On Aug. 16, 2014, I broke up with my girlfriend of five years.
It was basically a mutual thing. We each wanted to try other stuff and if everything worked out, we would eventually end up back together. If not, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. We were both excited to experience a world we had been away from for so long.
But that world has changed, and it brought with it a set of unbelievable challenges.
Full disclosure: I am in a fraternity. She was in a sorority. We had a set group of friends. I never had to branch out. But they all graduated and I didn’t. Last week, I had to relearn to walk. In addition to this burden, I have social anxiety. I am very bad at public speaking, even if public speaking is just between me and one other person.
As an example, a few nights ago, I was at a bar talking with some girl I had met five minutes earlier. She said something that I couldn’t hear because of the music. I laughed because I felt obligated to laugh because she was laughing. She was horrified. She wasn’t laughing. She was holding back tears while smiling and telling me that last week, her father had to put down her family’s golden retriever. Who smiles and says that?
I set my drink down, left the bar, and walked home. It seemed easier than trying to escape the hole I had dug myself.
See, I don’t know how to talk to girls anymore. I haven’t had to do it for five years. I wasn’t even good at talking to my girlfriend, so how the hell am I supposed to pull this off with anyone else?
I’ve tried a couple times since being single. The first came on my college’s Bid Night.
My friends forced me out of the house. I was grateful for that, but at the same time, I would have gladly eaten my two Chipotle burritos and watched the “Breaking Bad” marathon on AMC instead. I have no desire to rush into anything–and that includes basic conversation.
They took me out anyway and the first place we ended up was at some younger girl’s apartment, where a bunch of drunk sophomores were dancing on tables to the soundtrack from “A Fault In Our Stars.”
A few minutes after we got there, some of their sorority sisters walked in. They started shrieking.
Why is this a thing? Why do girls act like every interaction with one another is like the first one they’ve had in six months? It’s not like they are coming home from war–you saw them three hours ago. Chill the fuck out, ladies.
Of course, I couldn’t say any of this, because that would make me an asshole, even though everybody was thinking it. So I smiled and acted like I cared that they hadn’t talked about their summers with each other yet. Frankly, I have no interest in anybody’s summer plans, and no one should take interest in mine.
The first girl came up to me and introduced herself. Her name is, well, let’s call her Casey–8/10 looks wise, 7/10 personality.
“Hi, what’s your name?”
“[Redacted]. What’s yours?”
“Casey! Are you having fun? I am. Tonight has been awesome.”
“Yeah, I’m having fun. Are you?”
Fuck. She had already answered my question. She laughed, like it’s cute that I can’t hold a fucking conversation. I cringed and headed for the exit. My friend stopped me before I got to the door and turned me around. I was trapped.
The night continued, and a bunch of my friends were killing it with the girls. I just wanted to watch TV in my bed. Casey had convinced me to let her come over to watch a movie, which was fine, but I didn’t really want to sit next to her. I definitely wasn’t in the mood to share a bed with her, either. Nothing against her–I just don’t like sharing my bed.
I am not a germaphobe. Gun to my head, you can all get in my bed. Bring your pets, too. But I will not pretend like it’s comfortable. What, you think this queen size mattress needs to be divided by two? I don’t.
Casey came in and immediately headed for my bed. Okay, wasn’t expecting that. I immediately headed for my beanbag chair. (Yes, I still have one of those. No, I am not seven.) She sensed that I was being distant–because I was literally being distant–and came over to the beanbag chair. Her mistake. The bed was now open and mine for the taking. I pounced at the chance to reclaim what was rightfully mine.
The night devolved into a weird Netflix session, followed by Jimmy John’s. Casey asked for my number before she left, so I gave it to her…with one digit incorrect. Just in case we ever run into each other again and she asks why I never responded to her texts, I can say something like, “Oh, that’s a 9? It’s supposed to a 7!”
I’ll keep trying my luck with ladies, even though I didn’t put much effort in the first time around. I’ll keep updating you on how it goes, too, anonymously, of course. But if round one was any indication, I am in way over my head.