A short story and a request.

Story: Recently, I began feeling silly about my interactions with a particular boy.  I felt like he thought I was totally into him.  One night when we gathered, I thought I saw in his eyes the tip of the iceberg of a look that said, “Don’t think I don’t know that you’re totally into me.”  His eyes said it with a smirk.

Driving home that night, I realized I was feeling stupid enough that I wanted to do something–contact the boy, maybe try to fix things or explain myself or be mean to show I don’t care–yes, clearly a bad idea.  And, in my 28 years of negotiating boys, I had only learned one thing that helps me diffuse those kinds of boy-specific stupid feelings: Do something to feel stupid about another boy.

So I made a call.

I decided to call a guy from church who I sort of think also thinks I dig him (which isn’t true, though yes, he is on my radar).  I haven’t talked to him in weeks.  I have never called him.  I had nothing to say to him.  A situation ripe for awkwardness.  I made one promise to myself: I would not, under any circumstances, let myself say something like, “I knew this conversation would be awkward.”  There was no need for it to go that poorly.  I dialed.

Boy: Hello?
Sarah: Hey, Tad.  It’s Sarah.
Boy: Oh.  Hi.
Sarah: Um, I haven’t seen you in a while.  How are you?
Boy: Um…I’m good.  I’ve been watering my lilies.
Sarah: Oh?  Good.  Tell me about it.
Boy: Well, they’re growing.  They’re white.  I’ve run into some obstacles. … bing bong bing … but it turns out they’re perennials.
Sarah: Oh good.


Sarah: Um, well, I figured there was no way this wouldn’t be awkward.

[Yes!  I did just say that!  I couldn’t believe I said it!  It’s like there was a brownie in the room and I told myself I couldn’t eat it and then before I knew it, I had brownie in my mouth!  Oh man.  Oh man!  !!]

Boy: What?
Sarah: (Realizes she’s driving home, her windows are open, her phone is the cheapest Nokia available, he can’t hear, she has no idea what else to say.)  Oh.  I said, I THOUGHT that this would PROBABLY be AWKWARD.
Boy: Wait.  What did you say?

[HOLY COW.  Was I really going to have to say it a third time?  Could I back out now?  Was this in any way salvageable?  ??  ???]

Boy: (Rigidly.) Why is this awkward?

I wanted to throw my phone out the window.

I did not.  We finished the conversation.  He told me about a new job he was excited about.  The chat was actually sort of pleasant and fine.  And then I was home and ready to watch Veronica Mars and ready to hang up.  So I said, “Well, it was good talking to you.  Good luck with your lilies,” and he sounded relieved, and I was relieved, and it was done.

Success.  I felt 100% stupid.  Twice over.

Oh, to be 28 and so good at life.


Request: I’m looking to see if there’s a strategy better than the one implemented above.  Actually, it’s pretty effective.  But if there’s a better one out there (one that, for instance, allows me to (1) satisfy my desire to DO SOMETHING while (2) avoiding feeling stupid), I’ll use it.  Ideas?  Suggestions?  I’ll take all comers.

Except, I’m hoping your advice is more than just Go Running and Drink Water.  I’ve heard those all too often before  (Rebecca, you’ll be happy to know, I’m staying well hydrated.)