Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Flirting: The duck analogy

I should start by disclaiming that this is not my original analogy, just an awesome one that I am stealing a friend of a friend and choosing to relate to and illustrate for all of you. Feel free to pass any thank you's along, I'll be sure they make it into the right hands.

I was speaking to this friend a week or so ago, and we were discussing my blog (because you dear people reading and enjoying my blog has really become the highlight of my life lately, no joke) and she was commenting that there is no way that I am as awkward as I make myself sound in my posts.

I told her that I'm sure that I actually seem cool and collected when I'm attempting to get my flirt on, but what I blog about is the frenzy that happens inside my own mind, and the way that I perceive my own actions. She laughed, agreed, and then shared something a friend had told her recently.

(I may actually be misquoting this because it's like a game of telephone that's gone through about three passes now.)

He told her:

"You are like a duck. On the surface you look totally calm and together..."

  (side note: I would like to point out that it only took two tries to draw this duck, I feel like a stinking superhero right now)

"...but under the water you're like this: *make frantic paddling movement with hands" 

Ladies and gentlemen, raise your hand if you can relate. Or maybe quack, yes, you should quack if you can relate.

Like you other quack-ers, there is a gigantic disconnect between my perceived reality, and the reality that others actually experience. Somewhere between the heart palpitations and the dramatically increased cognitive activity, my brain registers that I look/sound like a crazy person.

In mid conversation with a fine young gentleman, I believe myself to appear something like this:

Whereas, upon later feedback from trusted friends, I conclude that I must have indeed looked more like this:
Maybe I didn't look quite that cool, but you catch my drift here. Sometimes I wish that someone would video me trying to be flirtatious so that I can re-adjust my perceptions. Although, part of me is a little nervous to actually file that request because- one, the guy I'm flirting with might think it's odd that I have a camera crew with me. But mostly, two, that my perception is not as far off from reality as those friends who love me have led me to believe. If that's the case... I retract my request for recording, it's probably better that I don't know. Your lies and encouragement have been greatly appreciated and have preserved my sanity.

Your gratefully naive friend

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chickening out

Picture this: You're standing in a room, it's a sea of people, you notice an attractive person that you would certainly like to "know" better. You start walking towards them, you have a laser focus, you are going to start this conversation if it's the last thing you ever- you know, I should probably go walk over here instead. Yeah, that's a better idea. Far, far away from them. Over here.

Yep, happens every time.

I think good looking guys have a five foot force field (alliteration prize!) around them that completely obliterates my nerve. I had set a (sort-of) New Years resolution to flirt more this year, and so far all I have done is chicken out more frequently. So yeah, you could say that things are going really well.

Allow me to illustrate.

Step one: Notice an attractive man on the other side of the crowded room. Initial reaction is one of determination with a slight edge of confidence. I'm gonna go talk to this boy so good! He's not gonna know what hit him. Oh yeah, I've got this in the bag. Commence walking towards him.
Step two: Mind begins to fill with doubt and fear. With every step I become increasingly self aware, what if I only talk to him sorta good? Every possible bad outcome has begun to swirl around in my head. What if I sneeze as soon as I walk up and he's a germ-a-phobe and freaks out and accidentally punches a baby while I cry tears of apology? This is going to be disastrous, I just know it.
Step three: Run away! Far, far away!

So in summary...
(Notice how my exit strategy includes barreling through a few unsuspecting bystanders. There's always collateral damage in these kinds of circumstances.)

I wonder if this how guys feel when then want to go talk to a girl? It can't be as bad as it is in a woman's brain, it just can't be.

Maybe my real problem is that I need a better game plan of what to say if I ever make it past the force field.

"Hi. Your face is nice."
...no, that's not it.

"My body's chemistry seems to be responding well to your body's chemistry."

Oh dear, no not that.

"Whattaya say we ditch this popsicle stand and go see if Krispy Kreme is still open?"

Oh yeah, that one is money. I should write a book of pick up lines.

Maybe instead while I'm shuffling past them in the crowded room I'll slip my phone number in their pocket with a note that says "Call me, I am a ninja. You know it's true because you didn't feel me put this in your pocket."

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've found ourselves a solution.

Victory dance!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dating is like basketball

I have noticed that guys love sports analogies, so I am going to liken the dating game to a basketball game. It will be a little bit of a stretch, but basically, dating is like playing a one-on-one basketball game (except you can have any number of people playing against you). You want to score as many points as possible, and we all know that the best defense is a good offense. 

Here are some things that I have noticed score you points- everything from free throws to Jimmer-range three's. These are tips that you can start using as soon as you decide that you like a young lady and are officially stepping onto the court. 

Free throw (One Point and it's a little pitiful if you miss it)
  • Opening her door anytime you can- to the car, entering a building, a room- this should become second nature for you. It's classic, respectful, gentlemanly, and she notices. I promise. 
  • Be on time for any set plans. If something really crazy came up that's alright, but if it's at all avoidable (i.e. getting lost, not planning your schedule well enough), well, that's just like missing a free throw.
  • When you're on a date and the bill comes, pick it up quickly. Don't make her stress about whether or not she should offer to split it or pay or anything like that. Also, try to avoid letting her see the total (discretely), it's uncomfortable to know exactly how much is being spent on you. 

Layup (Two Points and super easy when you're near "the basket")
  • Tell her that she looks nice, or you like her outfit, or her hair.  Tell her that you liked her comment in class, or that you love her blog (wink-wink), or anything that shows you are noticing her in a positive way. Women thrive on verbal validation, we do it to each other all the time and you can assume that we don't "just know" that you think we're super. 
  • Say hello if you haven't seen her around before, it might be scary but it's totally flattering. Even if you just lean over in your chair and introduce yourself, you are making an effort to know her. It also makes her feel like you think she's pretty.

Two-point field goal (Still two points but we're more impressed than with a layup)
  • Make the effort to reach out to her. Maybe you are across the room and you come up to talk to her. Maybe you are in a room with several cute girls but you're willing to monopolize your attention on her for a while. This is you telling her that she is more special to you than all the other girls.
  • Call her on the phone. Specifically when you already have her number (i.e. ward directory), or didn't get it with it the presumption that you would ask her out. Invite her to your party, have her come over to watch a basketball game, call with a question you came up with about class/church/something relevant. We like that you're finding excuses to call us. 
  • Good communication prior to a date. If you've asked her out, call or text a couple of days before to confirm, let her know if she should expect to be fed, give her an idea of what to wear (should we strap on tennis shoes or stilettos?). 
Three-point field goal (When guys do these things I want to yell "Go Team!")
  • Call and ask her out within two days of getting the number. BOOM. Yes. Even if she doesn't like you, she doesn't have to stress over when you might ask her, if she should act like she likes you in the meantime, etc. It's just better all around, and it will increase your chances of her liking you if she was more neutral before. Love this. 

  • Don't be afraid to communicate interest. You do want to be careful not to go overboard though. You're not professing your love here, or bothering her every minute of the day, but you are clearly interested and pursuing her. Do simple things like sending a text message the night you get her number telling her that you enjoyed meeting her, or with something funny that just happened that reminded you of your conversation with her. These things tell us that you are thinking about us, and wanting more interaction with us, and that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
  • Momentum. Quick follow up to a date is great, it keeps excitement and adrenaline going. It's not about doing anything big, but consistency. This is great when you can tell the date went well, especially if she does something like send you a post-date text. She does that when she would like to see you again, so don't leave her sweating. (p.s. stressing that the guy doesn't like you takes the average female about 12.67 hours.)
Three-point from Jimmer Range (When you do these things I could just kiss your face)
I think that the things that both win points and impress the heck out of women, are you showing us that you are genuinely good person. These tell us that you would treat us well forever, and not just for the first five dates. The other point generators function based on you making us feel good, whereas these things make us think you are real catch!
  • Immediately start washing the dishes after a meal. Whether I cooked it, or someone else, just get up and start washing the dishes and it makes you look like a freakin' all star. Granted I might get a little more excited than most girls about a guy that washes the dishes, but we all love it.
  • Help people, all around you. Pick up someone's dropped books, help stack chairs at the end of a meeting, help someone carry something heavy. Oo la la, when service looks like it's a knee-jerk reaction for you, it melts us. 
  • Play with kids. This is about the most endearing thing ever. Do yourself a favor and take your nieces and nephews everywhere with you. 

I hope this world class coaching was helpful, because that was a much longer post than I originally anticipated. For this kind of top notch counsel, I usually charge by the hour!

Really though, I do, I should blog about that next time. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guys- Dating no-no's

I know this may surprise you, but I have had a lot of conversations, with a lot of ladies, about dating. I have also had my fair share of first hand experience- and would like to share some basic no-no's that might be valuable to some of you single and frustrated guys out there. I know that these are not going to be universal truths, but I will make a not-so-bold assumption and say that these rules would apply for 70% of women. (We also know that I like to make up statistics so who knows how much you can really trust me?)

My advice is to assume that you can trust me and follow these rules like your someday-marital-bliss depends on it.

Rule #1: Avoid voicing your desire for marriage and/or children on a first date

We know, we know. We've gone to church, we've heard the talks and lessons about marriage and family. We know that in all likelihood, it's something you want, that's probably why you're spending money on us right now. And that's great! We want it too, probably, so let's just go ahead and operate under the assumption that both of us want that, eventually, and we don't need to discuss it quite yet. 

 Rule #2: Don't make yourself so comfortable that Miss Manners would slap you if she saw what you were doing

I guess we should feel flattered that we make you feel SO comfortable it's like you're just "hangin' with the boys".
You are not hanging with the boys, you should be trying to impress me right? Cause I'm sure as heck trying to impress you. Do you see how nice my hair looks? I don't roll outta bed looking like this. (Just kidding, I'm totally lying, I look like this allllll the time).

I don't want to see your food once it's in your mouth, you shouldn't look like you belong in my dad's recliner,  and I certainly don't want to hear or smell any of your bodily emissions. You know how when you go to a job interview you try to do things like sit up strait? Well, like your interviewer, we want to feel like you think making a good impression on us matters, and that does not happen via posture that proves how incredibly 'chill' you are. 

Rule #3: Please, for the love of Aquafresh, don't have stank breath

I don't think there is anything that is a more immediate turnoff than horrid breath. I'm going to let you in on a little secret- chewing gum doesn't give you good breath, it just throws a minty tinge on stink parade. You need to brush your teeth. Regularly, and most definitely right before a date. We are going to be having conversation, and at some points in fairly close proximity, and I'd much rather not pass out. 
--- --- ---

This message is intended for mature single male audiences: If you are currently suffering from a lack of second dates, I would encourage you to look deep within yourself and evaluate whether or not you are suffering from any of these poor habits. If you are, stop immediately. If you can't, let me know, and I will gladly implement a negative reinforcement program until these things have ceased and desisted. If you are not doing these things, but still aren't getting second dates, email me (because now I have a google apps account and feel super legit and want to feel more legit by actually receiving emails) and we'll discuss. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Slightly awkward

A few days ago I started running blog name ideas by friends, family, and coworkers and received some good suggestions, some kind of awful ones, and overall... very mixed feedback. Eventually I had to decide, hey! I could spend forever trying to find a name that everyone loves, but if I like it and feel like it fits, by golly I'm going to use it. That's kind of the mentality I use with this blog in general- I write about what entertains me and hope it entertains you too.

So- I originally named my blog "Life- Week by Week". I wanted to document this weekly goal thing I was doing, and turns out, that made for a painstakingly boring blog. At some point I just started blogging about whatever I felt like or was thinking about, and it's turned into this catalog of funny stories and bits of advice and really top notch illustrations- mostly centered around dating and marriage.

When I told people the name of the blog, they told me things like "But you're not awkward!". That's nice of you, but when it comes to dating, yes I am, or at least I think I am, and I tell my stories accordingly. Just look back over what I'm like when I like a guy, or go read about the awkward hugs I give, or learn about the way that my crush cycle works.

Sometimes I am not awkward, like when I'm psyching myself up before I go somewhere where I think I'll run into a good looking guy. I'm a confidence machine!
Then I see one of said good looking guys and I turn into a sputtering lawn mower, or at least that's what it feels like inside my head.
Any time I do manage to be "cool", it is with tremendous mental focus and determination. It it neither easy nor breezy. It is in times like these that I am indeed slightly awkward.

-- -- -- -- --

That is one side of the slightly awkward coin. The other side that inspired the new name to the blog is the use of potentially awkward topics that I choose to share with the world. You know what I'm talking about- I've written posts about flatulence, my future marriage (for which there are no current indicators of), things that I think about that are maybe not so typical of someone to voice, and then of course, simply embarrassing things that I've done.

Therefore, upon deep reflection and toilsome brain wracking, I give you:

slightly awkward shelly

P.S. You're only allowed to tell me if you like it because it's decided and I'm not going to change it again so there. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Oh the horror!

Turns out, when you live with two lovely and well mannered girls, you forget what it's like to come home to a house full of boys. Do you know what it's like to not feel safe to breathe for an entire week? I do. Merry Christmas to meeee. Between three brothers and three dogs, I found myself gasping for air more frequently than someone drowning in a pool. (I feel like I should clarify for the record, I don't think my brother Michael ever contributed, he is the dignified brother.)

One minute I would be sitting on the couch, minding my own business and the next thing you know...
...You're surrounded in an inescapable cloud of disgusting!

Maybe it's undignified of me to take the time to write a post with corresponding illustrations on this matter, but sometimes a girl's gotta voice her frustrations.

I won't let my brothers take all of the blame, apparently the leftovers from holiday dinners are recipes for gassy disasters with our dogs. Several times during the week I was home, one of them would walk into a room, lay down, get comfortable, then let out a long bbbbrrrrrrppppppp. The dog then keeps sleeping, while the humans completely freak out.

I shared this experience with a few friends, some male, some female. Turns out that guys think it's funny, and girls think it's gross. It was at this point that I became highly concerned about whether or not that line exists within marriage. At what point will a husband be comfortable enough to rip one and just laugh, or even worse, pull the covers over your head and covered-wagon you? (This was a true story told by a friend of mine once.) I know that a married couple should be totally comfortable and trusting around each other, but I don't think that I can trust a ticking time bomb, if ya feel me. And what about going to the bathroom? I'm sorry that this post is getting so gross, but are these the things that no one talks about? I rent the master bedroom in our place and the bathroom is connected to the room. Based on growing up with my brothers...that would be a really, really terrible idea. Or maybe there should just be two bathrooms- one for convenience and one that is zoned for chemical warfare. It'll look a little like this:
I bet millions of wives out there are drooling over this brilliant idea. Who wouldn't want this layout? Well, what woman wouldn't want this layout? Every house should have a quarantined room for anything disgusting to happen in, and I'm sure that it would make the world a better place. 

I'm going to start a savings account so that one day, this dream will be a reality. I will also accept donations.

...come to think of it, maybe it's cheaper just to buy a book of matches.