Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And This, Ladies and Gentlemen, Is Why I'm Single

I've complained quite often on this blog about being deprived of conversation now that I've been living on Planet Recovery for the past three months. This is changing, (I can sit upright for more than 30 minutes at a time, which extends my range!) but I am still a little too eager to jump at the chance for any kind of social interaction. I feel like the social equivalent of a short, fat kid trying to suck in his stomach and stand on tip toes in the dodgeball line, every muscle in his body saying, "Pick me! Pick me! I promise not to disappoint you!"

For this reason, I was excited to go to Granville Island with G., who I met at S.'s wedding last weekend, to talk about MFA programs. Actually, she could have called me up and invited me to talk about the best way to peel dead skin off your legs with a shoehorn (which is a subject I incidentally know quite a bit about) and I would have been there in a heartbeat. I was just happy to be out in public, doing normal-people things and having normal-people conversations and not thinking about physiatrists and nerve testing and how my life feels like something out of a Bright Eyes song. (Emo!)

I had a great time talking with G., so much so that I ended up following her like a little lost puppy to work at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and watching a play. (She gave me the VIP treatment and put me in the front row). Then, we chatted again and I watched another play with G's husband and his brother C., who I'd also met at the wedding and who I had really enjoyed talking to, since he seemed very smart and was in a profession completely opposite of mine, which is not hard since I do not currently have a profession. (Though, again, he could have been talking about the intricacies of the mating rituals of Asian dung beetles and I'd probably be enthralled). Seeing as how all of the males I've met since my hip replacement have been either doctors or 85-year-old men at physio, I actually found myself sitting at the table at the wedding and thinking, "Wow, I am finally having a conversation with an adult male who's not trying to jab electrified needles into my ass. This must be some kind of progress."

Now, I have always been the Crown Princess of Awkwardness, even when I don't have the gait of an 85-year-old heroin addict. When I used to play on the national team, some women on the team designed the "I Learned From Lesbians Love Lessons" program, (which was not as kinky as it sounds), and would send me around to fulfill little homework assignments in an effort to help me get my mojo working. (It actually worked. Shortly after, I wound up in a long-term relationship, so perhaps I need a refresher course). I have been single for over two years, and this whole hip replacement and "going to a lot of weddings" business has convinced me that it might be time to put myself back on the market. (Previously, it was difficult to be on the market when there was a good chance that you'd have to ask your date to crawl under the table at the end of the night and pull on your leg to get your hip back in its socket, and I was happy to remain single).

Still, I am thinking baby steps here. I'm not looking for a one-night stand or a passionate fling. I'm not even looking for a date or a relationship or anything like that. Hell, I'm not even trying to flirt with someone. All I'm looking for is the ability to converse with an adult male who I do not know and remain at least semi-coherent. I wanted to start at the bottom and work my way up. Alas, this was not to be.

After the play, G.'s husband planned to go back home to work, G. was working until midnight, and I had high hopes that C. would join me for dinner, since I was so hungry that I wanted to eat my own face and if C. accompanied me I would be spared the awkwardness of eating alone in a restaurant, which is a pet peeve of mine. I figured, "Hey, if I can make an adult male interested enough in my personality to want to continue a conversation with me over dinner, even if this adult male has not an iota of sexual interest in me, then perhaps once day in the distant future I can manage a date." So I dropped subtle hints. No dice. I dropped not-so-subtle hints. No dice. I did not ask outright, since I did not want to put the poor guy on the spot, and it became clear that my mission had failed.

As we parted ways, G. hugged me and C. also went to hug me (or shake my was unclear). Unfortunately, when I turned to hug C., I was caught off balance and I ended up falling forward, smashing my face into his nose. Yes. That's right. Instead of impressing him with my effervescent personality, I maimed him. I am lucky that I did not fracture his nose. This is more proof that my life is like a bad Ben Stiller movie: There's Something About Arley.

As I sat on my stool in a trendy restaurant slurping my Thai chicken and rice soup, which I'd ordered so I would be in and out quickly and the serving staff would stop looking at me in that way that suggests they're thinking, "Look at that poor disabled girl. She's so brave to eat by herself at a restaurant," I felt incredibly disappointed, more disappointed than I'd been when I found out I might have nerve damage, more disappointed than when I woke up from surgery unable to walk. Here I was rocking my skinniest of skinny jeans (were they too skinny? Were they too tight? Was the fact that they were covered in dust and cat hair a deal breaker?), with my little quasi-biker jacket with the cool metallic details (was it too harsh? Did it say "she thinks she's so edgy" as opposed to "friendly person you could have a conversation with?"), and I could not even get someone to eat dinner with me. Was it my personality? Does the fact that I'm 6 foot 2 and have crazy hair and talk so loudly that my last boyfriend had a hand signal to tell me to lower my voice make me an inadequate dinner companion? Did I make too much eye contact? Did the muscular atrophy in my left leg subconsciously alert the cave-man recesses of his brain that I am in possession of a "broken, damaged body" (to borrow my G.P's phrase) and therefore have a reduced chance of offering him stellar genetic material to combine with his own? My God, all I wanted was some dinner-time conversation! It's not like I was planning on pinning him against my Jeep and having my way with him!

My emo pity party got exhausting quickly. After all, I hadn't really been rejected because I hadn't actually asked, and it's not like I'd pulled out my flirting moves. I drove home, listening to the new Swan Lake album, singing aloud to the part when Dan Bejar sneers, " one's in it for the long haul...Look here Kelly (?) no one's in it at all." So, alright, back to the drawing board. It's clear that I need more work in the social department. At least I should work on the "leaning forward while retaining my balance" business so that, when I finally land a date, I do not send them to the hospital. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

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