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NTKOG #117: The kind of brash Blanche Devereaux type who, when she catches eyes with a man, starts tossing out compliments like Mardi Gras beads.

I am: the girl who — stepping in front of the register at Dunkin’ — takes one look at the cashier and squeals: “I looooove your earrings!”

I am not: quite so keen on extending the same charm to men. God forbid they think I’m after something other than their brains.

The Scene: Bank of America, depositing a few checks for my office. The teller behind the counter is one of those good-looking guys with an almost feminine face that he tries to mask with designer stubble; judging by his gunmetal silver shirt and Kenneth Cole pocket square, I’d wager he’s one of those guys who falls on the side of uncool only because he’s convinced he’s so extremely cool. One of those people everyone loves at first sight then likes less and less. But even if I’m wrong about the personality, I can tell he’s not my type.

As he glances down at my deposit slips, his eyes flutter for a moment and, oh, he’s got the thickest, longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen outside of a Revlon commercial. If he were a woman, I would have immediately cooed, but because he is a man — and, worse, a man who might think I’m angling to sleep with him — my instinct is to check my tongue. But hey, I’m not that kind of girl, right?

TKOG: My god, you’ve got the most beautiful eyelashes! They’re spectacular!
Definitely Not Wearing Mascara: Women always say that. They’ve been saying that my whole life.
TKOG: That’s because they’re jealous. Hell, I’m jealous.
DNWM: That’s sweet of you.

For the rest of the day, I thought all was right with the world. I complimented a man! He didn’t take it awkwardly or give me a look dripping with letting-you-down-easy! We were able to interact completely platonically on a lady-dude-to-dudely-dude level of discussing physical aesthetics!

Then it all went downhill. Over the next few days, when I came in to make deposits, he escalated our chitchat to the degree that I had to take out both earbuds instead of only one. By Wednesday of the next week, he had complimented my dress. The unpleasant encounters came to a head when I dropped off a deposit after the 3:30 rush on Friday afternoon.

DNWM: So what’re you listening to all the time?
TKOG: Oh, y’know, everything. Gregorian chanting, commercial jingles. Right now I’m listening to Stevie Wonder.
DNWM: That’s cool. I go to lots of concerts around here. I’m going to one this weekend, actually.
TKOG: Sweet.
DNWM: Do you have any plans this weekend?
TKOG: Uh, I’ve got to clean my apartment and reread The Great Gatsby oh my god look at the time I’ve got to go bye.

The Verdict: This is why I don’t compliment men. Not because I’m the type of raving narcissist who imagines any guy would fall for her immediately (HA!), but because Murphy’s Law says that any guy I’m seriously not interested in will be the like one guy in five thousand who falls for my accidental charms. That way when I tell the universe, “Dude, seriously, can you not show me some damn love here?” the universe can be like “remember that guy at the bank? geez, all you ever do is complain” and it will be technically right.

I think I’m just going to stick to complimenting women. They’re lovely creatures who smell good and know that I don’t want to hook up with them. That’s as high-pressure as I can get.

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NTKOG #112: The kind of angsty, chocolate-smeared loneyheart who spends V-Day with her equally man-hating girlfriends jabbing stickpins into the crotch of dumb-boy voodoo dolls.

I am: single.

I am not: bitter.

The Scene: My glorious cinnamon- and chocolate-scented apartment, V-Day evening. Anglophile came over and we discussed the douchebaggery of men in general (and a few men in particular) before deciding on our plan of attack for the evening. Dude, we decided, let’s list all the reasons we never liked them anyway! Then make voodoo dolls! And burn effigies of the pathetic motherfuckers! Uh, and did I mention chocolate?!

We gathered voodoo supplies and fired up the fondue pot. Cute idea, I thought, but we’re not actually going to do all this stereotypical shit. We’ll probably just end up watching a movie or something…

As for how it turned out. Um, I’m going to let the following pictures tell you a few thousand words. Don’t worry, though. I weeded out all the shriekingly scathing ones.

That's not my real calendar -- my real calendar happens to have pictures of me on it this monthing. If the monthly 'stache were a real calendar, though, I'd totes buy it!

Turns out it only takes two vindictive girls, three pens, a jumbo pack of Post Its and one hour to completely cover the walls of a small apartment. Also, dude, some of these were so scathing that they burned my skin when I took them off the wall.

These are Anglophiles, 'cause mine were absolutely filthy.

After determining Post-Its weren't sufficiently violent, wrote and popped some of the things we hated about dudes.

Note the areas of high-density pin placement.

Voodoo dolls. To stuff them, we wrote down things we used to like about the guys, then shredded 'em. (But before you get all z0mg-dark-energy with me, yes, I believe in karma too much to have actually wished ill on anyone. It was pretty positive energy.)

I'm not sure I can properly convey to you how filthy and absolutely brutal the pictures were. Probably a good thing there's no photographic evidence of most of them...

Putting the "eff you" in effigy. What up.

The Verdict: It’s funny. This is the first Valentine’s Day in five years that I’ve been single. It’s also hands-down the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had — maybe one of the best days I’ve had, like, period. I thought all the V-Day man-bashing would feel too forced or stereotypical or just plain ol’ negative, but it was actually a pretty liberating night. One attempts to resist using the phrase “girl power,” but one doesn’t resist too hard.

The emphasis of the evening was less “I hope you get chlamydia of the face and die” and more like “dude, remember the shitty details and don’t let yourself get hung up on something that just really doesn’t matter that much.” Okay, okay, and there may have been a certain amount of emasculating joking. And doodling. And pin-sticking.

Still, this gets an A++ from me. Sometimes bitching about guys isn’t about men being idiots. It’s about remembering that the women you’re doing the bitching with are total badasses.

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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 #77: The kind of girl who catches your eye in public then, brazen as you please, gives you her number so you can meet again.

I am: skeptical of the whole concept of giving strangers your number. What’re you supposed to say when you call? “Hey, remember me? We met waiting in line for the restroom at the ice cream parlor?” Heck no.

I am not: even currently dating.

The Scene: The Davis Square T station, waiting for an inbound train with Anglophile and Porn Star after seeing The Slutcracker (a must-see for you Bostonians! details during a special sluts-and-hula-hoops edition of TMI Thursday!). As we walked by, I noticed a dreamy guy standing alone by the platform and shot him intense live eyes. I figured nothing would come of it, as he was too cute to even be looking at me. But. Not only did he not look away, but he wandered close to us and kept looking at me. Big-time electricity.

I pulled a standard TKOG move: started being extra charming and funny in the conversation to catch his attention. After I made a joke, he laughed, so I engaged with him. A few pleasantries, then I told him we’d just seen The Slutcracker and recommended he see it. He would, he said, but he just moved to town and doesn’t have friends yet.

TKOG: Me too! Tell you what. I can be your friend.
Davis Square Dreamboat: I’d like that.
TKOG: So what do you do? Student? Grad student?
DSD: I’m a software engineer.
TKOG: Love.

He laughed like I was joking. Um, like I’d ever joke about my love for engineers. Then — heart in my throat — I asked if he had an iPhone; he said no. “Too bad,” I told him, “or I could bump you my contact info. There’s an app for that.”

“You could just give me your number the old-fashioned way,” he said, whipping out his phone. I gave him my number, and afterwards he typed in my name without even asking me to repeat it, even though I’d only said it in passing before. My heart puddled and slid around the floor like a Capri Sun commercial. I got his number too, then the train came.

On the train, he sat across from me, then started chatting again, so I sat near him, but left a buffer seat because I hate touching. After a bit of normal exchange, he put his arm on my elbow:

DSD: So now that we’re friends, what are we going to do when I call you?
TKOG: Something exciting. We could get acupuncture together! Or indoor skydiving! [he grimaced at these] Or we could go get a drink at a bar with the periodic table on the wall?

Long story short (TOO LATE!), we’re going to Miracle of Science on Wednesday night after my writing class. You guys. You guys! I have friggin’ BUTTERFLIES! I can’t remember the last time I had butterflies. Oh em gee. One other stellar moment from the interaction on the train. We had to shout a bit to hear each other better, so I scooted a few inches closer to him on the buffer seat:

TKOG: Sorry, is this too close? Am I invading your personal space?
DSD: No! Why would you ask that?
TKOG: I just have personal space issues.
DSD: Are you usually the invader or the invadee?
TKOG: Oh, the invadee. I’m like the friggin’ Poland of personal space. I try to be respectful because I know I don’t like it when other people get in mine.
DSD: Wait, so you wouldn’t like it if I did this?

And then he put his hand on my shoulder, like kind of close to my neck and — it is a Christmas friggin’ miracle: not only did I NOT freak out, but … I liked it. It felt, I mean, electric.

Aaaaaack!

The Verdict: Oh my gosh. So remember when I said I wasn’t going to date just for the sake of dating, and was going to wait to meet someone with whom lightning struck my heart at first glance, no matter how many months or years it took to find? Yeah, okay, so it apparently didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Gosh. Ever since we parted, I’ve been an all-singing, all-dancing tornado of giddiness. I’m so going to savor this feeling, so even if on Wednesday it turns out he loves Dan Brown novels and has an anime tattoo, at least I’ll have these few days to look back on fondly.

Of course this couldn’t have happened at a less convenient time in my personal/romantic life (going back to Vegas for two weeks, then The Ex is coming out to Boston to visit me), but I’d be an idiot not to pursue it. Because it turns out I am totally that kind of girl.

Also, in re: number giving: a really sweet girl who witnessed my T station pick-up started chatting with me afterwards, and we ALSO hit it off! I ended up getting her card and vowing to call her to go see some opera. And while I would usually just throw the card away, y’all know I’m actually going to do it. ROUSING SUCCESS!

Also, loves, remember you only have ’til 11:59pm tomorrow to enter MY GIVEAWAY! Get those last-minute entries in, or you’ll always regret it!

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NTKOG #37: The kind of girl for whom life is her dressing room, and who flashes some skin as easily as most people flash a smile.

I am: modest; not naked.

I am not: even comfortable with some of the fashion trends endorsed by today’s youth, let alone removing them in public.

The Scene: A rainy Friday in Cambridge; I have left work for the day to interview for a job in one of the many institutions on the hahvahd campus. It is my intention to wear my totally gorgeous Serious Dang Interview Suit, but as the day is gray and drizzly and the suit costs half a month’s rent, I wear a normal shirt and cardigan to work, and am carrying a garment bag carrying the suit jacket and a sleeveless silk shell.

Under normal circumstances, pressed for time though I was in getting to the interview, I would have two option: changing into said suit before I left work, braving serious wrinklage; or else getting to the interview site exceedingly early, finding a nearby Starbucks, storming in and straight to the restroom (pantomiming the conveniently universal must-wash-hands-before-even-contemplating-ordering gesture), and then quickchange, sashay out, and problem avoided.

But what if in this strange, glorious world of ours, a third method might exist? After the forty minute bus ride, I hopped out of my bus to realize that the weather had slowed down to the barest drizzle. Before I turned onto the correct road for the interview, I gripped the garment bag with my teeth, peeled off my clothes down to a definitely-wouldn’t-wear-in-public cami in the ever-popular “girl’s gym class” mode of modest disrobement, snaked my clothes out of the bag, got suited up, and repacked the garment bag into my oversize purse. And you know what? Surprisingly not awkward. I mean, one guy walked past and asked, “Shouldn’t you have done that at home?” but otherwise, nobody took notice. Not even the cluster of Cambodian buskers I realized too late were standing only about a foot away from my quick-change act.

On the way home, the rain had picked up, and I decided to change back out of my suit while on the bus. On the way in, psyched to continue my experiment, I walked on to catch an eyeful of the belly of a totally shirtless dude. BEATEN TO THE PUNCH! Then it became evident that the guy, a cute-ish dude in the back of the bus with mushroom cloud hair, had merely accidentally removed his shirt wile taking off a sweater. The only seats available were in the back, near him, so I got myself situated on a side bench and followed suit on the whole, y’know, “clothes: now you see them, now … not so much?” maneuver.

Once everything was where it belonged and covering what it should, I looked back at the guy and saw him smirking.  “Hey,” I told him, “It looks like you started a trend back here.” But he couldn’t hear me, and left his stuff in his original seat to move a bit closer to me, although not in my bench. He asked why I was changing and I mentioned I’d had an interview; he was interested and polite, but kept stumbling over my use of simple phrases like “gatekeeper” and “psycho screening.” Great job, TKOG, I was just beginning to think — way to pick up a guy with a slight mental handicap, when the bus quieted and I realized he had a small accent. German. Interesting.

The conversation heated up further: for some reason, he made a reference to the show Big Bang Theory and said the guys on the show reminded him of himself; I asked if he was into physics and he said he had been (!!! To say I have a slight interest in physicists would be like suggesting Jack the Ripper had a mere passing fancy for prostitutes; although unlike Jack, my interest falls short of any internal organs–I’m sorry, what were we talking about?), but now studied theology. At this point, his original seat has been stolen and we’re shouting over the body of a man sitting between us, so I pat the empty seat next to me and he sits down, his knee grazing mine.

And then things get weird.

TKOG: So where in Germany are you from?
German Former Physicist: Munich.
TKOG: Oh, sweet! I’ve never been there, but I have a friend who lived in Berlin for a while, and absolutely loved it. I’ve been there too and would love to go back.
GFP: Ha! Berlin is [gurgles mucous in the back of his throat in lieu of a sufficiently offensive term] — nobody wants to go to Berlin. It is too liberal and socialist. The streets are filled with homosexuals and everyone believes in socialim. People from Munich are very conservative and Christian, and we do not want anything to do with Berlin.
TKOG: Oh. Yeah. Well, I mean, what’s considered conservative in Europe is often very liberal by US standards.
GFP: You are from California? Is it true that gay marriage was outlawed there? I thought it was overrun with homosexuals.

Detecting that he wasn’t going to drop the unpleasaant new theme of conversation, I starting giving monosyllabic grunts in response to his rants, but the floodgates were already open. For nearly ten minutes he went on a tirade about how socialists were bankrupting Germany and how they should be shot in the streets like dogs. Dear god, I thought, a puppy-killer on top of everything.

So, imagine this, mostly, but plus one Cosby Sweater, and replace the snazzy red bow tie with a crazed eye-gleam.

So, imagine this, mostly, but plus one Cosby Sweater, and replace the snazzy red bow tie with a crazed eye-gleam.

Finally the crazed young Joe McCarthy pulled his Cosby sweater back on and prepared to get off the bus — right at my stop. I waved goodbye and watched him walk off in the rain, before sneaking out of the bus at the next stop and skulking home through the homosexual and socialist-littered streets that I so adore.

The Verdict: Changing yo’ dang clothes in public: dude, not even a problem. The lesson is, I suppose, a recurring theme of this project: you are not the singular center of the universe, surprisingly enough, and if you want to do something, dude, just go ahead and do it. Nobody is going to give you a hard time, so might as well make life convenient for yourself.

The other lesson I learned through this experience? The same damn lesson we learn every day, Pinky: You can meet guys on the street or in a bus. Heck, you can even talk to guys you meet in the street or on a bus. But you cannot make any meaningful connection with said guys because they are all bunny-boilingly insane. Sigh.

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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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