Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Dating is Like the Gong Show

I drove in the rain tonight from Atlanta to Knoxville. I’ll be on the road a lot over the next couple of months so I might as well get used to it, but ugh. Driving in the rain sucks. And, of course, almost no one I called answered. My friend Brad did talk to me for awhile, which was nice because conversation is always good with an old friend.

Brad and I talked a little about what it is to be excited about someone that you’re dating. I think it’s rare. And usually dwindles with time, though that’s not how it’s supposed to work when it’s right. It’s damn hard to find anyone exciting, but it’s always something that I think you can pick out in the first few moments you spend with someone.

I told my mom once that it’s gotten to the point where I have such a good idea of what I’m looking for, I can tell almost instantly. Remember that old children’s book about the bird that falls out of its nest and is looking for its mother? It was called “Are You My Mother?” So I told my mom I feel like that little bird except my book would be called, “Are You My Boyfriend?”

Like when the little bird finds a bulldozer and asks, “Are You My Mother?” and, seeing that a bulldozer doesn’t have wings or feathers, it realizes instantly, “No…you’re not my mother.” I meet a cute guy and think, “Are You My Boyfriend?” and then he asks if I’m for or against global warming, and I instantly think, “No…you’re not my boyfriend.”

So that’s one way to describe it. Another is that dating is like The Gong Show. Because, honestly, aren’t there more circus freaks and variety show acts out there than anything? You meet one such clown, give him a few moments of your valuable time, and then he shows his crazy and GONG! Next contestant, please!

I had a bad date Friday. Bad. Horrible. Top of the worst list. I didn't really know him, but we talked on the phone a few times, and he was really funny. Funny will trick you every time, girls! We agreed to meet at a local brewery for some beer and then grab dinner after. My best guy friend, Goofer, sent me a text that day inviting me to meet him, his girlfriend and a couple friends at the same brewery. Total coincidence, but I thought it was funny and at least if the guy turned out to be a tool, I’d still have fun.

To protect the innocent (or not so innocent), I’ll give the tool (cuz he did turn out to be one) a nickname. I dub him “Captain Awkward” for obvious reasons – he was the captain of awkward. I get that it’s hard to be a dude. It’s hard to ask a girl out, and if you’re visibly nervous on the first date, you get a pass in my book. But Captain Awkward exhibited awkward behavior before we even stepped out of our vehicles.

I parked first and called him. We figured out where to meet, and then he awkwardly laughs and says, “Uh…huh huh…so when you see me tonight, I’m just gonna go ahead and apologize for the way I look.”

“Oh…um, what?” I am totally confused.

“Huh huh…well, yeah, see I kinda had a beard for a week and it was itching, and when I shaved it just now, I figured out why it was itching huh huh.”

“Oh…um, what?”

“It’s all broken out and stuff. There are these huge red bumps, and I guess that’s what was itchy. So huh huh just know that I don’t normally look like this.”

“Oh…ok…well, I’m sure it’s fine…so I’ll see you there then.”

Immediately, I hang up and call my mom to tell her this latest development and that I am now worried I’m going on a date with a dude who has hives all over his face. Could I catch them? But when I see Captain Awkward, he looks fine. Cute even. Sure, he has a couple red spots on his chin, but they clearly look like razor burn and needed no explanation.

We get our beer, he’s nervous, I smile sweetly and ask him questions about himself. He mentioned that he lived with his brother so I ask about that. He awkwardly adds that he also has an older brother who he doesn’t talk to at all. Then laughs uncomfortably (huh huh!) and adds that I probably don’t wanna hear about that. Oh no, I do not. No need to make this conversation even more awkward.

We see my friends and say hello. They invite us to come outside on the patio with them, and we agree we will later. After several more minutes of dull chit chat, my friend passes us again and extends the same offer. I’ve already downed two beers, and this guy is not getting cuter or more interesting so I suggest we go hang with the group.

We talk together, and I feel better about Captain Awkward. I give him the benefit of the doubt (when will I learn my lesson about this?), and after the third beer, decide that he’s probably a nice guy who’s just nervous. He makes a couple bad jokes no one gets and starts to get moody and…dare I say it? More awkward! Alcohol cannot even salvage this date. Then he says something that I think means he’s racist. Oh double no.

Admittedly, a few minutes do go by with me talking to one of my girlfriends and Captain Awkward talking to Goofer. And admittedly, it cannot be easy to have a girl’s best friend crash your first date. But adults should know how to play well with others, and any dude that wants to be my dude is gonna have to hold his own with my friends. It’s a necessity – period. And a task that Captain Awkward is not up for.

He leans over and asks, “So are you gonna go eat with them?” Because they invited us both to join them all for dinner.

“Yeah, I think we should, it’d be fun!” I smile sweetly. I am trying to conquer his awkwardness with kindness.

“Well, I’m not gonna go.”

“Oh…ok.” I say, while still smiling.

“And I think you know why…”

“Oh…ok.” Still smiling…not wanting to talk about why…

“And I really am sorry about the way I look. Like I told you, I normally don’t look this bad. So I just want you to know that.”

Wha-huh? “No…you look fine!” He really did look fine. Cute even!

“No, it’s ok, I mean, you can tell me. I know it’s my looks so, I just want you to know I normally look better than this.”

“No. Really. It’s not your looks. You look fine.”

“You keep saying that, but I know you’re just being nice. I know I look bad. I don’t usually look like this so…”

“Honestly. You look fine. There’s nothing wrong with the way you look.”

“Well…so what is it then?”

I blink.

“It’s ok, you can tell me, I mean you say it’s not my looks so then what is it? Just tell me.”

“Actually, you were really nervous before and then that made me feel nervous and…I don’t know what to say.” Patience is wearing thin.

“Nervous?” he asks while laughing nervously, “Huh huh…I wasn’t nervous, I mean, nervous? Really? Huh huh...”

“I thought so. Yes.”

“When? Like just now?”

“From the beginning, I thought you seemed really nervous. Which is ok, I mean…”

“I wasn’t nervous.” And now Captain Awkward should be crowned Captain Defensive. “I mean, you can just tell me what it is. Really, I want you to.”

“And now you’re making me feel really uncomfortable with how you keep talking about something being wrong with the way you look.” Oh yes, she can be honest!

“Well, you’re making me feel really uncomfortable by being standoffish.” Mayday! Mayday! At this point, I start pinching the girl standing next to me. And eventually she turns around and starts talking to me. Phew. After a couple really awkward!!! minutes, Captain Awkward turns to Goofer, and says, “I’m gonna go get another beer.”

As soon as he walks away, I start laughing and say, “He’s leaving! He’s leaving! He’s leaving, and he’s not even going to say anything to me!”

Goofer says, “What? No, he’s just going to get a beer. He’ll be back. He told me.”

I am hysterical now like nothing has ever been funnier and cackle, “No! Look! He’s leaving! There he goes!” I point as we watch him jump the balcony and walk down the stairs. Thankfully, one of the girls is smart enough (and kind enough) to tell me to stop laughing so he doesn’t see and then asks what happened.

Before I can explain, we see him angrily rip off his collared shirt (he had a t-shirt underneath), throw his hat off and then stomp through the parking lot like he was having a temper tantrum. GONG!


Carolina Girl said...

OMG girl that is awful! The sad thing is it could have been a nice date had he acted normal! You are right, dating can be so insane. I actually had a nice date last night - for the first time in forever. I was due though. Ha! I hope your next one goes much better!!!

Little Sister Pixie said...

So sorry to hear the date didn't go very well. I hope your next potential suitor is a cool guy, who isn't so insecure.

I had a blind date many years ago & it went alright, except for the fact that I had to do most of the talking and/or ask questions because my date (it was actually a group date with my pal & her b/f, who set us up) was nervous. That's the last blind date I ever went on.

Lyla Lou said...

Bwahahaha....that was hillarious! I would have laughed too! It's a good thing you had your friends there, it could have been a whole lot worse, you might have had to spend the entire night with the awkwardness. Oh and I would have been kinda freaked out if someone had warned me ahead of time that they 'don't usually look like this'. That's just weird!

J'Ollie Primitives said...


I was reading through your posts and came across this one ~ too funny! I'm sure not funny at the time, poor Mr. Nervous and his spots complex!

Put him on the Toad list honey!

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