Since I discovered the Land O’Blogs and its wonderful inhabitants, I’ve been aching to find some bloggish people in my own community to meet, face-to-face. I’m craving some real-life interaction with people who share my love of this crazy, upside-down, electronic world.
The BlogHer conference seemed like an obvious opportunity for that, but I couldn’t go (my anguish about that is very well documented) and even if I could, I might have met tons of bloggers from all over but it’s not likely I would have found many from my own hometown.
Coincidentally, my mom showed me an article in the Austin American-Statesman written by a local freelancer about… BlogHer! This writer had actually gone and published an article about her experience. I was immediately smitten and knew with absolute certainty that we were destined to be BFFs. The article included a link to her blog, which I found post-haste, leaving a comment essentially announcing that my stalking of her would now commence, and to my surprise she came over here to The Bean and commented back (this is how “we” communicate, for those of you not in the blogging “know”), and a new friendship was born.
We made plans for lunch, and I was so excited! A new friend! And she was a writer, and a mom! So Fucking Awesome!
But true to form, my nerves started showing the day before our blind date, evidenced by my babbling emails. She asked for my cell number, and I sent it with the note: “Give it to anyone and I’ll break your legs.” Funnyhaha, right? But then I started thinking, maybe not so much FUNNY as STUPID and CREEPY. To make things worse I emailed her AGAIN and said, “Too soon for break-your-legs jokes? Sorry.”
(I’m one of those people that just HAS to poke the dead horse with a large stick until I’m absolutely SURE IT IS DEAD.)
She emailed me back “Not too soon” – and I wasn’t sure if that meant she thought it was funny or stupid or creepy or maybe some combination thereof, and then the thought occurred to me that maybe I am a total fucking DORK and this woman already knows it before she’s even met me in person.
Which probably wasn’t *that* far off the mark.
Anyway, we did have lunch, and she could not have been nicer or more lovely, and we had a very nice conversation and I liked her very much.
And I came across as a *little* bit of a dildo, sure – especially considering how cool she was by comparison — but considering what an enormous loser I really am, it could have been So. Much. WORSE.
Case in point: The entire lunch I was looking at her pretty green eyes and my instinct was to shout, “You have GORGEOUS eyes and I want to pop them out of your head and put them in my own eye sockets instead!” But I knew it would just sound weird and gross so I HELD MYSELF IN CHECK and never actually said it out loud.
If you knew me in real life, you would be seriously impressed right now.
So as we walked out of the restaurant, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I thought, “Good going, Self! You’ve managed to NOT fuck this up royally! Yay, you!”
You know what those were? Those were something I like to call Famous Last Words.
Before I explain what happened next, let me clarify: I had discussed this meeting in detail with my friend Em. The question was raised about first-meeting etiquette – to hug, or not to hug? Handshake, maybe? High-five? What?
Em advised me NOT to go for the hug when we first met, it would be too awkward, and I followed her advice. I just offered a big smile, and it went off without a hitch. Bullet successfully dodged.
But what Em and I did NOT discuss was goodbye etiquette. Which is actually just as important as hello etiquette. Who knew?
Anyway, here is the lesson I proceeded to learn the hard way: When in doubt, DO NOT. And by DO NOT, I mean DO NOT do whatever it is that you are thinking about doing. It will not end well.
Did I go for the hug? Oh, you betcha. I went right in. And it was, well, in a word…
There’s really no other word to describe it. As I replay the incident in my head (which I have done now over one thousand four hundred and fifty seven times, some in real-time, others in hi def slo-mo), I can see her look of surprise as I move in, arms wide open. It’s a look that says, “OhGodIthinkshe’sgoingtohugme.”
And as I pull away, the look changes to, “Ech.”
(It turns out that both looks occurred only inside my own head. See post script for details.)
For a moment, everything came to a screeching halt. And then we resumed talking like nothing had ever happened. To this woman’s credit, she never even skipped a beat. But, in my fucked up head, anyway, it HAD happened, and now it was like a big elephant in the room, except instead of an elephant it was a weird, awkward hug, and we were on a sidewalk and not in a room at all.
I cannot tell you how much I freaked myself out about this for the rest of the day. It was one of those Sex and the City fart-in-the-bed moments you wish desperately to take back but you can‘t because now it‘s out there and all you can do is obsess and cringe every time you think about it.
I twittered about it. I called my BFF for comfort. (Her response? “I’m sure it was no big deal. She probably just went home and showered and was fine after that.”) I even told my cute, British chiropractor. (His response? A big bear hug. After laughing at me while forcefully cracking my back.) Again, I had to make sure that THE HORSE WAS DEAD.
And the weird thing about all of this is, I’m really NOT a big hugger in real life! I mean, sure, I hug my friends when I see them and I hug the Bean all the time (like to the point where I could crush him because I love him sooooooo much). But a perfect stranger? Never! In fact, I’m kind of obsessive about my extremely wide personal space bubble. I give dirty looks to people who stand too close to me in line at the grocery store, for chrissakes. It’s not like I’m going around handing out hugs like candy.
So why the fuck did I feel the need to give this particular hug? It was like some subliminal impulse just took over, and I was powerless to stop it. The impulse to reveal my true, freakish self.
“No wait – don’t go. Not until you understand that the person you just had lunch with doesn’t really exist. That person is a shell created to hide the real me, who is a complete jackass. You’ve been duped! Run! Before the real me grabs you again and starts giving you noogies! Run like the wind!”
Ummm… yeah. I never said I didn’t have issues.
Anyway, in the end it wasn’t SO bad. She left a comment that night and said something nice about meeting me, and then she wrote this really sweet post, which left me feeling fairly confident that she hasn’t filed a restraining order on me. At least, not yet.
(Not until she reads this, anyway. Or the other post I wrote about this. Remember that whole “beating the dead horse thing?)
And also, I got a hug from my chiropractor (did I mention that he is British and very cute?).
So really, things could be worse.
Oh, shit. That sounded suspiciously like more Famous Last Words.
P.S. If you haven’t been keeping up, I wrote a previous post about this post and whether or not I should publish it. (And also, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.)
The comments were overwhelmingly in favor of publishing the damn thing, already! with a couple of unfounded but totally true accusations (MOM) and a threat or two (Backpacking Dad).
I wanted everyone’s attention opinions, of course – but the feedback I REALLY wanted from from Ms. Z herself, my new BFF#2 and the poor woman I accosted. She had been on vacation and came back to find this mess waiting for her.
She emailed me last night, basically saying that I was completely ridiculous, she didn’t think anything of the hug at all, and I should go ahead and publish the post, promising she wouldn’t take any offense to it. And for that, I say “Thank you.” And also I say, “You realize this means you’re just as cool as I thought you were and my stalking will now continue. Right?”
P.P.S. I’m very freaked out about publishing this now that I’ve played it up so big to everyone and called myself a genius and this post the best thing that has ever been written. So you people better leave me some comments and tell me how good it is, or else I’m gonna make myself sick with that whole “they didn’t like it” bullshit that I pull on myself every time I open my big fat mouth and big-sell some post that I really like.
For some reason the ones I play up are always the ones that get the fewest comments. I can’t figure if it’s that (a) people figure they don’t need to say anything since I already know how awesome I am the post is or (b) I’m really not as brilliant and hilarious as I think I am. And the reason I can’t figure that out is because (c) I really don’t want to know the answer to that question.
Tags: awkward social skills, dumbasses