When I was in college, there was a tradition called “Roomies” in which an entire dorm floor would go out on a giant group date—but with the twist that your roommate got to choose your escort. This sounds potentially terrible, I suppose, but in practice it was amazing. Because your “roommate” was doing the choosing, it was an accepted thing that you could ask anyone–ANYONE–out without losing face if things went south. And if things went, uh, north, you’d actually get an evening with that dreamboat from Advanced Grammar.
So. There was this guy.
I’d met him at an event and we’d hit it off, but he didn’t go to my school and so we didn’t really have a reason to run into each other again. But he DID–coincidentally, magically, amazingly–know my roommate. And so on the night of the big event, there he was, gerbera daisy in hand.
But there was a problem: this intimate group date with forty of my closest friends was happening at an ice skating rink.
Context: I am clumsy. Not uncoordinated clumsy. Not aw-cute-she-stumbled clumsy. I’m talking full-length-sprawl-on-the-sidewalk clumsy. Routinely-shatters-dishes-at-dinner-parties clumsy. Runs-for-the-bus-looks-behind-her-and-runs-into-a-signpost clumsy.
You can see the trouble I was in.
I had never been ice skating before, but I had been roller skating, and that…did not go well.
I mean, the truth is, sometimes walking is hard enough.
But I wanted to go on this date SO BAD. So I went. And my date was lovely—patient, encouraging, supporting me as I Bambi-legged my way around the rink and helping me up when I inevitably tumbled. Eventually he ran into some friends and I shooed him away so I could slowly wobble my way around the rink and “impress” him when he returned.
By the time he skated up and put his arm around my waist, I had made it around the rink a full 1.357 times without falling.
And so I turned my head to smile at him.
If I told you that as he unsuccessfully tried to catch me I somehow entangled my legs with his, dragging him down to the ice where we would both lie still for a moment while I prayed a Zamboni would come and end it all now, that would be the truth.
But not the whole truth.
Because then I moved my leg to begin clambering up…
…and I kicked him in the mouth.
He never voluntarily saw me again.