7/12/2012
Incredibly awkward and possibly loaded with subtext

I butted in. I know. Butting in is wrong, I know. But we're in the same table, and I'm pretty much part of the conversation, only I haven't really spoken.

I realize that butting in - acceptably butting in - is one of the few ways I can start a conversation with someone. I know, I know. But you're the most talkative person I know! I know. But that only happens if I've had some sense of closeness to you, whether organic or force-fed. Yes, I can be thick that way, but only if I feel I've burrowed my way in.

When surrounded by strangers? That's when it gets complicated.

I said this before, I know. I get extremely conscious when talking to other people. It's like there's this need for me to impress, or at least to keep the conversation going. This happens with people I know, more so with people I know a bit, and even more so with people I don't know at all. Which brings me to this table, me sandwiched between two people of perhaps the same age as me, if not a little bit older, talking about things I don't remember anymore.

And the girl to my left had to wear black frames and a printed white top and black leggings and white Chucks. Damn it. If I wasn't conscious then, I'm definitely conscious now.

Here are the things I now realize I shouldn't do when I want to initiate small talk with someone who I'm possibly, slowly, getting momentarily infatuated to.

Do not look like you're attempting small talk.

Do not ask, "how old are you?"

Do not ask probing questions even if you're genuinely interested about the person's background. The problem is - and this applies to anyone, infatuation or otherwise - I am genuinely interested in a person's background. What school are you from? Do you know this and that? What exactly do you do in your job? All perfectly acceptable topics for small talk. But if it's me doing it, I feel like I'm trying to dig for that one common thing. Perfectly acceptable tactic for small talk. But if it's me doing it...

Well, again, do not ask, "how old are you?" It's incredibly rude. Or at least it feels like it.

Do not make a big fuss of the fact that she's actually older than you: that is almost always the case. "You're 31? You look 25!" That did not happen.

Do not start babbling. That's when you know that your attempts at small talk is incredibly awkward and, possibly, loaded with subtext.

I'll admit though, I always cannot help it, and again, this goes to everyone. I'll get excited at one point and I start semi-stuttering. Thi-- tha-- uh-- yeah. It's not cute. I'm not trying to be cute, though. It's still not cute. Unlike her, who looks a bit like Christian Serratos and my friend Meg. With glasses. Which, more or less, forces me to speak in English the whole time. "Is she making an impression? Are you making an impression?"

Thankfully, my never-ceasing insecurity - all this time I felt way out of her league, or technically, of everyone's league - means I feel that she's getting quite annoyed at me. So there's no chance of me taking one aspect of a conversation going so well and running away with it, like Korean food, or that taser, or the vagaries of Twitter on mobile.

I stare at the Chucks, notice black socks - and a photo of her kissing a guy on her mobile phone on the table, which just vibrated, signaling a text message. I remind myself that I am just possibly infatuated, and this will all end when I go home.

And your responses...

I think a decent person won't probably mind someone who stutters and probes a little bit. Curiosity always gets the best of us and we won't be able to help it, one way or the other. Maybe most could, but at the end of the day, it will be our own curiosity that will lead us to basically anywhere.

Blogger Rainy Martini7/13/2012     

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