On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.
This weeks Dating Hijinks takes us into the past of one of our many beloved readers and frequent commenters, Sean. Sean is, well, awesome. He was also slightly hounded by me to participate because I’ve decided I love him and, therefore, he has no choice.
I now present you Sean’s tale:
I’ve come to realize my stories about my awkward attempts to speak to people I’ve been interested in are FAR more interesting than any of my date stories. This one, in particular, was buried pretty deep in my brain because it was the only one that would have resulted in a hospital stay if it had gone any worse. Enjoy.
Hmm, clever title…let’s call it “I Would Have Had To Wear A Kilt Anyway.”
Most of my best stories come from my years in undergrad. I was away at school and had met some awesome people who quickly became my core group of friends. One of the benefits (and downsides) was that most of them were athletic in some form. Hockey, basketball, street hockey, volleyball… they played a multitude of sports, and that worked out well because my university had many competitive and house-league teams. I, however, was not so coordinated; street hockey or frisbee were fine, but I was never one to play proper sports. My coordination is limited to pool/billiards (it’s geometry!) or strumming a guitar. That’s it.
Anyway, in second year there was a girl in my program (let’s call her Ellen) that lived a few houses down from me (we had townhouses as dorms) and I thought she was lovely. She had bright eyes and a great smile. I desperately wanted to talk to her, but I could never work up the nerve. It amused everyone I knew. I’m not in the least bit shy typically, but put me in front of a woman I’m smitten with and suddenly I’m spouting dumb shit like “I’ve got new socks on!” Half the year went by and I hadn’t spoken to her once.
One evening, my friend Teresa stopped by to ask if I would follow her to tryouts the next morning for the campus field hockey team. I rarely say no to an invite, and I had never seen people play field hockey, so I said sure. She didn’t know anyone, and neither did I, but I’ve always had a knack for greasing the wheels in group situations so I tagged along to things a lot.
So it’s 6 am on a Saturday morning and I’m standing on the football field with Teresa, a bunch of female students, the female coach, and of course, Ellen. Naturally this leaves me in a weird place, but I suck it up and try to just be me. Typical, likeable me who doesn’t normally mention his socks. A couple of the potential players and the coach look at me and the coach asks if I want to try out.
“Umm, no ma’am, I’m just here to shake the pom-poms for my friend here. Wait, try out? Isn’t this a female team?”
“Yes, but under the university rules, we’re allowed one male player.”
At this point, all the players look at me and smile. They’re allowed one male player, intended to be the ringer. Then I notice Ellen is also smiling at me.
My stomach flip-flops, and I’m instantly grateful I didn’t have breakfast.
“Umm, sure, why not. It’s like street hockey right?”
I learn quite quickly it’s closer to soccer played with a wooden golf putter; moreover I shoot left-handed, but all the sticks are right-handed. This is getting worse by the second. They start doing passing drills, and I’m a bit clumsy with it, but I’m getting along ok. Teresa partners with me and we pass the ball back and forth, then she asks Ellen to switch partners with her (I forget what excuse she gave, but it worked.) She gives me a subtle wink, and leaves me to my fate.
Now it’s interesting. I use the physical activity as a way to get my mind off who I’m doing drills with, and it becomes relatively easy. We chat about school and our classes, and we realize we have several of the same interests. This is going great! All’s well until the coach calls out that we have to move 5 yards back to practice longer passes. Bit harder, but still interesting. We repeat until we’re 30 yards away from one another. How the hell am I going to get this little ball that far with a putter? The coach shouts to me that passing at that range is similar to a slap shot in ice hockey, or a golf swing. OK, fair enough.
So here I am, about to hit a small, dense ball really hard at a girl I like. Can’t be that bad… I mean seriously, what’s the worst that could possibly happen? Everyone else is doing it just fine. I CAN DO THIS IF I STOP OVERTHINKING IT.
So I get ready to hit the ball. I remember watching hockey players take a slap shot. I remember my dad showing me how a golf swing works. I CAN DO THIS. I focus, and get ready, then start the motion as fluid as I can, and as fast as I can. I see the ball, I see the club come down, and I follow through with my body. I’ve swung really hard, and it felt right.
So why is the ball still at my feet?
OH JESUS LIVING FUCK MY FIELD HOCKEY STICK IS SAILING STRAIGHT AT ELLEN. Hand to God, we both stared at it for the longest second ever, until we both register what was happening. I yelled “MOVE!” and she dove to the side just in time.
Everyone stops, and runs over to see why she screamed and it registers for them what just happened.
As it turns out she’s shaken, but OK. I apologize profusely and the coach suggests I go sit on the sidelines.
I do so for five minutes before I quietly sneak away and go home. I learned later that both Ellen and Teresa made the team, but I couldn’t bring myself to attend any of the games. I saw Ellen a couple times afterward, but it was awkward and she clearly didn’t want anything to do with me. I didn’t blame her.
Teresa still remembers that day. This story lives because of her. Thanks for the extra therapy bill!
Personally, I’d fall for a man who hurled a field hockey stick at me, but that’s not really saying much based on my idea of romance. Whether you’re a guy or a gal, I think it might be your turn to submit your tales of love, lust or the ultimate dating failure: firstname.lastname@example.org