Pseudo-Dates: A Real-Life Case Study

I stuck to general abstractions on Tuesday to, you know, make the post more relatable, and not at all because I started working on it around 9 p.m. But then I ended up writing some more, and I figured, like with a bunch of trash burgers, I shouldn’t let it go to waste.

So here’s a Thursday addendum, full of specifics!

Like a fish swimming upstream through uncharted waters, I floundered through a sea of unsuccessful pseudo-dates, evenings ending with confidence-boosting phrases like “That was a lot of fun,” or “Well, see you around I guess.” And when things did work out—mostly due to a girl’s ability to overlook glaring flaws in my suavity—I would get so bamboozled that I’d forget to turn left at first base.

But last summer, that changed; I became a camp counselor. What most people don’t realize about camp is that we supposed “adults” are just as much at camp as the kids we’re taking care of. And since we’re no longer minors, anything goes.

Summer brings out the best in everyone. Sunshine, happiness, bikinis. The head counselor of the dorm next to mine was this gorgeous blonde who oozed mystery, irresistible partly because she’s undeniably beautiful (an actual, real-life model, and I was talking to her!), and partly because she scared the crap out of me. First, she was frighteningly out of my league, and second, her Facebook pictures were all intimidating modeling shots of her swinging an axe wearing nothing but a leather jacket.

But her most alluring and disturbing quality of all was that I could never get a read on her. She’d laugh at my jokes, but I couldn’t stop thinking it seemed like the way the White Witch might laugh at Edmund Pevensie. In the realm of pseudo-dating, it’s impossible to tell whether those Turkish Delights she’s offering you are merely candy or rather some obscure sexual position.

Then came the interim weekend, in which we were free of the children. We threw a huge party, and in the pinnacle of my game-spitting career, I somehow managed to woo this girl, an event which, unfortunately, I hardly remember. All I know is that we hit it off, she was way more interesting than I’d ever imagined, and we totally made out. Even the most beautiful of women suddenly seem within reach after a few beers and then some more beers.

But I couldn’t tell if it was anything more than a random whirl.

Then one day she sends me this text: “Do you want to come to yoga with me this Thursday at 8?” All I want to do is things with her, but yoga?! At eight?! In the morning? That’s the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. And it’s Bikram yoga. Is she asking me on a date, or is she just a sadist who’s excited to watch me suffer in a 110° room? Or worse, was she testing me for flexibility and estimating my sexual prowess? (An event which occurs all too often.) I can’t imagine there’s anything less attractive than sweating profusely while displaying total incompetence and inflexibility, but what other option did I have? If I didn’t go, she might never invite me to another thing, and if it truly was a date, I certainly couldn’t risk accidentally rejecting her.

On Thursday, I wake up, toss on some clothes that seem vaguely yogappropriate, and pick her up.

What proceeds is basically the worst hour of my life. I’m stretched and prodded and bent into inhumanly uncomfortable shapes Mr. Fantastic himself couldn’t achieve, all in the name of relaxation. I’m pouring sweat from places I didn’t even know I had, and since I’m terrible with heat, I have to leave the yoga studio every few minutes to cool off, weaving my way through the downward-facing obstacles all around me. Crush girl is alternatingly encouraging and mocking, but my scorched brain has the capacity to appreciate neither. Bottle after bottle of water does little to slake my unquenchable thirst for escape, and I smell like, well, someone doing Bikram yoga. In short, there was no way I was impressing anyone.

After such an abysmal, sweat-coated failure, I knew I had to delicately craft myself a second chance. At this camp, we had to sign up for the afternoon activities we wanted to lead, and after a couple weeks of meticulously trying to predict which event she’d have selected in that half-creepy, half-desperate, half-endearing way that only bad math can achieve, I finally got paired with her on a trip downtown.

Any work-mandated trip can hardly be classified as a true date, but then again, she had kissed me that one time. I was going to make this the most date-y two hours I’d ever been paid for. All in the most non-gigolo was possible, of course.

On the way downtown, we debated whether fear or love was a more useful means of control and, like a high school movie cliché, we made a sexually charged bet. I would win if all the kids came back to the bus on time thanks to nothing more than my friendly encouragement. I released the kids into the wild, promising them that I’d be their friend forever if they could avoid being late.

I was absolutely positive the stakes of this bet were a kiss, but I was too afraid to actually say so, so I left it up in the air—we’d cross that bridge when I planted my lips all over it.

This was a horrible mistake! If I’d just brought it up, she’d have smiled slyly, said something clever, and I’d have known it was on. Instead, I was left to wonder, twisting the whole experience from sexy charm-fest to fear-filled pseudo-date.

We wander around downtown, free of the clutching needs of the high-schoolers. The afternoon wears on, the tension increases, and I’m falling into the allure of this girl. A traveling magician performs tricks for us, we chow down on some Thai food, we talk, we talk…

She’d traveled the world! She’d modeled! She loved animals! She’d been published! Where did this girl come from? It was a magical moment for me. But that’s the whole point. It was magical to me. I had no idea what she was thinking! What did she think the bet was about? Did she realize we were only downtown together thanks to some careful posturing on my part? If she did, would she be flattered or freaked?

As we’re walking back toward the busses, all I can think about is the bet. There was so much awkwardness about the stakes. Is that because she’s excited too, or is it because she knows I’m thinking “kiss” and she’d rather not revisit the events of the last weekend. We’re mere minutes from the bus, and I can barely form coherent sentences. We start to count the kids.

They’re all there!

Wait. Two are missing. They’re the two from her dorm. Where are they? I stare at my watch as the seconds tick away, hoping against hope that they’ll arrive in time for me to win the bet. This could be life-changing. This one minute, this one kiss, it could be the moment that starts everything!

But they’re one minute late.

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39 Comments

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39 responses to “Pseudo-Dates: A Real-Life Case Study

  1. Kate

    Its worrying that you consider ‘Well, see you around I guess’ as confidence-boosting – :), but funny and I am very grateful for the bonus post! And I have learnt a new word..slake? That should definitely be a word.

    • Tis a word! Thank the holy OED. And I’ve got to glean confidence wherever I can get it.

      • dekeboo

        See how useful that English degree has turned out to be! I’m sure I should be slightly embarrassed by my own ignorance and having it pointed out to me but I have decided to slake my shame and replace it with nonchalance. That and a must try harder sticker. 🙂

      • “Thank the holy OED” — f$%&ing love it. Instead of saying “Thank god,” I’m going to start saying that.

        Also, this post is great. Unless a guy’s face is literally on my face, I am horrible at telling if someone is actually interested in me, and even then it’s like, “Maybe I had some sour cream on my lip…”

  2. LOVE the graph. And “vaguely yogappropriate”. As usual, the whole post cracked me up. Though I feel a little bad laughing at your dating anxiety. Thanks for the bonus post!

  3. so… what happened after all???

    • You guys got pretty much the whole story unfortunately. Although I did stay at her house for a weekend, and one time she suggested that we travel to faraway countries together. Basically, utter confusion at all times.

  4. Poor dude!!!
    As entertaining as your problems are to me – sorry about that! – I am so unashamedly glad I’m not young anymore.
    Or a young man ever, for that matter.
    Now, all I have to worry about, or not, is droopy boobs, grey hairs and wrinkles 😉
    Enjoyed the bonus post – as I hope was the intention 😉

    • Certainly! Enjoyment is always the goal! And don’t worry, I get a blast out of my young person problems. Drama is exciting–plus, it gives me writing inspiration!

      • Still, it’s good to sit back and reminisce about our youth – safe in the knowledge that the drama is long gone 😉
        Looking forward to next week’s installment…

  5. 1) Kiss her anyway
    2) Some of your readers may want a link to her Facebook page

  6. You really are a sorry case, I’m afraid to say. But then, humans are an odd species. If you were a peacock or a Siamese fighting fish you’d be the beautiful sex and the females would be all inhibited in your presence. Oh well…

    • I keep trying to get one of those new-fangled genetic conversions, but apparently they haven’t quite decoded the Siamese fighting fish yet. And the only option I can afford anyway is the naked mole rat. Not sure if that’s a good idea or not.

  7. Rae

    I’m really intrigued by that jumpsuit she’s wearing in that last frame. I guess everybody has to have at least one flaw, right? 😉

  8. I think photos of incredibly attractive women wielding axes wearing nothing but leather jackets are pretty standard on Facebook now.

  9. jayne

    perfect ending

  10. emjayzed

    A cliffhanger? Arghhh! It’s like an episode of Revenge or something!

    I love your writing, it’s so entertaining! And I have to admit I’m pleased men feel like this too.

    The concept of dating is so weird, it’s a wonder anyone ever hooks up! (I’m one of those who seems to be born without the capacity to detect male interest – until it’s too late!)

    • Revenge is top notch, but don’t tell anyone I watch it. I feel like I might lose man-points, and I’m hoping to redeem those for some fancy prize sometime.

      I’m sure we humans will manage to hookup someday. I’m rooting for us!

    • Wooooo!!!!!! I don’t think I (or something I’ve worked on) have ever been compared to a sex museum in Amsterdam before. This is a great new experience!

      • Have you ever been? If not go! You’ll understand as soon as you experience it. Hilarious, fun and surprisingly informative just like your blog! Keep up all the posts, I adore them you consistently make me smile! Thank you!

  11. The fact that the two late kids were from her dorm appears to be very convenient if you ask me!

    • I completely agree. I took them aside and grilled them after the fact, but they refused to break. I think I need to work on my interrogation techniques, since the only threats I could come up with were “I won’t go easy on you in dodgeball” and “I’m going to take the last can of soda tomorrow at lunch.”

  12. now i respect u even more for publishing with a typo… & here i was my envy eating away at me late into the night coz of ur awesomeness as a writer…
    don’t worry, it gives a man character, kinda like a four-fingered hand or a twitch

    loved the post as uje!

  13. Man that sucks! 😀
    I feel for you bro and hopefully you’ll be able to get some answers (and maybe some more memorable and actually remembered action) soon.
    At least you have the satisfaction that she does like your company and that the two kids who were late were from her group…? Yeah, I know its not much… never mind.
    Hope the remainder of camp goes well and you get to see the leather jacket moments sans the axes! ;D
    Cheers.

  14. Poor you -*-
    But if it was not for those kids, you would not have this awesome ending, I guess, lol.
    Btw, I’d love to see her facebook picture too. An axe! How sexy!? xD

  15. Here’s a saw. Pretty similar!


    Courtesy of http://www.lynnbagley.com

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