Posts Tagged ‘awkward’

Guys! I’ve been asked to preface menstrual TMIs with a warning for my male readers. So here’s your warning: Vaginas bleed. If you don’t like it, don’t have sex with ’em. (You’re welcome, Muscles.)

Also, enter by NOON TOMORROW to WIN AN IPOD NANO! z0mg!

NTKOG #109: The kind of aggressive oversharer who uses her period as an excuse for everything and makes a valiant effort to keep the world at large up-to-date on her personal, uh, punctuation.

I am: one of those lucky few women whose periods just really aren’t a big deal. I barely notice it.

I am not: going to talk about it when I do notice it. I mean, unless it’s with my girlfriends, obvi, ’cause talking to women inevitably leads to discussions of menstrual blood and wedding plans.

The Scene: My uterus? So here’s a thing about periods, if any guys penetrated my severe warning and made it this far: they are fickle and perverse creatures. And there’s no quicker way to anger them than claiming that yours are never painful or aggravating. I thought of this NTKOG a few weeks ago, and laughed to myself, “Ohhh what an acting job! How could I complain about my light, pain-free period? It is practically a pleasure to host!” Cue me waking up three days later with hyperventilating, blinding, crying cramps. Thank you universe! Universe inside my reproductive system!

Anyway, set out to overshare in a variety of situations, from which, three vignettes:

Objective: Escape convenience store judgment: The Ex always argued I’m unnaturally concerned with the way people behind cash registers perceive me but, dude, you try buying red licorice and a Fresca at 10:59 PM from some translucent-skinny retail girl who weighs forty-five pounds — half eyeliner — and obviously had to filet herself to fit into her jeans. THERE WAS JUDGMENT! There was judgment.

Filet o’ salesclerk furrowed her brow for a sec when she looked at the licorice. I smiled: “Period. Crazy sugar craving, you know? Like mega period.” She looked up and gave the tiniest pulse of a smile. Foolish, heartened, I continued. “The worst part is I never see it coming. Then one day I realize I’m crying at 30 Rock and surrounded by empty pudding cups. Menstruation, eh?”

The smile wiped off her face as she gave a dignified moue of disgust. Sooooo. I guess I know whom I’m not asking if I ever need to borrow a tampon.

Objective: Tardiness with impunity: It has come to my attention, over the years, that girls periodically use their periods as an excuse for being late. I’m … just not at all sure why. But damned if I wasn’t going to give it a shot. Due to an admittedly avoidable cause, I was running about ten minutes late for the writing class I’m taking, which is taught by an elderly woman and attended by four other students. Awesome, dude. My Cher Horowitz moment.

TKOG: Sorry I’m late. I’m like super menstrual.
Old Hippie Instructor: I’m sorry, what?
TKOG: Oh, you know, I’m like on my period in a major way.
: Wait, what does that have to do with you being late?
TKOG: Uh, cramps?
OHI: [reproving glance]
TKOG: …midol?

Not quite as quotable as surfing the crimson tide, it transpired. And still haven’t solved the mystery of why periods excuse lateness!

Objective: Avoid credit card minimum in sourpuss convenience store: A different convenience store next to my house, the employees of which are positively draconian about their $5 credit card minimum (a policy which, btdubs, violates companies’ terms of agreement with credit card companies). I was picking up a travel pack of Advil to ward off a random headache, but the total came to $2.18 and I had no cash.

TKOG: Dude, seriously, please help me out here. I’m begging you.
Surly Clerk: $5 minimum. Buy something else.
TKOG: But I don’t need anything else! I’m on my period and I have terrible cramps and I need an Advil right flippin’ now.
SC: Sure. If you pay in cash.
TKOG: Dude, come on, my cramps are so bad that last night I dreamed I was giving birth to a llama.

True story, btdubs. Dude wouldn’t relent. So in desperation I glanced behind the counter at the tiny home-improvement section and, remembering the leaky aerator on my kitchen sink, asked him for a set of pliers. He rang ’em up and looked at me for just a moment, confused or at least a little surprised.

“Yeah,” I told him, ripping open the Advil as I walked to the door. “Just, like, in case a tampon gets stuck?”

You’re welcome for the visual, sir. You could have just sold me the damn Advil. But whatever, mind the mood swings, ’cause if you hadn’t heard, I had a good excuse.

The Verdict: Ugh, still not sure why women sometimes do this. I’ll admit I’m a little on the prim Victorian side when it comes to discussing bodily functions (except, apparently, on the blog — yikes), but I just don’t see what possible good can come from bringing up your period with people who aren’t actively seeking a menstrual-based conversation.

That said, as someone who enjoys behaving badly, I did quite appreciate the pale mottled shade of green the last guy turned. So. Keeping it in my bag of tricks as an emergency-conversation-escape smokebomb.

TMI Thursday! Meta-TMI about giving TMI! Go look at Livit, Luvit for more TMI! Also, while we’re housekeeping: new comment policy, kittens. If your comment friggin’ creeps me out, I will delete it wantonly and without warning. This policy will not apply to 99.9999999% of comments, but I am hereby reserving the right forever.


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GUYS! Sarah Von from the UNIMPEACHABLY DELIGHTFUL yes and yes was kind enough to run a little interview with me today! Check it out if you’re interested in my inner workings, such as they are. And apologize for length of today’s post but I’m going to go ahead and file it under: worth it.

NTKOG #96: The kind of bold, forward-moving networker who meets you, takes your contact information and actually calls you to meet up afterwards.

I am: terrified of accidentally imposing my company on unwilling interlocutors.

I am not: crazy enough, therefore, to follow through with any of the disposable friends whose numbers and business cards I accumulate by the dozen on the T.

The Scene: Last month, I met a dude on the T and went absolutely nuts for him — fireworks, fantasy montages, the whole deal — and was heartbroken when he canceled our date. A few days ago, after a month of no contact from him, I forcibly ejected every fiber of “he’s just not that into you” from my mind and texted him, proposing drinks on Thursday. To my utter friggin’ elation, he actually agreed, and suggested 8pm at Harvard Square.

Dressed for the evening in a tizzy; finally settled on: pencil skirt, casual V-neck with push-up bra, granny panties (to protect against first-date sexin’), and condoms in my purse (I’m only human). Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Dude was, as I remembered, a dreamboat, after all.

As I approached him, he waved and I wondered, huh, were his eyes this beady when I first met him? And was his forehead always so protrudey? But my taste in men is quirky anyway. As we walked to the bar, I launched into a funny story about Kiss-Ducker and I getting drunk in a combination Mexican restaurant slash tranny bar in San Jose.

“When we get together, we’re totally crazy,” I smiled.

“Wanna know a fun fact about me?” he asked. I nodded. “I’m totally crazy too.”

Just then, his cell phone went off; he answered immediately. “Hi Mom. I’m okay, how are you? Yeah, I’m just out right now. With some girl.” I threw up my arms in mock-protest. “No, she’s a real girl, Mom. I swear she’s real.” Um, your red flags getting a workout yet?

After he said goodbye, I joked: “Hey, this is great. I thought I would make this date really awkward, but, dude, you took a call from your mom! Totally surged into the lead! Nothing can be awkward now!”

“Oh, the fun fact about me,” he continued. “I’m crazy. Literally. I was hospitalized for a psychiatric breakdown in late November. I got diagnosed with bipolar and I’m on tons of lithium, so I can’t read people’s minds anymore. Okay, the bar’s around the corner.”

…holy shit. Holy shit. We walked into the bar and were told it had a twenty-minute wait. Was that okay with me, he asked? Uh, no. I needed gin and I needed it about five minutes ago.

We headed down the block to a cute underground bar and I flagged the hostess down and begged for a gin and ginger ale, and keep ’em coming. And for the gentleman?

“I’ll have a pina colada.”

…she broke it to him that they don’t make pina coladas at Irish pubs, so he sighed and ordered a pint of beer. When she brought our drinks, she lay a straw next to my glass. Former Dreamboat unwrapped the straw and stuck it in his beer. HE DRANK BEER WITH A STRAW.

In order to fill the fog of awkward, I babbled through my ice-breakers (what’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod? Miley Cyrus. do you have a rich uncle or a creepy uncle? Uncle Moneybags) while generously lubricating my discomfort with the blessed gin. Former Dreamboat, though, was in no hurry. He sipped his beer drop by drop while staring deep in my eyes. And dudes, I am here to say that he had a case of the Crazy Eye so bad that his irises were practically plaid. If you don’t know what I mean by this, you have never been penetrated by the Crazy Eye.

Every time I dropped my hand to the table, he jerked his arm toward me to try to cover my hand with his own. After a few iterations of hand and mouse, I buried my fists deep in my armpits, shivering with feigned cold in the eighty-degree bar.

The conversation moved to meeting people in the T, and I admitted that though I am naturally shy, I meet tons of people during my commute. “It’s hard to meet people on the T, though,” he mused. “If you try to talk to people, they think you’re crazy. My best opener is when I see people playing with their cell phones, I ask if they get reception in the station. You can kind of trick people into talking to you that way.”

I mentioned that I like to flash people live eyes, which sometimes draws them into conversation. He answered: “Oh, I stare at people too. I stare at people in the T all the time. They always look away really fast, though. It’s probably because I’m a guy.” It could be that, dude. It could. Or it could be the fact that you actively try to trick people into talking to you.

For the rest of his slooooow beer (and my two subsequent gin and ginger ales), he discussed the side effects of his lithium, the pall that it casts over his world until it loosens its grip before bedtime. “Did you know that 60% of bipolar patients stop taking their medicine within a year?” he asked me, a glint of hope in his voice. “I miss being manic. I was really great back then. I was a good conversationalist. You would have liked me. I thought I could read minds too, and even though I guess I couldn’t, it was kind of nice, feeling normal like that.”

Finally I paid for our drinks and walked him back to the T station, before catching my bus. There was a moment before we parted ways — that normal awkward first date moment, but captured in a funhouse mirror. He leaned in to kiss me, but I ducked out of it and gave him a hug. We should do this again, he told me. Yeah, I said, maybe. As I walked away, I could hear him taking out his cell phone to call his mother back.

The Verdict: Shit, guys, I thought that was a funny story, but it’s actually kind of sad, isn’t it? I don’t know. Part of me is happy that he apparently had a good time; the other part of me is shrieking I wore a push-up bra for this?! One thing is for certain: I’m not picking up any more guys in public until I somehow install a better pre-screening process for social dysfunction. Also, if a dude ever comes up to me on the T and asks if I get cell reception, I will turn up my music, smile politely, and say nothing.

Now I’m kind of feeling like a jerkface that I didn’t like this guy, but the thing is, you can’t like people just because the world would be a sweeter place if you did. I think all you can do is be nice and try to be an okay person. He ordered a pina colada in an Irish pub. It wasn’t going to work out anyway. It just wasn’t. I don’t know. I’m doing my best.

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NTKOG #79: The kind of girl who, instead of just speculating on the personal lives of strangers like a normal person, strides up and DEMANDS CONFIRMATION afterwards!

I am: constantly making predictions about the lives of strangers based on small quirks of their behavior, then narrating the whole thing into a mental novel (she noted wryly, tilting her fedora to cover the steely glint of her keen eyes).

I am not: actually that great at interpreting the behavior of others, it transpires.

The Scene: Last weekend at an adults-only bowling alley/bar in Dedham, on a ladies’ night with Sister, Irish Broad and Snowflake to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Snowflake’s 26th birthday. The wait for a lane is about three hours, so even after we’ve thrown back a few drinks and enjoyed surprisingly gourmet appetizers, we find ourselves lulled into silent people watching.

The majority of the bar is filled with clusters of Lady Gaga-lovin’ woo girls, all leaning a little too long over the shared scorpion bowls, their brassy roots glinting in the light. Among all the youthful revelry, though, one couple stands out: a man and woman, maybe late ’20s. She is short and a little chubby, with long, wildly unkempt hair and the perpetual half-snarl of a girl who has had to learn how to be funny; he is medium height, trim, wearing an expensive but ill-fitting sweater and swirling his chair in wide arcs. They are waiting for their check, and she takes out her credit card and taps it along to the beat of the song blaring in the background. They do not talk or even make eye contact.

Snowflake: Think that’s a first date?
Irish Broad: It has to be. They obviously don’t like each other.
TKOG: But if they were a couple who hated each other, they’d be touching.
Snowflake: But she’s paying!
TKOG: Guys. Let’s find out.

The idea of approaching someone in public to confirm predictions I’d made about them I’ll admit I totally stole from an amusing story on Blonde Monde. Just to up the awk, I drilled the table for a few more predictions. We decided that the couple had met online, and that he was a first-year law student.

The couple was so wrapped up in ignoring each other that it took them almost ten seconds to notice when i stopped at their table; she was still click-clacking her card on the table, while he swirled to look anywhere but at her.

TKOG: Excuse me, this is awkward, but I have a question for you guys.
Angry-Looking Maybe-Dater: What is it?
TKOG: Are you two on a first date?

The pair looked at each other and, for the first time in the twenty minutes we’d been watching, laughed. Like, threw back their heads and guffawed.

ALMD: Absolutely not! We’re friends. We’re ooooold friends.
TKOG: So I suppose you didn’t meet online?
ALMD: We met in college, like twelve years ago.
TKOG: And you’re not a first-year law student, are you?
Swivel Chair Speedracer: I’m a reporter.

I fought my impulse to ask if he needed a secretary, and made my way back to the table. After a moment, the girl leaned over and asked the guy, loudly: “Do we really look that awkward?!”

Yeah, I wanted to say, you totally do. And — spoiler alert — I still think it has something to do with the fact that you don’t like each other! But that, like so many other things, is none of my business.

The Verdict: Dude, this was so much more fun than it was awkward or embarrassing! I don’t think it’s going to go in my daily social-skills repertoire, but next time I’m lookin’ at a dude and really going to die if I don’t find out right then whether he’s a socialist horse jockey, I’m just going to do it. It might end up being a great conversation starter anyway!

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NTKOG #43: The kind of girl who becomes agnostic to her personal mythology.

I am: about as eminently Web 2.0 stalkable as I am unqualified to rule on the ethics and personal politics of blogging about someone who is almost definitely going to read it; therefore…

I am not: going to memorialize this one in the blog. Sorry, guys! But instead, an anecdote very slightly preceding the evening in question.

The Scene: DC, early evening, in the pounding rain. I’m set to meet up at 7pm at some bar with a guy with whom it would be both an under- and an over-statement to say I have a history. So. There’s that. Not especially helping are the dual facts that: the whole evening thus far has been a series of wardrobe malfunctions of Odyssean friggin’ proportions, and I have zero working knowledge of DC or its metro system.

Okay, being super west coasty and all, the concept that there is some subtle connection between weather and what one ought to wear in said weather is more or less an emerging trend in my world. Bearing that in mind, it could only be expected that I’d dash down to DC expecting warm, dry weather (it’s the south, after all!). When I step off the plane and into a dang maelstrom, it begins to occur to me that I should probably have packed something other than summer dresses.

Under the whimsical sartorial guidance of Kiss-Ducker, I pick up a pair of thigh-highs to wear under said summer dress, and this feels very cinema noir for, oh, about fifteen minutes, until one of them turns into an ankle sock and I am left with no option but to remove them on the train — ON THE TRAIN! — on my way to the bar.

Because I am an ace at public transportation, I end up getting to the general area of the bar around half an hour early (Awesome, TKOG. This is not a friggin’ job interview.) with unseasonably bare legs and a pair of stockings jammed into my purse. So I dash into CVS, buy new stockings and ask for directions. After I change into them and stake out the general location of the bar, three things become apparent: 1) these nylons are so cheap and coarse-woven that they are like literally grating into my skin; 2) I’m at less than 20% certainty of the bar location; and 3) I am still fifteen minutes early, which is the lamest thing ever, because I haven’t seen this guy in five years and don’t want him to think I intentionally showed up hours early for reasons that are unclear but I think we can all understand to be insidious.

So I duck into another CVS, closer to the alleged bar, buy yet another pair of stockings, change — jamming the old stockings into my Mary Poppins bag of increasing synthetic fiber cat-lady-itude  — and check the time. Still eight minutes early.

Of all the shenans going on, I’m most fixated on breezing into the bar five minutes late, so I crank up my iPod and decide to pace on the street behind the CVS, but as I turn, there is a like sort of familiar vibration in the air, and standing not three feet in front of me, directly in my line of sight appears THE VERY GUY I AM SKULKING AROUND EVERY CVS IN THE TRI-STATE AREA TO TRY AND AVOID.

So I do what any normal girl would do. I pull up my umbrella to shield my face and swivel to face a homeless dude leaning against the drugstore wall. Look, I’m not proud of this, guys. But at the same time, had there been a conveniently placed news kiosk, I probably would have ducked behind it for good measure.

I mean, dude, five years. I couldn’t risk the potential of an awk walk or — god forbid — even an awk hug in the rain. Plus, he wasn’t carrying an umbrella, and no way was I going to share mine.

Still, the fact remained that he knew the location of the invisible bar. So, drawing on all my stalking power, I let him get half a block ahead of me, affected a mien of unperturbed nonchalance, just in case, (“Oh, what? So sorry! I didn’t see you there!”), and tailed him to the bar. Once he stepped inside, I listened to the rest of the song on my iPod before breezing in my friggin’ five minutes late.

Which probably would have been really cool and casual, had I not totally copped to this whole stalking experience after ingesting like a sip of booze. And then subsequently blogged about it. Yes I’m awesome.

The Verdict: This whole clusterfuck of effortless cool was going on from about 6:25 to the time we met in the bar at 7:05. And let it just be said that by 6:57, I had done what I came there to do. So I’m going to go ahead and still call this a net victory.

Other vital lessons for my everyday life:

1) Despite my working knowledge of the Russian language, I will never have the spy chops to work for the FBI.

2) When boozin’, do not try to keep pace with a high-functioning alcoholic who has half a foot on you.

3) If there’s something you’re afraid to do, dude, do it right away instead of letting it build up. Because the amount you have built it up in your head will totally be inversely proportional to how significant it turns out to be.

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NTKOG #34: The kind of girl who — like Dudley Do-Right with a nicer chin — constantly waits for opportunities to offer up her subway seat to the old, the infirm, and the really-quite-pregnant.

I am: a total competitive sitter on the T. It’s not even so much the sitting I love as the thrill of, ha!, beating you chumps to the seat!

I am not: likely to ever even glance up, once I’m situated. After all, how can I get through four novels a week if I all be lookin’ around in civic alarm every time I hear the clunk of a cane or the beseeching moan of an arthritic old woman?

The Scene: On the ride home from work several days ago. I have finished my book on the ride in, so am listening to the Hairspray soundtrack and frenziedly glancing about, like a cornered squirrel, for someone upon whom to bestow my coveted lounge. The whole time, I am mentally pep talking myself: “Look at you, dude, being so nice! Yeah, you should do this all the time! It’ll make up for missing all those years of Sunday school! You’re practically Laura friggin’ Ingalls now, you gorgeous-hearted bastard!”

At Park Street, a woman gets on and stands in front of me for a bit. Her skin is a bit pasty and foams up to a few hard-looking pimples, but she has really beautiful bone structure. Her abdomen is eye-level to me and I notice the swell of her belly under a bulky forest green sweater. Pregnant! Time to altruism it up!

I pack up my earbuds and make eye contact with her as we come into the next stop. “Do you want my seat?” I mouth, and she smiles and says, yeah, why not. So when the T stops, I pick up my bag, make room for her to scoot in, then take her former position, standing directly in front of her. There is a strange, uneasy itch in my brain, for some reason.

Pregnant Woman: Wait, you’re not getting off? Why’d you give me your seat?

Oh god! She’s wearing five-inch purple stiletto heels. Half of her belly kind of squishes above her jeans, and half below, instead of being a hard, unified mass. There is a pack of cigarettes on her lap. SHE IS NOT PREGNANT. Not a little. Not even at all.

TKOG: –I work in an office and was sitting down all day and was like well I don’t need to sit down anymore so maybe someone else wanted my seat?

I attempt to smile winningly, then look away. The woman is frowning and visibly perturbed. She puts a hand on he belly and starts surreptitiously poking it. At one point she raises her eyes and starts to ask me a question, but I look away. She pokes her stomach a few more times, then, mercifully, gets off two stops later.

Bonus Really Quite TMI Element to the Story: Running parallel to this thrilling tale of my not being a total jackass, another horrifying moment that you might not want to read? At some point over the course of my commute home, it became apparent to me (women’s intuition?) that my period had just started. Like, I mean, on the dang train.

As I offered the girl the seat, I had a momentary blink of paranoia: “Jesus, TKOG, what if you bled through your skirt and there’s blood all over the seat?” and when the girl leaned forward to move something on the seat, I had the horrible realization that she wasn’t pregnant and I had just basically called a girl fat and then potentially offered her a blood-smeared seat on the train we would be sharing for at least half an hour.

Are you there, God? It’s me, TKOG.

Fortunately, when the non-pregnant woman sat fully down, she had a magazine in her lap that she hadn’t been carrying before, so I’m believing (or choosing to believe) that I had been sitting on the magazine and she just saw it and decide to read it. The magazine. That my spontaneously menstruating self had been sitting on for half an hour. …oh. oh god.

The Verdict: As always, the one guiding rule of humanity: if there is any ambiguity, dude, just go ahead and assume people are not pregnant. Although, as terrible as this encounter made me feel, for the days since then, I’ve been mentally primed to glance up and notice people who may want my seat, and have offered it to the elderly and the infirm (forget you, pregnant chicks!). Some have taken it, some have not, and I feel like less of a total jerk from day to day.

This horrifying bout with Mother Nature (who apparently always wins) submitted for the approval of the hilarious LiLu‘s TMI Thursday. Because what’s the point of smearing bits of your uterus on people if the whole internet can’t enjoy it?

Also, apologies for the lack of a Lorrie Moore story. The signing was Harry Potter Party-packed, and the tiny basement was packed before I could get a seat. (Come on, Brookline Booksmith! I love you, but NOBODY PUTS LORRIE IN A BASEMENT! Still, it was good to see the house packed for literature.)

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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.)


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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NTKOG #32: The kind of bold, vivacious creature who, standing on a street corner, catches the eye of a stranger, banters for a moment, then asks him out right then and there.

I am: shy. Deeply shy. Surely by now you all know that I’m an extreme introvert?

I am not: convinced I’ve ever even actually been on a date with a guy whom I hadn’t been seeing exclusively for at least several months.

The Scene: Wednesday after work, and after my hyper-uncouth spitting adventure, I was wandering around Harvard Square, trying to kill an hour before my creative writing class. I decided to cross the street and get a cupcake, and waited for a light, standing next to a tall, nice-looking Asian guy.

Also, for context, I was wearing my Alice-in-Wonderland dress, a light sweater and flipflops, and basically freezing my eyelashes off.

Stoplight Guy: Aren’t you cold in that?
TKOG: Yeah. But I just moved here from California, so I’m just pretending it’s an unseasonably cold summer day. In late September.
SG: Where in California? I’m from [Prestigious West Coast University’s rival school].
TKOG: Oh, I went to Prestigious West Coast University. I guess we hate each other now. Where are you headed?
SG: Nowhere, really. You?
TKOG: I have an hour to kill before class; I was going to grab a coffee. Want to join me?

And guys! He absolutely said yes!!!

We found a cafe — where it transpired that neither of us actually drinks coffee — and both independently asked for the orders “for-here”. So no awkward-out escape hatch.

There was a moment in the line. I felt like I should pay for his order because I’d totally instigated the hang-out, but the line was confusing and I couldn’t find my wallet. At one point I asked if we were even in line, to which he responded: “Well, I am. And you’re with me.” in the sort of paternalistic way that I don’t really hate, and I resolved to pay for his drink, but then lost my nerve.

As we waited for our mugs o’ seasonal beverage, we talked about our academic and career trajectories. He’s currently pursuing a law degree from Hahvahd, but claimed he wants to retire early from corporate law to focus on oil painting. Whenever men say things like that, I wonder whether it is only what they think we want to hear, and if so, why the devil they think we want to hear it.

He was very frank about money — wanting to make it, and lots of it — in a way that, on paper, would have seemed crass. But I have a soft spot for men who are appallingly forthright with a hint of egotism. Similarly, he gave the obviously overworked barista a hard time about making him wait for his drink, and although I hated it, I kind of admired it.

We ended up sitting outside and talking intensely for about an hour. It was all the standard terrible first-date stuff (undergrad experiences, the weather, out-of-reach career fantasies), but done quite well. The conversation was mile-a-minute and clever. He did not make me laugh, of course — very few men do — but we enjoyed each other’s company. It was all the terrible first date conversation, true, but I felt we were working through it. I could see the first-date slipping into a second date with the same natural flow, but more off-the-wall, engaging, whimsical, real.

Then I mentioned growing up in Las Vegas, which is always a mistake: it always, always causes men to grow slimy and disrespectful, at least a little, even the nice ones (let alone barista beraters). I had mentioned not knowing Cambridge well, and we talked about finding a bar and going out for post-work drinks one day. But after the Vegas discussion: “Oh, when is your class over? We could just have drinks at your place…”

Sorry. Did I miss some sort of critical transition in the evening? We made tentative plans to see each other again for drinks (at a bar, not my apartment, obvi), exchanged information, then I had to book to my class.

The Verdict: I would absolutely, totally, 100% do this again! It comes off sounding a more negative experience than it was: to be fair, it was nearly entirely enjoyable, and only took on a weird tone right at the end.

As of right now, he has called a few times, but I keep missing his calls. I texted and he responded with a voicemail asking what I was up to (and for my blog address — whoops, shouldn’t have mentioned that). I think I’m going to ask him if he wants to grab drinks on Monday.

But truly, guys, it was totally pleasant and there was no awkward at all. If you’re reading this and you’re single, I totally encourage you to stop a stranger this weekend and ask them to hang out. Just try it! You’ll feel like a ballsier, better person. (Unless the person turns out to be a total sketchmonger…)

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