Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Wizard of Awkward

I'm not supersocial when I go to the gym. I meticulously plan each workout before setting one sneaker on their MRSA-encrusted floors and won't walk out until I've recorded every set and rep; that way I know exactly what I cancelled out by eating a box of Thin Mints for dinner. So spraypaint me shocked when a guy I'd talked to once or twice between bench presses asked if I'd like to have dinner with him, despite the fact that I'd paired my least flattering sweatpants with my finest midweek scowl. I accepted, even though I didn't know his last name until the obligatory Facebook friend request hit my inbox.*

I'm less than ten blog posts from the quiet implosion of my last relationship and, for reals, I'm looking for a new one** with less enthusiasm than OJ Simpson searching for The Real Killer, but when someone has the stones to stand two weight benches away and ask "Would you like to go out sometime?" it's hard to wave them off unless they're carrying a severed head or wearing a Toby Keith t-shirt. And, yeah, it would be nice to share a meal with someone who doesn't require you to open his can of organic chow, scraping it into a bowl while resisting the urge to rub Paul Newman's smug-looking face in a pile of his own liver-flavored byproducts.***

We've tried to find a date that plays nicely with his work schedule and my training because until April 20th when I stumble the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley Square, my boyfriend is the Boston Marathon.**** Since my Sunday mornings are spent making Family Circus-style tracks around Forsyth County, I X-ed out all of the Saturday nights. Post-Run meals are a no-go too, because after 22 miles of avoiding oncoming traffic I'm only interested in avoiding an undignified drowning in an Epsom salt bath, surrounded by a pile of tiny foil droppings made from discarded Cadbury Creme Egg wrappers.

The Asker Outer initially suggested last night--Friday night--but I was scheduled to attend the kind of party that celebrates someone else's happiness by giving them novelty appliances they'll never use. Unfortunately, the hostess came down with the type of disease that requires Theraflu, a Neti pot and frequent references to mucus in her phone message so the festivities were postponed for another couple of weeks. That was A-OK with this kid because that meant I could watch some hot ACC basketball action and also because the Magic Bullet I purchased for the lucky couple is on sale this weekend, so I tore its generic silver clothing off and returned it to Kohl's with the quickness. Score and score.

After watching my Wake Forest Demon Deacs play one sucktastic half of basketball--a primetime display of shotmaking that could've been matched by a team without any hands--I clicked the teevee off and decided to go to the gym. I was maybe three reps into my first set when--of course--The Asker Outer came in, the one who thought I had plans BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I TOLD HIM.

He ambled over, said hello and was nice enough not to ask how I could do cable rows when engulfed in the flames from my burning liar pants. I fumbled my way through my half of the conversation, trying to say "Oh hey, I didn't lie to you on purpose" without using that exact phrase. While it was nice to be embarrassed about something other than my complexion, after maybe three sentences I was awked out enough to hide in the other room.***** How could I expect him to believe that I really did have plans when even I get legitimately surprised if my Friday nights don't involve removing expired dairy products from the fridge?

I raced through my sets but in order to get my car keys, gym bag, and collection of empty Dasani bottles, I had to sneak back into the same room with him. I was zipping up my jacket when he waved and said "I'll talk to you soon." I responded with what I hoped was my honestest smile...and a thumbs up. A FUCKING THUMBS UP, a gesture that was awesome about the same time children's pajamas were still flammable and Cher still had collagen. Ugh. The only way I could be lamer is if I had to wear a mask made of my 10th grade face.

I'm seriously considering using Facebook for all of my interpersonal relationships. Superpokes mean never having to say you're sorry.

* I immediately plundered his photo albums because the most important thing you can learn about someone is what costumes they've chosen for Halloween.
** Except with you, Hugh Laurie. I'll share my Cakesters with you any damn time. And I mean that in both a dirty way and in a serious "Yes, I'd gladly give you one of these Nabisco treats" way.
*** Of course the Boxerbeast has a sensitive stomach, so my choice is to either buy expensive organic food or spend large chunks of my day scrubbing the carpet. By contrast, I consider Only A Dollar and Freezerburn to be two of the four food groups.
**** The marathon makes for a lousy conversationalist, though. My half of the dialogue consists of "I FUCKING HATE YOU" and its less popular B-side--typically employed as I empty the toenails out of my Nikes-- "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME".
***** Because that's what grownups do.


JerseySjov said...

hello!! i discovered your blog last week, read it all, and have been waiting for a day when your post was about something i could relate to [being awk...yes] and my latest work didn't involve a picture of my butt.
anyhows, im a fan, im now following you on twitter, and um thats it.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

Haaa! Friggin' hilarious account!

Did he return the thumbs up? An unreturned thumbs up is like a dagger to the heart, plus a little twist to make the wound even more grotesque. ;)

Julie said...

If he's really a relationship contender, he'll not only forgive the awkwardness, but will find it sort of charming.

Worked for me.

p.huong said...

A thumbs up? That's too funny. Some guys could find that cute. Maybe you should have given him the peace sign and a cheesy smile instead? Oh wait that only works with those Japanese anime fanatic girls.

Stacey said...

My boss thinks peace out is cool, so maybe there's hope that gym guy doesn't think you're awkward. Can't help you with the liar thing though.

Mike said...

So, you blew the chance to say, "hey, I was hoping to run into you here. There's been a change of plans. Let's go finish this sweat fest at my place". It would have worked on me.

Wv: poleali - A boxer from Poland.

LynnAnn said...

Oh my gosh when you got to the part where you saw him at the gym I had to turn my computer off so I couldn't read anymore. Then I had to turn it back on to know how it ended. I can totally relate - I have had my fair share of awkward encounters!

Michael said...

Everytime, J-Money, you get me with one line that has me giggling like a schoolboy.

Today it's-

"a primetime display of shotmaking that could've been matched by a team without any hands-"

F*ing brilliant.

just me said...

I thought I was the only one who gave awkward thumbs up...

...and ate Cadbury Creme Eggs.
Those things are SO GOOD until they are SO GROSS.

Cloven Hoof said...

I sincerely hope your overall look was very similar to this. He'd be putty in your hands after that. Or if you'd shown him your dolphin impression. (Not a euphemism.)

cardiogirl said...


Thumbs up aren't cool anymore? F*ck.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

So two people in the past week or so (which in my bloggy existence represents more than a quorum) recommended your blog to me - one who did so because it was, he said, funny (check); and the other, a former-lurker (at my blog; and possibly here as well, though I'm not prepared to do the research to find out, but just in case, Hi-ya there, Dan the Lurker, if you're out there) ... the other, as I was saying, because you use a lot of footnotes (check) which he (teh Lurker) thought I might find attractive because, hey, so do I at my blog. To emphasize his point, he used footnotes in his own comment, and they were actually superscript numerical ones, the very kind I, in blatant homage to (or ripoff-age of) David Foster Wallace, also use ... which, incidentally, you can accomplish in Blogger's html interface by enclosing the number(s) between these two guys "sup" and "/sup" (each within html brackets, of course) - which I tell you only because I think you might want to consider using using that format since the asterisks get a little cumbersome once you get up to, O, say, footnote 4 - a critical mass you surpassed in this very post.

Dan the Lurker also learned me that you can actually use the superscript html code in comments1 - which I was sure was impossible because there is html code that is far less unusual than that that the comments section won't allow.

Okay - so you ARE funny and your ARE a footnote abuser (which, coming from me, is meant as a compliment) - but the real reason I'm leaving a comment is to ask you what you would do if a guy came up to you carrying a severed head and asked you out - WAIT!!1! - but the severed head was that of ... Toby Keith?!1??

Talk about your moral dilemmas!1!

But I really want to know!

If it helps, in the above scenario, the SHofTK can still sing ...

... BUT ...

It sings songs in which it apologizes for those stupid f*ckin' boot-up-yer-@$$-it's-the-Amurkin-way songs it sang when it had a body!1!

(And might I add ... WHAT a body! Hey, just because a guy's a redneck doesn't mean he can't be built like a brick outhouse!)

So ... discuss.

My word verification: "exeso".

That sounds about right,
1 See?2

2 UPDATE - your comments section REFUSED the sup html code! So I have NO IDEA HOW Dan the Lurker did it at my blog. He must be a witch!1!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Hey lookee here¹

¹ Because I just figgered out how Dan the Lurker did it! But in any case, the sup /sup will work in the main (non-commenting) part of a post. Stick with that.

inflammatory writ said...


Drunk and Offensive said...

Guys like women who lie to them; it means you're dangerous and also it reminds us of our mothers.
You should drop subtle hints about doing time in prison, like "Yeah, my parole officer said she has to meet you first" or "I keep forgetting that I can't use cigarettes as money any more". We men totally eat that up.
My final word of advice: When he picks you up for your date, make sure he picks you up in front of an abortion clinic, and tell him you were there for 'a procedure' and be very evasive about the details. This will make him believe that you're open minded and aren't scared of needles.

I think that if you work with us, all of us readers will help you bag this guy, destroy his sense of self worth and dump him (this is the goal of women, I gather).

Underfunded Heiress said...

Great story. I am dying to find out how it goes.

Love the thumbs up ;)

Lone Butterfly said...

Oooo - maybe he somehow will read your blog and know you aren't lying - and therefore ask you out again. Unless he comes into the gym next time wearing a Toby Keith shirt, in which case you're lucky you got out when you did!

BTW - if you ever decide to do a marathon in a southeastern town (a large one, perhaps in Georgia, say the capital?) - let me know. As a Girl Scout leader I can totally hook you up with post-race Thin Mints, which makes me so less scary than most of the crazy people you meet on the internet. ;)

Dexter Colt said...

Thumbs up? I'll take it! Better than a thumbs down.

Anonymous said...


The Dutchess of Kickball said...

While a thumbs up is pretty lame at least you didn't go with something like the hang 10 hand wiggle.

J-Money said...

JerseySjov: Don’t worry, there will be plenty of awkward things that—even if you can’t relate—will make you feel better about your own, non-embarrassing life. Thanks for stopping by…please come back.

*Akilah Sakai*: No, he did not return the thumbs up, probably because he realized it was not 1987. Although if he had, I would’ve soiled myself.

Julie: Congrats on using awkwardness to your advantage, something I haven’t figured out how to do yet. Also, here’s the thing: I don’t really want a relationship at the moment--Hugh Laurie and the hetero-half of Morrissey aside--but I would like to interact with someone without looking like a total bonehead JUST ONCE.

p.huong: From now on, I’m terrified I’m going to spontaneously flash a peace sign and giggle. This burden is on you.

Stacey: Perhaps you should introduce me to your boss. Assuming he’s a dude.

Mike: Well now I know what to say if I ever bump into you, regardless of the setting. I could meet you at church* and you can guarantee the word “sweatfest” will be used.

*Not likely, unless it’s a church-sponsored 5K, but you get the idea.

LynnAnn: I assure you, no matter how many times you turn your computer off, when it powers up again I will still be awkward.

Michael: Sigh. It was so TRUE though. Here’s hoping they can blow past the mighty Cleveland State Vikings…

just me: EXACTLY. After I stocked up thanks to the the 3 for a dollar deal, they’ve officially reached Gross but will probably swing back to the Good side before they’re given orange stickers and tossed in the clearance bin. Despite the grossitude, I should point out that I haven’t stopped eating them.

Cloven Hoof: Oh yeah. I was Buddy Jesus. AND WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THE DOLPHIN?! From now on, I’m going to be a giggling, peace sign flashing water mammal. Who could resist? Other than, um, everyone.

cardiogirl: No, I’m sure you can rock a thumbs up like nobody’s biz. I should just have my thumbs taped down.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg: First, thanks to the people who sent you over here. I hope you dig it and I’d be willing to give you a Fruit Roll-Up if it means you’d come back. Sadly, that’s not a euphemism. Also, thanks for the tip on DFW-style footnotes...well played.

Finally, to answer your question, if someone brought me the severed head of Toby Keith, I would give them a Fruit Roll-Up as well, only this would be the dirty kind. I mean, euphemistically speaking, not dirty like I dragged it across the floor fir—you know, I’ll just stop here.

inflammatory writ: I just tipped my Diet Coke in your direction.

Drunk and Offensive: Holy. Crap. If there were a trophy I could give for comments, you would’ve earned it. In fact, I might make one out of aluminum foil and glitter and try to cram it in your inbox. Say it with me: NOT A EUPHEMISM.

Underfunded Heiress: If I’m involved, I think we can all assume that it will end poorly.

Lone Butterfly: I won’t tell you whether or not I had to do a google search for “capital of Georgia”. But, yes, if I’m in…um…Atlanta, we’ll hang out and I will gladly take your cookies. NOT A EU…you get the idea.

Dexter Colt: Excellent point! And a thousand times better than a thumbs down accompanied by a fart sound.


The Dutchess of Kickball: I always get that gesture confused with the sign language hand arrangement that means “I love you”, which wouldn’t have helped either.

Gleemonex said...

"The only way I could be lamer is if I had to wear a mask made of my 10th grade face."

Holy frosted and de-iced SHATNER do I love you.

Also: So true about the Halloween costumes. I'm going to include it in a list of things every girl should know about life, men and the unfathomable cosmos.

amindinmotown said...

I truly hope the two of you still have some sort of date because relationship-esque blog fodder is, by far, my favorite.

Jessica said...

Funny post! Hopefully he will be brave enough to ask again. I am slugging away at the boston training as well. Hope to see you there (along with the other twenty-thou)!

JerseySjov said...

i dont know what your requests policy is, but it would mean a lot to me if you could find it in your heart/soul to make a lolhouse for tonight's episode, particularly considering that a cat costarred.

maybe we could trade it for me writing a fanscript for an episode in which you suck face with hugh laurie.

Martin said...

"The only way I could be lamer is if I had to wear a mask made of my 10th grade face."


KT said...

If it makes you feel better I wave to people when I hang up the phone.

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

"I was scheduled to attend the kind of party that celebrates someone else's happiness by giving them novelty appliances they'll never use."

That was deep and wonderful.