Tag Archives: Humor

Friend Date Horror Stories

11 Jan

The Friend Date, what I call that uncomfortable experience when a friendly hang out turns into a pseudo-date. Just drinks turns into, “Hey, you’re getting kind of close,” and dinner includes talking about how you’ve “always wanted to date a friend, you know?”

Friend dates consist of two parties, both of whom have a significant stake in not making things weird. Party A (I’ll call him Albert), is interested in something more with Party B (hereafter known as Beatrice), but is afraid of coming out and saying it because he isn’t sure if Beatrice will feel the same way. Beatrice doesn’t want anything more with Albert, but doesn’t know how to say so without making things awkward. Out of a strong desire to preserve the friendship, Beatrice repeatedly subjects herself to friend dates with Albert until the awkwardness of *not* telling him about her lack of interest becomes more powerful than the awkwardness of telling him.

I'll try to laugh this one off...

I’ll try to laugh this one off…

..This is awkward. I'll try some deflection.

…This is awkward. Deflect!

Okay, this is suddenly too awkward. I'm out!

Okay, this suddenly got too awkward. I’m out!

Since I moved to Brooklyn, I’ve been on a series of disastrous friend dates. My move was public, and the New Yorkers of my Facebook feed came out of the woodwork to welcome me. Old friends and friends of friends suggested “drinks to catch up,” “dinner after work,” even carpooling! In my excitement to make new friends, I eagerly accepted all invitations and occasionally extended my own.

Because I’m one of those annoying people that don’t list their relationship on Facebook, my status is ambiguous, mysterious even. This may have been why an overwhelming number of “welcome to New York” invitations were from men. Well, actually, all of them were from men.

Who ever said they weren't?

But I’m nothing if not an equal opportunity desperate friend maker, so I said yes to everything and decided I would just try to avoid the date vibe as much as possible. I practiced a number of techniques that I was sure would dissipate any perceived sexual tension. I ordered gross greasy food and ate like no one was watching.

Step 1: Eat gross food

Thousand Island Dressing and ketchup overflowed from the contents of my dishes!

I went on extended diatribes about my need to make friends in the city, my disgust with the institution of marriage, and my decidedly unsexy commitment to feminism, Occupy Wall Street, and socialism.

Step 2: Talk about things that most people won't agree with. Don't forget to be passionate!

Patronizing my political enthusiasm is a sure way to convince me to real-date you!

I paid for all my own dinners and drinks, ran out early, refused to be walked home, suggested group outings repeatedly, and enthused about my love of staying in my PJs all day and playing video games.

Once I went to a bar where a "friend" was hanging out with his friends... and he moved to a table with just me! #frienddatefail

Once I met a guy for drinks at a bar where he was hanging out with his friends… and he moved to a table with just me! #frienddatefail

Nothing worked.

Nothing worked… except one thing.

I hate being that person that talks about her boyfriend all the time. “My boyfriend said just the other day…” and “Yeah my boyfriend and I went to a play last night.” But it’s the only thing that ever worked. Dropping the B-word cleared the room of all potential suitors faster than a potato fart.

But ugh! It’s so transparent! As soon as you awkwardly drop that phrase into a sentence, the date is over. It’s like a horrible poop. You know you have to do it, but you do everything you can to put it off because it will change everything (okay that simile kind of fell apart at the end there, but you get it).

The I’m-interested-in-your-life-and-want-to-know-more-about-you act abruptly ends, and suddenly it’s all “I have to go home for work tomorrow” and “I’ll call you never.” It’s like, what happened to friends?! Friendship! I want that, please!

But there was nothing else that I could do to end the awkward misery. The friend dates became so painful that the brief moments of human interaction outside of work were no longer worth the charade. At the end of every date, I’d mention my boyfriend and the atmosphere would turn stiff, like unwashed gym clothes.

Ultimately, I’ve deduced it’s because bringing up boyfriends breaks the façade. It reveals mutual knowledge of the friend date. Because boyfriend drops are so obvious and ill-timed, they break the fourth wall and leave both parties feeling embarrassed and awkward.

Sick of these disastrous almost dates, I frantically tried to figure out strategies to better tend to my budding friendships. On my next friend date, I decided to experiment. I mentioned my boyfriend before the actual hang out, figuring that if the guy did have a date in mind, he would just cancel. No surprise there– we never hung out. Making new friends fail.

Needless to say, the Friday friend date never happened.

What does seeing my boyfriend on Saturday have to do with this conversation? Nothing. But it had to be done.

Some girls can go on friend dates without ever mentioning their lack of interest. You know who they are, those masters of weathering awkward-storms. They chuckle at veiled come ons, angle themselves so touching is impossible, and otherwise ignore the obvious friend date vibe. I can’t do that. I’ve tried. It just gets too uncomfortable! Someone has to do something, goddamn it! And if I don’t, no one will, because friend daters are awesome at ignoring body language and other signs that suggest disinterest– TED talks told me so.

That’s why I propose that all people everywhere announce their intentions before even arriving at the bar. It can be simple, like the old AIM chatroom call for more information, “a/s/l.” Next time I see a Facebook message that says, “Hey! You’re in New York– we should get drinks!” I’ll cut right through the bullshit and respond with, “TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME?!?”

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Why I Could Never Be in College Again

23 Dec

This fall, I attended homecoming at my alma mater. Homecoming is a big deal for well known, title winning, gigantic public school graduates– it’s all our degrees are good for! So naturally my friends and I do what all good alumni do– we came home for tailgate.

If you have never been tailgating, first, allow me to explain the ancient tradition. Tailgating is when hordes of students, parents, and alumni crowd a giant field near where a football game will be played. They basically set up Dorthraki style encampments, complete with tents, tables, meat grilling pits, and primitive games.

When the football game actually starts, the crowd retreats to varies locations to nurse hangovers and sober up before driving home. Some even attend the game. Security usually drives through the fields, dispersing stragglers and encouraging people to attend the football game.

This Saturday, it was decided that we would wake up at 8:00am and go tailgating.

I’m sorry, did I say 8:00am? Yes. Yes I did. We concocted a whole elaborate plan whereby our group of 20 would arrive at the same time and find parking together.

We met at a fully disclosed, in no way central location to consolidate cars and begin the hour and a half procession. Phones rang at ten minute intervals as more cars attempted to join our caravan.

Joining the caravan sounds easy but is not. To join the caravan, all five cars must leave the highway together and circle up in commuter lots and elementary schools.

Occasionally, we arrived at the designated rendezvous only to find the straggler had moved on. After the last such disaster, we wondered why we didn’t just meet at a gas station right in front of the tailgate, instead of taking this painfully slow route where we were cursed to drive 50 on the highway for fear of losing our slower members.

We finally arrived, a full five hours before the game. Due to our foresight, we snagged a coveted plot of prime parking space: adjacent to the Port-A-Potties. In case you were wondering, our encampment smelled like dead raccoons.

Yes, the car is floating in midair

At first this was great because we didn’t have to go far to use the bathroom, but eventually we realized this was not such a good idea. Our tents stood directly in the natural growth pattern of the bathroom line, and hoards of drunk undergrads wound their way directly in our line of fire.

Eventually, the guys just started using the bushes a their own public restrooms like they usually do, proving that being closer to the port-a-potties does nothing besides cause lung poising.

This picture is unusually awful

The thing about being an old person around undergrads is that it’s enormously depressing. Everyone is young and full of promise, talking about last night’s party– meanwhile the rest of us are sitting on coolers discussing the tax bracket in New York and comparing health benefits.

At one point, an entire pack of twenty year olds swarmed past our tent, looking like the contents of an overturned beehive. Every girl wore knee-length leather boots and a North Face, and every guy wore a sweatshirt and jeans. We stared in amazement as this crowd of people passed, seemingly unaware or simply unconcerned that they looked like a color-coordinated cult. Were we oblivious sheep in college?

We suddenly recalled memories of UGGs and skirts from our foggy adult brains, looking away in shame. We were oblivious sheep, we were. But underneath the judgement and the grump, there was a bit of awe there, too. We had regressed beyond the point of caring about fashion. Suddenly our business professional lifestyles and our need for comfort were more important than looking “in” or “stylish.” Quietly and without warning, we had become our parents.

5 Ways To Motivate Yourself to Write

7 Oct

It seems like I can’t turn around on the internet without running into a hilarious web comic that combines really bad illustrations with ridiculously ironic and over the top copy. Oh, and numbered lists that parody the “How To” articles that are all over the web. I could’t resist giving it a go, so here’s a hilarious-completely-out-of-character-for-my-blog post on 5 ironic tips to being a better writer complete with swearing and terrible illustrations.

I’ve pretty much always called myself a writer (I write this blog, don’t I?), and in high school I wrote all kinds of angsty poetry and short works about sad relationships.

But one might say that in college I hit my writing prime. Even though I stopped writing creative fiction, in between a very vibrant social life and hours spent reading I still found time to write hundreds of pages of academic essays about literature. While I doing so, I felt pretty comfortable calling myself a writer and an English major.

But now I’m in that awkward phase in my life where I can no longer call myself a writer if I don’t actually write something. I lost the drama filled perspective that motivated me to write in high school and I am no longer rewarded with the praise from professors that I sycophantically sought in college.

The uncomfortable realization that I wasn’t “A Writer”  anymore hit me shortly after graduation, and I decided it was time to DO something. That meant I needed to find some way to motivate myself into picking up a pen.

I read tons of “helpful” lists on the “internet” about finding the motivation to write. There were websites that email bombed me harder than Goodreads.com after I signed up for a virtual book club. (I’m still ignoring those emails.) Some people advised keeping calendars and awarding gold starts for good writing days. Others just write for the love of writing (I know, right?? Those jerks!)

But I found all of this advice didn’t work for ME, a completely under-motivated, idea-lacking, busy-with-other-things-like-TV-watching, wanna-be writer. So I’ve decided to compile my own list of motivational tips for my brethren:  people who identify as writers and are desperately looking for the motivation to write.

1. Don’t tell ANYONE when you start a new blog/novel/chapbook/comedy skit/screenplay/ webcast

There’s no better motivator than embarrassment, and trust me you WILL feel embarrassed if you tell your friends you’ve started a new project and then never finish it. Every couple weeks each and every person you’ve told will ask you, “So how’s that stream of consciousness novel from the perspective of an ant inside the anthill on your dresser coming?”

Rather than telling them you’re a LIAR or just a lazy promise breaker who overestimated your ability to complete a goal, you’ll simply nod feebly and mutter stuff about how the ant is about to find true love. Your friends will know you’re lying, but will be too polite to call you out.

You know what they’re really thinking, though. So before hanging with Curious Casey on Wednesday, you’ll spend hours Tuesday outlining your novel and getting some new pages down so you don’t sound like a complete douche.

Avoid this predicament by not letting anyone know when you’ve started a new project. In fact, why don’t you just stay inside your bedroom when you write so no one will even SUSPECT that you’ve started something new. You’ll avoid receiving any encouragement AND all that embarrassment that comes from picking up and dropping a new project, plus when you quit, no one else will know you’ve failed, allowing you to nurse that pathological fear of failure your ex-girlfriend always complained about.

2. Make goals you don’t intend to keep

This is an absolute must. If you’re like me, you need some external deadline to motivate you to write. So in a sad attempt to mimic a pressing deadline, make up an imaginary deadline for yourself. Some of my previous “deadlines:”

  1. Write one blog post every Tuesday
  2. Write one novel page a day
  3. Finish poetry book by end of August
  4. Start revising writing project by beginning of fall

Guess how many of these deadlines I managed to keep for longer than a month? If you answered none of them, you are correct, Sir.

Of course, you can’t really trick yourself into believing in a hard deadline since you know the only one who knows about the deadline is you—and you’re already very comfortable lying to yourself.

But that’s okay! Overcompensate by making these goals as lofty as possible! The constant shame of never meeting any of your exceptionally high goals will eventually make you so comfortable with failure that even your smaller milestones will be abandoned. Good luck with that!

3. Berate yourself for your failure to keep writing goals

My favorite motivator is internally humiliating myself for my failure to meet my writing goals. In graduate school, I experimented with escalating threat levels in order to get my pen moving:

Green: You can do it! Only five pages in eight hours!

Yellow: Okayyy so you’ve only written one page in six hours. The first page is the hardest! You can still do it!!

Orangey red: Okay okay okay. You don’t need to shower tonight. You can have one extra hour just DO IT.

Red: Listen B*tch, write three more pages NOW or you can’t go out with your friends Friday night

Maroon: If you don’t write this paper everyone will be disappointed in you. Your parents will stop loving you. Everyone will know that your highly organized façade was JUST THAT—A FANCY FRENCH WORD!

THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT: If you don’t write this paper they will kick you out of grad school and you will be a failure and everyone will feel bad for you. You will couch surf at your parents until you become so ashamed that you lie about having a job and end up traveling the streets and sleeping at Starbucks. This is where your life falls apart: With the failure to write this ONE PAPER.

At one point, the only way I could actually motivate myself to get shit done was by telling myself I would fail out of grad school and die if I didn’t. My feeble brain was too depressed by all the other vitriol to know that I was lying, so this is clearly the way to go for self-motivation.

4. Go to a coffee shop with free WiFi so you can “focus”

Coffee shops are filled with fancy hipsters and their old fashioned writing implements, so this must be the trick to good writing! Here’s the tip: set up shop in a local coffee mecca and buy yourself a cup of bottomless coffee. After 3 hours you’ll be tweaking harder than that creepy blonde kid from South Park. All that caffeine’s gotta kick your muse in gear, right?

While you’re busy suffering heart palpitations, try to listen in on the weird conversations around you. Not only will you soon garner the reputation of Weird Coffee Shop Eavesdropper, you’ll also waste hours of time that could be spent writing. Don’t worry though– you can pretend its research for “authentic dialogue”– because you haven’t been dialoging your whole life or anything.

Of course, make sure to sit in a prominent location so friends and acquaintances will come by and greet you. They may even sit down and chat, and you’ll get to feel productive and superior when you drop that you’re working on your novel.

All joking aside, going to coffee shops IS a great way to focus. It gets you away from all of those apartment distractions like free food and Internet. That’s why you should go to a cafe with free WiFi– if it was hard to avoid watching endless videos of adorable kittens on YouTube at home, you DEFINITELY won’t be distracted here.

5. Spend hours worrying about the formatting and projected page output for your blog/novel/chapbook/comedy skit/screenplay/ webcast

Everyone knows that the most important thing about writing is the number of pages in each chapter. Why else do people love The life of Pi? Clearly it’s because Yann Martel nailed the perfect formula for attaining the O list.

The only way you’ll be a famous writer is if you also learn the exact number of pages a young adult novel should be, and whether or not those pages are double spaced.

In fact, instead of writing you should probably spend hours researching page length on the Internet. All of those answers on Yahoo Questions that tell you page length doesn’t matter must be posted by stupid people, not experienced writers. So keep looking past page 12 of your Google search for the one answer written by Bob Nobody that says otherwise!

And there you have it, folks! Five awesome tips to get you on your writing journey. So what are you waiting for? Head to that coffee shop and get started on all of your writing goals!

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