a ladybug making strange, somehow lacquered noises on the wall, like it’s spitting but even more lacquered than that. I remember a really bad date. it wasn’t even really a date by any stretch of the imagination. we were at the dc. I was definitely drinking an absurd amount of diet coke and probably eating cereal. in my early college career a lot of pretentious guys were attracted to me for some reason and I even went out with a few of them. i say for some reason because i was very quiet/shy, mistaking complete silence for humility. I think if you don’t talk a lot, some people assume you’re secretly fascinating, and that’s a lot of pressure. everyone feels secretly fascinating sometimes, but usually when that pressure to perform isn’t there. and by fascinating I also mean socially adept. longer than I’d like to admit I wondered to myself why none of these potential suitors ever worked out, until it dawned on me that I couldn’t stand these people anyway and i wasn’t sufficiently impressing them either. I remember this one guy. I shouldn’t say I couldn’t stand him, because he’s not a bad guy, which I gauged a couple years later when we ran into each other drunk at a party, without the scary pretense of first meeting each other and feeling an urgency to identify common interests/a connection to justify a mutual attraction. anyway, he was into really obscure foreign bands I’d never heard of.
“what bands are you into right now?” (him)
“I’m really into radiohead right now.” (me)
“well, yeah, ha. I think everyone is always into radiohead.” (him)
I remember feeling instant inadequacy and trying to think of some band that I liked that was edgy and weird and hopefully not American or British.
but my favorite exchange of all time involved talk of cheese. same guy. he was really into cheese and wine. he started talking about cheese. I’m glad we never talked about wine, or alcohol for that matter, because at that point my experience with alcohol was pretty unsophisticated (limited to tequila shots and Smirnoff ices. throwing up grape Smirnoff ice in dan’s backseat, throwing up grape Smirnoff ice in direct response to a guy asking for my number in a parking lot outside of a house party.). so he asked me if I liked cheese. I said yes. big mistake.
“what kind of cheeses do you like?”
the word cheeses made me feel unprepared.
“I really like smoked provolone. and babybell cheese. you know, the little round cheeses wrapped in the red wax. they look like pac-men when you undo the thing. sharp cheddar, too.”