Awkward Things I Say To Girls


“Call me back. Bye.”

Oh. Oh dear. We haven’t talked about answering machines yet.

I just spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out if answering machines are to me what spinach is to an awkward Popeye, or like what kryptonite is to a socially super-adept Superman. There were pros and cons. I plotted a graph of accuracy versus humor. I was about to make a PowerPoint presentation. But, look, how about you decide for yourself which interpretation resonates with you the most, while I tell you about an awkward phone conversation I just had with a friend, and we’ll just agree to roll postmodern style.

“Listen, you’re a girl, right?” Sometimes I like to check when I’m about to ask something particularly un-guy-like.

“Uh . . . ”

“I feel like I’m not good at calling girls up after I get their numbers. I mean, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, it’s just that they never call me back.”

“Well, what do you say, typically?”

Here’s where we need to pause and have a conversation.

Typically, I’m an answering machine catastrophe. I don’t shut up, is one problem, mostly because I just have a lot to share with the world. The fact that I’ve been encouraged and spoiled is another. Seriously. I have maintained an entire acquaintance relationship with one girl from college through her encouragement (and prompt returning) of my ridiculously long answering machine messages. In high school a girl thought that a message I left her was the “cutest ever.” These bouts of weakness on the parts of my friends have turned me into an answering machine catastrophe, just like grandparents spoiling an unruly child, because the evolution and radioactive spider bite similes didn’t make the cut.

But, honestly. I know how things work. When it comes to new people who don’t know me that well, I generally keep things as snappy, terse, concise, brief, and generally unwordy as my doctor allows without bed rest.

Which, honestly, is the general theme running through all of these blog posts. I know the right thing to do, it’s just a problem of execution. Imagine the League of Nations hitting on girls in a bar.

“Well, uh, generally I’d say something like: Hi.”

” . . . that’s it?”

“No, I’m thinking. Shush. Hi. I’m Justin. You might remember me because I’m the guy who talked to you the other night at the bar. Um. Well, you, uh . . .”

” . . . usually, this is what it’s like? Oh, Justin.”

“You be quiet. So anyway, I liked talking to you, so I think we should go out. So. Call me back. Bye.”

“Okay. That’s not going to work at all.”

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