Thursday, April 4, 2013

The grand spectacular

I am absolutely the best version of myself: winter me, apres ski edition, blue tights and snow boots. I'm hanging out at Vert Fest after a day of gate keeping, it's early evening and the racers and volunteers and vendors are drinking beers out of plastic cups and volleying for spots around the fire. We have our heads back laughing, telling stories and subtly one upping one another as always. The thickly falling snow makes everyone feel fresh and vibrant and prettier than usual.

A boy elbows his way into the circle and is now standing next to me, palms outstretched towards the flames. He has very rosy cheeks. That's really all I can say about him, because that's the only piece of him not covered in synthetic fabric. He's got rosy cheeks and he's tall.

We glance at one another and do the once-over, you know what I'm talking about. Then he turns to Silas, standing on his other side, and begins a loud conversation I'm just certain he wants me to hear. This is good. This is all part of the equation. I drink my beer and wait for my cue, which arrives neatly after about five minuets.

"So!" He booms. "Really been meaning to make it into the back country this winter!"

I spin around. "I'm getting into the back country, and I'm looking for more partners."

The boy grins and widens his eyes in exaggerated shock. "Well, no offense Silas, but I'd rather follow her than you!"

Ha ha, ha ha. A few jokes about Silas being old, about my being young, something about my tights. We all have a good laugh

But really though, do you want to ski? Avalanche certified? Cool. We exchange phone numbers and discuss schedules. Then we have a few hours to stand there and be quick and witty and irreverent. "I hope you don't mind my jokes!" He says. He's so jolly! "I'm always offending people with my jokes!"

I puff up my down-covered chest and say proudly, "Well I'm from the East Coast so you can't offend me!"

And then ha ha, ha ha, we start bouncing jokes back and forth. Really, it's a great time. We're shouting over the chords of a bad cover band, the snow is coming down, new people show up at the fire, introductions all around. We're all feeling very young and delightful, very prime of life. The snow catches in our eyelashes.

Around ten o'clock I call it a night. "After all, lots to do tomorrow!" I tell the protesting crowd, mostly older men, and the boy and I walk to my car. He helps me brush off the foot of new snow that's accumulated on the windshield. Then he gives me a hug, the lingering type. I drive home on I-90 feeling on top! Feeling good! Perfectly executed, I think to myself. I mentally brush my shoulders off.

It really been a good day. I made some new friends- Silas and Ryan and Stefan, and Stefan showed me this secret lodge up there you can stay in for ten bucks a night. I bought an armful of lottery tickets and won an Avalung backpack and a couple of hats and ate some pizza. The whole event thing was a spectacular win. A grand spectacular! But I was most excited about the boy, of course. He seemed so good natured and convivial, and he'd already texted me by the time I got home.
Boy not pictured. Come one. I wouldn't do that.
So we start texting, a little back and forth about snow conditions. I'm not interested in snow conditions but I am interested in where this is going, so I play it cool. 

I wait for him to invite me skiing, which I'm absolutely positive is going to happen, but it's not happening. It's just banter, and it's going to go on forever. 

In Seattle, maybe in any other city but I wouldn't know, you can bounce back and forth with useless texts forever if you're not careful. It's like being stuck in a pinball machine of passivity and vagueness. And if you think a casual 'we should ski sometime' is going to get you out of that pinball machine, you're sorely mistaken. I've learned to keep it quick and specific- suggest a time, suggest an activity, send. 

So I give up waiting and I ask: Want to go skiing on Tuesday?

And this is when it all falls apart. 

He writes me back something about how good the snow was last Friday. He says there were thirteen inches. Then he writes, thirteen inches is never a bad thing, right?

I'm thinking, is he really this into snow or is this a penis reference? And if it's a penis reference, that's fine, that's totally fine, but how about we make these innuendos in person, say, on a chairlift, say, TUESDAY.

But I can't write that, too aggressive, so I write: Ha ha, yeah.

Then he asks where I'm going on Tuesday, and I say Stevens, but I could do Alepental, and he writes that Alpental is closer, and then he doesn't say anything else. 
What would you do if you asked a guy to dinner, and instead of saying yes or no he asks where you're going. So you say, either the Sexton or The Matador, and he said "The Sexton has better fried chicken." And then he doesn't say another thing?  No shit the fried chicken is better at the Sexton, I eat there every Wednesday, do you want to fucking come with me or not?! 

In the old days, you'd get full on rejected and it was wonderful. When I was in 8th grade I asked Oak Clifford to be my boyfriend, after only four months of gathering courage, and he said no. No is pretty easy to interpret. So I moved on and I set my sights on Ethan Waldo, no problem. 

Sometime in the past six or seven years, the customary rejection became just no response at all.  It's a lazy but generally straightforward no. You don't hear from him within 24 hours? Move it along. 

It's the same in the publishing industry. Used to be you'd receive a rejection letter in the mail. Someone took the time to type out a no thank you, or at least send a copy of a form letter. They were almost a badge of honor; authors would do ironic things like turn them into wall paper or make books out of them. 

Not these days. Now you just hear....nothing. Ever. I've written about 15 punchy little magazine pitches in the last six months and submitted them, painstakingly following all the guidelines, each time a quivering little ball of excitement- this is the one, best pitch ever! And then nothing but crickets. Not a word. 

It's just how it goes. 

But this? These non-response responses? It's a new kind of humiliation, because you've gathered the courage to ask someone on a date, and twenty minutes later you're still texting, trying to figure out whether you're talking about snow or about penises and then you remember- wait, didn't I just ask you out? 

(I'm using Vert Fest boy because it's recent and hilarious but he's not the only one, remember Snake Guy?)

So Tuesday comes along and I go skiing, without him, and he sends me a text later that evening. So, did you go skiing?

I'm picturing a cave man. A cave man texting.

I reply yes. He replies something about snow conditions. 

This should have been it. I know that. But to be perfectly honest, I gave it one last try. I shouldn't have because the writing was on the wall, and it's embarrassing to admit, but I did. Just in case he was into me, but he was just dumb as a rock.  

I asked him to go to Smash Putt for Jeremy's birthday with me.  He wrote back: Smash Putt?? 

I explained that smash putt was like mini golf, but hip. 

And that was that. That was the last I ever heard from him. 

So that's how this one ended. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with an explanation of smash putt. 

At least I won an Avalung, so it wasn't a total wash. 


JennyLohmeyer said...

Hilarious. Boys are SO dumb.
Love the "I'm from the East Coast you can't offend me" comment ;)
I still really want to know if he was referring to 13 inches of snow or man meat...

Anonymous said...

it's like perfection on a blog. unfortunate but so funny. leave that one behind!

SmithShack71 said...

I love the 13 inch penis reference (actually I hate it. Stupid.) and then the picture of your face. That was perfection. I laughed. Some guys can be so dumb, but he would get the blue ribbon, I think. Sorry.


Jacki said...

Hahaha yes - the pinball texting - what is UP with that? What a pain in the ass! It was always rough on my self esteem because the pinball texters were always the cutest ones. *sigh*

It all does make a great story in the retelling though :)

BeatleJan said...

this perfectly sums up so many of my experiences in Seattle. ugh. I think he was probably just afraid he couldn't keep up with you!

Anonymous said...

Dude, I've had the (almost) same exact experience. Eff.......

Rachel Ruth said...

Maybe next time add a 'check yes or no' at the end of the text? That used to work in the 4th grade... except not with texting, because cellphones weren't invented yet...

colleen said...

who didn't have a crush on Ethan Waldo?! I mean really, curly blond hair, tan skin, perfect jaw line...wait, does he read this...good lord.

It's ok my hopes for teen dream romance were dashed in one amazing dodgeball movement that caused my team to win but also a rip the size of the grand canyon to appear from my knee to my hideous jc penny underwear. RIP crush RIP fav bellbottoms, sigh.

Sarah said...

Boys are dumb. No doubt about it, women are the superior species! LOL!

And us East Coast broads are tough - but that doesn't mean that it doesn't still bite a bit when those dumbass men are too concerned about making their "13 inches" jokes than they are about picking up what we're putting down!

EmHacket said...

great story. love your writing, melina!

Angela said...

Thankfully he did NOT text you back -- you are too much woman for him. If he has to make penis references the first night you meet him and doesn't have the balls to say yes or no to a date... he is so not worth your time! :)

At least he was good for a laugh/awesome story! Loved reading this!

Kimberly said...

OMG... yes! Pinball texting is so annoying. A simple yes/no is way easier to take.

Kimberly said...

OMG, the pinball texting! What a great way of explaining it! I recently had a (last) text from a guy that said, "I know we have nothing in common. But, I just really like to drink, so I thought I would give it a shot." Uhhh...thanks? Damn Seattle Men.

Catherine said...

It's a new kind of humiliation. Yes. Exactly. Pinball texting. Can I say once again how awesome your writing is and how dumb the editors that do not even send you a letter back are? And this guy? Not even worth your time.

Amanda said...

So many experiences like this!

Find yourself an East coast transplant - it makes communicating so much easier rather than the odd, passive aggressive emoting that PNW men seem to do! A date does not equal marriage!

Keep at it... Best wishes!

Johnny said...

Girls do this too, you know.

Lisa McP said...

He has a girlfriend, that's what it is, Melina. I'd bet anything!

Anonymous said...

Wow - I didn't see that coming. Boys are sooooo strange. Talk about mixed vibes. Well, at least you didn't waste too much time on Mr. Indecisive.....

Luckygirl721 said...

My GOD YES!! My oldest is 21 and when she asks me to help her interpret the banter and the texts and the “pinball machine of passivity and vagueness” (GREAT line, btw) I am at a complete loss. Who invented these rules? How does anyone ever wind up co-habitating, marrying, procreating!!?? Melina, this is why I so love your writing. You’re no bullshit. You’re living authentically--not just in your adventures but in all aspects. Please don’t change. It gives me hope…seriously (does that make me sound old? I don't care!). Also, if you’re still teaching--remember to teach the kids that. An authentic life is one with NO REGRETS.
Btw…there is NO WAY it’s 13 inches. You know that now, right?

Diary of Why said...

Ugh, been there a million times, so I can tell you it's definitely not just a Seattle or West Coast thing. I have no idea what the motivation behind it is, but it's maddening.

Andrew Takahashi said...

"I'm thinking, is he really this into snow or is this a penis reference? And if it's a penis reference, that's fine, that's totally fine, but how about we make these innuendos in person, say, on a chairlift, say, TUESDAY."

My new favorite paragraph ever written. Hot damn, that made me laugh.

Maria said...

Uhm... I might get a virtual slap in the face from some of the people here for writing this, but I can guess at his motivation because I've done what he's done - to boys. Men.

I haven't done it in a very long time now because, well... I'm a different person now. But when I did do it, it was because I wanted to see if I could get them interested.

It's not that I actually wanted to go out with them, but I wanted to see if THEY wanted to go out with ME. And when they did ask me to go hiking or snowboarding or whatever, it was like, yesh! They are so cool and if they are interested in me, that means I'm cool also!

(Which was obviously my low self esteem talking, but I didn't know it at the time.)

And now that I think about it, I would've actually loved to go out with some of them, or do something, whatever. But the thing was - some of them were so cool that I was afraid of seeming boring to them after a while, and in some ways it was better to end it hanging up like that, up high, rather than actually go do something and end up feeling low.

(And the same thing applies here, I think: it was obviously my low self esteem talking, but I didn't know it at the time.)

I know exactly when it was that I stopped doing it. It was late winter, I was backpacking, working on a vineyard, living in a hostel with a bunch of other 20-somethings and I finally 'got it' that I'm actually quite awesome the way I am. That I don't have to do anything else apart from just being me, and that's when I stopped having to play with other people like that.

Cibele said...

I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I never have the courage to leave a comment. Mainly because your writing is so brilliant that I am afraid of sounding so not smart!. I am a 30 something years old single woman and oh boy how I can relate with this post. Dating is so complicated nowadays and you are right, people don’t even take the time to say no anymore…they just vanish! so annoying! Same in the job market . I’ve spent over 8 hours preparing job applications and they don’t even have the decency to send a “no thank” e-mail . Anyhow, just wanted to say hi and tell you that I LOVE your blog. Good luck on your adventures!

Nicolette Gawthrop said...

This is brilliant. Not the boy and his maybe penis referencing string along, but the commentary on the non responsive response is so clever and yes, sad. Mostly about the lack of real life rejection letters. But also that dude seems like a DB

Michelle T said...

His BIG loss. I agree with whoever said he's got a girlfriend. What a weird way to drag things out though.
Great post, again. :)
Have a great weekend!

Gabby said...

you're fab. he's lame. fab > lame.

Melina said...

thanks everyone, i really enjoy these comments. so awesome. xox

Unknown said...

"No shit the fried chicken is better at the Sexton, I eat there every Wednesday, do you want to fucking come with me or not?!..."

Laughed out loud, I always look forward to your stories when a new one posts on my Google Reader. Better luck next time!

Robynkaylynn said...

"No shit the fried chicken is better at the Sexton, I eat there every Wednesday, do you want to fucking come with me or not?!..."

Laughed out loud. Always look forward to reading your stories every time a new one posts on my google reader. Better luck next time!

Anonymous said...

GREAT piece. Next time please please text back "no shit Alpental is closer, I ski there every Wednesday, do you want to fucking come with me or not?" Please Melina? Thank you. -Julia

Amy said...

i love all your entries, they either have me laughing or crying but i always can relate. what dum dums those boys are!!

Amy said...

i love your posts! but this one, this one just cracks me up. what dum dums boys can be, holy cow!!!

dig this chick said...

"I'm thinking, is he really this into snow or is this a penis reference? And if it's a penis reference, that's fine, that's totally fine, but how about we make these innuendos in person, say, on a chairlift, say, TUESDAY."

Perfectly perfect. An the no response response! Yes, so true in writing and all things. RSVPs are a thing of the past, and I am guilty there. It's quite uncivil and antisocial isn't it? I will be better about it.


Tonya said...

Wow, that was weird! I've been married for 22 years, so have no idea how dating goes nowadays. However, I have teenagers, and they have experienced this exact same scenario! When they ask me what it means, I just give them a blank look....sorry guys, I have no clue how young people communicate these days. Hell, when I was in high school, there was no internet or cell phones! LOLOL

Amy said...

So my question has always been, why the shit did he text you in the first place? If that was just all it was going to be??
If I were you, I would totally have asked if it was a penis reference.

Daniegirl said...

Ugh! What a dumb boy.

As my grandma used to say, "Boys are like buses. Another one will be along in about 10 minutes."


Tara C said...

God boys are dumb. I will tell you that this is not new behavior and that I dealt with it for most of my dating life. They just can't help themselves.

When I met my husband, he was super clear about his intentions and I never questioned where we stood. It was so refreshing...and we ended up married.

Hopefully my intended takeaway is clear in that - when the right one shows up, he won't be dumb. :)

Liz Stout said...

Aaahhh fucking outdoors guys. Seriously. You just wrote the synopsis of my weekend with potential climber guy to a T. Weekend was foreshadowed by one epic ski trip and so many wonderful conversations, sweet words, and positive comments from mutual friends. Actual climbing trip? Abandonment of me - the girl - for his male friend + rocks. UGH. Finding a suitable guy who is into the outdoors but is also equally interested in a girl and not JUST climbing a 5.12a? IMPOSSIBLE.

Girl that is into climbing where males out number us by a large amount, finding a suitable male should be easy, no? However, it seems the odds are good, but the goods are odd. said...

My friends and I were JUST talking about how boys in Seattle pull this stunt all. the. time. Hear hear, sister!

Emma said...

He is a boy, you need a man! Areal, authentic man wouldn't do this bullshit, they just ask for what they want and are CLEAR. Aim for what you're worth woman! You wrote that so well :)