So much drama gone. So much stress gone. So much money no longer gone. And every time I asked a girl out, I felt like I was following someone else's script and not doing a particularly good job of it, reading lines that someone else wrote without my input or consent, but that I was expected to follow just because I was born.
This last time was for the Latter-day Voices Christmas concert, which happened again last night and will happen again tonight. Since Emily is now on a mission and unlikely to ever read this, I can finally all of the juicy details, except that there really aren't any. It was pretty standard. She was in Creative Fiction Writing with me, but I had to ask her via Facebook because she was never alone, and she said she would love to and she gave me her number and I was so sleep-deprived that I put it in under my own name and then stared at it for a long while as it slowly dawned on me that something wasn't right. Also, it was the wrong number because she transposed two of the digits even though I repeated it back for confirmation. But I still found her place all right. She said no one ever found it without calling for clarification, but I made a beeline right to it because I'm a genius.
The choir put on a stellar performance as always. "I had a great time tonight," she said afterward. "I had a great time tonight," she said again when I dropped her off. "I had a great time tonight," she texted me a few minutes later.
So I felt that it had gone very well and inquired about the possibility of doing something again after the break.
"I don't know," she said. "I'm going to be pretty busy next semester. Also I feel I should tell you that I've kind of started dating someone."
I've been emailing her on her mission, lest anyone think there are any hard feelings. The next night I went again by myself and met another great Indian guy who's been a great friend since then. I love Indians.
I have gone on one date since then, though. Chick-Fil-A was giving out free food to college students. It took like an hour to get there because winter weather had knocked out the power on half of Main Street, and then it was super crowded and there was a big line, but that was all right because I had nothing better to do. I got to the line and then I ordered and wandered over somewhere to wait some more. Then this other girl from Creative Fiction Writing, the one who was usually glued to Emily, walked over to me alongside a friend who was unsuccessfully suppressing giggles for some reason. "Christopher," she said, "will you go to the Ladies' Choice dance with me tomorrow?"
She seemed pretty confident that I hadn't already been asked even though it was, you know, tomorrow. Which I hadn't. But there was no shame in that. Most guys don't. But I said sure and then I said, "Did you ask me because I just happened to be here?"
"Yeah," she said. "And I do like you, so..." Then she and her friend turned and walked away as if with an invisible mic drop.
In one episode of "Psych", there's a part where Shawn says "Desperaux is alive!" and Woody looks at the tray full of plastic baggies ostensibly containing Deperaux's remains, pokes one of them, turns back to Shawn and says, "I'm quite sure that's impossible." That was the line that popped into my head in response to her disclosure. "I'm quite sure that's impossible." So I did what any normal person does when faced with inexplicable cognitive-dissonance-inducing circumstances, and decided not to think about it. My food arrived soon afterward and I ran into another friend and that was that.
We went to the dance but after that night, although she sometimes likes my Facebook posts she never responded to my messages again. I have no idea what happened to restore the universe to its natural order, but maybe it was because afterward I said something to the effect of, "Are you going to leave now?" It was a very poor choice of words, but all I meant was that I didn't think she would want to stick around for another half hour while I helped clean up.
Recently I was hanging out with a friend and he mentioned that he hadn't gone on a date in about a year but that it wasn't for lack of trying. He wasn't upset but just felt that he was doing what he needed to be doing so the results weren't his problem. I mentioned that I hadn't asked a girl out in almost a year. He said, "If you give up, nothing is going to happen." I didn't point out that without trying I had gone on more dates in that time period than he had. And also, maybe I prefer nothing happening to the somethings that were happening before. Did you ever think about that? No. You only think about yourself.
One of my other friends got kind of mad at me. "You are withholding a wonderful blessing from a special young lady!" he said. Which, first off, is easy for him to say because he looks like freaking Adonis. And secondly... I'm not stopping this special young lady from stepping forward and claiming this wonderful blessing for herself. When I want a blessing, I don't just wait for someone to give it to me and get depressed when nobody does.
This is a societal problem. The very existence of "Ladies' Choice" events indicates that the rest of the time they don't have a choice. Another friend (I have a lot of friends) mused on this the other night as he was driving me home. I had interrupted a conversation between him and his sister to offer them pizza, and she kind of looked like she wanted to go home and sleep forever, so I asked if she was all right and he started talking about her dating problems. I went on a date with her once by accident. When I say "by accident" I don't mean that I minded it, not in the slightest, but I just didn't realize that taking her to Freedom Fire counted as a date until I brought her home and her landlord was there and he asked "Is this your date?" and she said yes. Anyway, her brother talked about her dating problems and he said, "Dating must be real hard for girls. I mean, it's hard enough for guys to date who you want, but to feel like you don't really have a choice..."
Why does it have to be that way? It doesn't. If he would have said "Doing James Earl Jones impressions must be real hard for girls" or "Growing ZZ Top beards must be real hard for girls" or "Peeing while standing up must be real hard for girls" I would have just shrugged it off as part of the inevitable fairness of life. But there is nothing sacred about these traditions our forebears have built up. They are not mentioned in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". Most people can't give a real reason for them at all. Once I heard an institute teacher opine that it's unnatural for girls to ask guys out because the hunter doesn't like it when he has his prey in his sights and then suddenly feels eyes on his shoulders and looks back and sees another predator stalking him. I do have to concede that point because yes, strangely enough, most animals including humans want to eat and don't want to be eaten. It would be more accurate to imagine that the prey has a brain parasite that can only reproduce after it's been digested, so it makes the prey run toward the hunter and ask to be eaten.
Taking the metaphor this far just exposes how stupid it actually is. Hunting and dating are not analogous. There is an evolutionary basis for these traditions, which arguably does render the role reversal "unnatural", but who says we need to let evolution tell us what to do? I say, if you want to ask someone out then ask them out and if you don't then don't. The end.
The Cracrofts - Tyler and the Boy
Tyler: Hey, Zach! I was wondering...
Tyler: You? Me? Chick-Fil-A? Tomorrow? 7?
Zach: Sure, I'd love to.
Tyler: Great. Here's my address. Don't be late picking me up.
Zach: Hi, I'm Zach Burns. I'm taking Tyler on a date tonight.
Rachel: Thank you, Zach, but your princess is in another castle!
Zach: Ha, ha, classic! You're awesome, Mrs. Cracroft!
Rachel: Congratulations, you passed that test.
Zach: Phew! That's a load off my shoulders!
Rachel: Yeah, I don't think I could let my daughter go out with someone who's never played the Zelda games.
Director's Commentary: The joke, whether funny or not, is that the line is from a Mario game, not Zelda. If you didn't know that then you should also be made aware that the green-clad protagonist is named Link, not Zelda.
Zach: Hi, I'm Zach Burns. I'm taking Tyler on a date tonight.
Alvin: Hi, Zach. Nice to meet you. I'm Alvin Cracroft.
Zach: So... that's it? You're not going to threaten to shoot me or anything?
Alvin: No, but you'll probably beg me to later.
Zach: Good night, Tyler. Thanks for the wonderful time.
Tyler: Same back atcha, Zach.
Alvin (from bushes): Pssst! Zach! Are you all right? How did it go?
Zach: Oh, it was just marvelous. I can't wait to take her out again next week.
Alvin: Did she threaten or blackmail you into that? I can have a talk with her.
Zach (spreading arms): I'm in love, Mr. Cracroft!
Alvin (in bed): Zach seems like a kind, polite young man with a good head on his shoulders and a promising future.
Rachel (in bed): That he does.
Alvin: Explain to me what he sees in our daughter?
Rachel: Well, she has nice eyes.
Rachel: Zach, my boy, if you wanna score with Tyler then you gotta be a great kisser.
Rachel: And today's your lucky day, because I'm a great kisser and I'll teach you everything I know. C'mere.
Zach: Er... is your husband okay with this, ma'am?
Rachel: He put his face in his hands and sighed. I took that as a yes.
Director's Commentary: That was loosely based on a real experience when my roommate's wife, who had also become a de facto roommate despite never paying rent or utilities, argued with him to let me kiss her "so that he can say he's kissed a black girl, and I can say I've kissed a white guy". So she was like "Come here" and he was like "Don't you dare" and I, unable to obey both of these conflicting orders, just about short-circuited. Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics never covered anything like this.
Panel 1 (and only)
Rachel (doing Tyler's hair): Each night I ask the stars up above, why must I be a a teenager in love?
Tyler: And the stars whisper back, “First world problems much?”