I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes trying to edit this post and looking for the perfect way to start it, and I just found it. Editing. I can pick out a typo from a mile away. (With my new glasses, that might actually be true. At night. When I’m driving. Because that’s the only time I’m allowed to wear them.) I rearrange paragraphs and cut half of the story I was going to tell. (The boring half, don’t worry.) I pick and choose the best, and hopefully only the best, for my blog. Some attempts are more successful than others, but at the very least, I think that I get the essentials– that would be spelling and grammar (with some creative license), for those who don’t know me well– pretty spot on.
I’m judgmental in the best way possible. My life could use a little more of that in other areas concerning the ways I spend my time. Like, say, dating?
When it comes to romance, I’m so non-judgmental that I’ve punked out and gone out with guys to whom I knew I wasn’t attracted. It was like taking a really ugly shirt to the dressing room– one with vertical stripes and puffy sleeves and a really high neck line and also a picture of Will Smith when he had that allergic reaction to shellfish in Hitch.
Maybe it will look better once I’ve tried it.
Nope. It never does.
I’m learning to be pickier, both with my clothes and with my men. From now on, being “nice” isn’t good enough. I had to implement this new plan one weekend. While I successfully managed to avoid feeling like a horrible person, I did not manage to feel entirely feminine about it.
Shyness is not often a fault to which I succumb, but every once in a while I get into a head space that tells me that if I don’t know anyone, I shouldn’t bother trying to get to know anyone. Sometimes it takes a little prodding, but I usually get over it. However, the new personality that comes out isn’t one of which I’m very fond, mostly because she’s too loud in order to compensate for all that time she spent staring at the weird mini hairs on her fingers between her knuckles.
She’s damn funny, though.
So when a decently cute guy started laughing at some of the things I was saying, I began to feel a little better. The sun was shining, I was with people my own age, and the ogre layers were peeling away. I was hesitant because he actually looked just a little bit too much like my ex, but hey, nothing wrong with a good audience, right?
His laughter sometimes prompted laughter from others, and very quickly I was a part of a group that, up until an hour before, had never seen my face. This is why I love making people laugh, I thought. Not because of some altruistic rhetoric about laughter being the best medicine and crap like that. Because people like you when you’re funny. I’m going to need that when I accidentally pour beer all down my front. I give it ten minutes.
And while I was chatting people up left and right, discussing teaching techniques and hometowns, weddings and breeds of dogs, making lifelong friends or best-friends-for-right-now, he was still laughing.
At everything I said. Everything.
Have you laughed at every word I have written here? How about every sentence? No? Not even every paragraph? That’s ok. There is something called filler. Idle chatter. The build up and the release. Like eating a salad so that the Red Robin french fries taste even better the next time you eat their salty, potato-y goodness.
I am not funny all the time.
I don’t even want to be funny all the time. Not even as a first impression. And if I do intend to make you laugh, I don’t intend for it to be a giggle.
Oh yes. He was giggling. A high-pitched chirping of childlike proportions.
My Potential Date Radar powered down, the mechanical whirring of mental faculties coming to a screeching halt. This wasn’t happening. Giggling. Why couldn’t it have been something more subtle, like he absent-mindedly crossed his eyes or he never noticed that he stepped in dog poop earlier in the day?
I have never felt less feminine than at that moment, despite the fantastic dress I was wearing and my very admirable attempts to keep my legs crossed as I stood up and sat down on the side of a small hill. I wasn’t swooning. There were no butterflies in my stomach. Actually, I kinda wanted to bitch slap the guy right across his mouth, just to see if he’d giggle at that too. I could have pulled a Barney Stinson and had him eating out of the palm of my hand, and I wasn’t even trying very hard.
I was going to have to let him down. Easy, of course, because I’m not devoid of all feeling. But this just wasn’t going anywhere.
That’s when I realized that I was the guy in the situation.
And I had no idea what to do.
How do you dissuade a guy from chatting with you? All of my other experiences have been the other way around– trying to convince him to talk to me and only me, not that make-up encrusted Kardashian who’s showing enough upper thigh to make a cottage cheese commercial. He hadn’t asked me out, so I couldn’t flat out turn him down. He wasn’t drunk, so it wasn’t a situation of liquid courage gone too far. I wasn’t there with any girlfriends, so I couldn’t beg off and call it a “girls’ night.”
I had to *gasp* turn the cold shoulder.
This is for the best, Jillian, I told myself. You know that giggling girls are bad. You’d be disappointed in a guy who was attracted to your giggling. Giggling guys are even worse. Giggling is for small children and the creepy guy who sings the Berries and Cream Lifesavers commercials. You hate that guy because he looks like a dark-haired leprechaun who will steal all of the candy and joy in the world. You have no reason to feel guilty at stopping the giggling epidemic before it starts. You, my dear, are a hero. Just do what you have to do.
It goes against every fiber of my being to ignore a person. I’m not Ann Curry; I have a soul. Except I might have made fun of a girl at dinner tonight for wearing a flowy cotton skirt and a red plaid men’s shirt. It wasn’t even hipster; it was just lazy. But I wouldn’t have ignored her if she had laughed at my jokes.
Still, ignore him I did. He giggled; I looked away. He giggled; I turned to someone else in the group. He giggled; I walked to the other side of the park– systematic destruction of the giggle.
And by golly, it faded away. The giggle was gone, and so was the smile, and so was the attention, and soon enough he was sitting someplace else, talking to someone else, giggling at something else. That something else wasn’t even all that funny. I could hear it from where I was sitting, strategically eavesdropping to see how well my plan had been executed. It was just sad, the way he simpered over someone else’s witty comment. And then a third person walked up to them and sat down, and they had a trio of twittering laughs going full tilt. The image of joy and happiness hit me just as I was left alone, for only a minute I assure you, and I felt an ugly sneer drag across my face.
Seriously?! Who does this guy think he is? He can just walk away like that and find someone else to talk to, without even giving me a second look?
Pause. Deep breath.
Oh hey, Femininity. Welcome back. Jealousy today, is it? Nice to see some variety.
And I walked away too. Gracefully, I might add, and without spilling any beer down my clothes.