Friday, February 13

The Friday Random Ten+5 asks not for whom the EPIC ROMANTIC FAIL tolls, because it tolls for, well, me.

So Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and ordinarily this would be the time when I recap a robust list of dating/romantic failures from the previous year. (Last year's installment, for example, is here; year before that, here; etc.) Most of these stories have involved me being shot down or mistreated in some embarrassing way. However, I'm fully cognizant of the fact that I've sometimes been a major contributor to my own misery or disappointment, either through douchiness, neglect, or (most likely) sheer towering stupidity. So instead of using this space to whine about how waaah waaah nobody likes me, I'm putting my own head on the chopping block and regaling y'all with Five Stories About How I Messed Up Relationships, Or Made Sure There Wasn't Even A Relationship To Begin With, By Being A Complete Idiot. This will provide a more vital key to the workings (and, obviously, failings) of my personality and psyche than any other single post on this blog, so, like, prepare yourself.

Flowers from Algernon (sometime around the beginning of 1993)
The first time I ever told a girl I liked her was in seventh grade, and I didn't actually tell her myself; I got her best friend to tell her, and the response I got back was the girl in question wrinkling up her nose in disgust. So obviously I was a little cagey about ever putting myself out there like that again, and it took three years for me to gin up the stones to tell another girl I liked her. Only once again, I didn't actually tell her -- I sent flowers to her house on her birthday and let her sit and wonder who they were from for a couple weeks before finally passing her a note in class one day and telling her they were from me. So here I was, a sophomore in high school and still using what was basically the "Do you like me, check one box, yes/no/maybe" method of displaying affection, only with more elaborate props. She gave me a note back saying thank you for the flowers and she just wanted to be friends, which actually was a much better reaction than I could've gotten, now that I think about it.

Every time I think I'm out, I pull myself back in (spring 1995)
I didn't start going out with my first honest-to-God girlfriend until around Christmas '94, and she dumped me a couple months later, so once I got over the misery of that rejection I dusted myself off and started casting about for someone else I could take to senior prom. I had my eye on one of the hottest girls in my graduating class: She was head of the cheerleading squad and senior class treasurer or something like that, and we'd worked on some school projects together in the past, so not only was she not completely repulsed by me, we were actually pretty friendly. And with her having just gotten dumped herself by her boyfriend, I figured I had a perfect opportunity. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my ex, though, and she got all upset-looking and told me she was still hoping I'd take her to prom -- yes, even though she'd just unloaded me a few weeks before. Instead of recognizing this completely bizarre situation for what it was, I caved and told her I'd take her. We got back together just in time to go to prom, but broke up a second time later on that summer, once I realized what a mistake I'd made. The cheerleader I'd been thinking of asking, by the way, didn't end up going to prom, or at least I didn't see her there. Seriously, if I show up at the pearly gates and St. Peter offers me one thing in my life to do over, I'm picking this.

Punting from the 1 yard line (fall 1999)
A few years before anyone knew or cared who Angelina Jolie was, her doppelgänger was roaming the halls of my high school. This girl was so hot her footprints left little scorch marks on the floor, and as a still-wallflowery sophomore, I was content merely to be able to share the same drama class with her; I knew I didn't stand a chance of every actually being able to date a girl like that. Fast-forward like seven years later, I'm working up in Lynchburg, Virginia, I've just put out the first issue of this alternative weekly I'd helped start up, and . . . I get a call from the Angelina lookalike. Her parents were living up in Lynchburg, she saw my name in the masthead of this magazine, would I like to go out and get a drink or something? Fuck yes, in fact, so we got together on a Friday night and went barhopping (this being Lynchburg, it didn't take all that long); after a couple hours at Trotter's, she suggests grabbing a six-pack or something and heading back to my place to watch a movie. Being completely naive and still in the same awkward-teenager mindset I'd been in the last time we were in close proximity to one another, I didn't stop to ponder any kind of subtext in "going back to my place," nor did I even think about making any kind of move when she took her shirt off once we were home watching "Fargo." Now, don't get too excited, it wasn't like she was topless -- she had on this sort of camisole/tank-top thing on underneath (closest approximation I can come up with is this), but still. And at some point, she got tired of sitting on the floor (I'd only been living there a couple months and didn't have much furniture yet) and climbed up into the big overstuffed easy chair I was sitting in. Did I do anything then? Nope -- I just sat there frozen until she'd fallen asleep, then realized what an uncomfortable position I was sitting in, and got up and went to bed. Alone.

The next morning, I took her back to her house, and said it was fun and we should do it again sometime. A week or so later, she actually called me up and asked if I wanted to go to a party with her that weekend, but I was going to the LSU game down in Athens and couldn't make it, so I gave her my regrets and told her I'd call her when I got back into town. The game sucked, I called her as soon as I got back to Lynchburg . . . and never heard back from her.

OK, maybe that would be my do-over.

Never mind the bollocks, here's my parents (November 2004)
I know I've related this one on the blog before, but it's just so blatantly, head-slappingly dumb that I can't help but tell it repeatedly just for laughs. At a Halloween party a few years back, I met this girl who'd just moved down from New York to start at Southern Progress, where a bunch of my friends worked at the time. She was both ridiculously cute and unattached, and when I asked her out it went well enough that I was treated to the rare but highly sought-after first-date kiss at the end of it. Not long after that, I was mentioning to her that I was headed down to Auburn for the Georgia-Auburn game that weekend, and she seemed intrigued, so I took a chance and asked her if she'd like to come with me and get her very first taste of the SEC football experience. To my surprise, she said yes, so I snagged a second ticket from my Auburn hookup and called her back a few days later. We planned out what we were going to be doing that weekend, and that was when I uttered the fateful words: "Oh, and I told my parents a few weeks ago that I'd stop by and see them in Columbus at some point, so maybe we'll go have lunch with them or something on Sunday . . . "

It was like those times when you see the car keys sitting in the ignition even as you're slamming your locked door shut: Even as the last of the words was trickling out of my mouth, my brain was screaming NO NO NO YOU JUST TOLD THIS GIRL YOU WERE TAKING HER TO MEET YOUR PARENTS ABORT ABORT ABORT. But it was too late. There was an awkward silence, after which she politely expressed a little nervousness at meeting my family for the first time; I told her it was no big deal, I could just cancel with my parents if she really felt uncomfortable about it, but she said no, it was OK, she'd go. So we went to the game (which, again, sucked, though we had a great time in Auburn otherwise), we headed to Columbus the next day, we had lunch with my parents and she soldiered through it like a champ . . . and a few days later, I got an e-mail from her saying she liked me a lot but just wanted to be friends. Well, of course she did. Haven't heard from her since, which I'm sure you all find shocking.

Don't call me Shirley, or at all (summer 2005)
Nothing fancy about this one: Dated a Hooter's waitress off and on for an extended period of time, but the turning point came when we went back to my apartment after having dinner one night and were looking for a DVD to watch. I came upon "Airplane!" and asked if she'd ever seen it, and she said no, so we watched it. She didn't laugh once during the movie, and then at the end, when I asked her if that wasn't the funniest movie she'd ever seen in her life, she said, "No, not really." At that point I realized it probably just wasn't going to work out, and we kind of stopped going out after that. Since then she's won a number of Hawaiian Tropic contests and done some modeling work with various photographers in the area, and I have it on good authority that she may be appearing in Playboy before too long. Good for her.

I hope that, if nothing else, all this will make you feel a little bit better about yourself by comparison. No, no, don't thank me, I do it for the kids.

And now the Ten:

1. Dick Dale & the Del-Tones, "Misirlou"
2. Gorillaz, "White Light"
3. Pet Shop Boys, "God Willing" (rough mix)
4. Steve Miller Band, "Abracadabra"
5. Underworld, "Air Towel"
6. Pet Shop Boys, "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On" (Banji girlfriend beats)
7. David Holmes, "Let's Get Killed"
8. Beck, "Steal My Body Home"
9. Röyksopp, "So Easy"
10. Radio 4, "Our Town"

Throw your own Random Tens and tales of epic romantic fail -- whether it was your fault, someone else's fault, or hell, even if it's just an unhinged screed about how much Valentine's Day sucks -- in the comments.


Reed said...

Well, if she hated Airplane! so much, then she probably wasn't going to like Top Secret! either, or even the Naked Gun series, so, even though she's smoking hot, it was probably for the best.

Any of my romantic failures would take up more space then we have here, so I'll leave two very quick-hitters. 1) My very first date, I had an eye infection that made my face puff up not unlike Will Smith's in Hitch. Oh, did I mention that didn't happen until I was 17? 2) I had won a raffle for a free night's stay in a fancy Chicago hotel, so my girlfriend and I decided to utilize the winnings on Valentine's day. I booked a reservation at a nearby fancy restaurant, which ended up being completely overbooked and totally jammed. Meanwhile, as we stood there, irately waiting an hour after our expected reservation time, I developed a horrible case of stomach flu. After nearly passing out on the spot, I made it back to the hotel room where I ended up spending the rest of the night in the bathroom. My girlfriend had to order a pizza (and ginger ale for me) and watched SNL. Yay Cupid! Seriously, those were the short versions.

1.Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Nobody Weird Like Me" (live)
2.Jeremy Enigk, "World Waits"
3.Eric's Trip, "About You"
4.Judas Priest, "Victim of Changes"
5.Black Lips, "Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah"
6.James Brown, "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing"
7.Parliament, "Bop Gun"
8.Neil Young, "There's a World"
9.Marvin Gaye, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"
10.Amadou & Mariam, "La réalité"

Universal Remonster said...

Even from a guy who had a failed engagement and numerous miscues, I must say you put us all to shame Doug. But anyways, a funny story....

When in high school i had this serious crush on an underclassman named Sarah. Everyone called her "Sarah Plain and Tall" because she wasn't all that attractive at that point, so i figured she was easy pickins, even in my naive younger days. So we go on one date to a play, which was pretty successful, and she even kissed me after, and then invited me to dinner at her parent's house that weekend and tells me to bring a movie. I ask her what to watch and she says "something scary", so i rent Arachnaphobia thinking it's funny and scary at the same time. After a pleasant meal and movie, i turn to her to ask what she thought, and then informs me that she's deathly afraid of spiders, and that she'd TOLD ME THIS a couple of weeks earlier at crew practice. Needless to say, i did not get a third date with her. Oh, and what does she do now? Sarah Plain and Tall is now a model and completely freakin' gorgeous.

I must say that I'm fortunate considering all my previous stupidity... my girlfriend is pretty kick ass. They'll come around Doug.....

Joshua said...


She may be a model, but if the girl can't appreciate Airplane, she's not worth it.

FUnny how both of us are single huh?

Anonymous said...

Damn dude. Those are some tales.

runningbyrd said...

That's a murderer's row of dumbness, doug.

Anonymous said...

This isn't so much a romantic fail as much as a lust fail, but it's still idiotic. While in college I just started dating a girl that one friend described as the hottest girl he'd ever seen. It was early in the relationship, but she invites me to visit her and her family over Christmas at home, a noteworthy midwestern college town. We stay with her parents for a day doing family stuff, then go out the next night with plans to crash at her sister's apartment (her sister being a student at said university). We both go out hard, getting hammered and building up to what should be a fun night. However, at the last bar we visit, I run into the defensive coordinator for this school's significant football team and start talking shop. This goes on for hours, the girl leaves, and I get home to find her passed out and not really happy with me the next day or ever again.

I blame football.

runningbyrd said...

I do have one valentine's day story.

I meet this hot girl at the gym, and we talk enough to say hello there. Eventually, she ends up driving me home one night (i lived close to the gym, and would usually walk), we talk, and plan on going on a date the next night, friday the 13th (you can do the math, it was 5 years ago). I pick her up for the date, we have a lot of fun, and end up making out at her place for a long while after i drop her off. Since neither of us have a date for the next night, valentine's day, we decide to hang out in a low key fashion. She comes over, but drops the news that her grandma is on her deathbed and may die during the course of the evening. We're in the middle of watching a dvd, and her phone rings, the grandma has died. I spend the next 2 hours consoling this woman i have been on one date with, and the next week trading messages as she goes to the funeral. We never went on another date, and she stopped going to the gym. I did run into her months later on the street, and she seemed interested, but i was moving, and it was too late.

Holly said...

This isn't exactly a FAIL, although both relationships eventually crashed and burned, but my favorite VDay adventure was junior year of college: My best friend and I were both dating boys at schools in New England, and left to our own devices, got screaming drunk at 10 AM on the roof of a mall parking garage, staggered down into the mall and watched Lord of the Rings to sober up, then called pledges to take us home so we could pass out. That night at a party I saw a stripper who looked awfully familiar, who turned out to be a guy I'd gone to summer camp with for years. Soon after, he moved in with me and the best friend. Senior year was EXTREMELY memorable, all thanks to VDay.

holly said...

i'm planning on hitting some love quotes over at my whale blog ( but wanted to thank you for this vday treat! i think one of my best moments was when i gave myfirst true love crush a rock, like a tiger's eye, that i had gotten because when you shifted it it looked like a sailboat on the horizon of the sea. he had told me his dream was to sail around the world. so i wrapped it and took it to his "gnome" theme party and gave it to him and he proceeded to open it in front of some of his drunken party guests and say loudly, "She gave me rock." something like charlie brown on halloween. then as i tried to explain the significance, he was crumpling up the note and throwing it thru the air, of course i am pretty sure he was in a drunken stupor, but it was a lowlight for me. *note to self* do not take rocks to gnome parties.

Anonymous said...

"So here I was, a sophomore in high school and still using what was basically the 'Do you like me, check one box, yes/no/maybe' method of displaying affection..."

Owww, it burns!

1. The Cowboy Junkies, "Mining for Gold"
2. Maroon 5, "Wake Up Call"
3. Colin Hay, "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You"
4. Liz Phair, "Divorce Song"
5. Billy Joel, "New York State of Mind"
6. Jason Mraz, "You and I Both"
7. Indigo Girls, "Kid Fears"
8. The Toadies, "Possum Kingdom"
9. Sarah McLachlan, "Possession"
10. The Doors, "Love Street"

Tantra Flower said...

Well I don't have any stories to share because they're all more depressing and awkward than funny and I don't want to kill the mood around here. I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed this post. You're very funny (as you know.) Plus I have an appreciation for your honesty and willingness to put yourself out there. That's why I read your blog even though I have absolutely no interest in football or hot chicks whatsoever. I hope you have a better year this year, Doug. You certainly have earned it. Peace, TF

Hannah said...

The Love Sucks Song!

Featuring the largest all-lady youtube collaboration in history.


Anonymous said...

My EPIC FAIL love story?

Running into an old high school boyfriend in the frozen foods section of Kroger. We go out for a drink, there's a girlfriend he has but it's not working out, aight, whatevs. A few drunken dates later we're doing it in a parking lot behind my house. After we do it he mentions that his girldfriend is *technically* his wife and that *actually* she's pregnant. Um. So, yeah, I'm adjusting out my skirt while hearing that I just totally had parking lot sex with a MARRIED DUDE WITH A WIFE AND BABY ON THE WAY.

My own fault, though, cause I missed the clue of all obvious clues. A ring? No. A box of tampons in his bathroom. Life lesson! Dude has a box of Tampax by the toilet, no question about it, a chick is living there. So do not have sex in a parking lot with this man.

Anonymous said...

I suppose this is not technically my story to tell, but for this post, it must be told. It was one of those "do you like me check one yes no" notes - but this one? Only had a checkbox for "no."

Stretchdavis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stretchdavis said...

A bit late for a Valentine's Day post, but I have to share a quick one. My first girlfriend lived in Maryland--it was a summertime fling sort of thing (yes, she was real). I had told my friends that I was planning on kissing her for the first time one night, and they said, "Don't forget to take out your retainer."
When the big moment arrived, I did all that I could think to do, and held the thing in my hand while I kissed her. It was amazing-- the single most incredible experience in my life thus far (at the time). I pulled away giddy and stupid, until I realized that my hand was stuck. I had managed to get my retainer stuck in the girl's hair, and it took an agonizing amount of time to disentangle it, a few of the strands of hair along the way. I came back to Georgia a few days later. That was our first and last kiss.