Queen of Awkward Moments

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Like the popular section in magazines, who wore awkward best?  This is a really hard call since there are so many similarities: similar hideous floral dresses, equally horrible haircuts, and the failed attempt to smile/look happy.  They both perfectly capture the look of discomfort that let everyone know how awkward you felt at that age.  It’s safe to say that this contest has no winner but I definitely lose since one of these pictures is me.

The upside to being awkward at a young age is that it prepares you for the plethora of awkward moments that are bound to come through out life.  Go West might be the “King of Wishful Thinking” but I’m the Queen of Awkward Moments.

Last Saturday was a perfect example.  I woke up at 5:00 AM to the sound of pounding on my wall.  I got up to see what the hell was going on and was displeased to discover my roommate having hardcore sex in the living room, whipped cream and all.  As I turned on the lights we both screamed and I ran back to my room disgusted and weirdly kind of hungry.

I laid there for the rest of the morning pissed off and trying to figure out what I could say.  Plenty of aggressive and angry digs came to mind but as time went on I realized that I had to be assertive and just make the best of the situation. I finally decided to come out from hiding and my roommate was cooking in the kitchen.  I was mustering up the courage to give the speech I had been working on for the past 5 hours when my roommate asked if we could pretend like nothing happened and assured me it wouldn’t happen again.  That seemed a lot easier than going into my courtesy manifesto, so I let it go.

I decided exercising would be a great way to start fresh so I got dressed and went to the gym.  I was running on the treadmill listening to my exercise mix filled with rap, hip hop, and mash ups that make you move.  I don’t dance on the treadmill but when a song I really like comes on I sometimes run to the beat.  Unfortunately as I got really into “Blurred Lines” I lost my footing and went down on the treadmill like a sack of potatoes on a conveyer belt. I slammed into the machine behind me at full force and the entire gym got silent and three employees darted towards me.  Everyone wanted to make sure I was ok but the attention was like adding insult to injury at that point.  I didn’t need a spotlight on my moment of embarrassment but there was no one working the lights.  I assured them that I was fine, gathered my things, and went home.  I had no broken bones, my ipod was working so there was nothing really damaged besides my ego.  I was used to that by now.

The day dragged on and I had a busy night in the city.  I had been MIA for some time and decided to jump back into my social life head first.  I had been sick for a while and hadn’t gone out but then I got used to staying in, which was a cycle I was about to break.  I got a reminder about a few events people posted on Facebook and realized that a friend, maybe acquaintance would be a better word, I hadn’t seen in years was having a birthday party in the city.  I was mapping out my whole night and was feeling good about the social progress I was making. The gym and roommate sex incidents from earlier were fading away and I had hopes that the day would end a lot better than it had started.

I arrived at the bar of the estranged friend and could not find anyone I knew.  As I headed towards that back I realized there was another back room where the party was probably taking place.  As I entered, I saw my friend along with his immediate and extended family having dinner.  When I made eye contact with him he had a look of shock on his face and his family just looked confused.  It was too late to pretend I didn’t see him and walk out, so I had to make a grand entrance.  I put a smile on my face and went and gave him a big hug.  He actually said, “Wow Bev, haven’t seen you in years.  Wasn’t expecting you.  Good to see you.” It was like I had run into him at a random bar.  Thanks for the comforting words and letting me know I was accidentally invited!  I had to sit there for an hour while his family interviewed me.  I was mortified.  It was like being on a bad first date.  Unwelcoming questions, checking your watch to see if you stayed an acceptable amount of time, and just a feeling of discomfort that spreads through out your body.  Finally after an hour I said I had to go to another birthday party and hugged him goodbye.  His mother was so sweet and gave me a hug and went to give me a kiss on the cheek but got me smack on the lips instead.  As if the situation wasn’t embarrassing enough.  Red faced and in a hurry, I left the bar.

I grabbed a cab to go to the next event on my list and the driver actually looked into the rearview mirror and asked with concern, “Are you ok”?  I was still trying to process what had just happened but mumbled, “Yeah.  East Village please.”  Onto the next circus.

I arrived at my destination and found myself surrounded by nameless bars in the hipster abyss of Alphabet City.  Why was it so cool to have a bar that doesn’t put the name anywhere in sight?  I walked back and forth down the block several times.  I gave up and decided that the bar on the corner seemed the most likely to hold a party, so I walked in and everyone looked at me like I had 7 heads.  When I stopped and took a look around I realized that I was crashing not only an engagement party but a toast the parents were giving to the happy couple.  I apologized profusely, probably making it worse, and then ran out of the bar.  I tried the tiny bar next door and of course that was where my friend’s party was.  I saw someone I knew as I walked in and they said, “There you are!  I saw you outside passing the bar like 10 times but then you disappeared.”  Thanks for the heads up! It was really good to see her and my friend, the birthday girl, but she was bouncing around the bar making the rounds.  I went to go to the bathroom and as I was crossing the bar, a group of girls entered and I was trapped.  It turns out it was all the girls I went to camp with when I was younger.  No one was rude but there also wasn’t a steady flow of conversation.  After the “Hi! How are you’s” I had nothing to say. It was a lot of standing there saying “Yeah…so” and then dead silence until the other person would make up an excuse to get out of the situation.  Why am I so terrible at small talk?  I could have just said,”I have to go to the bathroom.  It was good seeing you”, but no.  I had to be the awkward person that just stands there.  I finally got a hold of the birthday girl and got a chance to talk to her.  Her new work friend cornered me and asked if I would go have a cigarette with her.  I took this as my chance to bounce so I said yes.  I said my goodbyes to the birthday girl and headed out with her coworker.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It was freezing outside.  She was blowing smoke in my face as she began the story of her new found love affair with an orthodox Jewish colleague from Miami.  I didn’t know this girl’s name but I did know that she was horny, scared of a commitment, and wanted advice on how to proceed.  Before I could come up with some sort of answer she hugged me and asked if we could be best friends.  I didn’t answer.  As I stood there while this girl was hugging me to the point of suffocation, a drunk girl and her friends walk by and she says, “OMG!  You guys are the cutest couple ever!”.  And on that note I broke up the pow wow, got a cab, and headed home.

I was happy to be in the social scene again, but when I was MIA I didn’t have to deal with these weird people or awkward moments. No wonder I didn’t go out for so long.  I wasn’t expecting to have the best night of my life but I also wasn’t expecting the most awkward one either.  I guess when I come back, I really come back. I was a bit tipsy and decided to get Burger King as a consolation prize.  I was scarfing down BK in the elevator when the door opened. I went to step out and slammed into my roommate and partner in sex who were trying to get in. There was just staring and a look of disgust on their faces.  With a full mouth I said, “Excuse me”, pushed through them, and proudly walked towards my apartment.  When I reached my door I couldn’t find my keys.  Fuck! Obviously I locked them in the apartment.  I attempted to break in using a credit card when my neighbor, with a disapproving look, found me drunk and struggling.  My credit card broke in half and I wound up sleeping on my strange neighbor’s couch instead of swallowing my pride and calling my roommate.  I had to listen to Enya the whole night and woke up to him and his boyfriend staring at me on the couch.

After the creepy wake up call I decided to try my luck at my apartment.  I pounded on the door and a grumpy roommate opened the door and had the balls to tell me I was being rude!  I was so tired and embarrassed from the past 24 hours that I just walked straight into my room, fell face first into bed, and slept for 8 hours.

I felt revived after my nap. But then the events from the day before began to replay in my head.  I had a feeling of embarrassment in my gut that wouldn’t go away.  I opened a drawer and found my fifth grade picture and it weirdly made me feel better.  It was reassuring in the sense that if I could make it through that bout of awkwardness then I can recover from anything.  It is surprising how time can heal all wounds and by the next morning I felt so much better.

But as sure as the sun rises, more awkward moments will come my way and I will think, “Holy shit.  What is wrong with me?”  But I will look back at that picture and reflect on my past embarrassing moments and realize it’s not that bad and I will come out even stronger.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my resilience and ability to make the best of awkward situations.  And hey, they do make great stories.  Until the next post!

Happy Holidays!

-Bev

Stalking Is The New Black

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Stalking is the new black.  Everyone’s doing it!  Why?  Because it’s extremely convenient thanks to the Internet.  Between websites like Facebook, Google, Linked In, and dating sites, a total stranger can know intimate details about your life.

The web allows us to get information at the touch of a button, which has many benefits.  It’s really helpful for employment, for example.  Whether it’s applying for a job online, posting your resume or CV on a site, or using a contact’s profile to find out their job history, interests, and some personal background.  If you are savvy you can apply this knowledge to find common ground and use that in your communication or approach.  The same can be said for dating.  Let’s say your friend wants to set you up or you are talking to someone of interest online, you can look that person up immediately by going to Facebook or Google.  Having a little bit more insight about a person is never a bad idea and eases your nerves and hesitation.

But on the flip side, this instant access is a lazy stalker’s dream.  Stalking used to involve intelligence, motivation, preparation, and movement of some sort.  Now, any Tom, Dick, or Harry within reach of a computer can find information about your family, location, employment, friends, interests, and the list goes on.  Put in the wrong hands this can be very dangerous as well as a pain in the ass.  Unfortunately I have had the pleasure of dealing with a semi-stalker.

I received a Facebook message from some guy who knew two random people I am “friends” with on the site.  I’m not sure if he thought I was blind or stupid but he pointed out that we had two friends in common.  I am a nice person so I answered but the only appropriate response I could think of was, “Cool”.  After about 10 minutes I get another message, “You’re really beautiful.  Do you have a boyfriend?”  I figured I’m single and this isn’t SO different from online dating so I told him I was not dating at the moment.  BIG MISTAKE.  He proceeded to ask when we were going to go on a date.  One thing I learned from social work is that you need to set boundaries and expectations right away in any relationship.  So I replied that I am single but not looking for anything serious.  He said of course but then proceeded to joke about how he wanted to marry me, more than once.  It made me a little uncomfortable but I figured he was just joking.

His picture was a headshot so I wanted to see what he really looked like.  I went to his profile but it was blocked.  I “friended” him and he would not accept.  I’m thinking why does some guy who wants to date me not want me to see what he looks like?  Maybe because someone who asks you out over Facebook is usually a creep.  But, as I pointed out in an earlier post about men’s low self esteem, He’s Just Not That Into You…Or Himself, he was just extremely insecure.  He told me how he was a few pounds bigger than his picture and didn’t want me to see him until he lost weight, so he wanted to wait for two weeks.  Was this guy taking Jack’s magic beans?  You’re still going to be heavier in two weeks.  His irrational thinking on top of his creepiness should have deterred me but I was lonely and trying to be open minded.  Also, he owned a chain of well-known supermarkets, that will remain nameless, and said he worked on the corporate end.  I figured he has a good job, isn’t completely poor which was different for me, and maybe his pictures were worse than he was in person.  So we decided to hang out as friends so there was no pressure.

The meet up was very relaxed and we just talked, had a beer, and other herbal refreshments.  At first he seemed funny but then he began to brag about how much money he had and his apartment on the Upper West side and then all of a sudden got really intense and he started to cry.  I don’t mean a tear, like a full fledge meltdown.  Being a social worker, I am always apt to try and help someone through a tough time so I sat and spoke to him for hours about his life problems.  He went on about how much he loves his mother and misses her and no girl will ever live up to her (she’s still alive), how he has no friends, trust issues, and is extremely sensitive…everything you want to share with someone you just met.  He was able to self soothe and calm down as I checked my watch repeatedly.  I broke up the party and said I had to go and he asked if I wanted to hang out again.  I wasn’t feeling this guy but he obviously didn’t deal well with rejection and I didn’t want to do that to him or unleash a psychopath on myself.  I was upfront and told him I would go but I didn’t think our relationship could go beyond a friendship and he said he’d be happy to have another friend.  Maybe since he didn’t have any friends he didn’t know what that meant.

A few weeks later, I was extremely stressed and busy as I was producing a pilot.  I would receive a text everyday from him, some disturbing message like “Hey Wifey”, “Can you get me a job?” (what happened to your fancy apartment and supermarket chain), and “I really wish I was with you right now”.  I hung out with him that weekend to get him off my back.  We went to dinner and I paid for my portion and didn’t hold his hand or kiss him when he made those attempts.  I’m not sure how I could have been more clear that I was not interested.  I was home and in bed at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night.  That’s obviously not the sign of a great date (if that’s what he thought it was).  I didn’t contact him after that since we were getting close to the shooting date.  He would hound me every day through Facebook, Text, Email, et cetera and I didn’t get back to him immediately because I was working 24/7.  I then get a ridiculous email from him saying, “You are such a tease.  You’re just like every other Jappy girl in New York City”.  Instead of just ignoring him and leaving it, I felt I had to defend myself.

A)     I am not a Jap.

B)    I don’t live in New York City.

C)    I could not have been more straight-forward about only wanting to be friends.

I explained to him that I don’t have time right now for anyone including myself.  I was working like crazy and barely had slept.  And then pointed out that if he was a friend or ever wanted to be in a relationship then he had to support people in their work.  This was my dream becoming a reality and some guy who I met on Facebook a week before was not going to change that.  He then said, “Well I thought I was part of that dream.  You lead me on so much”.  WOW.  How could you be part of my dream?  I just met you, explicitly said that I was not looking for a relationship, and warded off attempts to become intimate.  Look for the signs buddy.  They were all there.  Sorry you don’t have a job and have some major ADHD along with a debilitating emotional problem.

But I took the high road and said I was sorry he felt that way but I did nothing wrong and he can’t be mad at me for concentrating on work.  He then pointed out that I went out a few nights before.  That’s when it got a little freaky.  Someone had posted pictures from a birthday I went to a few weeks earlier and since he was stalking my profile he immediately assumed I had gone out and was just avoiding him.  He had good foresight but that was not the case at the moment.  He then threatened to hurt himself because of people like me.  Called me a bunch of names including a “harlot” and deactivated his account.  About a week later I get a message from him being like, “Hey what’s up Wifey?”.  I did not respond.  He continued to contact me until a month later FINALLY getting the hint.

I am starting to see why Sting and The Police wrote so many songs about stalkers.  I’ll Be Watching You and Don’t Stand So Close To Me have a whole new meaning.  Like Hansel, I don’t really listen to Sting’s music but the fact that he understands my experience, I respect him.  I’d like to see the relationship between Sting fans and the occurrence of restraining orders filed against them.  My bet is they would have a positive relationship.

Lesson learned.  Never again will I befriend or meet someone in person from Facebook unless I knew he/she prior to the Friend request.  Or date someone that wants to marry their mother.  Either way I’m done dealing with psychos.

Maybe if Supermarket Boy been an old school stalker he wouldn’t have the weight problem that may have caused the extreme emotional issues.  He was going to be a psycho either way but at least he could have been a healthy and fit psycho.  Just because you are a creep doesn’t mean you have to totally give up!  Sidenote: He wore sweatpants the first time I met him.

In the spirit of stalking, I need to head into the city since one of my favorite actresses is in the same part of Mexico.  Dee Reynolds, I’m coming for ya!  But don’t worry, I’m an active and harmless stalker.  I’ll just follow you, buy you drinks and take your picture…the honorable way of stalking.

-Bev