#3 Keep Your Mouth Shut

Earlier this fall I had to do that thing that all grown up girls have to do – go to a party alone. Moving back to my Midwest town after a year, no longer being an undergrad, trying to transition into a grown up life meant that I needed to try to make some new grown up friends. So I went to a church picnic–that’s right, they exist still; I didn’t know these things made it out of the 50s–where all up post-grads, faking authentic personhood, were meeting up.

One of the guys called it the second middle school of life. It’s true. We’re all that awkward.

I vaguely knew a few people at the picnic. Church is often a place I like to think of as somewhere I can meet a nice single boy that could possibly be a boyfriend. I have met a lot of nice single Christian boys who have turned out to be lovely loyal boy [big space] friends.

This new group of recent adults seemed a lot of the same. A lot of sweet boys. A lot of potential friends. But then there was… one boy. He had sort of a funny earring and scruffy facial hair and he drove a ZAMBONI! How cool is he? He didn’t drive it, like around town, even though we are in Michigan and he could feasibly do that for 9 months out of the year; he worked at an ice rink. When I found that out, I made a mental note. Not to stalk the boy… but to at least meet him and see if he was really as interesting as he sounded.

 

For those of you unaware, this is a Zamboni. I hope that because it's Heineken sponsored, it somehow accomplishes its re-icing job using beer.

Zamboni Guy also came to the church picnic. The problem is, I tend to NOT talk to boys I think are cute or interesting or maybe special because they might actually like me or not like me or I might not like him and that’s just disappointing. I keep a strict no talking policy. I avoided my ex-boyfriend all of our junior year of high school. We had 40 people in our entire class.

So we’re at the church picnic, and I end up standing next to Zamboni Guy. Normally when I’m nervous I say too much and am too mean to boys. It’s my scathing sense of humor. It’s all fun and play, but for some reasons most guys just can’t take being insulted very well.

Girls like boys with hot cars.

Zamboni Guy is right night to me, and he takes the last hot dog bun. The empty bag almost flies away, and my great opening line is —

“Hey, be carefully you don’t litter!”

That’s right, the first thing I say to this boy is to accuse him of littering.

LITTERING.

Nothing screams “please get to know me more” like accusing someone of destroying the earth. I should lug a cardboard cut out of Al Gore around with me.

Lucky for me, he plays along. Good, because if he had started monologuing on the ozone layer and baby whales, I would have walked away–even if he had offered me a RIDE on the Zamboni! [False, I probably would have stayed for that.]

Anyway, all my neurosis is moot because he plays along.

“Oh man,” he says, “I wouldn’t want to litter.”

“I mean,” I keep going, “You could if you wanted to leave your imprint on the earth for a million years.”

Ok, you’re doing… passable. Stop talking about the hot dog bag.

“Though,” Zambonie Guy replies, “maybe some day some guy will say to himself, ‘Man, if only I had a plastic bag right now.'”

“And there the bag would be!” I say, so excited about this fake future we’re creating together.

I think he’s smiling. Time to transition. Stop talking about the stupid bag.

“Exactly!” the boy I’m scared of talking to says to me. “He’ll need a bag, and there it’ll be.”

“A hot dog bag in particular!” I exclaim, getting overexcited in my failure to transition.

Stop talking about the stupid hot dog bag! Idiot!

Lucky for me he laughs, so at least he’s playing along with the joke that I’m funny. We go on to discuss maple-flavored bacon and which breakfast foods it’s acceptable for your syrup to touch. We don’t introduce ourselves. We don’t talk about the Zamboni. He gets ketchup on his chocolate peanut butter no bake cookie. I give my condolences. We part ways.

In the give and take between men and women, one of the things a man’s supposed to bring to the table is being freakin’ hilarious. Let’s be honest, he doesn’t have much else that’ll hold her attention for very long, so he’d better make her laugh. And look, we’re pretty generous too. As long as you’re not a tool, we will probably think you’re funny.

But I love it when I can pull off funny. One of my favorite things, one thing that really attracts me to a boy is when he laughs at my jokes. I know my role. I know that he’s the entertainment and that when I giggle it makes him feel good about himself. He wins points. But he also wins points when he laughs. It’s hot. And I think that it makes me feel treated as an equal. I can pitch and swing. He things that my sense of humor is worth listening too.

And sometimes I just like making the boy that makes me smile happy.

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