Awkward Things I Say To Girls


Archive for the 'It’s Not a Date' Category

Friends share beds all the time as, like, just friends. That’s not weird.

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Part 4 of 5, Chapter 20

I was on my bed with HCE stretched out next to me.

“But we made out four weekends ago.” She propped herself up on her elbow to look at me. “So it has to be our anniversary this weekend, right?”

I took my hand off her hip and brushed the hair out of her eyes. “This is ridiculous,” I subvocalize.

“No, you pick! We have to have an anniversary date. Honestly.” She rolls onto her back while I roll my eyes.

“Be a man,” I say, louder.

She covers the phone and shushes me. “He is!” she says. Then, back into the phone: “Sorry, a suitemate is being noisy. I’m just saying, you can’t have it both ways. You have to pick a date for us to celebrate our anniversary on.”

“I think YOU are.” I say, and reach for her crotch because I want to pretend to check, but also because it’s a crotch. She squeals and sits up.

“Can I call you tomorrow? Something fun is happening here now.” She hangs up with her boyfriend then, who still isn’t me. This is a fact that obviously is failing to bother me to a spectacular degree at that particular moment.

“Okay, mister.”


“Please wait until I’m not on the phone with my boyfriend to molest me. It’s just not cricket otherwise.”

“First of all, talk to your boyfriend on your own damn bed. Second of all, I don’t molest you, I just gaze longingly.”

“This is my bed too for this entire week. Now move, I need to change shirts. Don’t look.”

In May of 2003, I came to briefly live with a girl I loved but who was dating someone else.

After too few weeks, Hot Copy Editor was regularly dating that boy she had invited to make out with her. I didn’t like him. Where the old Boyfriend had been Tatooine’s smoldering heat, the New Boyfriend was Hoth’s icy stoicism. He bored me.

“He’s boring,” I said.

“Are you listening to me?” she asked. “So they absolutely won’t give me an extension. I’ll have to move out into the street until my lease starts. I’ll be homeless and destitute!”

“Well why don’t you stay with me for a week?” I asked. “My roommates won’t mind.”

My roommates minded. “Justin, that devil girl is absolutely not moving into this apartment.”

“Aw, c’mon, guys, she has no place to stay. She’ll just stay in my room most of the time and she’s absolutely no trouble to take care of. Plus she already promised to do dishes.”

One roommate leaned forward. “I’m interested,” he said.

“Well, this way we could watch her destroy him firsthand. Think of it as ringside seats.”

“Okay, Justin, it’s a deal.”

I was as happy as a kidnapped clam with Stockholm syndrome.

There are things about having a girl wash dishes while you dry, fundamental species-consciousness things, things that engage the parts of my brain that are in my chest and that have been hollow so long I forget they’re there until they aren’t hollow for a few soapy minutes any more. Maybe at first you’re arguing about grammar, but before long incidental task-related physical contact devolves into soapsud attacks and water flicking, until you’re mock-angrily facing each other and the only reason you haven’t dissolved into a sudsy puddle of makeout on the kitchen floor is a flickering pilot-light of awareness that one of the two of you has a boyfriend.

This is the sort of ridiculousness that took place all week long. She whispered in my ear to distract me while I took a practice LSAT, ostensibly as some sort of distractibility resistance training, but mostly because it’s fun to whisper in a dude’s ear. I bet her that I could take her bra off with one hand one night, and she let me get my hand all the way up the back of her shirt, our faces close together and my other hand on her shoulder, until one of my roommates stumbled past the open door to my room and we guiltily separated, as though that were the line, that was the point where we grew consciences.

Why wouldn’t I assume that the new boyfriend was only temporary?

The Indians weren’t that good then, either.

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Part 4 of 5, Chapter 19

My whole world was just about complete.

Well, except for that HCE wasn’t actually really dating me. Yet. We went out on weekends and saw movies and had dinner, and we chatted online constantly and talked on the phone, plus we wrote notes to each other in class in the form of haikus where we told each other that the other one was cute. But, other than that, no. We weren’t dating.

Plus, I was busy limping out of school with the minimum possible academic performance. If collegiate (and subsequent) experience has taught me anything, it is this: if something comes so easily to you that you can rush through your homework and never study, which to you is a fantastic deal because you don’t really enjoy it much and want to get on to something else as soon as possible, that thing is not the sort of thing that you’d best choose as a major in college. “Wow,” you want to say of your chosen field. “I could listen to old people drone about this subject for hours! Then I want to rush to the bookstore and drop hundreds of dollars on hardback books about it that I will want to actually kind of skim!” If that is not you, then I hope you either prefer used books, or you are good at forcing yourself to do things that you find at least mildly unpleasant, which frankly is a useful skill that you wish I would acquire so that you could actually read this blog instead of refreshing it in vain. Well, college also taught me that wings and beer go great together.


I really love waffles.

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Part 4 of 5, Chapter 18

Deep breath. Okay, another.

The professor is swimming in the front of the class, nattering about the difference between GDP and GNP. HCE is scribbling something in my notebook.

I could still throw up
It’s “Regurgitation Day”
I won’t if you won’t.

Waking up still drunk and going to class anyway wasn’t something I did a hell of a lot of in college, partially because our college was less fun than a pocket calculator with a personality disorder, and also because I didn’t go to a tremendous quantity of classes in the first place. That is, unless a certain someone was going to sit next to me and write haikus at me all class long. Especially if both you and that someone are coincidentally now single. I picked up the pen.


Trust me, these kinds of chapters hurt me more than they hurt you.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Part 3 of 5, Chapter 17

I broke her gaze and looked down at the box of relationship-droppings, outside her dorm room. “You broke up with him.” Junior Midshipman Obvious, sir, reporting for duty aboard the USS No Kidding. “Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine as soon as I get everything that was his out of my life,” HCE said. “Here, you can help. Find his books in the shelf and put them in the box.”

“Which ones are his?”

“Which ones are stupid? At least give me some good news. How is your girlfriend?”


I just knew.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Part 3, Chapter 16

I only spent a few nights up in Art School Girl’s cozy, strange bedroom at the top of the ancient house just off campus that she shared with three other people. It was Dumbledore’s office if he had been an art student, full of dark colors and smelling like home.

“What is this?” I said the first time I took a tour of her bedroom, pointing at spilled sand on the wood floor beneath a window.

“Don’t step in it! That’s a bird.” A bird? Oh. I noticed the tracks. “After I spilled sand one day, the bird got in and walked on it. I figured I’d just leave the tracks here.”


If I know anything, it’s that dressing like the 80’s never fails.

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Part 3, Chapter 15

“Finally,” I thought, as I leaned in to kiss her.

I specifically remember this particular kiss as being the first time I realized how much I like to draw out those brief intermediary moments when there’s a pause and your faces, eyes still closed, remain micrometers away but yet fully connected by the warmth and breath and anticipation, stretching those quick quarter-second kiss-intermissions that punctuate any normal makeout to ten seconds or more, until both of you are wound up so much that you’re unable to delay gratification any longer without being so full of adrenaline you burst.

It’s tough to describe without physically coming over and puckering up. Plus, the previous paragraph is guaranteed to be awkward or your money back. Who cares? I thought the kiss was spectacular, and I’m pretty sure she liked it, because, when I finally wrapped it up and stepped back, she whispered, eyes still closed, “Please, could you do that again?”


Warning: This post contains love poetry. Please do not read without adult supervision.

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Part 3, Chapter 14

“Justin, I can’t begin to describe how drunk I was…”

“Don’t even worry about it.”

“You think I’m dreadful. I’m so sorry for behaving like that.”

“Quiet. Listen: I have a few thoughts about the other night. I’ll write you a haiku.”



Hot (Ex-)Copy Editor is Drunk and Online: A Transcript.

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Part 3, Chapter 13

On a frozen February Friday in 2003, HCE and her suitemates tried to drink their weight in boxed wine. Think serious motor skill disruption and mental impairment. HCE’s favorite suitemate and best female friend managed to pass herself out, is how bad we’re talking. People were unable to stand. I know because I stumbled into the suite after midnight. I was escorting her other suitemates home from an entirely chaste and sober movie, because I had spent so much time at the suite being platonic that they all wanted me for their platonic own.

Twenty minutes later, I was back home, lovesick as ever, and online. So was HCE, who, recall, is fabulously wasted.

After great personal struggle with my own verbosity and emotional exhibitionism, I have chosen to present my reconstruction of our subsequent Instant Messenger conversation to you un-cut, free of stylistic interruption. Just know that I felt at least a few emotions during the following.


Boundaries Are For Losers

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Part 3, Chapter 12

The hot ex-copy editor and I are holding hands while walking back from having cider at the sort of coffeeshop they don’t have in the south, the kind that is big enough to be a house and so cozy inside that the windows are fogged constantly in the freezing winter. I put my arm around her and pull her close. She snuggles into my shoulder.

It’s a Thursday night in March of 2003. Despite all appearances, someone else is her boyfriend. Still.

It wasn’t my idea to escalate our relationship into cute semi-harmless physical contact, but getting hooked on heroin isn’t just something you just put on your day planner either. In our case, my relationship-boundary-observing world had been shattered months before when she suddenly pulled my arm around her when we were walking along. Since them, you couldn’t stop me from publicly or privately displaying non-kissing affection if you tried, and she didn’t. I never got on base, but I was certainly doing what baseball players refer to as “making contact.” Look, plenty of people cuddle with their platonic non-single best friends during movies. Right? That’s not weird.


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

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

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.