I have taken four public speaking classes.
I desire to be a news anchor.
I am possibly the least-elegant speaker there is in the history of speakers.
ESPECIALLY when it comes to speaking with men.
Yesterday I came home and flopped on my bed and moaned to my roommate, "No wonder I'm still single. You know what I just said to that one cute guy? I said, 'I feel like I took advantage of my childhood. I should've done more illegal things that I would get arrested for now.' And he just STARED at me in response!"
I hadn't seen her laugh that hard in weeks.
A couple weeks ago, another friend of mine asked me on a date. I have never felt closer to Liz Lemon in 30 Rock than I did in that moment:
But possibly the cake-topper in my history of speaking with men came a couple weeks ago. Not only did I realize how awkward I am with words, I also realized how difficult it must be to be a man, and ask women on dates.
Recently, my sister was playing in an orchestra down here in Provo. She asked me to attend, and I eagerly agreed. I hadn't been to a live orchestra in a quite a while, and was excited for it.
I also, however, didn't want to attend alone.
Easy! I'll ask one of my friends on a date!
Of the male type, guys.
And then, I was filled . . . . . . . with nervousness. I realized that it had been MONTHS since I had done the initiating on a date! And the last time I asked out a guy, it was fine, but it also didn't exactly go as planned! So naturally, my mind starts spiraling and coming up with every possible worst case scenario that could happen if I asked my friend out.
Eventually, it led to me (once again) flopped on my bed and saying to my roommate:
"You're fiiiiine. You guys are friends! It'll be fun. Just ask him."
Hello, Ms. Irrational Carmin.You have come to visit again.
Now, as if I'm not awkward enough in person, I'm TWICE as awkward over the phone. I really hate talking on the phone. I can't read the person's non-verbal cues, I stumble over my words, I mishear them ALL the time . . . I just don't like it. I mean, I'll DO it, but I don't prefer it.
So, I said a little prayer and asked God to help me run into my friend that day.
I think part of me was like, "Sweet. If I don't run into him, I can TOTALLY be like, 'Well I tried. I prayed. There goes THAT! I didn't have to do a hard thing!'"
Guess what, guys.
I ran into him.
In all reality, I was very grateful for this. I could go on this date that I REALLY DID want to go on, and I DIDN'T have to ask over the phone. But still, I felt this nervousness in my gut knowing that God was in Heaven all like, "Well, Carmen. There you go. I helped you out by having you two run into each other, and I'll help you out with confidence, but you need to open your mouth and talk."
So, I went up to him. We had a nice conversation, then I said, "Hey, so, my sister is performing in a concert, and I was wondering if you'd want to go with me?"
There. I said it. It was out there. Boom. Ten points to Carmen for doing something hard.
"Yeah, I'll go with you. What day is it?"
He checked his calendar.
"Yeah, that'll work. That'd be fun!"
"Great! I'll text you the details on when I'll pick you up later."
Then . . . there was just enough silence for my brain to realize: "Wait hold up. I had only prepared for rejection. I didn't come up with ANY sort of plan as to what to do if he actually accepted! CRAP. What do I do now?"
And so, I looked at my friend, and said the only thing that came to mind:
"Can I ask you a weird question?"
"Yeah." he said.
"Can I touch your hair?"
CARMEN. I scolded myself.
". . .No." he said.
Oh gosh. I DEFINITELY didn't plan for THIS kind of rejection.
"Oh it's just . . . sorry . . . you just have really nice hair."
"Thanks!" he said.
And then . . . my hand slowly reached up . . . and touched the side of his hair.
"What-?! Stop!" he said, jerking his head away slightly.
"Sorry." I said.
There was another silence, we both laughed uncomfortably, and then shared our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
I went to work, mortified at what had just happened, and flopped in a heap in my chair, burying my head in the crook of my arm as it rested on my desk.
"WHAT DID I JUST DO?!"
"Oh no. What'd you do now?" asked one of my coworkers.
I began relating the story to her, and as I did, four or five more coworkers jumped in.
"Why did you ask to touch it?" asked one.
"Because he really does have nice hair!" I justified.
"Well yeah, but why did you ask if you were just gonna touch it anyway?"
"I don't know! To be polite?" I responded.
"Wait - why DID you touch it anyway?" one friend asked.
"I don't know!" I responded.
"I'm amazed at the number of embarrassing moments you get yourself into." said one.
"Hey, Carmen, can I touch your hair?" said another coworker as they walked by me.
I turned to my coworker that had just gotten asked out by someone.
"So . . . when he asked you," I said, "Did he ask to touch your hair?"
"No - which is so weird of him. I think it's totally in the norm to ask someone to touch their hair after you ask them on a date."
"Thanks for making me feel better."
And I flopped my head back on the desk.
This story DOES have a happy ending. The date was fun, and later when asked if I could put it on my blog, I believe his words were, "Can my name [on the blog] be Jabarious? Also, for the record, I didn't feel awkward. "
So there you go, Jabarious.
Have a happy, awkward day, everyone.