Why Clubs Are My Worst Nightmare

Is there anything worse for a socially awkward person than being forced into sweaty, human contact with strangers who are there to try and make a shish kabob out of you? The answer is no. No, there is not.

I despise clubs. I firmly believe they must be stopped. But I have gorgeous friends who like to club (ugh, it does NOT deserve its own verb, mind you, but there we are) and are good at it and as a result, sometimes my night ends at a club. Actually, the night ends with me huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf, a firm scowl etched on my face, angry tears in my eyes, and an urgency to my stride only matched by those avoiding a crazy, homeless person on the streets of New York City.

The thing is your night can never begin at a club because acceptable clubbing hours do not begin until 11pm. And perhaps that is why I hate them so much: they provide an unavoidable conflict with sweatpants, Netflix, and Half-Baked time. So when my friends decide tonight is a dreaded clubbing night, I remind myself of how much I love them and how much they have done for me and I put my brave face on.

The first thing this means is that I am going to have to put on tight, revealing clothing, in the hopes that the bouncer will waive the $5,226 cover charge because I give him my perkiest smile while wearing my perkiest bra. As much as giving in to this notion pains me, I, being poor, have only my breasts.

My two best friends are getting-ready professionals. Watching them do themselves up is like watching a ballet. But me? I have never been able to wear mascara without it becoming face-scara and the mechanics of the curling iron elude me. So I adopt a grab-the-first-pair-of-shorts-and-first-sparkly-thing-you-see tactic, throw it on, and be careful not to look in the mirror for too long. Then I pour myself a drink (because there is no way in heck I can do this completely sober), sit, and wait. Usually one of my friends gets a load of my outfit at some point in this stage and picks something else twenty times better (though just as uncomfortable).

At 11:15, we ride.

We arrive to find a line filled with shivering girls who are dressed exactly like us and guys in button-downs with their chests puffed out: a confident look that can only be presupposed by an I-am-so-going-to-get-laid-tonight mentality. We get in line and shiver with the rest of them and wait for exactly 34 minutes before people (me) start to get antsy. This is usually the point where the girl behind us with a big, beefy boyfriend decides that we have cut her in line and that we are going to pay for our sin. She screams at us. My friends scream back. My teeth just continue to chatter. I am too cold to yell. She tries to get the rest of the line to join in, but the rest of the line is astute enough to pick up on who the real pain in the arse is here. She continues to scream until her throat is stripped raw. The bouncer comes over and asks her to get to the back of the line. Everyone cheers. She yells that she will get us in the end and spits. Class act.

At 12:07, we finally reach the coveted front of the line. My friends both smile and bat their eyes at the bouncer, who smiles back and tells them they can go right in. Then, it’s my turn. I am holding on to my own arms and rubbing them for warmth. My legs are clenched together like I have a peeing emergency, and I am walking in a way that can only be likened to a duck. I try to smile, but my lips are numb and chapped and I am sure I look constipated. He gives me a look that’s a cross between pity and horror. My friends rescue me by yelling, “She’s with us!”

“Oh? Oh…well, okay.” He moves the rope aside to let me in.

Hands down most flattering thing ever said to me.

Stepping into a club is like stepping into another dimension. Perhaps one might call it Hell. It is hot, it is smelly, and anything can happen. All rules go by the wayside. My friends immediately decide to head straight for the center of the dance floor to sway sexily to the obscenely loud music.

I am not the world’s worst dancer, but the only moves I have really mastered are those required of musical theatre actors. So unless the song is appropriate for a Charleston or a Time Step, I am pretty much at a loss. Or if it’s one of those glorious songs that has directions. I love those. I will Cha Cha Slide all night. But sexy dancing? Hey, what now? What is this, a mating ritual?

The thing about clubs is it totally is a mating ritual. And only the fittest survive. The males of the species circle the dance floor, seeking out their prey with hungry eyes, licking their lips. The females group together in the middle, either doing their best to get eaten or doing their best to avoid getting eaten. I am absolutely in the latter category, so you can imagine my horror when…oh, God. Eye contact. I have made eye contact. AVERT! AVERT IMMEDIATELY! It is too late. He swoops down on me like a hawk.

I try to shout, “No, thank you!” over the music, but either he doesn’t hear me or has chosen to ignore my desperate, yet polite plea to be ignored.

“Jillian, c’mon. He’s hot!” I hear my friends say as two guys close in on them. I sigh and surrender my butt to his crotch. No exchange of names or salutations. No more eye contact. Just a sweaty head on my shoulder and sweaty palms on my hips and a sweaty semi against my behind. What I find funny about the evolution of grinding is that less and less movement has become required over time. I can just stand perfect still as he breathes on me and pray I get out of here alive.

The song is over, but he is intent on holding on. Accordingly, I tell him I have to go to the bathroom. This is the funny thing about guys: they often think that you leaving them alone on the dance floor to go to the bathroom, they are being full-on rejected. This is the funny thing about girls: they hear you have to go to the bathroom and think that they have to go with you. While I love the power of a good, ol’-fashioned group effort, this is a full-on rejection and I don’t have to go to the bathroom. I am going to get a drink. I am going to get two drinks. I am going to suck it up and pay the $28 because I am not drunk enough for this shit.

I signal to my friends that I can take care of this one alone, and run like an Olympian to the overcrowded bar. I throw money down and end up with a plastic pill cup of whiskey. I am about to sob. It will never be enough.

Suddenly, I feel as though I am being watched. I turn to see that I have been spotted by the Hawk: pursuer of my butt. His crotch must have detected me. Damn the sophistication of clubbing crotch technology. I look for a place to hide. This is a code red. We must ABORT. ABORT! He strides to me and pinches my cheek (no, not my face cheek. I wish).

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“I already have a drink.” Though the idea of another drink sounds wonderful, we all know what ‘Can I buy you a drink?’ means.

“You know, you don’t have to be such a bitch about it.”

I dump the rest of my overpriced drink on him and kick his shin for good measure.

I decide now is a good time to go to the bathroom. At least it will kill time. There is no way in Hell I’m going back on that dance floor. I slam myself against the wall and prepare myself to wait on a line for an hour.

“You gonna cut me again, bitch?” I hear murmured in my ear. No. This is not happening right now. I turn to face the Line Nazi.

“You are a primitive, knuckle-dragging, vociferous lush.” I say, because, ya know, words. (They’re pretty much all I have.)

“What did you say, bitch?!” I see her open palm pull back in the corner of my eye and brace myself. She smacks me and it’s not even a respectable smack. I do nothing. I do not even acknowledge I’ve been hit. She goes in for another smack. I duck and she accidentally hits the girl in front of me. The girl in front of me screams and smacks the Line Nazi, who smacks her back, and then all of a sudden they’re multiplying, and ever girl on the line is hitting each other and pulling hair and screaming and I think I will never hear the word “bitch” so many times in quick succession again in my life, and then I remember I will probably have to go to a club again.

The lights come back on. They’re shutting her down. I grab my friends by the wrists and stride out of there with the urgency of someone avoiding a crazy, homeless man, scowl etched on my face, tears in my eyes.

“Hey, how about we go to the diner?” I hear one of them say. And then I remember why I love them and the point of clubbing in the first place: the fries and milkshakes that come afterward.


My Top 5 Most Awkward Rejections

Welcome to Top 5 Friday here at J. Awkward Prufrock. Today, I will be discussing my Top 5 Most Awkward Rejections.

We all get rejected romantically at some point or another. I’ve been rejected dozens of times and can safely say I’m pretty immune to it, but it still always stings a little, especially after you spend a good deal of time dreaming up fantasies of how wonderful everything is going to be once you both finally admit your true feelings. Maybe you will have a date for that wedding, maybe you won’t be the sage, yet disturbing neighborhood spinster, maybe you are totally dateable and you just haven’t realized it, but he will! All that build-up only to get your heart broken, but that’s all part of being human and it certainly provides us with many moments to laugh about. Onward, awkward, and upward!

These 5 little moments happen to be my favorites due to several key factors, but mostly it has to do with tact (or lack thereof) and, of course, as always, awkwardness.

Behold…and enjoy.

5. Me: I like you.
He cringes in the way you cringe at a semi-helpless suffering animal and shakes his head.
Him: Sorry.
He walks away at impressive speed.

I was a fan of this one because it was very to-the-point. I had zero questions about what was happening. No dilly-dallying or beating around the bush, no suspending ourselves in the awkward spectrum for any longer than need be. Pure, polite washing his hands of me.

4. Him (on phone): When I first met you, I thought you were really spunky and athletic, but I’ve come to realize that is not the case. Also, you’re kind of annoying and you’re really getting in the way of me figuring out what I want to do with my life. I thought I loved you at first, but now I actually don’t think you’re good enough for me. Also, I want to be able to hookup with other girls while I go on my trip.

I can’t fault him for this. He clearly put a lot of thought into it.

3. He runs out onto the front steps of the building in a drunken, manic state as his ride pulls up.
Him: I’m so happy right now!
Me: What’s gotten into you? Why are you so happy all of a sudden?
Him: Because I don’t like you that much anymore!
He runs and does a bell-kick off the last step before getting into the car.

How nice to have brought someone such joy, if only for a moment. (Really, how many women can say the thought of not being with them caused a grown man to bell-kick?)

2. Him: You don’t want to be with me. I have a small penis.

Ah, the old self-sacrifice. Very respectable. He really threw himself under the bus for that one. Gave everything for the greater good. However, I would like to point out (incase any of you guys out there are thinking of adopting this tactic) that number 5 is preferable to this one. Number 2 here opens way too many doors for conversations about how I don’t really care about that sort of thing, or question like, Are you really self-conscious or are you just trying to turn me off? How small is small? I’m going to move my fingers apart gradually and you tell me when to stop. He ended up stuck with me for another hour because I was genuinely curious about his penis claims.

And finally, the big one, the mother of all rejections, the crown jewel, the head honcho, the Morgan Freeman of break-ups.

1. He brushes his hand over my face before taking it in his hands. He kisses me only once, but it is so passionate, it leaves me breathless. He looks me in the eyes with great depth and profundity.
Him: Someday, somebody is going to love you the way you deserve to be loved.
He leaves and never talks to me again.

I can’t stress how much I admire this guy for the way he handled this. This is some classy stuff right here. He left me feeling absolutely amazing about myself; high as a unicorn making its way to cloud 9. He rejected me without letting me feel rejected. Granted, it did leave me with some confusion about where we stood, but after several days of him averting eye contact and diving behind tables when I entered the university’s cafeteria, I began to get the point.

Have an awkward rejection that tops these? Leave a comment! I would love to hear from you.

Spending the Night: A Tragicomedy

Ah, you and that cute guy have been dating for awhile and have thus reached that glorious point in the relationship. Take out your frilliest panties, ladies; you’re about to spend the night!

Please note that this post is not for you (yes, you) sexy people out there who put on your tight jeans and high-heeled boots and go out to bars with your other good-looking, cutely clad friends. You toss your hair and wink at the buff, blue-eyed Ken doll on the corner, and you end up getting 6 free vodka-sodas, and then you go back to his place and the two of you rub your smooth, pinnacle-of-evolution skin together, and you both wake up in the morning without a hair out of place. Then he kisses you on the cheek and you agree it was fun and you strut on out of there and find another Ken doll the next weekend. Hats off to you if you’re one of those! I am nothing but envious.

This post is for those of us who have to plan the first night together because the thought of that being sprung on us at any given time fills us with horror and dread. The crazy twist is that my ex-boyfriend was like one of the smooth operators described above. This created an interesting, and ultimately doomed, dynamic.

Here it is. The day. You’ve reached the height of intimacy. He is going to share his house with you, his bed, his food. It must be love. So you waddle over to your underwear drawer (because you’ve just gotten a Brazilian wax. Otherwise, it’s where-the-wild-things-are down there) to pick out your sexiest pair. This is a particularly complex process because oftentimes your sexiest underwear is the most likely to cause a healthy bit of wedgie-picking. There will be no wedgie-picking on your day! You finally settle on a promising pair that is girly, but regal, and most importantly, stain free.

This is only the first step. You must then decide on your oh-you-know-I-just-threw-these-on clothes for when you do your tantalizing walk about his premises. What would be most likely to make his mouth water? Your Gryffindor tank top? Your Tinker Bell terry cloth shorts? What about the ones with the cats on them? Will he like those? That’s when you decide it may be best to go bottomless (you did just spend all that time picking out your underwear) and bring your vastly oversized black t-shirt that confidently sports the saying, “Poets are Sexy” on the front, just incase he needs to search his mind for something sexy about you after you’ve spilled water on yourself.

You straighten your hair, you meticulously put on your makeup, you brush your teeth. Twice. You iron your clothes, but not with creases because you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. You slip your bag on to your shoulder. You look in the mirror and admire your work.

You glance at the clock and realize you have 5 ½ hours to go.

You end up falling asleep and waking up with only minutes until you have to leave. You settle for a callous reenactment of all your necessary sleepover efforts and pray that God is good to you.

Finally, you arrive. You have to ring the bell three times. You panic that he has forgotten about your rendez-vous and you will die of embarrassment here in the freezing cold on his front lawn, but then you hear his footsteps. You attempt to lean casually against the side of his porch as he opens the door. You trip and smack your head against the rail. He asks if you’re okay. You are.

You walk in to your new temporary quarters. It’s clean, but not too clean. He looks cute, but not too cute. Expectant, but not too expectant. He gives you a look that says you look tired, but not too tired. It’s on.

You put your stuff down in his room. He kisses you for awhile. You think this is all going to turn out to be okay. You think, “That’s right! I am kissable! I know just what to do with my tongue! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”

He puts music on. Otis Redding. It’s soulful, smooth, exhilarating. He pulls you to him and begins to sway to the music as he breathes into your neck. You try to make it look like you don’t have two broken hips. You stare into his eyes with an intense, “Come hither” look. He asks if you’re sure you’re okay. You’re not sure.

Dinner arrives. He ordered Chinese. You look at the table setting he elegantly laid out prior to your arrival. Candles, cloth napkins, no forks. Oh, God. Where did he put the forks? Did he forget the forks?

You look at his perfect freaking face and realize no, he didn’t forget the forks. People like him don’t forget the forks. Fork you, man.

You can do this, you tell yourself as you struggle to snap the chopsticks apart. He asks you about your day as you attempt to mold your fingers around them. How the heck are you supposed to hold these things? Like a banana? Can you get away with holding them like a banana? He repeats his question about your day as you drop food in your lap. You look up at him with soy sauce streaming down your face. He laughs at you and tells you you’re cute in a way he would call a baby cute because they, too, cannot feed themselves. You feel weird wiping your face with his fancy napkins. You attempt another bite and drop the food again. He asks if you’d like a fork. God, yes.

Everything goes smoothly for a bit. You choose activities that are virtually awkward-proof: a light-hearted movie (to prevent any ugly crying from happening) and a little wine (because a little wine never hurt). As long as anything physical or conversational is being kept to a minimum, you are going to own this.

You get back to his room. He compliments your underwear. All is well.

Then bedtime rolls around, and your body is swallowed in a fit of intense fear. You realize this is really what you’d been worried about all along: the actual sleeping. You suck at sleeping.

He sweetly kisses you goodnight as he shuts off the lights. He places his arm around you and puts his head in your hair. How does he breathe like that? How is it that his arm weighs 400 pounds? How is it that his natural body temperature is this hot? You shut your eyes and try to settle underneath it. It’s no use.

His room is a little dusty and that causes a bit of congestion in your nose. You remembered to bring your nasal spray, but is now really the time? A gorgeous guy has his arm wrapped around you. He seems to want to smell your hair. Can’t it wait? No, it can’t. If you fall asleep with a stuffy nose, you will snore like a Yeti gargling seawater.

He welcomes you back to bed without asking any questions because he is too polite. He spoons you for a few more minutes and then rolls over to his own side. His bed is really comfortable and you finally feel yourself start drifting off to sleep.

That’s when the gas kicks in.

Why oh why did he have to order Chinese?

At first, it’s not so bad. You think if you ignore it, maybe it will go away. It doesn’t. You bite your lip because it hurts so bad. Your stomach is staging a rebellion. The sesame chicken wants out and it wants out immediately. You keep clenching. You are determined to win this battle. You think maybe if you roll over, it will be better.

You do. It isn’t any better. It may be worse. Can you roll over again? Will he think it’s weird if you roll over again? Will he see through your façade and realize you’re just an anxious, gassy mess and make you go home? But this is just.so.uncomfortable. You roll over again.

“Why don’t you just go to sleep, babe?” You hear him say from his side of the bed. You start to die of frustration. Oh, you gorgeous people and your just sleeping. You’ll simply never understand.

You do eventually fall asleep. You wake up to another tender kiss from him. Your mouth feels like some old cheese and spoiled meat decided to ferment in it and make a nice little putrid garbage baby. He has no morning breath and his hair is perfectly neat because he is not human. You try to keep your lips tight and limit your words to the bare necessities. When, for the love of God, will you get to a bathroom?

He makes you breakfast while you brush your teeth. You get a look in the mirror and pray he hasn’t looked actually looked at you since you’ve woken up. You both need to get to work. He kisses you and says this was fun and you should do it again next week. You nod and smile and cry on the inside because now all spending the night with this guy means to you is pain and discomfort as you hold in your gas for a night.

Reflections on Monogamy: The Childhood Years

There are no two ways around it: I was a strange kid.

I very much lived inside my own head when I was younger. I was obsessed with TV shows my parents watched when they were kids. I created characters for myself on those shows, like being best friends with the Fonz or the 7th Brady kid. I would act out scenes for those characters during my playtime. This may or may not have been cute until I went to school. Then it got weird.

My hatred for small talk goes all the way back to my pre-school days. Only at this time, I hadn’t yet learned how to respond with inconspicuous answers to appear as though I were engaged. When I was 4, I responded with silence and blank stares. However, as mentioned earlier, I enjoyed acting out scenes I had made up in my head, so during recess, kids would try to play with me, and I would break off without really giving much thought to the social contract that comes with recess, and start (what could only appear to be) talking to myself. Sometimes, the teachers would admonish me against talking to myself, but being a four-year-old, I wasn’t entirely familiar with the concept of talking to oneself, and would carry on with my Emmy-worthy work.

Also, did I mention I loved musicals? I fancied myself a singer and would occasionally decide life was a musical and it was perfectly okay to break out into song in the middle of the kickball field. I assure you it was not, and a lot of kickballs were thrown at my head.

I was also obsessed with the idea of falling in love. Always have been. Perhaps it is my sweetest downfall. But I can say at the ripe old age of four, it happened for the first time. His name was Timothy. He was short, but solid, with a dapper blond buzz cut and a teal sweatshirt that immediately caught your eye. He was also beautifully cultured, filled with expertise on a vast array of subjects such as sand architecture and Barbie medicine.

I never quite understood why he noticed me. There were two other girls in the pre-school class: Shannon, a strong and independent woman with beautiful almond eyes, and Irene, who had a glowing personality and curly hair I always envied. Then there was me: the chubby and gap-toothed girl who wore bonnets and long, white gloves to school (I thought I was Mary Poppins) and whose only talent to speak of was singing at inconvenient times. Still, Timothy was there. He was the firm paternal role model my dollies needed so badly. He would push me on the swing.

Then, one day, the unthinkable happened. Timothy had asked me to meet him under the slide, which obviously meant it was of the utmost importance. I shook with anticipation as I approached our meeting place. What could it be? A fatal illness? Did he need a kidney? What if our blood types were different? My heart raced as I pictured the worst. Then, before I could even sit down, he pulled out a red sparkly ring: the kind you admired as it glowed in the 25 cent machine at the supermarket. My eyes lit up as he slid it on my finger. I had found the one.

The wedding plans naturally began immediately. I had already decided on a chocolate cake and a DJ and was about to draw a stick-figure design for my dress when I noticed something…

Irene’s finger had a bright blue ring on it: the most beautiful blue ring I’d ever seen; blue to match her eyes, blue to match the heavens.

“Irene, where did you get that ring?” I casually asked as I slipped my bejeweled hand behind my back.

“Oh, Timothy gave it to me,” she said as she bat her eyes and giggled.

It was a lesson in trust. I learned then as I gazed down at my inferior red ring that monogamy was going to be no easy task. I learned that the road to successful, loving relationships was a rough one. I learned that boys are stupid. I quickly canceled all the wedding plans and pushed Timothy’s face into the sandbox.

This encounter set the framework for the long journey ahead of me: that of a woman with a song in her heart and a bonnet on her head, unlucky in love, commitment, and otherwise.

My Love Song

Hello there, internet!

My name is Jillian Ports, and I am awkward.

I firmly believe that awkwardness is the spawn of being overly self-conscious. I find myself becoming burdened with crippling anxiety when I am forced to have a social encounter. If I know of an impending party or gathering, I will spend days, sometimes weeks, rehearsing potential conversations and quips, convincing myself this time I will be oh-so-witty, and then will curl myself up under my bed covers and cry the night before said event because I remember I will probably have to meet new people and they will probably not say the lines I have given them in my head. And I will have no choice but to try to be effervescent and charming on the spot. And that is some terrifying shiitake.

And let me tell you something about being awkward: if you know you are awkward, there is no turning back. You will be awkward. Someone who knows how to have a conversation will come up to you and make small talk. You will avoid eye contact and provide interesting commentary such as, “…yeah” or “Cool.” People will raise their eyebrows at you and excuse themselves because they, too, have now become uncomfortable, but they they have been blessed with knowing how to avoid the discomfort.

This aspect of my persona has been particularly trying on my dating life. I am awkward and I have dated some awkward people and our harbored world of combined awkwardness has created some doozies of tales. So here I am, to tell you these tales. I am not here to dish out dating advice. I have none, as you will soon learn if you continue to read this site. Merely, I would like to put on a smile on your face or perhaps, if you are a fellow awkward-teer, make you feel a little less alone (you are actually a part of a large and occasionally interesting community!). If there is one thing I have learned as a result of all this, it is to embrace my weirdness and make humor out of life’s weird happenings.

So, here we are. This is the Love Song of J. Awkward Prufrock: Romantic Ramblings for the Socially Confused. Godspeed.