Of Awkward Slow Dances

When I was a freshmen in high school I understood only one thing about sex, a penis and vagina in close proximity leads to a baby. Now, how the baby formed I had no idea. I never took sex ed, I wasn’t a curious child, and I never had the sex talk with my parents. Still haven’t. I wouldn’t figure out how sex worked until my sophomore year when my health teacher demonstrated how to use a tampon on a clear plastic vagina. At which point I had a light bulb kind of moment.

So when I had my first date to Homecoming I was mortified. Truthfully I didn’t want to go with him, but I felt pressured by my friends and at the time I was too nice to say no. I cried for an hour when I got home as my teenage world began to crumble as I panicked about going on a date with a boy. I mean, the last time my family thought I liked someone my brothers wouldn’t let it go. I was preparing myself for crushing embarrassment.

Still when the time came I got ready for the dance. Sadly, I lost the only picture I had but I’ll paint a picture. I was wearing a purple polka dot dress that my mom made with my hair braided across my head like a headband. And he was in a baggy suit that did not have a corsage because I didn’t know that those existed. Making him the only boy at the dance not wearing a flower.

Basically we stood like this:

A re-enactment

Don’t we look cozy?

On the way to the dance we sat far apart from each other in the backseat of his mom’s car, who was blaring Big & Rich. And for dinner he took me to Denny’s. Yes Denny’s, where I’m sure I had some sort of breakfast food.

I don’t remember much about the dance, except for the slow dances. Now as I mentioned earlier I had no knowledge of how making babies worked. So in order to protect my innocence I danced like this:

A reenactment #2

Because I was convinced that if this:

A reenactment #3

Got too close to this:

A reenactment #4

Then he would become aroused, I’d no longer be a virgin, and possibly get pregnant. So for every slow song I danced with my butt sticking way too far out – it was definitely a learning experience.

Needless to say, we never dated.

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Of Storytime With Sarah

Flight of the Conchords

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There’s this thing that happens to me, a lot. Where people decide to tell me their entire life story upon exchanging initial hello’s. This fact has made the socially awkward humans latch onto me with remarkable skill.

For the most part, it’s fairly easy to evade the people who decide that now is the best possible time to tell me all about how they don’t have air conditioning in their truck and their pants are wet because they just went through a car wash (yeah … a car wash). But hey, the truck was free so maybe the heat’s not the end of the world. That swell story was told to me by a lady standing behind me at Rite Aid.

But when I’m in the work environment, there is no escape from these people (mostly men). I have to stand there and listen until work gets too busy to talk, or I get called away by another employee.

And while I’m certain that these stories were told to me with absolute confidence that I would hold my tongue, the reality is that I don’t know any of their names, so it’s about time these stories were published online where they can never be destroyed:

  • There was the guy who was in the midst of whining about how late women always are. And then decided that I’m obviously the world’s biggest sports fan. Proceeded to lift up his calf, roll up his pants, and show me his tattoo of the Yankee’s logo – which matched his hat.
  • There was the drunk guy who really wanted my phone number. Even though I said no, he chucked his phone at me. When I picked it up, I saw his calendar and said, “Man, I can’t give my phone number to someone who hands me their calendar screen!” He of course clumsily tried to fix it. “Nah man,” I said, “it’s too late.” He was drug away by his friend’s as he cried out my name until I was out of eyesight.
  • There’s a bunch of mother’s who decide that their rules are superior to the rules of the theater, so we should let their underage teenagers into a rated R movie. It’s pretty simple people. If you’re at least 17 – bring your id, or bring someone who’s 21 and over to sit and watch the damn movie with you. It’s not my fault you forgot your id, but I do enjoy watching you freak out about it and leave in a huff.
  • There was the guy who told me all about how he’s a Christian now and doesn’t want to hear any swearing.
  • There’s the nerdy high school boys who thought that my hair look like Princess Leia’s. I of course corrected them, because I did not have two buns on the side of my head. So they clarified that in that one scene, where she’s taken by Darth Vader on her own ship, she didn’t have her hair in the classic two buns. And that mine resembled it significantly.
  • There’s the lady who told me all about how she used to be a mistress to a married guy.
  • There’s this guy that frequently comes to watch children movies with coupons. Part way through the transaction he always says, “If I had my choice I’d watch something with lots of action in it.” – Even though those passes technically reflect only a dollar amount and could be used for a different movie than it’s promoting.
  • There was the guy who insisted that, “the difference between men who like men and men who like women is that men who like men don’t understand that men and women are different.”
  • There’s the little old lady who came to see Magic Mike and said, “I’m only watching it because I really like the soundtrack.”

Of Supper Time

Michelle Tanner - Full House

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I truly loathe being the only person eating in a room. Especially, when everyone else has recently finished eating and I showed up just in time for washing dishes. I can just feel eyes burning down on me. I know that they aren’t thinking anything awful – but jeez is it ever uncomfortable.

My family has a tendency to start supper without me. I’m not talking the normal 6 pm dinner that, in theory, most people take part in on a daily basis. I mean supper supper. A Midwestern supper full of Norwegians, to be specific.

Supper starts on average around 3 pm – definitely not much later than 4 pm. The whole family (grandparents, uncles, and all), sit down at a table full of hot dish, some form of meat, potatoes, lefse if we’re lucky, and of course, Jello. Personally, orange fluff Jello is my favorite. I’ve never cared much for the plain strawberry Jello with marshmallows on top that my brothers always voted for. Anyways …

Even though we all live in the Pacific Northwest now, those traditions still reign true when it’s time to eat with the ENTIRE family.

But here’s the issue. I work basically every stinking day of the week. So I don’t get home until 5 pm. Thus, when it’s time for a good ole fashion supper, I get home just when Grandpa finishes his last bite. And because they are VERY Norwegian, they keep offering me food until I say yes.

It’s impossible to not eat when surrounded by a bunch of Norwegian’s who are convinced your hungry. You have to say yes to something or Grandma will ask you every thirty seconds if you want food or drink. Once you say yes, they quite eagerly prepare your plate. Set it in front of you. And stare at you until the plate is finished.

Always awkward.

Of Dating Life

Girls Kiss

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I’ve found that I’m an absolutely terrible dater. And hardly, if anyone, ever tries to argue this fact. If somehow I magically end up going on a date I usually end up ruining everything by date three – that is, if I reach date three. Typically I’ll just back out and suddenly stop responding to any form of communication. And by the third time I don’t respond, the girl usually stops trying to contact me. It’s over. The truth is I’m not scared of commitment, if I’m with someone I stick around, no matter how stupid or incompatible we may become. But starting something is scary, largely because of the whole being vulnerable business that I don’t particularly care for. So I figure, if we’ve only been on a handful of dates, do we really need the break up conversation?

Meeting people is weird. I don’t pay much attention to my surroundings, so I don’t generally notice if someone is actually interested in me. Unless you’re creepy. If you’re creepy I will notice, and I will do my very best to not be anywhere near you. I’ve been told that I don’t give off a gay-vibe. Straight and gay people alike have told me this, and I can’t really do much to change that. I’ve always kept my emotions private – so I guess that makes me hard to read. I like to think that once people get to know me they see the reality of my situation. However, that doesn’t help me on the meeting people, phase of life.

If I wanted to meet men that’d be easy. Men hit on me all the time, and they are not shy about it. But women are more reserved, and I’m always surrounded by straight chicks. So since I don’t look to any extent dyky, girls assume I’m also straight until I say otherwise. It’s dreadfully annoying. I simply don’t know how to meet people.

So I tried online, and this is what I found:

  • With online conversations people edit everything, so nothing sounds genuine. 
  • You’ll talk to someone for a couple of days or weeks and then never meet.
  • Or you’ll meet up and it will be super awkward or boring.
  • 90% of those that reach out to me I’m not attracted to.

To put it shortly, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. The only thing I can figure is I need to change up my norm. Venture to places I don’t often go, introduce myself to strangers, make the first move. But I like my ways, I like my friends, and I don’t like making the first move. Ah, what a standstill I lead.

Of Awkward Senior Interactions

Betty White

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Everyday at work I sell senior citizens movie tickets. Most whine about prices (that’s not just a senior thing, literally 75% of our customers mention the crazy cost), some are friendly, other’s are not. I’ve come across just about every stereotype and met several awesome people who did not fall prey to the clichés. But it never ceases to be uncomfortable when I’m asked, “How’d you know I was a senior?”

Awkward. So incredibly awkward. How am I supposed to react to that? Do they honestly expect a straight forward answer? I knew you were a senior because you have snow-white hair, deep wrinkles along the creases of your face, your voice is raspy from 50 years of smoking, and you’re wearing a knit sweater with sailboats on the front and shoulder pads. Obviously I can’t say that. Do they expect me to sell them an adult ticket when they look like Betty White? I’d feel awful charging people extra money for their tickets just because I was trying to avoid an undesirable situation.

This question never comes up with new seniors. Those that are barely 60 are excited for their status of senior and generally ask if I need to see their id. “Nah,” I say as I smile, “I trust ya.” I much prefer these interactions. Plus, I don’t know what the birth year has to be for someone to qualify, so I’d be staring blankly at their id anyways.

Here’s my general rule when someone asks for a senior ticket – if they look older than 50 and they say they’re a senior, I trust them. My family ages slow, so I understand that you don’t have to be hunched over a cane and full of wrinkles to be a senior citizen.

I’ve learned to simply smile awkwardly when asked, “How’d you know I was a senior?” until the customer has walked into the lobby. If I say anything, literally anything at all, I’ll sound like a über bitch who hates the elderly. Which is not true, I promise you, I do not hate senior citizens. But I do not like it when they ask me questions about them looking their age. Not one little bit.

Of a Washingtonian’s Social Life

Me and Nicole

Me and one of my besties, Nicole. Initially her and I were not friends, now we think we're both pretty awesome.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the quirks that seem to be shared by 99% of those around me. Namely my fellow Washingtonians, whom if my life goes according to plan I will no longer be living near, at latest, by next Fall, I’M COMING BACK NEW YORK!! (the city this time, not Amish country – thought I should clarify). There’s the more obvious traits, coffee habits and an extreme aversion to the umbrella that I’ll never understand – it was literally designed for our climate, yet, it is a sign of weakness to actually use one. But the most fascinating thing about Washington is the social climate.

We’re very polite, pretty much all the time. Canadians come down to the States and say they like shopping here because we’re all so nice. I always smile and joke about how that’s because we’re all 70% of caffeine. Even customers who yell at me at work for (being forced) to sell them a membership, say thank you after I hand them their tickets.

We all smile and nod as strangers pass by, if it’s an acquaintance we’ll throw in a peppy, “Hey how’s it going?” maybe a quick hug. The following responses are respectable: good, fine, tired, busy, late … and/how-about you? repeat cycle. Note how they are all one word responses, we don’t actually care how you are doing and you don’t actually want to tell us – but it would be rude to not acknowledge their presence. Nobody wants the following conversation to occur:

Person A: Hey how’s it going?

Person B: Not good, my cat/grandma/lover/car just died.

Person A: Oh … I’m sorry

Person B: Yeah, I’ve been really depressed. Are you free to talk?

Person A: I wish I was but I’m actually running late. We’ll talk soon.

Or

Person A: Hey how’s it going?

Person B: Great getting married tomorrow!

Person A: Wow, Congratulations

Person B: Thank you, well … let’s hang out soon!

The word soon is our saving grace. It has the ability to be manipulated to mean yes, no, or maybe depending on context.

The thing I’ve learned from living with Washingtonians is that sometimes the best thing I can do, is lie. Or rather, imply a maybe. Here’s a real world example:

Me and Erin

Me and one of my other besties, Erin, she's the one I quoted ... she's also awesome.

I was out drinking and dancing with several friends. I was the driver, it was 2AM and I wasn’t good to drive yet, and I had three incredibly drunk ladies surrounding me. Our friend calls us, wanting us to stop by his house. Saying, “no,” was ineffective, he just keeps pleading. So we start to say, “we’ll try,” and “maybe,” even though we have no intention of actually going over. He accepts this – probably knowing that we weren’t actually going to come over, that’s not the point, the point is (much like the word soon) we might try. Might.

After we hung up the phone I mentioned the social rules we just followed. My friend Erin said, “That’s how you have to deal with a Washingtonian, especially a drunk one.”

The phenomenon is exactly why when I transferred to Western as a Junior it was hard to make friends. I’ve always been a very social person and I am not shy (outside the world of romance) but moving back to Washington after a year and a half in Amish country New York – I began to question my social skills and doubt how awesome I actually am. On the outside everyone was very pleasant, we would talk about hanging out, but we never would. It felt like I was asking people out on dates just to have friends. Maybe this (and the lack of sunlight) are key to why the depression rate is so high around here.

But please don’t be fooled, we’re not all bitches, and we do actually want to hang out. It’s the making it happen that’s the hard part.

However, once you’re in, YOU’RE IN, and they got your back. Also, the too-much-too-soon factor that people tend to frown upon in other places I’ve lived seems to get thrown out the window – most people will tell you almost anything (within reason).

After I got past that pleasant but frustrating social barrier I found lovely people to hang out with. These people are hilarious, outgoing, and outspoken … I love them dearly.

Of Professional High 5’s and Family Bonding

High 5

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Tonight I can’t sleep. I tossed about until my sheets were so disorderly that they wrapped around my feet in obnoxious ways furthering my inability to fall into a pleasant slumber. It’s stuffy and hot so I finally got up, filled up my sippy cup (yes, I have a sippy cup, it is adorable and purple with two handles, cause one obviously just wouldn’t suffice), and opened my window. Still no dreams. I figured my brain is busy, so rather than lie there annoyed and alert I decided to write something on this blog that I’ve neglected over the past month.

Oh, and I have to work in seven hours. Awesome.

_____________________________________________

Over this summer I’ve been surrounded by my happy Christian family. There’s been moments when I wanted to shout curses at them, make them stop hovering, and ultimately start a scene. I don’t. I sit back and deal. It’s very similar to high school, except, in my personal life I’m no longer trying to live up to their expectations. I try not to lie to them but it’s a difficult habit to break. I’ve gotten so used to protecting them. Living in a don’t ask don’t tell fashion rather than a live and let be way of life.

I know they are concerned about me, worried that I’m lost, am heading towards a sad unfulfilled life, becoming impure. And I can’t change that. From my mother especially, there are moments when I can feel her unspoken words shout at me, but because she’s a cliché Norwegian (as are all of us) she’ll keep her mouth shut until she explodes like a volcano. Unless I end up pregnant or tell them I’m dating and/or are attracted to both men and women, she most likely won’t say anything for years.

There are other moments like today when I love my family to bits. My brothers and I are all so awkward, it’s pathetic really, but enthusiastically we embrace our quirks and make it a lovable part of our personality. Well, we think of us as lovable anyway.

For instance we just perfected the high 5 and we couldn’t be more proud. The more we high 5, the more we are filled with glee.

We no longer say “high 5” then sloppily slap wrists. We now say “elbows” and the rest is magic.

Chris: We’re basically professional high fivers now.

Me: Yeah, we’re pretty awesome at it. Elbows!

*high 5 ensues*

Chris: It makes me wonder if there’s a similar secret to ball sports.

Me: Probably.

Chris: There must be.

Me: If there is I don’t have enough of a sports drive to experiment and find out.

Chris: Yeah, me neither, ha, we’ll never make Grandma’s fridge with all the other athletic Luna’s.

Me: Aw, if either of us have athletic kids.

Chris: That’ll suck, I don’t want to sit through their boring games. Your dance recitals were torture enough. Elbows.

*high 5 ensues*

I love my family. We have the strangest yet enjoyable conversations. We brag about our misfortunes and embarrassing stories. And we are the only non-athletic grandchildren on my dad’s side of the family, thanks to my mother’s genes. But, I’m perfectly okay with that, we have other talents.

Today I chased Chris around the church then wimpily whipped him with a curtain rod for wrapping velvet (a gross material) around me. We thought it was hilarious. Andrew was hitting himself in the head with a plastic cone, slowly shrinking each time. Chris gave Andrew burping and armpit fart lessons. And we all did super pathetic push ups just to see how many we could do.

I promise we’re not crazy. But we are lovable and quirky. And we are great story tellers/conversationalists. Sit with us at dinner just once and you’ll be hooked.

Of a Dirty Hippie in an Elevator

Dirty hippies are not usually as attractive as James Franco but they are similar in the pothead aspect

I was standing in an elevator. A typical elevator with lots of buttons that was probably designed by someone who thought claustrophobia was funny. I started texting someone something – I forget what exactly – course that doesn’t really matter.

Then the elevator stopped and a dirty hippie entered. Living in Bellingham, WA dirty hippies are everywhere. Note: they are different from the traditional hippies of the 1960’s and must not be confused with hipsters. They dress in mismatched clothes that look as though they haven’t been washed – ever. Use only all natural products. Eat only healthy, typically organic, usually vegetarian meals. And they smell like curry and pot. Usually dirty hippies don’t say much to us conformists, that day was different.

The man had dirty blond hair (Ironic right? Dirty blond – dirty hippie). He was wearing the gloves that only cover your wrists, a winter accessory that I’ll never understand. He had ripped the bottom of his jeans off which gave him the Peter Pan look. The zippers on his back pack were near to busting. And he had brown worn out sneakers.

Politely I nodded to acknowledge his presence and returned to texting.

He broke the traditional elevator silence by saying “I took texting off my phone and got my life back.” He then proceeded to curl the fingers on his right hand into a fist and thrust it forward as if saying hoorah! I’m better than you bitch! Of course … dirty hippie’s don’t generally talk like that, they are more passive in their dialogue. I stood there thinking how rude it was to criticize what someone is doing while they are doing it. It’s not like I was carrying around a gun, drinking, or doing drugs in the elevator. I was texting – a very normal thing to do nowadays.

In the spirit of elevator courtesy I replied “Is that so?”

“Yeah, life is so much more productive with out it.”

The elevator doors opened and to my dismay we had the same exit.

He continued, “Now some of my friends get mad at me because they think I’m ignoring or avoiding them.”

No shit I thought everyone texts now ya weird dirty hippie. However, I try my best to be polite in these peculiar circumstances and instead remarked “Well … you are messing with modern communication.”

He laughed as he beamed with pride. He walked away so overjoyed he was clapping. I immediately pulled out my phone and texted a friend about this dirty hippie in the elevator.

Here is said text (unedited) to my friend with the last name of Bennet:

So i’m texting in the elevator right? (Bennet nods her head yes while saying mmhmm) this guy, total dirty hippie by the way, looks at me and says with his right arm in power fist position “I took texting off my phone and got my life back. Course now people think I’m avoiding them.  I made fun of him in my head, though umm rude, and said “Well, you’re messing with modern communication.” He smiled and walked away. Strange right (Bennet nods yes once more).

Bennet replied:

Bahahahaha!! What a weirdo!!!