(Speaking of which, here’s another article for “Finding Your Voice in Journalism.” The assigned topic was “describe a process,” and after staring at my last post for about an hour the process i was meant to describe became obvious.)
There are things that I do every day. Habits. Rituals. The blind stumble across my room at 7:02AM to set my alarm back another hour. My daily power-walk down Walnut Street to campus. Checking my email.
Of course, there are things that I don’t do every day that I can still do with a proverbial blindfold on. Tapping MAC for cash. Gridding my last name into standardized test bubbles. Restringing my guitar.
Conducting a romantic crash and burn.
All of these rituals are simple to me – almost mechanical. Yet, although I could easily describe them to you step by step, I don’t think anyone could quite replicate the manner in which I see them through. There is a simple grace to my sleep-encrusted stumble that ensures that I do not land facedown in green pile carpet. There is a back and forth rhythm to plotting my last name out with a No.2 pencil. And, there is a sort of cosmic simplicity to making sure I will not marry, sleep with, kiss, or even get to know a girl who I am attracted to.
The process starts simply enough: I meet someone distracting. They don’t have to be stunningly beautiful or a classically trained conversationalist; they just have to pull my attention away from doing whatever I had been attempting to do at the time.
Fizzling out here, though it is something I am adept at, does not accurately represent a crash and burn.
Next I have to make myself known to woman in question. There are a myriad of ways to complete this step, each supplanting my own limited natural grace and charm with a sort of stumbling awkwardness that I have honed to laser-sharp perfection.
The plainest (and most painful) way to accomplish this is to actually get up the nerve to speak. I have found speaking to be effective in ruining any illusions one might entertain that I am either attractive or well adjusted.
Appropriate banter would include mentioning anything I am obsessive about, including music, grades, or other women. Bonus points are awarded if I enthuse about fashion, dancing, Will & Grace, or Madonna. The purpose of this step is to establish my deep-seated need for addict-like dependency on anything and everything I can focus the brunt of my attention on.
Note that at the time this will seem like a Good Idea to me.
After introducing myself by-way-of my obsessive traits, my next order of business is ineffectual flirting. This step is marked by my performance of suggestive behavior so subtle that it would fly under the radar of even the most desperate and willing potential partner.
The first order of business here tends to be furtive glances that are aborted as soon as any sign of reciprocation is detected. After establishing this pattern of creepy staring, the next step is usually a regiment of standing very close without actually touching. Randomly inserting a line of non-sequitir into conversation can be substituted if it interspersed equally with awkward silence.
The overall intention here is to imply a sort of third-grade crush in which I find a girl alluring but am definitely afraid she might have cooties.
At this point, several options open up. If I feel as though not enough attention is being paid to me despite my continued efforts, self-deprecation focusing on my romantic desolation is usually in order. If I am being paid a substantial amount of attention, I proceed to focus on what potential defects this particular girl is in possession of, foremost amongst them being infectious cases of cooties.
The ideal reaction at this point is a cool acknowledgement of my existence totally lacking any value judgment of my looks, charm, or decency. This is the equivalent of putting off pheromones specifically attuned to my neurotic neural receptors.
At this juncture I usually I repeat the previous step to try to induce one of the former reactions. If the friendly acknowledgment continues, I generally have no choice but to start mentioning my developing crush loudly and decisively until one of us flinches and bolts from the room.
Failing that, I may be forced to contrive to ask her on an unsuccessful and largely platonic date. I’ve perfected this habit to such a degree that I can’t even begin to describe the individual steps there-in, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Interestingly, accepting or declining this well intentioned invitation has no effect whatsoever on the eventual result of the situation.
There are two obvious end-results of this process, neither of which I am actually seeking to achieve. One is to inspire a sort of squeamishness in the party in question, so that she will no longer meet my glances or engage in conversation with me. The other is to transmit the friend vibe to her in such a powerful fashion that she either begins to question my sexuality or feels the need to set me up with her less-charming and usually distant girlfriends.
While my outline of this process might make it out to be complicated, intricate, or even slightly surreal, it is something so ingrained in me that I often go through it without even noticing until I’ve acquired yet another beautiful female friend who is either confused about my sexual orientation or willing to aid me in acquiring scores more just like herself.
After seeing this all in print, it’s almost a wonder that I’m so good at that “getting out of bed” routine rather than its socially phobic cousin “cowering under the covers.” I suppose that I’m convinced that one day I’ll go through this entire checklist only to wind up with someone who is inconceivably attracted to me, even after witnessing all of my hijinx.
Obviously I’ve mistakenly perfected the process known as “optimistic daydreaming” rather than revising my “effective flirting routine.”