My attempts at dating are rather disturbing. That is not an exaggeration, just more of an honest statement.
From the fourth grade on up, it's been a downward spiral of desperation and awkward situations. While I had perfected my Top 10 lists of "cute" boys in school - it was a whole other ballgame when it came to talking to them. I get an 'A' for excellence in imagining, daydreaming and the unreal. But when it comes to actual live conversations - I am THE fish out of water.
Oh, I can lie. And tell stories. But my nervousness shows right through as my voice zooms like the fast-forward button on a VCR. Words go together that shouldn't - trout, toenails and meatloaf - words that shouldn't be melded together let alone mentioned when you are trying to make an impression.
In the fourth grade after many flirty glances and dead stares at my best friend, the boy I liked, I needed a new game plan. So I?went to what I know best - gift-giving. It was his birthday, and a boy-girl party was taking place at Fuller Hall. And I knew the perfect present. A giant package of Skittles. I had watched him consume one after another, and his favorites were the red ones. He loved them - and once, he had even offered me a few of his. (The moment was on mind rewind for quite a while.)
As he was opening up his gifts - a couple R.L. Stine books and the bag of candy tied thoughtfully together - his eyes lit up (I am sure of that) and he said something along the lines of, "Thanks, Carrie!" I knew right then and there it was true love. It was the whole she-bang - fireworks, hearts pounding and thunderous applause. (Dramatics have always been commonplace for me.)
While my classmates meandered down to the gym to play a game of dodgeball, I just shuffled in my seat. I fully expected a 10-year-old boy to shower me with appreciation over this perfectly picked-out gift. Instead, he headed toward the game with much enthusiasm. Well that's fine, I thought, he will catch up with me later. I waited for awhile. And I waited. But it wasn't meant to be. Unfortunately, I caught him offering the entire bag of delicious rainbow-colored candies to another girl in my class, right before my parents picked me up from the party. My face fell. Literally. I remember the feeling of pure elation that only a crush can offer - which turned into muck as I was driven home.
A word that truly lives up to its meaning.
Throughout the years it didn't get any easier. My unwillingness to communicate verbally with the opposite sex turned out to scare boys away. Imagine that. And then I would find one guy and, of course, it wouldn't work out. I would ask out a guy to the high school dance and after a few awkward conversations, find out he was going with someone else.
A few years ago, I even ended up going on a first date with a college classmate, only to bring a couple of my guy friends along, just in case I got too flustered. You can imagine how that date went - not well.
While I don't excel at relationships, I much prefer being in one over competing in the dating arena, for the pressure is off in making a good impression. If you stutter, they find it charming. An awkward glance or a slight blush is endearing. And any stupid mistake is easily laughed off.
After all of my past attempts - I can truly say to anyone who is entering the dating pool: I am sorry and good luck - you will most likely need it.