The Chaser

Apologies for the absence, awkward-teers. I had forgotten how hard it is to motivate yourself to do things when you don’t have much to be accountable for. Work begets work; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

That, and I do often spend the week of July 31st immersing myself in Harry Potter, and I had to spend a little extra time on that this year because I needed to realign myself into the fandom after reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. What a magical mess that was.

Anywho, I am trying to be better about things and to get myself back on track. I doubt I will fully get there until I have a set plan and a routine again. Until then, feel free to enjoy my instability as I cry my way through Pitch Perfect 2!

Today we shall discuss The Chaser—and no, I’m not talking about whatever you grab after you take a shot of really cheap tequila (“Something else, anything else, turpentine! Does anyone have any turpentine?”). I’m talking about the guy who only wants to date you because he thinks he can’t, and then once he thinks he can, he’s done.

I really freaking hate this notion of “the chase” in dating. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to play games with people’s time and emotions. But I suppose when I see a cute fella, I’m too focused on making sure I don’t lean on the burning candle to think about whether or not I’m looking “too available.”

But back in the day, when I didn’t know any better, I gave a strange guy my phone number because he asked for it. This was the first time someone I had never seen before in my life just point-blank asked me for my phone number and I didn’t know what to do. He knew people who knew me, so I couldn’t give him the wrong phone number. And he was standing very close to me, so I panicked.

He texted me a few minutes later asking if I would meet him at a bar down the street. I said no. I was tired. And I had no interest in spending time with someone who asked for my phone number before I had even said a word to them. Of course this whole thing was all my fault because I gave him my phone number and I was answering him. Because I get no pleasure out of making things simple for myself.

He texted me again the next day, telling me he was going away for the weekend and I should hang out with him before that. I declined again. He texted me a few hours later saying, “Good news. My car is in the shop.” I said, “I’m so happy for you.” He said, “I like your sass.” That should have been red flag number one right there. He liked that I was being mean and withholding. He must have had some serious mom issues.

He asked me to hang out again. I said no.

This went on and on for over two months. Everyday, I would get another douchey text saying something along the lines of, “Are we ever gonna hang out or am I gonna have to return this engagement ring?” And other sexist things. I told him I had been a fat baby and he made fun of me for it ruthlessly.

He would ask me to hang out and I would say no.

One time he said, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” And I responded with the monologue from the s’mores scene in the Sandlot. He told me he was starting to think I was a crazy person. He called me Jill when I asked him to call me Jillian. He asked me to hang out again and I said no.

And then, one day, right around Christmas, he texted me again about hanging out. I had to work that night. He knew where I worked. And it was Christmas. And the thing is, I was lonely. I hadn’t been working at this place that long, so I didn’t really have friends there, and I was just out of college and all of those friends were scattered. These horrid text exchanges that made me roll my eyes were the only social exchanges I had; this had become my most consistent relationship.

So, I told him to come by the restaurant where I worked and we could have a drink after I was done.

He texted back that he would be there, albeit with some hesitance. I think he was already losing interest. I wasn’t sassy anymore. I was no longer a puzzle for him; granted, his method for solving the puzzle was shoving the same wrong pieces together over and over again until they were so worn down, they gave up.

So, after two months, he came and we sat down and we had that drink.

And my suspicions were confirmed. He was the worst. He called the dishwashers in the back “filthy Mexicans.” He told me he was kicked out of his frat in college for forcing two girls to drink so much, they got alcohol poisoning. He called me an idiot multiple times. And then, as he took his last swig of beer, I breathed a sigh of relief and prepared myself to tell him off, heavily considering kicking him in the shins in the process.

“Listen,” he said, before I could open my mouth, and I realized I had maybe said three collective sentences since this rendez-vous began, “You’re nice and all. That’s the problem. You’re nice. I thought you were a strong girl. But I guess now that you’ve fallen for me, you’ve gotten vulnerable.”

There were no words. Just the vapor from my boiling blood coming out my ears and skin pulling away from my bones one goosebump at a time.

“If you want to make a night of it, you can come back to my place.”

I let the rest of the vapor forcefully out of my nose like an angry bull.

“In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, never, ever, ever,” I said slowly.

“Awww, I hurt your feelings,” he rubbed my shoulder awkwardly and then he was out the door.

A part of me thinks he must have known what a horrible person he was. That’s why he wouldn’t give me the chance to really reject him. He badgers people until they will go out with him and calls it charm. He gets his rocks off from building someone up as strong and then accusing them of weakness.

There are all kinds of reasons some people are chasers. Some of them need the drama, the thrill; they live by the notion of getting the things they want. The thing is that once you have it, you will not be satisfied until you have the next thing you want, and you will get bored with the prior thing. And then there are the people who hate everything because they hate themselves the most and thus will try to make you hate yourself for reasons as stupid as being a fat baby.

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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.

 

Two Average American Singles Walk Into a Bar

I was going to post about something else today, but my brother’s girlfriend encouraged me to tell this story instead. I will post all of my best 80s rock band puns another time (just kidding…kind of).

The story is as such: I have a male friend who is having a hard time meeting a nice lady. He has tried nearly every online dating site, but has had no luck. He was ranting about this one day as we were walking back from the gym, so I started to suggest other places he could go to meet people. He’s a stand-up, so I said why not try an improv class? He said it’s too expensive. Okay, well, he likes to work out, how about the gym? He said girls don’t want to be hit on at the gym.

Which, of course, prompted me to say, “Where do you think girls want to get hit on?”

His response? “I don’t know…a bar?”

Dear men everywhere, if you ever find yourself with the ingenious idea that girls want to be hit on in bars, I would like for you to reach up and shatter that epiphanic light bulb before it gets too bright.

For many reasons, a bar might perhaps be the single worst place to try and meet anyone…because at an improv class, they’d just be having fun and would probably feel very open and full of good energy. At the gym, they might be on an endorphin high or flattered that someone took notice of their sweaty self. Women are not going into those places thinking, “Man, I really hope no one hits on me today.”

In fact, the only place they might walk into while thinking such a thought is a bar.

Whenever I go to a bar, it’s because I want to have some fun over a few drinks with friends and eat greasy food. Some people go to bars because they are looking for a one-night stand. If you don’t plan to go beyond the physical, it’s not necessarily a bad option. But a bar is not a place for meaningful connections to happen.

Here’s why:

  • The Setting—poor lighting and loud music. Combine that with the booze and you can think you went home with an author named Todd and then be woken up by the police in an apartment that isn’t his because it turns out he’s a robber named Tom. How do you know if you want to make it to a second date if you can’t even really see them or ask them how they feel about fish tacos? Fish taco feelings are easily the most imperative make-it-or-break-it topic when scouting suitors. You can find absolutely no common ground in a bar other than that you and your friends have nowhere else to go on a Saturday and you both kind of like beer.
  • Our Guards Are Up—If women go into the bar with the attitude that all of these douchebags are going to try to get them into bed, they are going to walk around with eagle eyes and iron shields. To the point where a guy could innocently bump into a girl and she’ll say, “Sorry, no. I’m just here with my friends.” One time, I went to a gay night at a bar with my friends and I ordered a glass of wine. A guy who was sitting near me asked what kind of wine I was drinking, and I automatically said, “Sorry, I have a boyfriend.” Then his boyfriend came up behind him and kissed him on the head and both just looked at me and laughed awkwardly. Even though I knew the entire time that, in all likelihood, he was just a friendly, gay man making conversation, I had to instinctually dagger him with a response. It’s The Bar Effect (trademark coming soon).
  • Alcohol—Some may argue that alcohol makes them feel more confident. That’s great for you. Alcohol does not have this effect on me. Sure, it makes me a little louder, a little more talkative, puts a little boogie in me, but alcohol does not do anything to improve my self-consciousness. Alcohol keeps me at my normal level of self-consciousness but makes me less able to filter it. And alcohol also makes that little voice in the back of your head that says, “Oh, yeah, do that. That will be soooooo funny,” a lot more prominent. So I do the thing and then everyone looks at me and says, “That was weird. Why did you do that?” And I very honestly reply, “I thought it would be funnyyyyyyyy,” but I’ve forgotten how to form consonants. And they go, “What?!” And then I start smelling my hair.

To all of you who think alcohol makes a good ice breaker, sit down and have a good, long think about how many people you’ve met who are more attractive when they’re drunk. Also, think about your desire to have your life-mate’s first impression of you be drunk you. I know that thought terrifies me. But I’m also sloppy and don’t get hit on much anywhere because I have mastered a facial expression combination between frightened and dismissive. Perhaps everything I’ve said so far should be disregarded.

Anyhow, for all of you looking for a mate out there, find someone who treats you like a Queen and will KISS you and bring you Guns ‘N Roses and let you call him Loverboy. And when he says, “I love you,” you can say, “U2.” (Well, there goes next week’s post.) Maybe you will find him in a bar, but remember that may muddle the advantage of common ground you can find elsewhere.

Also, I have this friend…

All of the Reasons I’ll Never Ask You Out

  1. You might say no.
  2. You might say yes, and I’ll just stare at you in shock and then you’ll change your mind.
  3. You might say yes and then yell, “PSYCH!”
  4. You might say yes but then we never make a definitive plan and the date never actually happens and every time I see you, it’s awkward.
  5. You might say yes and then I suggest a sushi place, but it turns out you’re allergic to sushi and you call me insensitive.
  6. You might say yes and then cancel.
  7. You might say yes and then not show up.
  8. You might say yes and then show up with another woman, and I find myself entangled in a weird sex arrangement.
  9. You might say yes and then get into a minor car accident on the way to the date and then resent me.
  10. You might say yes and then we go somewhere candlelit and my hair catches fire and I have to go to the hospital.
  11. You might say yes and then we go someplace for hot coffee and I spill it in my lap and have to go to the hospital.
  12. You might say yes and then we go out for dinner and you choke on your food and then you have to go to the hospital.
  13. You might say yes and then I will catch a stomach virus but I won’t want to cancel and we’ll go somewhere and I’ll throw up on you.
  14. You might say yes and then the first date goes well, but the second date is sub par and you lose interest.
  15. You might say yes and then I realize I don’t like you that much and I’ve wasted a perfectly good Saturday.
  16. You might say yes and then we have a good time, so I invite you back to my place and you rob me.
  17. You might say yes and all goes well and then you take me to an alley to meet your drug dealer.
  18. You might say yes and we go to a museum and are mistaken for famous art thieves and end up in jail.
  19. You might say yes and then we date for a few months and then you break up with me and I’m sad.
  20. You might say yes and then we date for a few months and it turns out you’re a serial killer.
  21. You might say yes and then we date for a few months and fall madly in love and then you become terminally ill.
  22. You might say yes and then we fall madly in love, but your mother hates me and you have to choose between us.
  23. You might say yes and then we fall madly in love and I find out you’ve been married all along.
  24. You might say yes and then we fall madly in love and then you propose to me and yell, “PSYCH!” and run away and I never see you again.
  25. You might say yes and then we fall madly in love and decide to get married and it’s expensive.
  26. You might say yes and then we get to our wedding day and you suddenly realize you’re gay and run out of the venue and hop on the back of some dude’s motorcycle.
  27. You might say yes and then we get to our wedding day and Scarlet Johannson suddenly gets up and professes her love for you and how can I compete with that?
  28. You might say yes and then we get to our wedding day and Ryan Gosling suddenly gets up and professes his love for me and I have to choose.
  29. You might say yes and then we get married and then you get kidnapped on our honeymoon.
  30. You might say yes and then we get married and then we grow to hate each other and get divorced.
  31. You might say yes and then we get married and I find out I’m your second family.
  32. You might say yes and then we get married and have children and never have sex again.
  33. You might say yes and then we get married and our children are horrible people.
  34. You might say yes and then we get married and win the lottery and the money corrupts us and ruins our relationship.
  35. You might say yes and then we get married and I find our your job was never technically legal.
  36. You might say yes.

So it is pretty safe to say, gentle-eyed creature across the crowded room, that if you believe there is any future for us, please, in the name of all that is divine, make the first move. Any hope we have depends on it.