I will stop listening to love songs on the coast. I will STOP listening to love songs on the coast.12:33 PM Sep 3rd from web
In junior high, I liked this boy. In fairness, I liked a lot of boys in junior high, but for the purpose of this story, let’s just focus on this one boy. His name was Gavin. As my memory is aging even more rapidly than my crows’ feet (all I want for Christmas is botox), I can’t remember if his actual name was Gavin or just that I associate him with my celebrity crush of 1997 (Gavin before he was Mr. Stefani). In any case, after months of shy smile and half wave, along with very standard small talk at lunch, I decided it was time to break through the obvious signals I thought I was sending him (the number of times I touched this guys arm, I tell you) and just tell him. Or have a friend tell him…yes that’s much better. I had my friend Elena make the call and timed it for right before winter break to ensure that, should there be a negative result, it wouldn’t be awkward by the time we returned to school in January.
The result was, indeed, negative. The first Monday back was awkward anyway (because bitch, please, I wasn’t going to change tables. Just because you rejected me doesn’t mean I’m leaving the popular table*). I built up the awkward so much in my own mind, that I booked an art class the following semester for the sole purpose of changing lunch periods without being increasingly awkward. I hated clay. Had I just stuck to the shy smile half wave, I wouldn’t have dry hands and dirty fingernails. Lesson learned. This turned out to be a formative experience in my dating life.
I.Hate.Awkward. I have spent the rest of my life since January 1997 avoiding awkward interactions. In college, in between classes, walking up and down Commonwealth Avenue was a minefield of awkward interactions, and if anyone could have read my mind walking down the street, I would have been committed long before graduation:
Oh dear. Oh dear oh no ok here comes that girl who was in my discussion group for Philosophy freshman year. Does she remember me? I remember her, but I’m just really good with faces. If she remembers me and I DON’T say hi, then it’s awkward. But if she doesn’t remember me and I DO say hi, then it’s REALLY awkward. Ok just breathe it out, breathe it out and THINK. T minus 20 seconds before encounter. What do I do? Awkward head nod? Hide behind person in front of me? WHY DO I ALWAYS WEAR THESE HEELS? It’s so hard to avoid when I’m towering over everyone. Ugh T-7 seconds, way too late for detour. Ok, I’m going to go with the shy smile and ‘arm stays attached to ribs’ half wave. Good idea. Oh shit, I just did it…and she gave me a weird look. SHY SMILE? What was I thinking, she TOTALLY thinks I have a crush on her. Ugh I seriously need to consider University of Phoenix classes for adult learners and the socially awkward.
So multiply that compulsive thought by a million, and that’s how I interact with guys. Still. Here I am, a profesh business lady on the wrong side of 25, who has managed to triumph over awkward-phobia for the sake of my career (lots of rooms filled with people I don’t know, and I manage to net-work it girl), and I’m still shy smile half waving to the boys I still have crushes on to avoid clay class.
Clay class, as it is, is much worse these days. Forget dirty fingernails, we’re looking at life changers. If I put myself out there, and then be subsequently rejected, by someone I live near, I would have to move, and I **love** my apartment. Someone I work with? Recession, kiddos, we’re looking at becoming King Spencer Pratt’s publicist, at best. Someone who runs in my circle of friends? Disaster: everyone is so connected to one another that this would exile me to the land of “people you may know” on facebook. And listen, I KNOW all those people I “may know,” facebook…and if the time it takes to put in an internet friend request is too much trouble to expend being friends with this person, odds are they aren’t someone that I would brunch with.
There has to be a solution. There has to be somewhere other than clay class where the awkward moment-hating, rejection-fearing can run to after having put themselves out there unsuccessfully. Somewhere that doesn’t require moving, friending the people you may know, job changing or dirty fingernails.
I think the only logical option is a witness protection program set up. A non-profit organization dedicated to relocating the rejected until their shame has blown over. I’m even willing to combine this with Holidate and televise it if we need advertiser dollars. There can be hidden cameras as I tell someone that I like them, and then secret-service uniformed ninjas to swoop in and shield me from the line of fire upon getting rejected. It will happen so fast that I’ll probably forget I was rejected and just think I was kidnapped and moved to one of the Dakotas. I’m even open to the idea of brainwashing, while we’re at it. Tie me up, blindfold me, and make me listen to a tape that repeats the line “He told you that he was gay or he would love to marry you. You decided to move to North Dakota because you read a statistic that it was the straightest state in the union. They are making a reality show about you called ‘The Plains.’” over and over. I’ll believe it and be totally fine with it. I’ve always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Lauren Conrad.**
So someone, please, found that organization. Found that organization, and I will A.) Sit on the board of directors (we’ll have name tags for the mixers so it doesn’t get awkward if I forget anyone’s name) and B.) start telling anyone that I have feelings for that we should be together forever and ever. I will hope for the best, but more realistically, please ready the secret service ninjas and hidden cameras, because North Dakota, here I come!
*Fine. It was definitely not the popular table.
**Just kidding on the Lauren Conrad thing. Sort of. Ok, not really. What? I can do meaningful thinky stare and perfect mascara tears with the best of them. Maybe I should be on “The Plains.”