Awkward Things I Say To Girls


IT ALWAYS SEEMED LIKE THE RIGHT THING TO SAY AT THE TIME

I don’t think “nice” means “smoking hot.”

Part 3, Chapter 11

“You should hang out with Justin sometime! He’s really,” she paused for emphasis, “really nice.”

I flinched when I heard the adjective. I don’t have anything against the word generally, or even its application to me, unless the person using it happens to be the hottest ex-copy editor I’ve ever seen. And when Michigan Girl is telling her friends that I’m really nice, obviously no one is going to be having hot makeout and cuddle sessions anytime soon. Except for perhaps them. And her. With people who aren’t me.

I sighed, but smiled. Now that school had started, I had been spending a ton of time with Michigan Girl, both in and out of class. We sat next to each other in microeconomics, walked back to the dorms together, and chatted at work. Even though there were lots of subtle reminders of how she wasn’t interested in me, like her ever-more-frequent efforts to pair me off with friends I had no interest in, or her conversations about her relationship with her boyfriend who she relentlessly refused to break up with for reasons not readily apparent either to myself or any of my friends, a part of me was steadfastly convinced that we were meant to be together.

So I sucked it up when she tried to introduce me to her friends and made an honest effort to be attracted to them, because some of them were empirically hot. “What happened to the friend you introduced me to a few weeks ago?” I asked her. “You know, the tall, thinnish one?”

“The one with the massive chest?”

“Hey, I didn’t say it.”

“She is dating a 33-year-old now.”

“Darn. I thought for sure she’d go for me after you told her how nice I was.”

It wasn’t all that bad of a lifestyle, really. I would spend hours (and my own money) each week to review movies for the student newspaper, so that she’d have movie reviews to run in her section. I listened to her stories. She and I wrote haikus to each other in class.

Okay, maybe it was a bit disgusting. But I didn’t care. I didn’t have eyes for anyone else.

Finally, she gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. “Listen, are you doing anything tonight?”

“I dunno, maybe go out with my roommates.”

“Well, do you want to go to a movie with my roommate and me and my boyfriend? It’ll be a double date!”

Objectively, this is probably the worst idea ever conceived by a person. Let’s examine this from all sides. Her boyfriend, naturally and justifiably, dislikes and resents me. Her friend is great, but, as far as I knew, no substitute for Michigan Girl herself. Who, meanwhile, I will have to try hard not to be gazing dopily at, because the other two of our little foursome will be watching me like jealous hawks.

But, then, who was I dating? No one. So what did I have to lose by going on a date? Just because I’m friends with Scarlett Johansson doesn’t mean I’m not going to say yes when she tries to hook me up with Thora Birch. Frankly, you don’t know when Puck is going to snap his fingers and it’s all going to make sense.

So, naturally, I say yes.

Hours later, the other three announce their presence on my street by a “We’re here!” phone call from Michigan Girl mixed with the distinctive roar of a car being driven by someone who wants anyone within earshot to know how much testosterone he has in his bloodstream at that exact moment.

I got in the back with my date, and after two feminine hellos and a masculine growl, we peeled out towards the theater. But it wasn’t until the movie started rolling that I realized that I was making a big mistake.

My date sat to my left. She was very sweet, the sort of girl who went on mission trips but always refused to play truth or dare. Which, by the way, isn’t unattractive at all to me. In fact, quite the opposite. If you curse like Elizabeth Bennet and Winnie the Pooh, I’ll probably think it’s the cutest thing ever. Although frankly, if you curse like a drunken sailor, that’s an entirely different yet equal kind of cute. I don’t care about the direction of your hotness vector, just its magnitude along the awesome axis.

Unfortunately, and don’t think I didn’t try, she didn’t have a chance because, two seats to my right, sat Michigan Girl who, for example, could compell me to quit speaking, mid-sentence, simply by putting her hand on my knee. Which happened not long before. It was incredible. I had completely forgotten what I was talking about. Yes, statistically it may not be significant, because she was putting her hand on my knee a lot then, and I forget what I’m talking about probably fifteen separate occasions per day.

Grumpily depositing himself to my right between me and his girlfriend, with the sense that, if he had his choice, he’d perpetually position himself at any point on the shortest great circle arc between the two of us, sat Michigan Girl’s boyfriend. He slouched down in his seat.

So with a very conservatively raised Christian girl to my left, and a disgruntled Jewish boyfriend to my right, I sat in the dark and squirmed through the entirety of Full Frontal, which turned out to be a movie about people who strangle themselves while they masturbate and a play about a comic Hitler.

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