I'm socially awkward. Or, at least, I like to think so.
I, unlike your father, lack what we would euphemistically call "interpersonal intelligence." That is to say, I routinely stick my foot in my mouth, never think of or, conversely, over-think the appropriate thing to say, and make jokes that no one gets.
I don't mean to sound so self-deprimenticalating. That's a word I coined in college, because I gave up trying to pronounce the real word. Your dad assures me that my personality is charming, but I think that may also be a euphemism in sheep's clothing.
I was The New Girl and, as such, I was a very novel idea. I wasn't sure where I fit in at my new school of over 1400 students. I started out where almost every new kid does, hanging out with the cool kids in the Quad. I was genuinely welcomed by the cheerleader, jock, student body council types, but, being quiet I didn't earn my keep and the outgoing kids moved on to other things.
I made my way to another area of the campus where the somewhat cool Asian, mostly Filipino, kids hung out. And this is where I met my first boyfriend. There's really no story there, other than that my parents were terrified by (but allowed me to make) this horrible choice, motivated by a) fitting in and b) all too eagerly accepting the first display of attention I had ever received from a boy.
When I realized what a doofus I was for deciding to "go out with" (i.e. eating lunch with and being ditched at one school dance by) a generally nice, but altogether undeserving tenth grade boy, I decided we needed to break up.
I ate lunch in another part of the campus. And avoided eye contact. If I saw him in the halls, I turned the other way. I found another group of friends.
I know what you're thinking, but, my Dearest Daughters, it gets worse.
When he finally caught up with me one day, as I attempted to seek refuge in the library, he asked what was wrong.
"We need to talk," I said, finally forced to confront the fact that our two week relationship was a sham and it's time had come.
I blurted out, nervously, "The thing is that I'm just not really into guys right now."
"Like, you don't like guys?" he asked.
"Um, sure." I said and ran away to hide in the bathroom, considering my future possibilities as a lesbian.
I'd say that was a fluke, but in eleventh grade another boy took a liking to me. I had no idea, as I've been unable, my entire life, to pick up on the so-called "signals" of flirting or otherwise expressed romantic interest.
I'm pretty sure your Daddy just said: "Earth to Lauren. I like you and want to have lots of babies with you." And I was like, cool.
The eleventh grade boy got my number from a friend and called me out of the blue. He was very direct in his request that I become his girlfriend, nevertheless, the shock of receiving such a call rendered me speechless.
"Um. I'm just not really in a place to... I had a boyfriend before and... I just don't really think... I'm interested in guys."
Now that I'm married, it seems I can no longer feign disinterest in the opposite sex.
I was conversing with some young men at a wedding this past weekend. Being a married woman and back among my dearest friends, I wasn't as socially awkward as I usually consider myself to be. I made small talk yada yada yada, making mental notes about the men and their suitablity for my single friends. And, hey, maybe I had a drink or two in me?
I didn't want my ease of conversation to come across as flirting, so when asked what I did for a living, I responded that I was a stay at home mom to two daughters.
"Where's your husband?" a very eager young man asked, assuming, correctly, in my case that where there are kids there is a husband.
THIS. Is when I should have told him about my perennially convenient wife. But, [blatant stereotype] we were in the South and I wasn't sure how that would go over.
Alas, my social awkwardness took another form that evening.
"Oh. He's at home, taking care of the girls," I replied.
"So freedom, huh?" he asked.
And I perhaps should have picked up on *something* here, but instead, I cluelessly continued, "Yes! I'm free!"
Images filled my mind; images of enjoying my caprese salad and steak without anyone touching me, of having my third glass of wine and walking back to an empty hotel room with only my wallet in tow, of sleeping in past 6:30AM, of eating Red Vines for breakfast and visiting a few historical sites in the morning.
And caught up in the excitement of all these possibilities, I added, "I'm here to party!"
A wink and a slow nod from the man-boy across the table and it suddenly occurs to me, what I mean by "party" is, apparently, not anywhere near what the rest of the world means when they use the word "party."
And, after consulting my little brother, it doesn't even mean what I thought it means to the rest of the world. Apparently, saying you want to "party" involves powdery substances, occasionally sexual favors. To steal a phrase from The Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."