No, I Don’t Want to Make Out with You (and Other Social Faux-Pas)

Whenever I’m at some sort of gathering of my peers, I usually have my Awkward Sensors on. It’s not always intentional, but I’m generally able to sniff out those who are just as uncomfortable as I am. And then we sit next to each other in eye-contactless silence and a new friendship blossoms.

But sometimes there is that person who clearly wants to be included, but other people are avoiding them because they’re hard to talk to or maybe a bit unpleasant. And I inevitably end up talking to that person because my empathy kicks in (I’m fairly certain I’ve been that person before) and because sometimes I prefer a little genuine unpleasantness to forced conversations about nothing.

But sometimes that comes back to take a big ol’ bite out of my behind. Because sometimes that person reads your talking to them as you wanting to hop on for a ride.

Perhaps I’m a bit naïve but I’ve never understood why talking to someone of the opposite sex when there is alcohol involved means you are randy and ready for their sweet, sweet love. That sounds like a case where I would avoid talking to that person at all costs.

So, I was at this party and wasn’t really having that great of a time, but I had promised myself I would stay for at least an hour, because this was one of several parties I had been to thus far that summer and had never lasted very long at any of them. Frankly, many people there had no idea who I was. I was hired two weeks into this summer theatre festival to do admin work and not only was everyone else on a different schedule, but I also have this habit of never introducing myself to anyone ever, in the hopes that makes them less likely to remember what it’s like to watch me eat.

Anyway, there was this guy there who I had spoken to a few times. He was a bit of a narcissist who made people feel uneasy, but he wasn’t the worst person I’d ever met in my life. We all have our flaws, and he was clearly looking for someone to hang out with, so I thought I’d go over and chat. We talked about things I like to talk about (books, mostly), and repeatedly, people would walk behind them so they could shake their head at me and make a “What are you doing?” face, and I would roll my eyes. I was getting texts from someone else I knew at the party saying, “Are you INTO him?” And no, I wasn’t. I was honestly just trying to be nice, so that when I meet St. Peter at the pearly gates, our encounter would be less awkward.

It was getting late and I wanted to leave. He asked if I would like to take a walk. We were all living on a college campus and I was planning on walking back to the dorm I was living in, so I said sure. Little did I know this was some sort of secret code for a booty call request. Now if a guy asks me if I want to take a walk, I just slap him in the face and run.

We got about a few feet from the party before he pulled me into him and said, “I’d like to kiss you, may I?”

“Uhhhh, no, thank you,” I responded.

He frowned and furrowed his brow, but he let go of me and we kept walking.

He fell in step behind me and I thought maybe, since everything was super duper uncomfortable now, he was just letting me go ahead and ending it there. For that, I would have been grateful. However…

Suddenly, there was a pair of hands on my shoulders. His thumbs were digging hard into my spine and I thought…this is it. He must know some pressure point in the spine that will knock me unconscious and then he will smooch me to death and bury my body. This is how I die.

Then he moved his thumbs outward toward my arms in a light, stroking motion.

He was massaging me. While we were walking. A mobile massage.

Well, this was a first.

“What are you—?”

“Shhhhhh,” he said, running his fingers up my neck and to my ear lobes, “don’t ruin it.”

I opened my mouth to say something anyway, but then there were two fingers in my ears. In my ears. Moving in a circular motion, rubbing my hearing holes. All I could think was, walk faster, Jillian, but it’s very hard to walk faster when someone else’s fingers are in your ears.

We were only a few feet away from the dorm at this point. My keys were in my hand and I was ready to get the fuck out of there. As we reached the door to my room and his fingers came out of my ears, I felt a beautiful Hallelujah envelop me in a warm hug.

“Well, goodnight.”

“Mind if I come in?” He asked, keeping about two whole inches of space between us.

“I’m really tired.”

“Just for a minute.” He pushed himself into the room. I made a point to leave the door wide open. Now, I’ll admit, I was a bit scared.

He pulled me into him and tried to place his mouth on my mouth. I tucked my lips so far into my mouth that they hopefully wouldn’t be back until it was time to announce it’s spring. He was biting at them, trying to get at them, chewing on my chin like a corn cob.

I pushed him away. “I’m cold,” I said abruptly, moving to the heater on the opposite side of the room.

“You know what keeps people warm? Blankets.” He started making his way over to the bed. I took him by the shoulders and pushed him toward the door. But he looked a little turned on by this. So I did the only thing I could think to do.

“You know what else keeps people warm? Calisthenics.” And I broke out into a set of jumping jacks.

It is the first and only time I have heard of anyone using jumping jacks to get out of awkward making out. Patent pending.

He frowned and furrowed again. “I get it. You’re not in the mood.”

Gee, ya think?

He finally left after that. I shut the door, locked it, and sat on my bed for awhile, pondering every moment of my life that had led to a somewhat-acquaintance giving me an ear massage.

The next morning, more texts came in. “Did you guys hook up?” “He said you hooked up.” Ugh.

As ridiculous as this night was and as good an anecdote as this has become, I consider myself extremely lucky and learned a lot from the experience: don’t leave a party with a dude you barely know, don’t assume people are into the conversations they are having or the people they are having them with, if you’re walking with someone carrying obvious tension in their shoulders, maybe you should try backing off instead of on, and cardio, man. Cardio saves mouths.

 

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My Top 5 Biggest Job Interview Fails

I was going to write an entry about how I’m adapting to a new-old routine, which would playfully explain why I’ve been absent from blogging and also why I am currently in the throes of an existential crisis. But frankly, I’m tired of all that! Let’s have some fun.

I will, however, add that I think one of the reasons for my recent depression was a very poor diet. I decided to commemorate my leaving Astoria with a takeout extravaganza. This turned out to be less of a celebration and more what my stomach has been training for for the past 25 years. Since moving back to my parents’ house, I’ve been drinking water and eating salad like some human or something and it’s made all the difference in the world. Cheers to you, FDA. Make no mistake, folks, they ain’t lying.

Anyway, onto today’s topic. A lot of those closest to me are on the job hunt and, suffice it to say, they are finding it to be a grind. We all know the old paradox: you need experience to get a job, you need a job to get experience (plus, in today’s economy, some witchcraft and a rosary might help, just so you have all your bases covered…or do they cancel each other out? I should learn math). It took me two years after college to find a “real” job (the quotes are based on the somewhat misguided colloquialism that blue collar work isn’t real work and the fact that I don’t think my current job is that real). I had some admin experience by the time I got to this point through internships and the like, so it wasn’t hard for me to land the interview.

However, if you couldn’t guess where this was going so far, and if you’ve never met me or read anything on this blog, you might be surprised to learn that I do not interview well.

I’ve gotten better. You live and you learn. I read advice articles and whatnot. The funniest thing was that the number 1 piece of advice on most of these articles was “be yourself.” Over the course of my job search, I learned the best course of action was to most certainly not be myself. I am the person who will get the job done, but when most of these extroverted HR whackos interview you, they also want someone they can have fun in Vegas with. Hey, I could go to Vegas! Someone needs to hold everyone’s stuff.

Anywho, here are 5 times out of many when I walked out with a more than fair degree of certainty in my failure as an interviewee.

Where am I, again?

Interviewer: So, do you know what we do?
Me: No.

I had no idea.

This was part of a freak two-week period where I just had a marathon of interviews. I was tired from the 2-3 hour commute and from the essence of complete hopelessness that filled the air. So here I was at another agency possibly vaguely related to my career goals for a low-paying assistant position (or maybe it was a receptionist position?), not ready for anything other than another rejection.

She explained what they did. It turned out to be incredibly boring. But that doesn’t mean you should miss the lesson here, kids. Do your research.

I like to think, though, that since the interview was cut very short once it became obvious that this wasn’t my passion, the interviewer was able to use the extra time to accomplish amazing things.

Look Good, Feel Okay

I had landed an interview at a fashion firm (I hope you weren’t drinking anything as you read that, and if you were, I apologize for the spit take). I’m not a fashion person. I hate shopping. But this was one of the first positions I interviewed for that had any creative aspect to it whatsoever. So, I had dressed for what I thought might be success.

I walked into the conference room to meet my interviewer. He gave me the once over.

Him: Well, the font on your resume was pretty.

It was the shortest interview I’ve ever had.

Cutie Patootie

 The interviewer introduced himself to me. He was really, really good-looking. You can see where this is going.

Him: Hi, I’m Adam.
Me: *long pause* I’m Jill.
Him: Is that tape?

He pointed to the hem of my pants, where the duct tape I had used to shorten them in a pinch was falling out.

Me: Yes. Yes, it is.

Some things never change.

Cry Me a River

For this one, I didn’t even make it to the actual interview. I was having a hard time finding the office, so I called, only to be told the position had been filled and no one had bothered to tell me in advance.

And I was so frustrated. I’d been looking for a job for over a year. I was exhausted, I was lost, I was emotional. I tried to hold back the tears. I cried at him into the phone while saying, “Thanks…for *Sniffle* letting *snort* me….knoooooowwwwwww.”

Not really an interview fail, but super duper awkward.

Dreams Can Probably Come True if You Don’t Make it Weird

 One of the first interviews I had was with a publishing house. It was an internship that paid minimum wage, wouldn’t even cover my train fare, but it was something I really wanted. A step. I was so excited for it. And extremely nervous.

I was also fresh from homecoming weekend at my alma mater and was probably still a bit hung over.

Him: So, what sort of aspects of publishing are you interested in?
Me: Editorial.

I ended it there. I felt no need to expand. Why would I? I had answered the question. We were off to a great start.

Him: *Drumming his fingers on the table, thinking about the nap he could have had instead of interviewing me* Did you do anything fun this summer?
Me: No.

I’d actually had a really fun summer that year. I had worked at a Shakespeare Festival. I’d gone zip-lining for the first time. All of these things escaped me and shockingly, he did not find me to be the most interesting person in the world. Stay where you are, Dos Equis man.

For the interview with my current company, I knew where I was going, what I was interviewing for, and the interesting things I had done that summer. I wore the same outfit I had worn for that fashion interview. The best thing about publishing is we’re too occupied with hiding behind our words to notice what we’re wearing.