How to Talk to Boys
Step 1: Don’t talk to them. Just don’t do it. Talk to them? Please, if there’s one thing I know for sure, it is this: I have no game. I realized a long time ago that I am terrible at flirting. Mainly because my version of flirting is to get kind of mean, really sarcastic, and then tease the object of my desire mercilessly until they want to strangle me a little bit (and not in the fun way). That being said, I know that I don’t always make the best first impression. As a result, I tend to get shy and nervous in the presence of dudes I’m interested in. And then I just come off as an aloof asshole. So I tend not to bother with any of it and just date the low hanging fruit.
Last time we talked, I was summoning all of my courage to go talk to a man so good looking that was referred to as beautiful by not one, but two lesbians. I think that says it all. I was in a great mood and feeling uncharacteristically bold. I saw that Handsome Dude was waiting in line for the restroom located at the end of a short corridor, out of view of the rest of the bar area, which was perfect. If I’m going to crash and burn, I’d prefer to do it without an audience. I nonchalantly walked down the corridor and got in line. We stood there together, in silence. And then, very casually, Handsome Dude turned to me and asked, “How’s your night going?”
“Super fun. We just got off work so we’re getting loose. How’s your night?” I asked, surprising myself with my ability to form complete sentences that were neither brutally sarcastic nor completely idiotic. I think it helped that up to this point, I’d only briefly glanced in his direction as opposed to making any real eye contact.
“It’s ok. You and your friends look like you’re having more fun then me and my friends,” he said. And then after a long pause he blurted out, “I don’t know that girl.”
“Really? Because she was dancing like she knows you. Biblically.”
“I know. It was really uncomfortable,” he said.
“It was uncomfortable to watch,” I added.
Just then, the restroom’s occupant came out and it was Handsome Dude’s turn. He excused himself and disappeared into the restroom. As I stood there in the hallway, smiling to myself like an idiot, I noticed my friend Jennifer peering around the corner to see what was going on. I pantomimed what had just transpired. She gave me a thumbs up, and we both did a little happy dance that resulted in me spilling my beer on myself because I’m that girl. I heard the lock on the bathroom door unlatch so I quickly pulled it together and tried to be cool. Handsome Dude came out into the hallway and stood between me and the door.
“Hey, I’m Raina. And listen, if you need an escape, you are always welcome to come hang out with me and my friends,” I said in what I hoped was a completely breezy tone.
“I’m Chuck. Here’s what’s going to happen,” he said, taking his phone out of his back pocket. “You’re going to put your number in my phone because you look like you’re fun, and we should hang out.” I couldn’t argue with the man. Let the record show: I am pretty fun.
As he handed me his phone, I made the mistake of actually looking him straight in the face for the first time. And as my sister Deirdre would say, he suffered from a terrible case of the handsomes. This dude was really, really, ridiculously good looking. And that made me really, really, ridiculously nervous.
He continued talking, but God help me, I couldn’t tell you what he was saying. I was nervous and giddy and suddenly incapable of using an iPhone. I was trying to split my attention between whatever it was he was saying and trying to remember my phone number so that I could put it in his phone. I struggle to do more than one than thing at a time under the best of circumstances. And there I was, having good luck with a dude after months shitty first dates and online dating disappointments. It was a lot. My ability to concentrate wasn’t at its best, to say the very least.
I typed in my phone number, created a new contact, called myself so I’d have his number, all while periodically looking up to smile and nod because he was still saying something. I handed him back his phone, we exchanged a couple of pleasantries, and then I gave him a hard time for leaving the toilet seat up as I closed the bathroom door behind me.
I came out of the bathroom just in time to see Chuck and his friends putting their coats on, getting ready to head out. We nodded at each other as he left and I went back to goofing around with my friends. I told them all what went down while waiting for the bathroom. There were high fives all around and some more happy dances. Good times had by all. At some point, I went digging in my coat pocket to find my phone. I’ll admit it; I was a little eager to save Chuck’s number into my phone. I was proud of myself and wanted to admire my handy work. But when I looked at my phone, there was no missed call.
YES. In all of my distracted, nervous excitement at the prospect of actually maybe meeting a guy that I might be interested in for the first time in forever, I gave him the wrong phone number. Oh yeah, I was annoyed with me, too. In fact, I got a little bent about it, if I’m being honest.
After months of torturing myself with the act of “putting myself out there,” going on terrible date after terrible date, a dude with a face that I don’t hate asks for my number and I fumble the ball? I get MY OWN PHONE NUMBER, the one I’ve had for over ten years, wrong? Are you fucking kidding me? I kicked myself, repeatedly, for a few days. But eventually (probably after a stellar yoga practice, no doubt) I gave into the idea that it wasn’t meant to be. I know it sounds trite sometimes to say “Everything happens for a reason,” but a year later, I can look back and see that everything played out just as it needed to.
The universe knows I can’t be trusted. It knows that I will use any excuse, particularly if that excuse is tall, dark, and handsome, to avoid looking at my own life and problems. Because why would I work on myself and my life when I can help you with yours, Sir? After Tinder Tim, I had made the declaration that I was going to take a break from dating to work on myself. It was something of a half-hearted promise when I first made it. I think that slapping Handsome Chuck out of my hands was the universe’s way of making sure I stuck to the plan. And based on how far I’ve come in this last year, I know that not hooking me up with Handsome Chuck was the right move. So thanks for that, universe. You always know what’s up.
I actually saw Handsome Chuck on the street over that summer. The good news is I looked pretty good which, considering how sweaty I am in the summer, was something of a miracle. The bad news is: I was with my friend Tom, no doubt looking all kinds of coupley. As we passed each other, we made significant eye contact. Long enough that I’m sure his next thought was, “Oh. There’s that girl who gave me a fake number, out with her boyfriend.” (that may or may not have been followed with a “that bitch.” I don’t know. I don’t know what kind of guy Chuck is).
I think back on that blunder now and just shake my head and smile. I shake my head at my nervous awkwardness in the presence of a pretty man face. And I smile at the idea that everything really does end up working out as it should and in your favor. You just have to be patient enough to see how.
Or at least that’s the silly little thing I choose to believe.