There’s a reason I have referred to myself in past columns as the Doug Flutie of talking to girls. Doug is not known as the greatest player to ever live. He was a serviceable quarterback that had a great run in the National Football League. He had flaws, but most people respected him because they knew he was capable of having a huge day if he was on. But there was a flip side to Flutie. Seemingly easy throws to receivers would sometimes land in the hands of a defender, he was criticized for his unorthodox throwing motion, etc. He had some off days, and just like our old pal Doug, I too have off days.
I can make the big throw in a tight window to win the game, but I can also have a night where I throw three interceptions and get blown out at home. I can most accurately describe myself as a serial dater. My last serious girlfriend was in college, and we dated for two years. It was great, but like most college relationships, we fizzled towards the end there. After we broke up and I moved to Chicago, I told myself that the next girl I dated would probably be the last one. I promised myself I’d start putting myself out there and that’s exactly what I did. I go on several dates a month, and most of them never make it past the three-date mark. I blame this usually on myself because of A.) something I said or did to offend the girl (a majority of the time) or B.) she or myself simply lost interest.
I’ve never claimed to be some sort of dating savant or charming Casanova. I play the field to the best of my ability, and I know I say it a lot, but you simply cannot win them all. Sometimes I mess up, and what happened on Friday night can most aptly be described as a bungled opportunity. It was Friday afternoon, and it was also my first full week back in the office since taking 10 days off for Christmas. I was in bad shape. Playing catch up on e-mails and phone calls for five straight days had me in a deplorable state of mind, and it was only worsened by the crippling anxiety that was starting to creep up on me as my date with a girl I was crushing HARD on rapidly approached.
Normally, I embrace the pre-date anxiety that comes a few hours before the scheduled meet up. That feeling of anxiousness is intoxicating to me. But on this day, to be completely honest, I didn’t even really feel like going on the date. Exhausted from the week, my dream scenario was leaving the office, immediately changing into sweatpants and having a few glasses of merlot before falling asleep alone in my queen size around 10 o’clock. My body was begging me for a relaxing night in, but I had committed to this date two days prior, foolishly thinking that my head would be in the right place come kickoff. I was very, very, wrong.
I sucked it up because this girl is smoking hot, and I also had some feelings for her that are usually reserved for people who are in long-term relationships (I think it’s called “true love” but I’ve heard that’s just a myth). So yeah, I either convinced myself that I was in love with this girl, or I just had that old fashioned feeling where I’d do anything to bone her. This girl just did it for me. That’s the best way I can describe it.
The date being scheduled for 7 o’clock meant I had about two hours to get home from work, shower, and change out of my suit that hasn’t been dry cleaned in over two months. I slammed some generic brand DayQuil down, put on my favorite Patagonia goose down vest and tried to psyche myself up as I got off the bus and walked into the sensually lit Italian restaurant where we had reservations. I realized I was early, but the hostess sat me down anyway so I ordered an IPA to try and get myself grounded.
“Allison”: Hey, I’m running a few minutes late, my Uber is taking forever to pick me up.
Me: No problem, I just sat down, take your time
“Allison”: Kk, I’ll see you in like fifteen
As I sat at my table waiting for “Allison”, I knew that I should have rescheduled this thing. I was irritated and tired from the work week, and the thought of making small talk on this particular Friday night made me want to puke. She arrived around 7:20, and I had already finished off my first beer of the night while lightly snacking on the free bread that our waitress had brought out. We exchanged generic pleasantries, and I told her about how awful my week at work had been. I then shifted the conversation towards her, because like any seasoned veteran knows, you don’t want to be talking about yourself on a first date. Keep it with her.
I’m an argumentative person by nature. If you say something I don’t agree with, I’ll let you know about it. This, my friends, would prove to be my downfall. Allison told me that she grew up in Wisconsin, but also that she spent many summers vacationing in Michigan, where I had grown up. She asked me where in Michigan, and I quickly held up my hand to show her. She started in on how, contrary to popular belief, Wisconsin was actually the mitten state, and I sort of lost it. The wheels were beginning to fall off, and we hadn’t finished eating yet. It was at this point that I knew I probably was not going to be seeing this girl again.
As a proud Michigander, I told Allison it was impossible to not look at a satellite image of Michigan and not instantly associate it with that of a mitten. She snorted sarcastically as she took a bite of her penne, and I then conceded that, yes, she was right. Wisconsin was the mitten state — if the mitten was worn by a person with palsy. Probably not the best thing to say to someone on a first date, I know. But I was heated about it. And all I really wanted to do at that point was get the goddamn check and go home.
After that little exchange, as you may have guessed, things did not go well. Ten minutes went by as we both nibbled at the remaining food on our plates. We both denied getting to-go boxes, and I paid the check and went to put my coat on. As we walked out of the restaurant, I could sense the awkward goodbye coming. We hugged and I half-heartedly said that we should do this again sometime. She politely said anytime, and I hopped in a cab, too exhausted to wait for public transportation. I was back in my bedroom 15 minutes later, sweatpants on and a glass of cabernet sauvignon poured. I fell asleep with the bedside light on about an hour later, and I haven’t spoken to Allison since dinner on Friday. I’m pretty apathetic towards the whole thing, but if I could give you any advice, it’d be to not go on a date with the girl of your dreams feeling tired or agitated. I’ll be back out under center next weekend, sipping domestics and trying to land a trophy fish. Last weekend it just wasn’t in the cards for me, and that’s okay.
There’s an English folk song about a man named Andrew Barton, High Admiral of the Kingdom of Scotland. The most memorable lines from that song?
I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile,
Then I’ll rise and fight again.”
Half the fun of chasing girls is the uncertainty of it all. There’s no formula for success, no proven method for picking someone up. I shot myself in the foot last weekend, but it was a flesh wound. I’ll recover just fine. Minor setback for a major comeback. We’ll see you out there, folks. Have a great week. .
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