Awkward Giving: What I Have to be Thankful For

  1. Smart phones, so that when I arrive somewhere entirely too early, I have something to stare intently at…and thus I will never appear lonely.
  2. Texting, so that I may stare at and study the words I have carefully constructed for at least 10 minutes before pressing Send, and can avoid the horror that is improvised telephone conversation.
  3. People who screen their calls, thank you. You are too kind to let me leave the message I have scripted and rehearsed 7 times before dialing.
  4. Technology in general, for making everything less personal.
  5. Caution: Wet Floor signs, so that when I do slip, I know I’m slipping on something normal people slip on.
  6. All the air I haven’t tripped over, thank you. Don’t let the bully air get you down.
  7. Blinds and darkness, so that no one will ever have to see me dance.
  8. Alcohol, so that on some glorious evenings, I feel like I can dance. And I am not ashamed.
  9. New York for being the kind of city where talking to strangers is frowned upon.
  10. Tide-to-Go, OxyClean, and all other stain removal products, thank you. You have saved me countless dollars on several new wardrobes.
  11. Dogs for just chilling instead of judging.
  12. Artists and scientists, so that I always have a group to bask in social awkwardness with.
  13. Trivia, so that I always have a fun, weird, and random conversation tidbit to blindly hurl into the uncomfortable silence.
  14. Fictional characters for being the easiest friends to make.
  15. Fandoms for giving us ways to make new friends.
  16. Words for giving me something to hide behind.
  17. Pants, so that I may take them off after a long day.
  18. Blankets for keeping me warm through the insomnia.
  19. Warning labels, peeping toms, and general ne’er-do-wells, so that when I lie awake at night, I can panic about whether or not my counter cleaner accidentally touched my food or whether or not there is someone outside my window instead of tumbling into an existential crisis.
  20. Online ordering and delivery for limiting the amount of people who truly know how much I can eat and for keeping all conversations regarding such to a minimum.
  21. Dessert.
  22. Self check-out, so no one need ask why I need so much hummus.
  23. Anything one can fidget or futz with in their hands.
  24. Vacuums for easy cleanup after something gets knocked over.
  25. Open space where I can pace.
  26. All of my ex-boyfriends, lovers, and flings, for providing me with some enormously entertaining anecdotes.
  27. Family, who have to love me despite my cluelessness, and friends, who for some reason choose to.
  28. You. You’re awesome. Way to go, you!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings. Eat, drink, be merry, be wild, be daring, be curious, ask questions, hug someone (or pat them on the shoulder with a kind, yet forced smile), and for the love of God, have your Tide-to-Go pen handy!



My Top 25 Most Awkward Things

Well this is me, getting quite candid with all of you. I probably shouldn’t label these as “most” when they are in fact 25 of many. I raise these points to your attention in the hopes that I am not alone. Please tell me I’m not alone. Anyone? Hello?

  1. I talk to myself. A lot. I pretty much don’t know how to let a thought weave in and out of my head without mouthing it. Sometimes I’m just repeating past conversations. Sometimes I am creating dialogue for potential future conversations. Sometimes I am going over a strategy to get the heck out of a conversation. I am only aware of my doing it roughly 60% of the time. Sometimes I become aware while I’m mid-act but then I feel weird abruptly stopping, because passersby have come to expect it of me and I don’t want to disappoint them. I’m trying to get in the habit of always having a book in front of me so it just looks like I’m reading to myself.
  2. To follow on that, if I am making a conscious decision to not talk to myself, I will still be unable to prevent my face from expressing every thought I am having. Sometimes this means seemingly laughing at nothing, sometimes it means I look really disgusted for no reason, sometimes it means people cowering away from me because they think I’m mad at them, but in reality I’m just thinking about work.
  3. When I get nervous or don’t know what to say, I smell my hair.
  4. I also play with my hair, which means I panic if I don’t have a hair-tie. I put my hair up in a messy bun, only to take it down, and then put it back up again over the span of 2.5 minutes. I have no control over my hair, however, and cannot pull off the messy bun no matter how hard I try. It always just ends up looking like a turd is coming out of my head.
  5. If I think of something really embarrassing from my past, I start to moan until the thought leaves my head. Sometimes if the thought is too strong, I say a random word like, “ANTELOPE!” in the hopes that the antelope will chase the thought away.
  6. I also moan when I eat, but that’s just because I really love food.
  7. If I am eating with my hands, I have to break the food up into small bites. Unless it is circular (i.e. a cheeseburger). Then I must eat downward from right to left until it is halved, turn it and eat it until it is a triangle, bite it down into a smile shape, and finish the smile shape in exactly 4 bites.
  8. Yesterday for lunch, I decided to pack a container full of plain Brussels sprouts. This isn’t because I am on some sort of diet or am trying to be healthy in general. I just really love Brussels sprouts.
  9. If I hear music, I have to dance. Or lip-sync with feeling. All depends on the tune. I still don’t know if I am human…or a dancer.
  10. When I am talking to someone new and I don’t know what to say, I laugh. This isn’t so terrible until someone tells you they had to declare bankruptcy.
  11. I don’t like the feeling of sitting for long periods without something in my lap. I think it’s a vulnerability thing. Accordingly I always feel better if I have a pillow or a bag with me. Teachers used to ask me if I was going somewhere because I always had my bag in my lap. Also I’m pretty sure it’s why I have back problems.
  12. I’m very bad at sounding casual. When I try, my voice cracks. So I try to keep out of the conversation until something I can genuinely discuss comes up. A lot of people think I don’t like them or I’m stuck-up. I just, in general, really, really, really don’t know what to say, and would prefer to not say anything.
  13. My office door is known to shock people when they touch it. I hate that feeling on my hands, so I always open the door with my elbow.
  14. I’m very afraid of eels. I really hate snakes but man, are eels just terrifying. They’re the snakes of the water! (Well, besides water snakes). That makes them doubly sinister. I have nightmares about eel attacks frequently.
  15. If I’m watching one of my favorite movies or TV shows or reading one of my favorite books and I know a character is about to experience something hurtful or embarrassing, I have to fast forward, flip ahead, turn it off, leave the room, etc. because I feel their feelings…and then I start to moan.
  16. On top of the aforementioned food enjoyment moans, I am a loud and messy eater. I always end up wearing some of my meal. I try to chew quietly but it doesn’t work. People grab headsets when they see me going for an ice cream cone.
  17. One time, my friend threw an apple at me and I caught it. We celebrated for weeks.
  18. I make really obscure references to things that no one would ever possibly get. Like I’ll say, “No, thank you,” in a way similar to the way John Travolta said, “No, thank you,” in one movie one time. I secretly always hope someone will get it. Even a little. It was especially a problem when I was younger and watching TV shows that were on in the 70s and 80s. How could you not know Blair Warner’s eyes had green and gold flecks and that Susan Dey had an eating disorder?! I was raised by that shit.
  19. I was a theatre major, and once had to do a mock professional audition as part of my college curriculum. They told me the audition itself was fine, but then spent 20 minutes trying to teach me how to walk into an audition. Apparently you’re supposed to do it in a straight line and not look like a waddling duck.
  20. I am always cold and thus usually have a large coat on. Even when I’m at home. Not a hoodie. A coat. I really like coats.
  21. I ordered a tea in Starbucks the other day. It was very busy and the cashier clearly forgot to pour it. Instead of asking about the progress of the tea I had paid for and had every legal right to, I left and went to Gregory’s Coffee.
  22. I am a master of the Irish goodbye.
  23. If I am at a house party, I immediately try to find an animal to befriend. Animals rarely expect a casual conversation.
  24. I don’t hear well, especially when people mumble, so I often have to ask people to repeat themselves more loudly several times after they’ve said something they clearly didn’t want other people to hear.
  25. It is very safe to say I never know what I’m doing.

Come come now, awkward-teers. Share with me your awkward ways! Let us bask in our awkward glory! But quietly…alone, in our own space.

J. Awkward Prufrock’s Breakup Survival Guide

It is safe to assume that, at one point or another, you will get dumped. That is not a testament to your personality or how pretty your face is. That is statistics rearing its ugly head. There are only so many people in the world. You will only date or try to date so many of them. And with most of the people you date, there will be a breakup. And it probably won’t be fun. I feel like bad relationships and ugly breakups are such a frequent occurrence that I could walk up to any woman on the subway and say, “He was an asshole and you deserved better,” and she will start crying and nodding and thank me.
Breakups are hard regardless of whether or not you were the dumper or the dumped. Mostly because it means a change in your life will occur, and that is a difficult thing. Even if your relationship was bad, it is still what you were used to. This is precisely why I have personally been dumped more times than I have dumped on others (read that however you want to). I am too apathetic to bother making changes in my life. And like most people, I rarely stop to think about whether or not I’m actually happy. I’m too busy imagining unicorns fighting narwhals and what if that narwhal had a mustache? Or wondering if that guy’s backpack has a bomb in it and what would be my best exit strategy. This is what most people think about, right? RIGHT?!

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been dumped (though I do describe some of my more awkward rejections here), but I can tell you that they say it takes 10 years to become an expert at something, and I have spent the last ten years moping about boys. I know absolutely nothing about relationships, but I do know a thing or two about the sudden lack thereof. And even when you weren’t feeling good about it anymore, even when it was the best thing that could have happened to both of you, it…still…sucks.

So here I present to you my comprehensive, step-by-step guide to getting through a breakup. Please note this is not a female empowerment post. This isn’t telling you to buck up and be strong, sister. This is getting down to the bottom line: you’re upset. Stop the upset. You may say many of the steps are clichés. I have never claimed to be an original thinker, and also I think clichés exist to save space in our brain. Which is helpful to me, as now the unicorn is wearing a top hat.

Step 1: Cry

So, you’ve been dumped. Nixed. 86ed. Hurts, dunnit? Doesn’t matter how much you loved or didn’t love them. Doesn’t matter what their good or bad qualities were. Doesn’t matter if you got the, “It’s not you, it’s me,” speech or the, “Nah, it’s definitely you,” speech. It just hurts. It feels like someone took your heart and squeezed it like a cow utter. Or maybe like they kicked it around during an elaborate Mexican Hat Dance. When you find this to be the case, I highly recommend getting the crying out of the way immediately. Emotions are a lot like vomit. Holding it in won’t stop it from happening. It will just come out with a vengeance.

Remember to choose your cry carefully. Sure you can let out a little sniffle with elegant tears running down your cheeks like you’re watching Sarah McLachlan talk about the ASPCA, but is that really an effective use of your crying window? That’s like taking only one bite of pizza when you’re starving and then wrapping up the rest for later. What does it solve? And also what kind of sick, self-controlling monster are you that you can only take one bite of pizza when it is hot and cheesy and immediately available to you?

The most appropriate cry would most likely be the ugly blubber. The kind that makes your roommates wonder how you got a baby elephant in your room. The kind that feels like you are trapped under something heavy. The kind that makes your face so red and your hair so messy and your eyes so puffy that when you finally get a gander in the mirror, you wonder who brought the zombie to your room and what is he having an allergic reaction to. This cry will get you off the floor and safely into Step 2.

Step 2: Get Angry

If you’re an insomniac like me, chances are you didn’t sleep a wink the night of the breakup, and instead paced around your room, tapping your fingertips together, and plotting your revenge. Plotting revenge is great. Plotting revenge is important. Executing revenge is not for the faint of heart. Truly the best revenge you can get is to not give them the satisfaction of your revenge. Real revenge takes time and careful planning and acquiring implements of destruction. I highly doubt they’re worth it. If you must do something with your hands, however, I find there’s no harm in grabbing some felt, crafting a doll, and sticking some pins in it.

It is important to address that this is most likely the phase where you’re going to want to text them. You’re going to want to tell them off, let them know what they’re missing out on, maybe bargain with them a little. I implore you, do not. DO NOT! HEY, PUT THAT PHONE DOWN! PUT IT DOWN RIGHT NOW! I WILL SLAP THAT PHONE RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HAND! There is nothing less appealing than an endless strand of nonsensical text messages sent by a grumpy zombie at 3 in the morning. Chances are they do not want to hear from you.

I do recommend breaking something. Nothing valuable. Remember, the key is to get rid of the upset. This does not mean engage in regretful behavior. If anything, that will prolong the upset. Go into the kitchen, break an old plate or an ugly mug, sweep it up to feel like you’re accomplishing something, and then pour yourself a glass of wine.

 Step 3: Wallow in Self-Pity

This is my favorite step. Possibly because it is how I’d like to live my life most of the time, minus the self-pity. The clearest way to explain this is to break it down into sub-steps.

 3a: Choose Your Wallow Ensemble

I find the best wallow ensemble is a soft pair of sweatpants and a hoodie just baggy and stained enough that people might wonder if you’re a vagrant. Also, commando. Always commando. Both top and bottom.

3b: Choose a Venue to Show Off Your New Look

Supermarkets work well. Especially given step 3c. They’re highly public, which gives you many chances to scowl at people who give you a condoling look. While it’s never nice to be on the receiving end, there is something so oddly cathartic about being a dick for no reason.

3c: Eat Senselessly

Use your newfound not-giving-a-shit attitude to eat the things you always crave. Here is an example a solid Wallow Meal: a) appetizers: honey mustard and onion pretzels, potato chips, onion dip; b) main course: a steak burrito with extra sour cream, cheddar bacon fries, a bottle of wine; c) dessert: 4 scoops of different kinds of ice cream over a warm brownie with the following toppings—Oreos, sprinkles, peanut butter, hot fudge, Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, heath bar, whipped cream. A suitable alternative is a roll of raw cookie dough. Heck, have both.

3d: Watch a Romantic Movie

Whilst you feast like a starving lion, put on a nice flick. Love stories are best. Note: not love stories like 500 Days of Summer about someone getting over someone. Watch a movie about two people who are passionately and hopelessly in love. For one, it will get the rest of the crying out. Also, it’s all part of the wallowing process to watch people obtain something you want and be pissed off that you don’t have it.

3e: Take a Long Walk

Go outside and get some fresh air and take note of the fact that the world is much bigger than you. And then go back inside and stop caring.

3f: Talk to Someone

Once you haven’t washed your hair for a few days and you’ve listened to Skinny Love enough times, it may be a good time to find a confidante. What kind of confidante is up to you: could be a great listener with a lot of sympathy or someone who is going to slap you real hard across the face and tell you to get your life back. Perhaps the best solution is somewhere in between.

Step 4: Become a Productive Human

 Turn your feelings into something you can use to your advantage. Write a book, learn to scuba dive, take a Improv class, turn what used to be Netflix and Chill time into Oh My God Do Something, You Useless Thing time. This will be short-lived. You will always go back to watching Scrubs in its entirety for a 8th time. But hey, maybe you’ll learn something.

 Step 5: Fuhget About It

 It takes time, and that’s all. A few months later, when you’re about to go on another date, the old Ex will cross your mind and you’ll think, “Oh yeah, that happened,” and then you’ll fix your hair in the mirror and not think about it again for an even longer while.