, if only for kitsch or novelty value.

I rate this idea an 8.0! And my friends a 1.0 for being jerkfaces! (But, I guess, a 10.0 in every other respect, so it all evens out.)

BONUS PRO TIP!

If you’ve ever tried discussing and reaching a group consensus with friends about mutual acquaintainces’ rating on the 10-scale, you might notice there’s a huge ratings discrepancy between men and women. This is because, as near as I can figure, men are much better at purely perceiving a person’s physical attractiveness, whereas at least the women I know have a hard time divorcing physical appearance from intangible (but important!) qualities.

Thus, I presented to you The Patented NTKOG 40-Scale! Simply assign each person 10 points each for: Looks; Personality; Intelligence; and Talent, and I think you’ll be AMAZED by how close the ratings com in! My totally arbitrary brightline for personal awesomeness is a 26: any lower, and people might stop returning your text messages. (Justice & Muscles are both 38s; the guy I went on a Jewish frat blind date dash with freshman year is a 7. Those are about the extremes.)

I mean, not that I really advocate assigning values to people’s attractiveness or your approval for them or anything. But it is quite an amusing activity over a pitcher or two…

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Intended NTKOG: The kind of devil-may-care tattooed badass who speeds down the open highway with a chopper between her legs and a yearning for freedom in her heart.

I am: a bit ashamed to admit that I cannot even ride a bike. I tried to learn how in college — I’d sneak out of my room at 4am and practice riding around the quad for hours, then, sweaty, sneak back into the dorm and mock-casually ask the roommates who was up for a little bike ride. Apparently the practice didn’t pay off, though, as I usually fell.

I am not: confident that adding a motor and gasoline to this equation will be an improvement.

The Scene: Strolling the streets of New England College Town with Muscles and Justice, we happened upon a little outdoor fete held at a local organic market. Lining the streets in front of the event: scores of lovingly cared-for vintage motor scooters in a rainbow of pastel and neon hues. The owners of said scooters — men, mostly, with long hair and at least two articles of leather clothing emblazoned proudly with patches from their respective towns’ scooter clubs — crowded around one man who was standing on a chair and barking out orders:

Charismatic Leader: Look, we’re leaving soon, and you won’t have another chance to gas up for 35 miles! Gas up now! And look, guys, let’s maintain a strict formation. Don’t be assholes! Pass on the left, not on the right. You assholes.

Invigorating words. As the crowd broke up, I scanned the scooter enthusiasts for one who broadcasted the pitch-perfect blend of “I may or may not gnaw on baby bones” and “I will not kill you for asking to get on my bike.” And before you spit-take at the word scooter, let me tell you, these guys were seriously intimidating. As I sighted my prey, Muscles stalked him on a photographic safari:

Something tells me impatient drivers don't give this guy any shit for driving 50mph on the freeway in his scooter.

Something tells me impatient drivers don't give this guy any shit for driving 50mph on the freeway in his scooter.

“Um, hey,” I ventured, voice a-quaver, “Can I take a look at your bike?”

Okay, guys, I realize you can’t see the front of my interlocutor in this photograph, but allow me to clarify: the tattoos on his scalp extended to his forehead. His eminently dudely jewelry ran in a skulls&death motif. His nose was pierced with a bull ring in a thickness one rarely sees outside of the later stages of ear gauging. Are you getting a mental imagine of just how TOTALLY FUCKING EXTREME this dude looked? Okay, good. Now imagine the bike that such a dude would own.

His was even more hardcore.

The dragon's eyes light up with the engine is on!

The dragon's eyes light up when the engine is on!

We chat for a little bit about the purpose of the scooter rally, how far people travel down for these things, and the most miles he’s ever ridden on this bike in one trip (316, it turns out, from Rhode Island to New York City.) The first thing that strikes me is how sweet and extremely articulate he is. He sounds, more than anything, like a graduate student, eager to explain the minutiae of years of intense research. He even goes so far as showing me how all the gears and knobs work on the (hand-etched silver!) handle bars. Then it all gets too technical for my understanding, so I ask how the rally is going so far.

Scooter Badass: It actually started last night. What usually happens is we all meet up at a bar on the first night. Although sometimes people are a bit intimidated when we all show up together. But scooter people are generally pretty gentle. Not like motorcyclists, who can get aggressive.

Wow. Not what I expected to hear? I guess these badass, hardcore scooterists are more like Hell’s Cherubs.

The Verdict: After we had chatted a bit, I made my move: “Do you think I could sit down on it?” I asked, “Just for a picture?” And in my mental fantasy he immediately responded, “Of course! Here, you can get on behind me and I’ll take you for a ride down the block!” But alas, reality snapped back when he gently but firmly told me, no, it was too close to the rally take-off, and besides, he was the only one who rode astrode the ferocious beast. Fair enough.

Where Did I Go Wrong? Okay, say it with me: rule number of one being a crazy-ballsy dude: DO NOT ASK PERMISSION FOR ANYTHING! Just do stuff, then apologize (and pay bail, if necessary) once you’ve already made an incredible memory. Although obviously in this case, permission was the only way to go, as I had evening plans and it would have been too much of a bother to get locked up for Grand Theft Semi-Auto.

Sometimes it just isn’t your day. But at least we all learned an important lesson about not judging people based on appearances! And about how much cooler tattoos and leather make everything — including scooters.

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Intended NTKOG: The kind of girl who, while in a public restroom, makes calls on her cell phone, heedless of public decency, dignity, or her callers’ eardrums.

I am: shy of bladder and faint of heart when it comes to public restrooms. During my two years in the dorms in undergrad, it was my primary goal to be that girl no one ever sees entering or exitin a restroom. I was eerily successful.

I am not:  really big on talking on the phone anyway, let alone in the cavern of bodily shame.

The Scene: The large restroom of the food court in the mall next to my current temp gig. Ideal, I figured, as it’s a) full of people, that b) I will never see again. All morning I chugged iced tea to flood out my bladder’s introversion, and when the moment was right, took my lunchbreak.

It took a while to figure out the perfect victim — er, lucky phone recipient. Finally, I settled on The Ex, because after living together for a few years, I figured the odds were slim that he had not at some point heard me peeing. Heck, he could probably pick the sound of me peeing out of some sort of terrible, dystopian auditory line-up just from my particular bladular cadence. (You can see I’m campaigning hard for the role in his wistful reveries as The One That Got Away…)

After pacing anxiously outside the restroom doors, I finally girded my (aching) loins and stormed the nearest stall like the Bastille. Snag: I was alone in there. So I crouched on the toilet for five or six minutes, clutching my cell phone, before, mercifully, a group of eight or nine women entered en masse. The time had come! 

I started to loosen my muscles, but then — TWIST! As I scrolled urgently through my contacts, I remembered: I deleted his number out of my phone a few weeks ago in the throes of break-up pique. Frantically I scrambled to remember his number, and right as my bladder was slipping, I hit the send button.

Only to find that the mall architects had apparently pre-empted this particular social dysfunction by rendering the restroom I was in as the only thirty square feet in the whole friggin’ mall with no. cell. reception.

For a moment I considered just faking the call, to at least give my fellow restroom compatriots the awk-talk treatment, but no, I decided. It would be against the spirit of the NTKOG project. It would be ignoble. It would be another twenty seconds at least until I was finally able to pee, and that just wasn’t an option.

So What Went Wrong? Ultimately, I decided to wait on this, the NTKOG I have been dreading since the conception of this project. Not to discard it altogether, mind, but merely to postpone it. And like the deferral of all dreaded tasks, this greatest mortification looms before me even more horrifying than before.

On the bright side, this massive TMI moment does suit nicely for the lovely LiLu‘s weekly TMI Thursday roundup — if only because no blog I know of features a WAAAAAAAAY TMI Wednesday.

But, as a cautionary note for everyone other than The Ex, who is now off the hook because all of the surprise will be gone (much like the magic in our relationship after he reads about my pee travails), beware any calls from TKOG. Because you might be next.

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The intended NTKOG: The kind of girl who comes across a street-side busker or jam session, and immediately jumps in as background singer, groupie and, if warranted, potential manager.

I am: the worst singer you’ve ever heard in your life, for starters, and generally irritated when wannabe musicians try to peddle their questionable craft on the street in an attempt to “bring joy” to the world.

I am not: a big fan of music, generally, unless long freeway drives or booze are involved in the mix. (Note the “or” — not an and/or situation. I may be daring, but I’m not a total suicide case.)

The Scene: After taking an impromptu 6-mile walk through Brookline and Brighton this afternoon, I came home for a hot soak. Afterwards, I threw on a highly disreputable outfit (pjs, braless, my Angry Lesbian jacket, etc.) and popped outside to pace while making a quick phone call.

Along the way, I passed the stoop of a nearby apartment building, where two youngish, cute guys sat on adjacent staircases, playing a gleeful duet of Sublime’s “Santaria.” Just the tune for a warm, summery dusk. For a moment I considered singing along, or dashing across the street to ask whether they took requests. But alas, one look down revealed that I was cutting a particularly hobo-ish swath, and, if their retinas didn’t spontaneously combust with the horror of it all, then at the very least I would feel far too awkward to talk.

Back to the apartment, and quickly, was the order of the day: I sprinted so fast that my damp hair was wind-dried by the time I crossed the threshold. I shimmied into the first passably summery outfit that came to hand, and was back jogging stoop-ward in less than three minutes, taking time only to curse with resignation my total loss for a game plan.

What went wrong? Heartbreak! Sometime during the course of my (seriously, three-minute!) quick-change act, apparently the boys packed up their six-strings and fled the scene. Alas and alack! A lack of proper planning on my part, that is.

Moral of the Story: Dude, okay, it’s one thing for a mere civilian to take the occasional casual stroll through the neighborhood, but while surging through life on a constant quest for adventure and spontaneity, you must always suit up. This once you have burned me, o! cruel sartorial fate, but in future, I will always be at the ready.

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