Girls can be mean sometimes, hence why they made that movie a few years ago, and even though I spend my days endlessly talking to a select few females, being suddenly charged with introducing myself to the grander population of them made me feel as frightened as the new kid at school. It hadn’t helped that my first few attempts had been a bunch of busts (no pun intended).
Mistakenly, I tried to make first contact on the bus. A girl sat next to me and I thought I should take my earphones off as a gesture of openness, but when she refused to look over at me I couldn’t talk, I kept opening my mouth like a stunned goldfish. Unsurprisingly, she changed seats. I then felt like a goldfish—small, and kind of slimy.
I was walking side-by-side with a girl and I took my headphones off, turned to her and smiled, and she spurted away like George Jetson. I’m pretty sure one girl thought I was trying to sell her something when I approached her with an over-eager look (which I don't use anymore); she waved me away with a casual sweep of her hand (I shamefully admit that I've pulled that move before).
After a week of cursing headphones, blogs, and young women alike, I thought about changing my target group to seniors with hearing-aids – I have a way with octogenarians in particular – until a girl came up to me and asked if she could bum a smoke. Success! Even though it was kind of cheating since she introduced herself, I was counting it, dagnabbit! Her name was Marlena, she was carrying a longboard and her voice was raspy and deep. She was studying music at the University of Ottawa.
“What do you play?”
“Oh, you must be really good!” I said enthusiastically while in my head saying “duh, genius.” I was surprised; I would have never connected cigarettes and longboards with Bach and Mozart, but what-the-hey, it’s 2014. We got along fine until I asked her what kind of music she was into and the common “I like everything” came out, very blasé. After I asked what she was listening to at that moment and in succession asked if I could take her picture for my blog, she consented reticently and then very quickly said she had to go study. When she put her longboard down, she said,
“Sorry, but I’m not into chicks.”
“I’m not either,” I shot back, “I mean I like girls, but I don’t like girls…not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I guess it would be an interesting way to pick someone up.” Nervous babbling; I realized I should stop talking.
We just looked at each other and she laughed a bit. I’m not sure if it was at the ancient Seinfeld reference, or at me. She wished me good luck and rolled away, looking like a little blonde sprite on her board. I was left feeling accomplished and self-conscious, and a little like the new kid at school who just made her first new friend.
A graduate of the University of Ottawa in English Literature. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, she moved to the city to pursue a family tradition of coming to Ottawa for post-secondary school. She is an aspiring journalist, and therefore a bit of a dreamer.