You know, the other day it dawned on me that I am an awkward turtle to the n-th degree.
Now, I know, I know, you’re all saying to yourselves, “But Cristina, you are très cool. You’re column is genius; your witticisms, witty; your flair, flair-like.”
Indeed, this is all true. But while I sound good on paper, in reality, the length of this column is about the length of my response to someone in casual conversation. In other words, I talk too flipping much.
This is not necessarily a bad thing among my close friends, who I assume find my severe ADD amusing. But when it comes to, you know, casually approaching a guy I like, for instance, my word vomit proves to be not so alluring. Shocking, but true.
The other day, for example, I was talking to this guy. He was pretty cute, kind of charming, a little bit of this, a little bit of that.
I casually moved in for the conversation, which went, more or less, a little something like this:
Me: Sooooo, uh, what’s your major? [So far so good …]
Crush: Oh, I’m a fine arts major. How about you?
Me: History and American Studies double major [Solid, smooth …]
Crush: Really? How’s that going?
[And … cue the shit show.]
Me: Oh, well, it’s fantastic, you know, I’ve got this one professor that’s a veteran and I think he fought in, like, six wars, and he’s really cool. His name is Professor Gene? No, Smith? No, Lucas. Professor Lucas. But I hear he’s got a huge Saint Bernard named Bernie that he used to walk around campus ’till Bernie mauled a small German girl, or was she French? Anyway, I don’t know what happened there, but, well, you know how these things go, right?
The thing is, I know that I talk too much. I’m well aware of the fact even in mid-conversation. My better conscious chimes in some time around when I get to “Saint Bernard” with a healthy “Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!”
In response, my tongue muscles say, “Screw you!” and forge on … and on and on and on. They take me way past Never-gonna-get-a-date-with-him-ville and straight into Old-spinster-with-too-many-cats-that-lives-with-her-cousin-Ronaldo-town.
This is not a good place to be in sophomore year of college. By the time I hit 20, I’ll be going on as many dates as Mother Theresa, but at least she was married to Jesus. No. This Chatty Cathy business is no good at all.
And if you think that my incessant inability to sheket is easily corrected, well, consider yourself corrected when I tell you that I have tried EVERYTHING on god’s green earth, but to no avail. You heard me: rubber band snapping, too much lip plumper so it hurts to move my mouth. Heck, I even pleaded with the Cayuga Medical Center once to stitch my mouth shut. Alas, my insatiable desire to make men’s ears bleed wins out every time.
See, I can tone it down once I know someone. But whoever would want to deal with the talking phase has to be, beyond all shadow of a doubt, at the very least legally insane. And you’d be surprised how hard it is to find that caliber of crazy on campus these days.
After the crush incident, and well after my housemate (who was present) got done retelling the story to every single person I had ever met in my entire life, said housemate (who got hers when I put a spider in her bed while she was sleeping) suggested I visualize how I would want an ideal conversation to go.
She talks a lot, too, so I only really caught: “Philosophy class … visualize … action.” But that was enough for me.
So, I gave it a shot:
Me: [Sultry voice, most likely from sore throat] Hey.
Crush: [Stricken] Oh, hi.
Me: How’d you like that class?
Crush: Oh, it was really interesting, I thought.
Me: What was your favorite part?
OH SNAP, MAMACITA! And then we’d pursue a tepid love affair that involved a lot of free dinners at the Heights Café before realizing that we were both going our separate ways. Sounds like a plan to me.
Cristina Stiller is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Believe You Me appears alternate Mondays this semester.