Awkward Things I Say To Girls


“Did you just alternate rows between knit and purl?”

Several years ago, I said an awkward thing that worked out great.

I was at a party in college just, like, dominating the meningitis-pong table, when I noticed a girl with dark hair and a unique fashion sense somewhere across the apartment.

I don’t believe in types, but I do believe in statistics, and I will say this: based on the available empirical evidence, if you’re a girl with “dark hair” and “a unique fashion sense,” you can reject the null hypothesis with a pretty high confidence level, because I have a crush on you.

This girl was no anomaly. Before long I was talking to her about literature and movies, and as has happened just way too many times, she was blowing my mind. Alcohol makes me affectionate, and I was quite amorously sloshed that night. So it should come as no surprise that I asked for her number, and it should be only a minor messianic miracle that she gave it to me.

Then she went to get her coat so she could go home.

Now, we need to pause a moment and have a little chat about how much of a badass I am. Here’s an example: in a baseball game when I was 13, I broke a catcher’s hip stealing home plate in the championship game. They had to bring an ambulance out on the infield to take him away. Here’s another: two paragraphs down, I’m going to split an infinitive, right in the face. I mention these things only to point out that, in case you were wondering, I’m hard like the streets of Compton.

Okay. Glad we settled that. Also, here’s a fact: I know how to knit.

It’s true. I have two colors of yarn and two sizes of needles in my apartment right now. I used to make scarves in college to give to homeless people. Well, I made one. The rest of the time I just made squares. Lots of squares.

Maybe you think that makes me soft, and not like the streets of Compton at all. Usually people laugh when they learn that I knit, and when they do, I don’t waste time talking about being able to, with my time and energy and creativity, give (in the face!) actual physical insulated warmth to another person. Instead, I stop dicking around with grammar and tell them the end of this story.

When we last left our brunette hipster heroine, she was retreating into a bedroom to find her coat so she could go home, and she still was unaware of both my knitting ability and my callous indifference to the plight of infinitives. She came back to say good night, and I thought to myself: I’ve seen a scarf like that before.

In fact, I knitted one just like it. It’s a really simple pattern, and it always tends to curl up lengthwise, so it’s easy to recognize. Now I’m curious – did she do it herself? Because that’s pretty cool.

So, as we’re standing in the doorway to the apartment, her about to leave, me waiting for some friends to wrap up their own little drunken interactions, I ask,

“Did you knit that scarf yourself?”

She looks at me cutely. “Yeah, actually, I did.”

“What, did you just alternate rows between knit and purl? I made one like that, too, once.”

I kind of half-felt her heart skip a beat. I was looking directly at her scarf, though, so I didn’t notice when, after the brief moment it took her to defibrillate, she put her hand behind my neck. The noticing started immediately thereafter when she pulled my head down, kissed me hard, then vanished out of the apartment building in a clatter of clunky shoes on wooden stairs.

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