I’ve always considered myself more of a grower than a show-er. I’m an acquired taste. People like me… after a while. I’m someone who tends to be more highly appreciated over time. Like wine, I taste pretty foul the first time, but after a while, you start looking forward to that glass at the end of the day. But you sort of need to stick at it to get there.
(I’ve also been likened to being hit over the head by a 2 x 4. You can get used to anything if you do it long enough. But I digress.)
First impressions of me (years later when inebriated, most friends and lovers have confessed), range from ‘cold’ and ‘harsh’ to ‘awkward’ and most often ‘rude’. I’m also ‘over confident’ and ‘shy’, ‘chatty’ and ‘dull’, ‘overly smart’ and on one occasion ‘bore-ish’.
Lets just conclude that I don’t make a great first impression. What can I say, I find social interaction outside of work sorta challenging. Especially around men I don’t know. I don’t know shit about football, I don’t have kids and I certainly can’t ‘small talk’.
Could be one of the reasons I’ve often ended up dating my boss.
Once I get to know a guy – say, 3 or 4 months in – I can relax and my true colors shine through. I’m actually a bit soppy, ridiculously romantic, a very caring person and fairly articulate.. but from the moment I first meet someone of the opposite sex, I become the worst version of everyone. Think of the worse date you’ve ever been on… ever… I got them beat if you’re a cute guy and I don’t know you.
Cue the sweaty palms and inarticulate ‘uhuhs’
If you’re my boss, I will – obviously – insult you upon our first meeting. I’ve told bosses that their shirt was ‘a bit gay’, that they’re ‘overdoing the product’ on their hair, their ‘pants are waaaaay too tight’ and on one occasion I introduced myself to my boss by telling him that ‘I’ve heard you’re something special but I don’t see it’.
Frankly its amazing I have a job at all sometimes. It’s not that I set out to be a bit of git, it’s just what comes out of my mouth.
(my current boss learned to tolerate me when I ordered a martini during our first meeting (it was an early dinner) and I swore joyfully ‘fucccccck me’ into my drink.)
(I wasn’t aware he was a devote Mormon.)
(he was clearly desperate for someone to fill the role)
In lieu of polite conversation about the local football team, the weather or family (my small talk consists of swearing about Obama’s ineptitude and the latest num nuts platitudes coming from the far right), I just seem to resort to whatever comes into my head. Which inevitably insults those in the immediate vicinity.. including the person I’m trying to relate to.
Thankfully over the years my coworkers and bosses have learned to tolerate my shortcomings, (slightly worrying in the face of my profession), due to my excessive productivity and willingness to send emails at 10pm.. but when it comes to dates.. romantic prospects… well frankly I’m still in second grade. (if they needed more emails sent, maybe I’d be married by now?)
If a guy is car-crashingly ugly, dull, rude or totally unappealing, I have no problem. I become supremely confident in my attractiveness, relax and let the verbal banter run rings around the poor sod. I actually enjoy dates where I know there isn’t going to be another. But if he’s in anyway attractive, if I feel even the faintest glimmer of a spark that could potentially be nurtured into some kind of flame, if I immediately mentally checking the match-iness of my underwear, well I’m fucked. I may as well leave the location and just go home. Its going to save everyone a lot of embarrassment.
I’m so terrified of what might come out of my mouth that my brain freezes. I say nothing. When something does eek out, I spend the next 15 minutes questioning whether I sounded stupid, desperate, too keen or not keen enough. Largely I sound retarded or overly obsessive (I talked to one poor cute guy for an HOUR about a bike race.. which he hadn’t even watched.. in fact I don’t think he even owned a bike). So largely about 30 minutes into a date, the guy is wondering how to make a non rude exit from the chick who’s muttering to herself and chewing her cuticles. As first impressions go, its a miracle that I ever get the chance to make a second.
(I put it down to good boobs and a sterling resume)
It seems that throughout my single 30s and 40s, the only way I get through my extreme nervousness in the face of an eligible man, is to get naked. Thankfully my coworkers are a fairly unappealing bunch or I’d have been fired long, long ago.
But this ‘confident when naked/ illiterate when clothed’ thing has made dating quite a challenge, especially as I hit my 40s. After all, you can’t get naked on a first date at 42… (what was cute at 25 or 35 indicates mental illness in your 40s) and getting naked on a first date tends to be somewhat terminal in the minds of most American men. (who conveniently forget that while they don’t want to be with someone who “does that”, they themselves also just ‘did that’).
So over the years I’ve regulated my ‘getting naked’ significantly and generally removed myself from the dating populace since I know I’m about as suave as a goat when it comes to meeting strangers. Instead I hold out hope that someone I know in a platonic way, someone I meet while I’m temporarily blind (or they are), someone I work with or someone who’s been previously burned by my harsh tongue or bad behavior… will one day wake up and think ‘you know… maybe I didn’t give her enough of a chance’. Maybe, just maybe that guy will look past the insults, the nakedness, the chewed cuticles and wonder ‘I wonder what she’s really like’.
I know.. I know.. its a long shot. But after the most recently ineptitude which involved me drinking my body weight in wine, seducing a fairly willing man and then STILL finding insults coming out of my mouth… well.. I’m not holding my breath.
Or maybe I’m just a ‘7th impression’ girl? Now the trick finding someone willing to keep coming back to get to that version of me… nail gun anyone???