The past few weeks have been filled with awkwardness of the most acute variety. Mainly from two sources which I will now proceed to break down like a late 80s neon-clad subway busker on a cardboard dance floor:
PART ONE: Here fishy fishy!
I have mentioned before that I have twice dipped my toe into the proverbial ocean of online dating via Plentyoffish.com. First, I just looked around, was disappointed in the kind of menfolk that were available, and ran away screaming. The second time, I gave it some more thought and actually tried to fill out a profile. This just made me depressed and caused hours of tipsy self-analysis. Since then I hadn't really given plenty o' fish another though. My life is complicated and stressful enough without adding some guy's baggage to it.
My own baggage is already full enough.
But a few weeks ago I was clearing out spam from my personal e-mail, already bored with my weekend. I noticed an e-mail with the headline "Hutch, you have 17 new matches!" Woop-de-doo. Doesn't mean jack. But still, it piqued my interest. Why the hell not take a look? So I finished my profile (queasy the whole time) and started fishing for real. It seemed like every guy listed 'working out' or 'going to the gym' as one of his interests. Whether he really is a gym rat, or thinks that by saying he is, he will get more girls, I don't know. But anyone who views exercise as fun and not a necessary evil is clearly someone who will not be interested in me (who works out faithfully for months at a time, only to go months without working out at all.) Not that staying healthy and active isn't important. But if you spend over twelve hours a week in the gym running in circles and lifting heavy things, your priorities are out of order. Or they just aren't in sync with mine.
Just seems rather pointless, doesn't it?
I also noticed an inordinate amount of guys with pictures of themselves in the bathroom mirror taken with their iPhone. Whether they were fully clothed, shirtless, or lifting up their Ed Hardy shirt Situation-style, this was a major turnoff (*salutes* "Major Turnoff!"). I don't know why it bothers me so much. Some guys may just not have a good picture of themselves, but can't they have their friend or mom or cat take two seconds to snap a photo that doesn't have a toilet seat in the background that clearly hasn't been cleaned in years? Nothing says sexy like seeing which kind of deodorant and shaving cream a guy uses while he throws up some lame peace sign. Of course I'm judging these guys, but I'm sure my profile is just as lame in other ways. Because as I observed previously, it's impossible to create these things and not come off as some type of tool.
Typical. And just silly. Stop it, boys.
Within a few minutes with my face permanently fixed in stinkeye position, I already had a couple guys interested in meeting me (meaning they probably just pushed the 'yes' button while scanning my picture for .5 seconds without actually reading my profile. Not really flattering, but I'll take what I can get). I also had a message from one guy. It wasn't much, but it was a start. So I started e-mailing back and forth with this one guy, as well as a couple others. The problem is, what on earth do you talk about with a complete stranger?
The basic theme of the conversations seemed to be "Hi, how are you today?" Me, being the witty conversationalist that I am, always tried to throw them off with something adorable and quirky, but they didn't seem to really appreciate my sense of humor. Many of them just wanted to get my phone number so we could text. Like I'm going to give out my number to someone who could be an axe murderer. (Which could conceivably happen in a bar or other socially acceptable arena, but at least then I would know what he was really like in person first and if it was worth the risk). Plus, and more importantly, I don't have unlimited texting and this could get expensive.
This kind of messaging went on for a few days until one night when I got a chat request from some guy I had never heard of. He was kind of cute, and had a profile I would actually consider. (The ratio seems to be one in twenty-four profiles is not completely abhorrent to me. That sounds like I'm really picky, but I just don't want to waste my time with Douches. Note the capital 'D.') So we're chatting away, which seems to be slightly less stilted than e-mailing back and forth. Discussing relationships, men and women, even sex (but in a general, philosophical sense). Then he started getting dirty. Like really dirty. Which freaked me out big time. Aaaah! What the heck? Am I here just for some cyber one-night stand? Plus he still lives with his parents at 26 and uses 'u' instead of 'you'. NOPE!
"Well as far as I'm concerned, the internet is just another way of being rejected by a woman."
-George from "You've Got Mail"
So that put me off the whole process for a while, but there were a few nice guys I was still talking to. I like that you can sort of get to know each other first before giving out any personal information lest they turn out to be an uber-creeper like the aforementioned. And you can always block a guy if he says something really random but cruel like one guy did. I won't repeat what he said, but it didn't warrant a response. Just a swift click of the 'block user' button. I got that message, another chat request from dirty perv boy, and made a connection with one of the good guys all within about 10 seconds of each other. A little overwhelming ride of emotions, from pain to disgust to delight. I'm meeting one of the guys for the first time in a few hours (in a public place in mid-day). We'll see how that goes...
PART TWO So when did you get saved?
Yesterday I was invited to my neighbor's birthday party. He's a nice guy that I've talked to a few times since moving in in March. I always kind of got the feeling he dug me. Which put this whole fantasy in my head a la Friends or Big Bang Theory of falling in love with the guy across the hall. Not that I was that into him, but that's a pretty powerful pop culture image. Plus, it sure would be convenient seeing as it's the complete opposite of a long distance relationship.
I miss "Friends" a lot.
I stopped by about 30-45 minutes late because I thought it would be awkward to be the first one there. Hah. Also I was watching Friday Night Lights which is my new favorite thing in the world. (Sorry Desperate Housewives, you've been replaced. I don't give a crap about high school football, but this show is riveting and so well-done! Plus I met one of the actors and wanted to get more familiar with his oeuvre of work. Tee hee, oeuvre sounds dirty doesn't it? Anyway, back to my story.)
I walked across the way to my neighbor's apartment where several people had already crammed in the tiny one-bedroom. Picture this, a room full of nicely dressed though slightly douchey looking dudes sitting in silence around a veggie tray watching a subtitled kung fu movie. There was one other girl, but she didn't seem to have anything to say other than "Are you sure you don't want any potato chips?" Maybe she was just as bored as I was. I could tell something was off about this party. But not wanting to sit awkwardly much longer, I asked, "So, how do you guys all know each other?"
"Oh, we all go to the same church."
I should have suspected this when I noticed the cutesy angel sign reading 'God Bless This House' over the bedroom. Not that there's anything wrong with going to church. By all means, if it makes you feel good and provides the social atmosphere that people crave, that's fantastic. I just knew I was even more out of place than I thought (besides being underdressed in just jeans and a t-shirt). So more awkward silence persisted while the kung fu movie gave us something to look at besides our shoes.
Then one of the guys turns to the guy to his right and asks, "So when did you get saved?" The guy responded, "Once when I was seventeen, then again when I was twenty-six and gave my life to god to be a pastor."
It was at that moment that I knew I had to get out of there. Luckily, I had a good and true excuse that I had to go meet up with a friend. But our host was hiding in his room talking on the phone and folding laundry. I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye. Because we were all sitting silently, I couldn't just slip out unnoticed. So I counted the minutes until my neighbor was done with his laundry so I could say "Happy Birthday" and take off. He gave me a hug, (which I am not a hugger, but whatevs) and said to stop by when I got back.
Finally I was free!!!! I drove off like I had the devil after me (tee hee). I went to my friend Eric's house for our Sunday tradition of quiche and True Blood (which is a whole lot more satisfying than church in my opinion.) Why quiche you may ask? Because it's effing delicious for one thing. And for another, Eric and I have been making quiche ever since his 21st birthday almost exactly five years ago when we got drunk and were craving quiche even though we had never made it before and ended up making the best quiche ever even without any recipe or soberness and proceeded to eat it on the floor of my kitchen with two random girls we met at the supermarket at midnight after work. So that's my quiche story which I've probably told a million times, but it was such an awesome memory I don't care.
After True Blood, I headed back from Koreatown to NoHo only to find an ambush waiting for me in the parking lot. My neighbor's "party" had turned into a late night bible discussion. My neighbor called me over and I couldn't very well say no even though it was late at night and I was tired. True Blood takes a lot out of you, you know. He asked me about my faith, which I tried to sum up succinctly. "I believe in something, but I'm not a fan of organized religion." Of course, my religious history is a hell of a lot more complicated than that, but it was too late to get into it.
But he kept goading me in the polite, well-meaning way Christians often do. And I just couldn't deny my Hutch heritage to debate circles around an opponent. Normally I hate debating, but he wouldn't let it go. So I let him have it. And I explained how many horrible things I have witnessed under the guise of religion. How I don't believe in the bible, so don't use that to support your arguments. How my biggest political believe is that religion has no business in politics. How I don't agree with a large majority of what is considered to be a sin. How pretentious, insincere and commercial religion has become. How religion has mistreated a large number of my friends who happen to be gay and caused them so much pain and heartbreak. For all the good things religion does, it destroys and divides just as much.
It was a calm, respectful discussion for the most part, but it did raise my hackles quite a bit. Especially when an older gentleman got involved and tried to convince me that people aren't born gay. I tried to make him understand that why would someone choose to be estranged from their family, bullied and beaten at school, not given equal rights under the law, and suffer so much derision from people like him if they weren't being true to themselves?
Anyway, so now it's going to be suuuuper awkward whenever I see my neighbor. I used to think he wanted in my pants, but now I know he just wants to save my soul. Which is kind of hurtful to my ego, but whatevs.