Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And if we Randos have offended, spell-check this and all is mended

As an English major, I cannot tell you the number of times I have been asked for grammatical advice. I’ve accepted that there are very few people in this world that actually speak proper English, and as I am occasionally one of them, it is my lot in life to educate the masses when they ask for help—and sometimes even when they don’t ask. It is my cross to bear and most times I don’t mind dispensing with a usage rule or two, provider that the askee reciprocates in some form or fashion (I take air miles, rare books and expired drink tickets).
Sidebar: I promise I am, in fact, going somewhere with this.

Last year, I made a series of trips up to Fort Worth to visit my friend, Amy. Before A&M’s crushing loss to Arkansas in the Southwest Classic, we had no choice but to preemptively drown our sorrows in an all-night pub crawl in downtown Fort Worth.

At some point, we picked up a couple of gentlemanly gents—Brawn and Mitch. Brawn was an old pal of Amy’s, but Mitch was new to us.

At this point in the evening, I was already a couple of G&Ts in—a fact which, coupled with Mitch’s passing resemblance to a Rich I knew, led me to constantly call him the wrong name. I finally gave up and referred to him as Rich-Mitch for the rest of our acquaintance, both behind his back and to his face.

I don’t recall much from that night, as a later harrowing experience obscured much of my memory of it…

Sidebar: Let me just tell you, coming back home at the end of the night to find that your friend’s car has been towed, which subsequently entails a three hour excursion to some God-forsaken corner of DWF during which you must haggle with scrappy tow-yard employees, resulting in you not putting head to pillow until close to five AM when you have to wake up at eight is both an experience and slightly harrowing, if only because of the consequential sleep-deprivation.

I do recall that as we were leaving the bar, I recited Puck’s closing monologue from A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Rich-Mitch and the rest of the revelers on 3rd street. It seemed appropriate at the time.

Sidebar: What can I say, I get exponentially more geeky when I drink spirits. I present Exhibit A.

Anyway, Rich-Mitch was a cutie, and the next morning I tried in vain to lure him away from his law books and convince him to come to the Aggie game, or at least to the pre-game tailgate, since clearly that’s more important than the game itself—particularly if A&M’s playing.

Sidebar: Face it, you need some sort of numbing agent before watching the Ags play. Maybe in the future we should set up tents offering free nitrous oxide hits to fans…

Rich-Mitch it seemed was immune to my charms, and chose to spend the day cuddling with his torts textbook instead of getting his heart broken by Jerrod Johnson.

However, we would meet again a few weeks later when I journeyed back north for Halloween weekend.

I was super excited to debut my Halloween costume that year, which I felt was both creative and cute without veering into “I moonlight as a hooker on the weekends” territory.

That first night, we crashed a friend’s med school party where we toasted another mutual ex with wrathful shots of tequila…we really need to stop dating the same guys. I believe one of us may have resorted to improvising an outdoor lavratory due to plumbing issues inside. We also texted Rich-Mitch, who seemed to remember my performance of the Bard’s work fondly, and made arrangements to meet up the next night.

Since my wedding dress had endured several party fouls the night before (sadly, it never fully recovered from its beer-baths, even after a trip to the dry cleaner’s), I pulled out my back-up costume, the ever-popular authentic (aka non-slutty) Catholic school girl.

Sidebar: Catholic school, K-12, baby! And the skirt still fits.

Unfortunately, my contacts also didn’t escape the previous night’s festivities unscathed (seriously, those med students know how to let lose after midterms are over), so I was rocking my glasses along with my plaid box-pleats. Keep in mind, these are what I wear to get myself from the bathroom to my bed without breaking something, and only make public appearences when absolutely necessary, such as when I’m out of contacts or have contracted pink eye.

We met up with Brawn and Rich-Mitch at a dive bar where we pretended that I have a modicum of hand-eye coordination and played a few rounds of darts and pool. Rich-Mitch kept a steady stream of Blue Moons in my hand, and flirted with me by the jukebox. I was secretly thrilled that someone still found me vaguely attractive in my specs (though maybe it wasn’t so much them on their own as opposed to their combination with knee socks that did it for him).

Eventually, we ended up at the Library, where in a magical, booze-soaked moment on the dancefloor, Rich-Mitch and I transitioned from slowly revolving on one spot to some 80s rock ballad to kissing. The kissing was surprisingly good, considering my glasses kept slipping down my nose. I was in bliss.

After last call, Brawn, Rich-Mitch, Amy and I giggled our way back to Rich-Mitch’s apartment, where he impressed me with facinating tales from law school, and showed me his fridge of Red Bull. There was a little more canoodling on the couch (strictly PG, I promise), and a sweet goodnight kiss. All in all, a satisfying weekend.

I had no delusions that this little daliance would blossom into a full-fledged relationship—we lived in different cities after all, but I was a little miffed when the only contact I had from Rich-Mitch the next week was the follwing text message:

Disclaimer: This occurred P.i.P.: Pre-iPhone, ergo I’m reconstructing this convo from memory, so I make no guaruntees to its factual accuracy, only sentimental truthiness.

Rich-Mitch: Hey, you were an English major, right?

Me: Yes…

Rich-Mitch: I’m working on this paper for my contracts class, and I was wondering if you could help me with some wording.

Me (sigh): Sure.

Rich-Mitch: (insert banal usage/spelling question here)

Me: (insert appropriate answer)

Rich-Mitch: Thanks babe :)

And I never heard from him again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bryan Ryan Returns!

And so does How to Lose a least for the time being. We'll see how many entries I can eke out over winter break.

What you are about to read is an actual textersation between me and Bryan Ryan. Yes, that Bryan Ryan. He’s about 10% serious here (I’m ball-parking), but is nothing if not earnest in his mostly-in-jest attempts to get me to date him. He’s going to wear down the nicest girl someday! I kid. Bryan Ryan, you know I love you in the sincerest, most-platonic way possible :)

Bryan Ryan: Just one time, E! You’re going to give me a chance and it’s going to be EPIC!

Me: Only in your dreams, mon frère.

Me: And if there are dreams, I don’t want to know about them… :P

Bryan Ryan: Chinese food. Greek. You’re basically saying we were meant to be together

Me: Yes, you’re right. Everyone knows that pan-Asian cuisine and cancelled ABC Family shows are in fact a euphemism for hooking up. How silly of me.

Bryan Ryan: Not silly. Calculated. Well played.

Me: I want you. I need you. Oh baby oh baby.

Bryan Ryan: Now you’re just playing hard to get

Me: And quoting Julia Stiles. I’m multi-talented like that

Bryan Ryan: She was FANTASTIC in 10 things I hate about you

Me: Indeed

Me (trying to change the subject): How go the law school apps?

Bryan Ryan: Still waiting on a recommendation to be submitted but I’m basically done otherwise.

Sidebar: Did you breathe a sigh of relief? Too soon, I’m afraid. When Bryan gets on a roll, he must see the pick-up lines through to the end.

Bryan Ryan: I can be a provider. See?

Sidebar: Aaaaand he’s back!

Me: Yes, but not for at least like 6 years...

Bryan Ryan (not dissuaded): 4.5 and you really have to think long term on that one

Me: then you’ll have all your law school debt to deal with

Bryan Ryan: I don’t plan to have all that much debt…(Bryan proceeds to lay out his five-year financial plan for me)…not all that bad

Me (wryly): Well, that’s good.

Bryan Ryan: Yeah, so just start thinking about it. There could be a Mary statue in your future ;)

Sidebar: Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up: there is a running joke amongst my group of friends that all most a goodly amount of marriage proposals that come out of St. M relationships involve an adoration hour, rose petals, and a statue of Mary. I maintain that there is a pamphlet that our pastor hands out to guys when they ask for his brother's information. He’s a local jeweler. The brother, not the priest. There’s some kind of nepotism in there somewhere.

Me: No, my future husband will have much more creativity than that. 27-year-old PhD’s have mad proposal-planning skills. That’s why their six-packs are so taut—they’re full of ideas.

Sidebar: There’s another running joke/prediction that I will one day date a 27-year-old, "almost gay" PhD with a six pack. I don't get it either. Just go with it.

Bryan Ryan: Well 27-year-old JD’s with a sense of humor tease you at 24 about a Mary statue to set the stage

Me: You are not 27. Are you building a time machine too?

Bryan Ryan: No? I said that 27-year-old JD’s (which I WILL be) tease you at 24 (which I am)

Me: Ahh

Bryan Ryan: That’s at least one date for false accusations. I’m sure we can reach a settlement that will be amenable to all parties…

Sidebar: Bryan likes to practice his last-will-and-testament diction for inevitable future use in his closing arguments.

Me: One where you lose my number?

Bryan Ryan: Lose your number? What do you think I do on dates?

Me: Ah, see you have fallen to one of the classic blunders—the most famous of which is never get into a land war with Asia—but only slightly less well-known is this:  “Never hit on a girl who has watched you clip your toenails who isn’t already married to you.”

Sidebar: Boom! Lawyered.

Bryan Ryan: Ahh, touché. Well, I guess that’s the only reason this won’t work.

Me: Sure.

Bryan Ryan: You shut me down so hard. It’s incredible

Me: It’s what I do :) Bow to greatness, Bryan Ryan. Bow to stone-cold greatness.

I like to think that these little dialogues are an exercise in verbal sparring that will hone Bryan's argumentation skills so that he can one day kill it in the courtroom. Bryan Ryan, you're welcome.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guest Blog: It started off, "Hey, cutie, where you from?"

Well, hey, y’all—long time, no see. I do hope you’re enjoying the slight reprieve from the Great Heat Wave of 2011 down here in the south, and are gearing up for the season of football games (i.e. tailgating), Brach’s Candy Corn, hot chocolate, and stuffin’. As a special fall treat, my friend, Katie, has written her first guest blog for your reading pleasure. Look for more guest blogs to come (I’ve been collecting), as well as a few posts from yours truly in the near future. Follow me on Twitter to make sure you know when I’ve updated! And now, on to H2LG1D’s latest cautionary tale…

This, friends, is a tale of a naïve girl’s first date and first kiss. Prepare yourselves to shake your heads in pity, gasp in horror, and laugh at the ridiculous nature of this date. And please bear with fifteen-year-old Katie. She was young, inexperienced, and flattered by this older gentleman caller. And don’t worry, I used to be embarrassed that my first date and first kiss weren’t until I was fifteen, but I’m totes over it. In fact, for the sake of the story, I think it only adds to the terror. Do not pity though, twenty-two-year-old Katie has learned her lesson and is quite the classy lady.  Shall we begin?

Sidebar (E): I didn’t get my first real (i.e. non-stage) kiss until I was almost eighteen. And it was AWFUL. Reason #76 why peer pressure/power of suggestion inevitably bite you in the ass.

Back circa summer 2005, I was on a summer league swim team. As summer leaguers we spent our Saturday mornings sitting on a pallet of towels with our friends, playing cards, drawing on each other with markers, and trying to qualify for the coveted Ponderosa meet at the end of the season. The beauty of swimming is that it is a co-ed sport. Flirting whilst practicing and competing was a norm. Plus, there were gentlemen in Speedos everywhere. Now, after ten years of swimming, I was over the Speedo. It really had no effect of me. To focus on practice, you had to get over it. In fact, the boys thought they were way more attractive in them than I and my fellow seasoned swimming ladies actually did. They would walk around with their butt cracks hanging out, flexing their 4 to 6 (give or take) pack of abs. We were over it. And I’ve digressed.

Summer 2005. One particular Saturday meet, one of the 18 and under fellows in particular was focusing more of his attention on me than before. I think prior to this meet we had said “Hi” maybe once?  He had just graduated high school, making him two entire years older than yours truly.  Lemme just say…THIS WAS A BIG DEAL! And a big mistake. We shall name this fellow ­­Kolka.

Fun fact: Kolka is actually his middle name. His mother is straight from Iceland.

Sidebar to Fun Fact (E): I totally read his name as “Koala” at first, which puzzled me exceedingly.

Kolka was two years older, attractive, and a smooth operator. Not that it would have taken much to convince me to go on a date at this point in my teenaged life, but with those three qualities at work, I was smitten. After flirting all Saturday morning, I left the meet with my mom, and he ran up and requested my digits.

Fun fact: I had just gotten my very own cell phone a month prior. I was a big girl now.

I probably peed my pants a bit and went through every possibility of why he would need my number with my mother on the way home.  Why would cute and older Kolka want my number? It was mind-boggling.

When I got home, I got a text from him saying, “Wanna go out tonight?” (We’ll count how many times I say I should have known then in this story) I have a TERRIBLE memory, so I’m not exactly sure what went down next, but it probably involved getting really excited, dancing and doing high kicks in my room, then getting really nervous about asking my Dad if I could go. I went downstairs to ask Faja and it went something like this…

Sidebar (E): Oh, I so wish there was video of the high-kicks! Re-enactment?

15-year-old Katie: “Hey, Daddy, so, um, Kolka wants to go out with me tonight. Can I?”

Daddio: “Kolka who?”

15-year-old Katie: “………..?”

I DID NOT KNOW HIS LAST NAME! In fact, this got me thinking, I did not know anything about Kolka except that he was totally fine and was two years older and wanted to take me out. What more did my father want?! A last name? Stupid.

Sidebar (E): I think we all know where this was going…

Fun fact: The reason I didn’t know Kolka’s last name was because it was fourteen letters long and completely Icelandic, so it wasn’t pronounced anything like it was spelled. Minor details.

15-year-old Katie: “Well I don’t really know, but I’ll find out…tonight, at the movies.”

I could tell I had thrown my father for a loop. As the eldest child, I was the first to request such a thing. So after a short hesitation, and realizing that I was fifteen and most of my friends had been in and out of three or four “relationships” by now, he agreed to my night out.

Sidebar (Katie): Woooow! As I typed that last sentence that I remembered that I was, in fact, sixteen years old, not fifteen! Please note: I. Was. Sixteen. I don’t want to go back and change the fifteen times I said I was fifteen.

Sidebar (E): ‘Cause when you’re…erm…SIXteen! And somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them… Sorry, but this post is really making me want to go download some pop-country J

So, Kolka came to my house to pick me up in his super cool black truck. He came to the door to meet my father in a bright green hat that said CORONA in bright yellow across the front. I should have known then.

From here on out the details of the date get a little foggy. I believe this is due to two things:

  1. I always have had and always will have a terrible memory
  2. My brain’s primary defense mechanism is repression

We got to the movies and realized that our first movie choice was sold out. Who cares what it was. All that matters is that we decided to see Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith instead. I was less than thrilled. I should have known then. I do love Star Wars, but I had built this whole first date situation up in my head and Star Wars was cramping its feng shui. On top of that, we walked into the COMPLETELY full theater and had to find seats on the second row. Here, my friends, is the scene where one of the most awkward moments of my life occurred.

Recap: 2nd row.

Huge screen.

Craning necks.

Anakin Skywalker turning to the Dark Side

About twenty minutes into the movie, Kolka reached over and took my hand. This was a lovely and first date-appropriate gesture. However, the next move was not.

He dropped my hand






When his hand reached my face he started slowly caressing.

Repeat… caressing.

Sidebar (E): Okay, seriously? Is there some sort of Halfwit Academy for Wannabe Ladies’ Men out there that teaches a class on awkward face-caressing/wrist-stroking? Who is telling them that this is okay?!

Up until this point, I had not thought about Kolka wanting to kiss me. We didn’t even know each other’s last names. Surely that is a perquisite to lip locking?!

Sidebar (E): Thank you, Carrie Underwood, for instructing us in this matter. Silly little 16-year-old Katie! You could have married him without knowing his last name!

I. Freak. Out.

 I did not know what he was doing. My instinct was to just keep looking at the movie screen. I thought, “Maybe if I look super interested in the movie, he’ll stop.”

He did not.

He kept awkwardly caressing my cheek…my ear… my chin… and even my lips…with one hand. I should have known then.

Sidebar (Katie): Who caresses people’s lips?! (ever….but mostly on a first date!?)

I was in full-out, body-paralyzing panic. I cannot tell you how long this went on, but it was long enough to watch Anakin (a.k.a. Darth Vader) and Obi-Wan Kenobi engage in a lightsaber duel where Vader’s leg and arm are cut off. Long enough. Kolka soon realized his seduction techniques were not working on this scared, naïve, slightly trembling from fear, little girl.

So he got forceful and straight to the point. I should have known then.

He took my entire face and turned it towards his and before I even knew what was happening he was kissing me. Let me just say that his was not a soft, sweet kiss that all girls imagine their first kiss to be. It was sloppy, moist, and aggressive. His tongue was involved. Way too involved. I should have known then. I was mortified. He finally let me out of his sloppy, moist grasp and I just sat back and stared at the movie screen trying to comprehend what the devil just happened.

Sidebar (E): Apparently at the HAWLM, there is also a class called “Their Mouths, Your Tongues,” in which they all practice violent tongue-thrusting for use on unsuspecting victims.

If I had had the confidence of twenty-two-year-old Katie, I would have said something dramatic and left the date promptly. But, alas, this was a far less-cool version of me. I was still “star struck” that I was on a date with this guy and I sat out the rest of the movie trying to convince myself that maybe that was what kissing was, and that I was totally cool with it.

After the movie, we walked out hand-in-hand to the ice cream shop across the street. I had “recovered” to a point and was able to carry on normal teenaged conversation for about a half an hour before he took me home. 

When we pulled up to my house, I was ready with an escape route planned. I thanked him quickly, keeping out of face-caressing reach, and literally jumped out of the truck. In my room, I sat and mulled over the date and decided that the kiss was far too intense for me and I wouldn’t be going out with him again.

Sidebar (E): Famous last words.

I’ll spare you the gory details because the above date can be passed as funny but the rest of the tale of Kolka’s and my relationship unfortunately cannot.

My “don’t go out with him again” plan failed and we ended up dating for a year and a half.  What can I say? I was passive. 

He went on to cheat on me multiple times with multiple girls. There’s just no way I can make that funny.

I could go on and on about how stupid I was and how I should have known (clearly, there were signs), but I won’t. Instead I will just say this: Ladies, just because he’s older doesn’t mean he’s cooler, and trust your gut. There are some certified douche bags out there. Happy dating to you all!

I should have known” Count: 7

Many thanks to Katie for sharing her story. I’m sure that all of us have had our fair share of “I should have known’s” but it’s always nice to hear each other’s horror stories to remind ourselves that we are not alone in the fight against the KKDB’s of the world (that’s Kappa Kappa Douche Bag to all you uninitiated).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

H2LG1D Is Going On Hiatus

Hey guys!
Thank you so much for all of the support you've given this blog for the past six weeks! It's been a lot of fun. Unfortuantely, as I've said before, I'm running low on stories to tell, so I'm going to be taking a break from writing for a bit, until I can stockpile some new ones. Feel free to keep commenting on old posts, and remember, you can always email me if you have something scintillating you want to share! Guest bloggers are encouraged, and always welcome.
Until next time,

Monday, July 18, 2011

What's Your Best Rando Encounter?

I'm sorry to report that my personal store of rando encounters has been depleted. Since I don't want to bore you with any bottom of the barrel stories, I leave this post open to anyone who wishes to share a rando encounter of their own! I know that I'm not the only one with stories to tell :) Just type it up and leave it in the comment box below. Sidebars are appreciated, but not required.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Memorium

Kids, I’ve been telling you the story of how I suck at dating, and while there are many things to learn from these stories, this may be the biggest. The great loves of your life won’t necessarily be the people you date, they’ll also be the people who happen to you. Now, I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your love life, you have to take action and you will. But never forget that on any day, you can step into a classroom door and your whole life can change forever. You see, the universe has a plan, kids, and that plan is always in motion. An owl flaps its wings, and it starts to snow. It's a scary thought but it's also kind of wonderful. All these little parts of the machine constantly working, making sure that you end up exactly where you're supposed to be with, exactly when you're supposed to be there. The right place at the right time.[1]

I met the greatest love of this quarter of my life when I was twelve. What’s funny about this story is that, initially, I didn’t even know he existed. When he finally did catch my attention, I didn’t like him much at all. You see, as a middle-schooler, I was forever preoccupied with what is cool, and Harry Potter certainly wasn’t cool. He hung out with that kid (you know the one I’m talking about—the pale-as-milk kid who made his own armor and went around talking about “vorpal blades” going “snicker-snack”) and I didn’t want to associate with anyone who associated with him, less I lose whatever meager hall-cred I’d gained by smart-mouthing the World Religions teacher.
Sidebar: I later apologized profusely and begged in secret for him not to make me come to early-morning “Religion Club,” aka detention, lest my parents ground me forever…I was only a wannabe snark back then.
However, over Easter break, after some prodding from my sister, I decide to give Harry a chance—I could at least talk to the guy. Maybe we could be friends.

One conversation. That was all it took for me to be hooked. Suddenly, it didn’t matter if Harry wasn’t perceived as “cool” by the other kids at school; all I wanted was to talk with him again—he was that enchanting. I was exactly like a googly-eyed tween: I replayed (and reread) our first real meeting over and over in my mind, picking up on new things to love, little idiosyncrasies and quirks that made him all the more adorable. I wanted to dive into his skin and live there awhile, just to see what it was like to live in his world.
The more I got to know him, the deeper I fell. Even then I had a feeling that this was no “baby crush” or “blip” on my emotional radar—I was in for the long haul, and our story would play out for years to come.

And it did. After the first blush of our hopeful beginning, things did cool down a bit. I got busy, and didn’t have as much time for him anymore. But he was always there for me, whenever I was lonely, or feeling sad or homesick—he’d find a way to cheer me up, telling me all his old tales again.

The summer between eighth grade and freshman year, I went off to Camp Takatoka. I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to hang out with Harry while I was gone, especially because I knew that he had some crazy stories to tell me—his life, as it turned out, was an unending saga—but I dealt. My dad teased me with a letter in which he hinted at some of Harry’s wild adventures—something about an old derelict house and a prickly groundskeeper.
Sidebar:  My dad and Harry were actually friends too, which some people might think is weird, but whatevs. I think his spirit reminded my dad of an old friend of his from college named Frodo…
Naturally, I was annoyed that I wasn’t able to hear these new stories firsthand, but I was sneaky, and figured out a way to get a hold of him before my parents picked me up from camp. Let’s just say, it involved some bribery, and lots of staying up late trying to hide the light from my flashlight under the covers.
When I finally did make it back home, I was astounded to see the change in him. All my seventh grade worries about his scant popularity were put to shame. He’d changed over the summer, and suddenly, everyone wanted to be his friend, drawn to him because of his magnetic personality and captivating story-telling abilities. People were literally lined-up around the block to meet him. Harry was everywhere.
But, still, he didn’t forget about me. He was there when I didn’t get the part I wanted, or in the eerily quiet hours that followed after my sisters and their families went back home after Christmas. Sometimes, there are people in your life who just feel like coming home, and that’s how Harry felt to me.
I continued to support Harry in his newfound stardom. I went to all of his big release events, waiting in line with countless others whose lives he’d touched, and eventually, when Hollywood decided to make a sprawling, eight-part movie about his life, I went and saw all of those too.
Which brings me to my point. Back when I was twelve, I had no idea that a paperback that an odd classmate of mine carried around school about some boy wizard with a lightning bolt on his forehead would lead me to one of the greatest love stories of my life. I don’t love Harry Potter just because I love to read, or because there are spells and magical creatures, or because anytime a new book or movie is released, I have an excuse to play dress-up (though that is a definite plus). I love it because in those hours I spend with Harry, I find myself completely immersed in a world that is my own and not my own, with characters that have become as familiar to me as old friends. Over the past twelve years, The Boy Who Lived has taught me valuable lessons about friendship, truth and goodness; that what is right isn’t always necessarily what is easy, and that it’s not about what you can do, but what you choose to do with your life that matters, and that one should make love, not horcruxes.
Tonight marks the end of an era then. Some may think it’s silly to get emotional over the end of a movie franchise, but in so many ways, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to that old friend. The release of this last movie closes the book of my childhood in a way.
Sidebar: Yes, I know that as a twenty-four year old, I hardly qualify as a child anymore. Shhhh. I’m sentimental. Plus, there's no reason to dress up anymore, unless they start screening midnight showing of HP at the Landmark like they do Rocky Horror...oooooh, lightbulb!
So, heres to you, Harry! May you join the ranks of Alice and Peter, the Pevensie’s and the hobbits, Sara Crewe and Mary Lennox, and all the other characters throughout history that have managed to captivate children and adults alike, and go on to inspire countless fanfics in which shippers desperately try to pair Draco and Ginny.

Tonight, I'll be right where I'm supposed to be, at the midnight premiere, donning my Hogwarts' best and choking down Red Vines, ready to cheer you on to the end!
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I could go for some pumpkin juice and a chocolate frog right about now…

[1] I did not write most of this introduction, but merely adapted the cold open of Episode 22, Season 4 of (what else) “How I Met Your Mother.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Someday Somebody's Gonna Ask You a Question That You Should NOT Say Yes To

A couple of months before my freshmen year of college, my friend Alex, cyber-introduced me to a high-school friend of hers named Bryan Ryan. Both of us would be going to A&M in the fall, and since no one else from my graduating class had chosen to be an Aggie, I would take whatever introductions I could get in an effort to make that first week less awkward.

This was the dawn of Facebook (Remember the time before groups and news feeds? When reading someone’s profile page required no scrolling, and he or she only had the one picture?), so I got to know the basics there; the rest I learned through AIM conversations.

Sidebar: Oh, AIM. How I miss thee, and thy constant reliability to relay my messages quickly and with jazzy emoticons that winked and flashed different colors and to not constantly kick me off like some other chat servers I could name *coughcoughfbcoughcough*

What I learned about Bryan was that he was going to major in history, was super-involved in his church, and was kind of a douche. Seriously. He once reprimanded me for typing the word “shit” in a sentence. Before I had even met him.

So it came as a surprise when I finally met Bryan (after getting lost on Southside in the middle of FOW and getting berated by him for texting him to ask directions, as texts were not in his cell phone plan, and now he’d have to pay 25¢ extra for my plaintive error) that he was a bit better in person. Besides, at this point, I didn’t have many allies on campus and I couldn’t afford to be picky.

Sidebar: Bryan himself will tell you the he was kind of a jackass at the beginning of our fish year. Nevertheless, let it be known that he grew into a ridiculously fun and goofy guy who takes great delight in a well (or ill) timed “That’s What She Said” joke

We became friends. We quickly formed a tight-knit little group of good Catholics and future St. Mary’s Superstars (adding up the number of Awakening leadership and speaker positions we’ve accumulated over the years hints at a slightly nepotistic culture). I was happy to have found a home with these girls and guys, and enjoyed my newfound freedom by going to Wal-Mart at three in the morning to buy hair dye, engaging in “group therapy” sessions at the RY until dawn, playing mud-football on Simpson Drill Field and possibly (definitely) trespassing to go through the semi-truck graveyard and take a turn on “the zipline.” Mostly nocturnal activities, as I spent my days slaving away behind my computer...


There was just one itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny problem. Bryan was a huge flirt. And I really did not like it when Bryan flirted with me.

My frustration with all of the winks and suggestive comments and knee-touching came to a head at the annual Advent Party (yes, college students actually planned and put-together a party celebrating Advent). We were in the kitchen, hovering by the queso Crock Pot and hoping someone would bring more chips. I was regaling the group with my roommate’s and my newest scheme in our life plan: we had concluded that when our future fiancés proposed in the distantly distant future, we wanted him to play “Question” by the Old 97’s, because it was the cutest song EVER and it would make us cry.

It was at this specific point that Bryan put his arm around my shoulders, leaned in close and whispered, “Oh, honey…you want me to make you cry?”

I had had enough. I sucked in a deep breath and practically screamed—

“BYRAN RYAN! We will NEVER date!!”

You know how in movies, whenever there’s a party and one of the characters says something inappropriate or embarrassing  really loudly and the DJ scratches the music off and everyone turns and looks?

I’m pretty sure that happened. Bryan attempted to recover his dignity, and I looked interestedly at my fingernails.

This incident has since become quite the joke amongst us oh-niners, but to this day, I’ve remained true to my word: Bryan Ryan and I have never dated—though Bryan still flirts with me obnoxiously on occasion, just to irk me.

But, hey, points for consistency, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cass O'Nova, the Earl of Sandwich(es)

My freshman year of high school, I was duped by Big; my freshman year (and, let’s be honest, my sophomore year, too) of college, I was hoodwinked by Cass. I’m telling you—freshmen are idiots.

It’s funny—when I first met Cass, he was a paltry shadow of the lady-killer he was to become. He was pretty quiet and unassuming at first, though he was ridiculously good at guitar (I’m a sucker for musicians, what can I say). However, after a few weeks, Cass apparently felt comfortable enough around our group to let his flirt flag fly.

And what an excellent flirt he was. Cass had the remarkable ability to make you feel like you were the only girl in the room: he’d hug you with his whole body and hold on a beat longer than necessary, he’d give your arm a squeeze as he’d walk by and flip you a look and you felt like it was a secret sign passing between the just the two of you. He was hardly an Abercrombie model, but he was fairly easy on the eyes, and it wasn’t long before you realized you were half in love with the guy.

What you didn’t realize (or perhaps, simply didn’t want to acknowledge) was that every other girl around you was in love with him too.

I later came to understood that to have feelings for Cass was (as I cautioned another girl who had fallen prey to his blue-green eyes) akin to catapulting into a swirling vortex of self-loathing.

Sidebar: I later relayed this description to the man himself. He laughed good-naturedly, and then pointed out that a vortex by definition is swirling, making my portrayal slightly redundant.

However, my freshman (and sophomore) self had masochistic tendencies, at least in the emotional sense, and so I continued to beat my head against that wall for months.

Sidebar: Remember that boy Johnny B. mentioned that came between me and a certain female friend of his? Yeah, this is the guy.  

I once told a friend that crushes could either be measly blips on your romantic lifeline (like the time I liked someone for a week, simply because my roommate suggested it), or they could be overarching, spanning months or even years (like Graham, the hot asshole). Cass was definitely the latter. It’s true that sometimes I hated him and other times I pretended indifference and other times I even liked someone else, but during those first two years, Cass was always there in the back of my mind.

I won’t go into all of the gory details of my insanity—this was no mere baby crush after all—but inevitably, all of this repressed emotion and unrequited feeling had to come to a head at some point.

And it did. At a party after Christmas break my sophomore year, after I spent the holiday not talking to Cass because I was pissed at him over some perceived slight.

Sidebar: Okay, okay, but this is all you get. I was very chatty my freshman year, and very concerned with talking about my feelings, and not very concerned about who I told about them. Confused by Cass’s behavior, I decided that we needed to have a DTR (not that we were actually dating, or anything, I just wanted to know. Because being clear with one another about our feelings is so important, right?) Long story short, I may have, in my eagerness to “define our relationship”, woken up Cass from a deep(ish) sleep in order to have a chat about “us.” It’s a wonder he was still friends with me after that…

Anyway, the party. One thing lead to another, and miracle of miracles, Cass and I kissed. And kissed. Aaannd kissed.

Naturally, I wanted to talk about it the next day, which we did, eventually, with a little (a lot of) prodding from me. We concluded it was just a fluke, brought on by too many vodka shots, and resolved that it shouldn’t happen again.

Of course it happened again, and this time there was no alcohol to be blamed.

In my naiveté, I thought perhaps these increasingly less-random MOSs meant that Cass had, in fact, developed feelings for me.

After two more “tête-à-tête,” I decided that the time had come to talk of many things—of feuds— and relationships—and DTRs—of “maybe now?”s—and flings.

Cass awkwardly removed his arm from my shoulders, and uttered four words that crushed my nineteen- year old spirit for a good week and a half: “This is just lust.”

To say that I was mad is an understatement—I was livid. Did he really think that I was the kind of girl who flittered about making out with just anyone? Hardly! I was extremely picky, except when I wasn’t, but even still, I could count the number of guys I’d kissed on one hand.

I gave him the what-for a few days later, fuming in measured tones from the backseat of his car, “It’s going to be a long time before I trust you again, Cass!”

Sidebar: Maybe they weren’t so measured…

I grieved on my friend’s couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and as much junk food as I could hold from the C-Store. We watched Ever After, and Pride & Prejudice, and many other movies that featured leading men in tight-fitting pants. I got over it enough to function, and began to move on with my life.

Of course, he called me two weeks later.

Before you get your panties in a bunch, though, know that it wasn’t to get me back on his hook. There were no teacup pigs involved in this portion of the story (though I had heard the “I just can’t be with you…right now” line before). No, instead of a teacup pig, Cass presented me with…a sandwich.

You see, in the couple of weeks between my failed attempt to get Cass to date me, and this brown bag lunch meeting, Cass had gotten together with Emma. Who was also friends with me. Emma, being the good-hearted person that she is and knowing our history, didn’t want me to find out about their budding relationship from anyone other than the primary source, so she urged Cass to arrange a time to tell me himself.

Which he did. Over a ham and cheese on Wonderbread sandwich.

I recall that the conversation went something like this:

Him (handing me the sandwich): So…the reason I asked you over here was to let you know that Emma and I are dating now.

Me: Okay. Cool.

Him: So, yeah. Just wanted you to know.

Me: What do you want me to say? She’s a nice girl. Congrats.

Him: …okay, then.

So, gold star to Cass for having the decency to tell me straight up that he ate his famous last words (“I don’t want a girlfriend…right now”), though I would suggest different fare if you’re planning to borrow this strategy…after all, nothing says "I don't like you, but enjoy this tasty consolation prize!" like filet mignon!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Those Prepositions Are Pesky, No?

Here’s another one from my Rando Archives:
The scene: A mostly deserted street in Cork, at approximately one a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day (or rather, St. Patrick’s Night)

The players: Myself, Brie (who you already know) and our new friend, Catherine, who we met the night before at our hostel

After a fun-filled day that had passed in a haze of parades, Guinness and green, Brie, Cat and I spent the night crawling from pub to pub, playing King’s Cup with the handy pack of cards that Cat happened to be carrying and hunting for cute Irishmen (we didn’t find any that trip, though we did find some cute Aussies in Galway).

Just before last call, I got a hankering (as I usually do at about this time of night when the alcohol has been flowing freely) for pizza. We managed to find a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria that was still open and serving, so I forked over about 12 euro for a small pie, which seemed a slightly ridiculous sum in the sober light of morning, but at the time appeared to be quite a reasonable price to pay to soak up all of the stout ale sloshing around my stomach.

As we were waiting outside for our order, a slight man of average height ambled over to us, his uneven gait aided by one of those crutches that attach to the forearm.

“I,” he announced by way of introduction, “will do anything to you, if you let me have a slice of your pizza.”

Uncertain if he simply mixed up his prepositions and a bit perplexed by his sudden presence, we assured him that if he waited, we would give him a slice of pizza. We were feeling magnanimous, after all, and it seemed in the spirit of St. Patrick to give back to the Emerald Isle.

Rando McSeamus proceeded to engage us in a drunken and slurred and mostly one-sided conversation about how he didn’t actually need his crutch, but that it could be quite useful as a weapon. It was at this point that I went inside to check on our food, and Rando McSeamus presented Brie with a “diamond” ring, which she forgot about until she found it lodged in her pocket the next morning.

I returned with our mediocre Irish-style pizza (though it was pepperoni, and did not in fact have any potatoes on it), and presented Rando McSeamus with a slice, which he accepted gratefully and ate with much glee. Then, he made this pronouncement:

“But really, I will do anything to you…anything at all in your dirtiest imagination.”

We exchanged glances. Oh, so he really did mean “to you” and not “for you.” Well. That’s a bit awkward now, isn’t it?

Us: No, really, we must be going now.

Him: But what about the oral sex?

Us: We’re good actually. But…thanks…for the offer. We guess.

Him: I could come back with you to your room?

Sidebar: Thank God we had sense enough to lie about which hostel we were staying at for the night.

Us: Oh. Um, well you see, there are rules…about that. Yeah, they kind of...frown…on guests and…fraternization.

Sidebar: Yes, there were that many ellipses in our responses.

Him (looking genuinely confused): But I’ve done plenty of foreign ladies at Sheila’s!

Us: Yeah, well, I guess they must have changed the rules. Sorry!

And then we scampered back to our hostel (not Shelia’s obviously—who knows what kind of establishment she was running), laughing so hard we almost lost our snack. We devoured the pizza in a matter of minutes (as girls are known to do when there are no gentlemen around to witness it. Otherwise, we only eat one slice and daintily pronounce ourselves to be “simply too full to take another bite!”). There was some dancing, some more drinking, and then we snuck out to another bar called Sin E where I belted out “The Rare Ould Times” with another drunk Irish person, and later scampered back home with much merriment.

Luckily, we never saw Rando McSeamus again.

However, Brie still has the ring that he gave her…one day, B…one day.