I got tongue tied tonight talking to a girl just a few hours ago - it was because I worked on some material to make bar girls laugh (I do open mic standup, so I'm always writing new comedy bits). That was a mistake. Improv is more suited for this than standup. Found myself stumbling over my words in an attempt to wedge my funnies into the context of the conversation - this is when the Jenga game toppled.
I could all of a sudden hear the voice of Jim Morrison singing "This is the end...". Flashes of a Siberian Shaman filled my vision for a split second, followed by a scratchy NASA film reel of a Saturn V rocket launch. The whole resulting awkwardness had injected a dose of self doubt into my bloodstream and I'm sure the girl could see my confidence plummet, which only exacerbated things since I knew that she knew that I knew that she knew. Game over. No way to recover from that. To my credit, it didn't make things easier that her conversational replies were so short. Then began several minutes of playing handball against the drapes.
I can re-experience every moment - every detail - every microexpression of this fiasco looping over and over in my mind since it's so fresh.
Me - "You're a Bostonian? It's wicked cold back they-a...ayup ! The wind? Wicked. The snow? Wicked. You know how they like saying that word in the North East, wickedly so"
Her - "Yeah, they say it a lot"
Me - "We're so lucky to be here in LA. It's 50 degrees out and people are breaking out the fur. I saw a lady this evening with a fur hat, fur coat, I swear she had sled dogs ready to go. I find women in fur really sexy. I know that's not a popular viewpoint these days, but I don't care. It makes me feel like I'm a Viking conqueror. "
Her - "Yeah"(I'm thinking to myself - change direction, this is crashing and burning)
Me - "So being from New England...I'll bet you like rock more than rap"
Her - "Yeah, I do"
Me - "I'll bet you heard Smells Like Teen Spirit 50,000 times on the radio by the time you were 16"
Her - "Yeah, Nirvana..."
Me - "So what's the last concert you went to?"
Her - "Um...Heart?" (see how vivid this interaction still is in my gray matter? I can hear the "mmmm" of her "Um..." echo in my consciousness - the mantra of shame)
Me - "They're still together? I thought the lead singer turned into a Macy's day balloon and floated away"
Her - "Yeah, she's kind of heavy"(then scrambling for something to say, in a last ditch effort to imply my big hands meant big everything, this emerged)
Me - "I was just at the rock walk of fame in front of Guitar Center and I saw the members of Heart's handprints in the cement. It's kind of wild - musicians either have really small hands or my hands are huge. I discovered my hands were bigger than every musician there - Aerosmith, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Metallica - everybody except for Chuck Berry. Do you know who that is?"
Her - "Uh huh"
Arghhhhhhhh. Mr Charming in da haus. The part that also screwed me up was that I'd seen her before at the club and hadn't approached her then, so this time I had built up a "I'm all set to impress the hell out of her if I see her - wait till she experiences how entertaining I am. After all, I'm a comedian and I've got balls to get up there on stage, this chick should be a cinch. I am so ready for this." attitude. I put too much value and emphasis on impressing this one girl rather than spreading my bets around - and the result was this.
You're just as bad. The only difference is that you think you're better.
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