Ask Alle: HELP! I’m awkward!

Aw shit, it’s time for another edition of…

Alle Malice has a B.A. in Psychology, which is basically a degree in seeing through other people’s bullshit. She also has a BA in English, but that’s not really relevant. Though she does not pretend to have it all figured out, she does have enough figured out to be helpful.

Today’s question almost required a translator. Never do I feel older than when I try to decipher the cryptic runes of textspeak. I love you, kids of today, but sometimes you make my head numb. Here’s the question exactly as I received it two days ago:

I consulted the oracle and have determined that this means “Hi Alle, I like your blog. I’m awkward with guys! Previously you said that flirting is just talking and nothing to get scared of, but that makes me nervous. I can’t see you being nervous. Do you still have awkward boy moments? What about when you were my age (13-14)?”

If I were any kind of responsible, mildly parental imaginary blog friend at all, I would tell you not to worry, that the awkwardness does subside eventually and that someday you’ll forget all about your embarrassing teenage moments with dudes. But since I’m NOT responsible in any way (and I assume it’s one of the things you know and love about me) I’ll tell you the truth: that dating at whatever age is inherently awkward, that it finds insidious new ways to be awkward as you get older, and that yes, you’ll probably remember these cringe-inducing moments forever.

BUT–and this is a very important but–it’s not red faced shame for all eternity. The shit that makes you want to curl up and die today are the stories you’ll tell at bars to the delight of your friends in ten years. All the strange grapplings of your heart that are SO INTENSE and SO PAINFUL right now will become much loved memories as you get older. And even though relationships, dating and sex are sometimes super awkward, it’s really rare for anything to get SO awkward that it’s a complete dealbreaker. Some people find dorkiness, clumsiness or goofiness endearing, and those are the kinds of people you want to date anyway.

It’s lucky that those people are out there, because I am to this day INCREDIBLY awkward. It isn’t so much that I get nervous when I talk to dudes because that’s something that really DOES get less with practice. It’s more that if you catch me off guard before I’m totally at ease, I say and do really weird things. And then when I am comfortable with you, I say and do even weirder things. So, you know, it’s always a party. Here are a few notable examples from both my distant past (Teenage Dream Malice!) and my more recent past (Thoroughly Modern Malice!):

  • I met my best guy friend, M.Davis, at the Perth Royal Show when we were like fourteen. The first thing I said to him was, horrifyingly, “You look like Beaker from The Muppets.” He countered with “Nice no-tits,” and somehow this was the foundation for a lasting friendship.
  • This one isn’t mine, exactly, but it’s me-adjacent. There was one occasion where a friend of mine spotted the guy I had a massive crush on while he was out to dinner with his family. She didn’t realise who he was until he was next to her at the salad bar, and then she screamed “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO TELL ALLE! … (she realised she had to try to cover) …about …THE SALAD HERE! IT’S SO GREAT!” When she told me about this the next day I wanted to fall through the floor. The crush didn’t go anywhere, but she’s still one of my best friends.
  • Once I needed to escape from a situation so awkward it was almost physically painful. I decided to run up a hill. I ran full force into the wire fence surrounding it instead. Did I mention that all of this was in plain view of the guy that I really, really, REALLY liked? Because of course it was.
  • I went on a first date with a guy who touched my upper thigh under the table at dinner. It made me jump so hard that I essentially kneecapped myself.
  • I went to a fancy schmancy prom with a dude that I only sort of knew. It was a favour to my friend, who was dating HIS friend. Clear? Okay. At the pre-prom party, he and his very recent ex-girlfriend got back together and he abandoned ship, and by ship I mean me. Adding insult to injury, I knew nobody at the ball because hello, SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE.
  • I once told a guy knock-knock jokes to get him to lose interest.
  • A dude I’d been on two dates with tricked me into meeting his family. His mother asked me what I thought of him and I said “Tall, I guess.”
  • I also once delivered a lecture about rodent nasal passages to a guy I actually kind of liked? We’re now married with three kids. Wait, totally kidding, didn’t work out at all.
  • Once after sex (as a consenting adult!) I leapt out of bed with no explanation whatsoever and ran into my office because I was SURE I’d remembered where I’d left my favourite Sharpie. In addition to not getting the guy, I also never found my Sharpie. I’ll leave you to figure out which was more upsetting.

And the greatest story of all…

  • One night I was talking to a guy who I really wanted to impress. Not because I liked him romantically, but because I thought he was supercool and wanted him to be my best friend. Totally at a loss for sparkling, witty conversation, I looked at him and said “So…..are there many PEOPLE……in your FAMILY?” Immediately realising that this was the fucking weirdest question possible, I tried to make it better by resting my chin on the palm of my hand and giving the scariest fake smile in the history of mankind. I re-enacted it for Charlotte a few nights later; she laughed and laughed and christened it “the broken robot face.” Personally I think it’s more “see this face and you’ll die in three days” but judge for yourselves.

I did not become friends with the dude, and I think it’s because of this face.

And that’s how we roll. Once again, I apologise for being AWOL; I’m in the midst of a huuuuuuuuge project that is consuming my entire life. Promise to be better with balance soon.


4 thoughts on “Ask Alle: HELP! I’m awkward!

  1. I love this blog! It’s so amazingly funny. And the broken robot face? I do that when I’m uncomfortable, I’ve scared a few people…not good. I apologise for how some of my generation speak, not all of us are like that (No decent command of grammar/spelling). Keep this blog up, it is awesome. Plus a nice view of American/ Australian life for me (English blogger here).

  2. When I saw the robot face, I immediately had visions of Hyperbole & a Half Allie’s ‘Cake’ face… 😛

    Love the awkward dating stories.

    I guess mine is when a really hot guy was giving me the eye in a bar & gestured for me to come over. I actually TURNED AROUND TO SEE WHO HE WAS LOOKING AT, because I didn’t think he could possibly mean ME *shame* 😛


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