Tag Archives: awkward

The First Kiss Is The Weirdest

Jana: Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Congratulations on Valentine’s Day!

I’m sorry, I don’t know why I congratulated you. It was an awkward way to fill a sentiment about this holiday that people have such varied feelings about. Like, I’m sorry if today is sad for you but happy if it’s happy for you! I don’t know. Today is weird.

Catherine: TODAY IS AWFUL. Today is the day where I go out with my lady pal and we  get drunk but not so drunk that we can’t drive safely to work the next morning. It’s a bad day, guys. A BAD DAY.

Jana: Regardless of where you are romantically today, at least you’ve all at this point been kissed at least once. Right? Well, most of you I guess. Or I’m gonna say it: if I have, I bet all of you have. And I have, guys. For lots of obvious reasons (social anxiety, recurring nose warts) the first kiss didn’t come until 2002, but it came. This is the story of my Very First Kiss.

Like so many of my tales, this one takes place on a high school chorus/band trip. Let me explain a little bit about the chorus/band trip. These trips were simply weird excuses to take hordes of eager, hormonal students on a bus and let them stay in a hotel. As cover, we always did one “concert” for some poor unassuming middle school audience, but the concerts were never the point. The point was the bus ride and the hotel. They were the entire reason for anything. They were EXCITING AS FUCK.

This particular story occurs during my second chorus/band trip, in April of my sophomore year of high school. Having somehow survived the tumultuous ending of my first, kiss-less relationship the previous year, I decided to hop back on the bus and give it another whirl. Things had changed since last year: I’d started wearing eyeliner, for example, and I had a few more t-shirts from the Gap. Despite these leaps forward, I remained, as my friends lovingly put it, a lip virgin. And so I was. My lips were untouched by man or anyone but my mom, really. And I didn’t have any plans to change that – I really think that I felt pretty content with my fate, which I assumed to be no kissing until at least college and possibly age 40. I was cool with it.

So, that’s how I started the trip.

The journey was long: for some reason, we were going to Quebec. On the bus ride there, we watched Goodfellas, and when we finally arrived we went to a Hard Rock Cafe. It was all very exciting and new, and even though I didn’t drink yet, I felt something similar to an alcohol-induced thrill – there were so many cute upperclassmen and we were all staying in a hotel! My sober delirium continued when, on the first night, a bunch of the cute upperclassmen guys came to HANG OUT IN MY ROOM. See, I was rooming with a girl who was – while still a band geek like me – just cool. She’s just somebody who has it together, and isn’t scared to talk to people, and knows what’s up. I shall call her Stella. So Stella just like, invited the dudes to come hang out, and they DID. It was, in my eyes, miraculous.

During that first night, I spent some time flirting with one of these cool upperclassmen (truth: he was younger than me, because I’m so old for my grade. THE BOYS ARE ALWAYS YOUNGER THAN ME. But in this case, he appeared entirely older because he was a junior). I didn’t dare to imagine that anything would come of the flirtation, but I did sort of admit to myself that it was happening, and I went to bed elated.

Here I am on the boat cruise! I'm pretty sure I felt GREAT about my belly shirt, long jean skirt, french braids, flip-flops combo.

Here I am in Quebec! I’m pretty sure I felt GREAT about my belly shirt, long jean skirt, french braids, flip-flops combo.

Stella had also noticed the flirting, and the next day she knew what she had to do. I think we went on a boat cruise of some kind, during which she hatched her plan. Afterward, back in the hotel, she made the arrangements. It was like this:

She cleared our room.

She talked to the guy in question (we will call him MICHAEL).

She ordered me into the room. “Michael is waiting. Get in there,” she said.

I went to the bathroom in the hallway and almost puked from anxiety.

I entered the room, where Michael was, indeed, waiting for me.

The rest is a little blurry, but I know that we began by sitting side-by-side on the bed, and that he made a joke which I believe referenced Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh, although I really can’t imagine how he worked that in or why it was relevant. But whatever, I laughed – or, more likely, I choked on nervous sounds. And then it happened: he reached for my head. WE WERE KISSING.

That’s mostly what I remember. I think at one point we like, laid back, and kept kissing, but that was it. I wasn’t at ALL focused on the sensations of the kiss, because all I could think was HOLY FUCK I HAVE TO CALL MY BEST FRIEND AND TELL HER ABOUT THIS. My best friend, see, had also not yet been kissed. She and I were the last holdouts, like nervous, adolescent WWII buddies. All that mattered about the experience was sharing it with her.

I don’t know how it ended – how do makeout sessions end? I guess we just got tired. I think we joked around a little bit more, and then he left. And I RAN to the payphone booth, located in the hotel hallway, to call my friend.

Michael and I never dated, although we remained friends throughout high school, and I think he knows that he’ll always live in my memory as the first guy who was willing to kiss me. Also, he’s very successful now, whereas I actually have less money than I had in 2002, so I’m sure he doesn’t regret that we never repeated our tigger-fueled makeout sesh.

So there you have it. I owe Stella everything.

Catherine: Just so it’s crystal clear, not having a first kiss till Spring, 2002 would make Jana 16 but VERY NEARLY 17 at the moment of impact. I want like, everyone to be as aware of that fact as possible. That, to me, is very informative information (and yes informative and information mean the same thing, but I think they couple really well together in this instance so shut up about it.)

When I was in eighth grade I also went to Quebec and ALSO went on a weird boat cruise. What is it with schools and Quebec? Weird. I went with the French class, which makes more  sense than your trip, since they speak french there or whatever. But I didn’t take french. So I’m really not sure how or why I was allowed to go. Like, everyone else on the trip spoke french but me and I DON’T KNOW WHY I WAS THERE. One of the main things about that trip that I recall was that a bunch of the girls let the guys write stuff on their stomachs on the back of the bus? And I remember thinking, this is so SEXY. Also that I had a really bad haircut and pants with stripes down the leg were IN.

But besides all that, if you’re happy today – fuck you.

Just kidding.

No, I’m not kidding.

Jana: She’s kidding.

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Cold Sores and Me, or, A Fun Problem To Have Is One That People Commonly Mistake For An STD.

Jana: If you’re an avid DWDSTDT reader (oh my god, ok, we see it too, that acronym is TERRIBLE. I’m gonna talk to our marketing intern about it, or in lieu of having a marketing intern I’m just gonna leave it – you guys don’t mind, right? We can talk about it if you do)… anyway, if you are, you may have read my previous post about my allergies. And you may have seen that my list of allergies contained some weird and not-super-explainable things, like chocolate and spicy foods. So, I will now disclose that those foods are to do with a problem entirely SEPARATE from my chronic congestion: my lips. Folks, I’m prone to cold sores. Who isn’t? Ok, some people, but not me.

Between junior year of high school and sophomore year of college, I got some seriously terrible cold sores that resulted in alienation and intense sadness. In high school, I just stayed home from my bakery job and tried to eat foods that I could fit into my mouth in one bite, so that I didn’t have to crack my lips open too much. When the sores struck in college, wiser and more tech-savvy,  I took to the internet. There, I read tips from fellow cold sore sufferers, such as “Go to the movies, so you’ll be distracted from the pain, but no one will be able to see you.” And, “Ice your lips to stop the tingling” (I did this religiously, often falling asleep with ice pressed to my lips and waking up in pools of melted ice). Anyway, I also read that you should avoid chocolate and spicy foods and nuts, and SO I HAVE. And will. Because cold sores are the worst, and it’s awkward when people think you have herpes, specifically if you are dating them, which I’ll get into in more detail some other time.

…. or NOW. Briefly.

First, I’ll show you this picture, in which I DON’T have cold sores. This is to spare you all, as one picture of me with cold sores does exist, and it’s straight disgusting. Here, though, I look as angry as I looked with the cold sores, but my lips are pursed in a way that would have been impossible in cold-sore condition. So, this is a photo of me on a good day, really.

I was once dating a very nice guy. Now, before my first date with this guy, one of my housemates was hanging out on my bed while I got ready. “Maybe you should put that valtrex away,” he said jokingly, referring to the pills that I took daily to stave off cold sore attacks (I kept the bottle next to my bed – I’m all about convenience). I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, regular viewer of television commercials for prescription drugs, that valtrex is commonly used to treat herpes. Now, looking back, I can see that my friend was not joking, but rather trying to protect me from future weird mix-ups. At the time, though, I just responded “I know right?”, and laughed. We moved on, he approved my outfit of black skinny jeans and a black top (I am NOT a risk-taker, fashion-wise), and I went on the date.

Cut to a few weeks later, when the romantic interest in question and I had been on several dates, and he had seen my room, and things had been going well until they sort of stopped going well and he stopped contacting me as much. I assumed the worst, which was that he’d realized he didn’t like me, weird but charming jokes and solid black outfits be damned.

But here’s the REAL story. After a week of light communication, I received an email on a Thursday night. I was so glad to hear from him! I opened the email and read the first few lines: “Jana: I like you, but something is bothering me and I need to talk to you about it. I saw your bottle of valtrex last week, and I know that you have herpes.”

OHH NOOOO. NOO. It’s just that.. I keep the pill bottles there cause I take them in the morning… I would have told you if I… NOOO. I wrote back and, luckily, we had a good laugh over it. Fake herpes scare! No better way to get to know someone. And no, I am not currently dating this person; we stopped dating shortly after the Valtrex/Email Incident. We both thought it was funny, but probably best to move on.

It’s now been a while since I’ve had a cold sore, but I can’t actually in good faith tell you that because I’m too suspicious. So I’m knocking on wood AS I WRITE THIS. I still take valtrex (and keep it in plain sight – one day I’ll own a medicine cabinet but not, honestly, until I win the lottery or an embarrassed spouse buys me one), and I don’t eat chocolate, and sometimes I ice my lips just for old times’ sake. Cold sores! And me. Together in sickness and in health.

Catherine: Oh, memories. I think that the day that Jana showed me the first fateful lines of the e-mail aforementioned was one of the greatest moments in my life. Jana, do you recall how long I laughed in your face? An approximate minute count? No? Nor I. Minutes turned into hours that day, so who knows how long I enjoyed your incredible misfortune.

I would like to mention how, often when Jana and I would get drunk alone in our apartment, the nights would freqently end in a good ol’ Jana ice-lipping. Another time she came to my house, and my brother saw what she was doing on our couch as we watched “Friends” and opened a second double bottle of white wine, and was so blown back that he too could not help but to laugh uncontrollably at her poor, cold-sored, can’t put lipstick on them lips. (Did you mention how you can ONLY put black chapstick on them? I greatly enjoy that as well.)

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True Love and Deodorant: You Can’t Keep Both in Your Life

Catherine: In honor of Valentine’s Day, here is a brief love story.

In middle school, my first boyfriend had a name consisting of solely initials. I will change them, but know that names that are just initials are ridiculous and should be banned. For our sake, let’s call him PJ.

Our story begins when his supremely attractive friend, “Mark”, called me up on the phone. He inquired if I was going to the dance with anyone? NO, I wasn’t, and I made sure he knew I WAS FREE and mentally prepared to tell everyone I knew (like, six people) that hot Mark liked me. Alas. He was calling on behalf of PJ, to see if I would go to the dance with him. I had to clarify who exactly PJ was before agreeing. Ok, yea, we have never spoken before, but we might as well go together. Sure.

From one or two slow dances later (broken down in great deal at a post dance sleepover), blossomed a three month long relationship.

Our courtship consisted of awkward eye contact, or lack thereof, in the hallway, and the occasional hug. We may have spoken on the phone a few times, but I honestly didn’t know anything about him – nothing at all. But, he was my boyfriend. So. On Valentine’s Day, he gave me a single red rose. I just about died. Romance! Passion! An extra-long hug where everyone stares at us and giggles (and during which I, myself, giggle.) I put it in my room, where it remained until I graduated high school (I know.)

Sometime after this bold gesture, we went on our one and only date to the local pizza place where I forced my best friend, Samantha (real name) to come, and hot Mark tagged along. There wasn’t too much talking.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that we later broke up when I called him on the phone from a friend’s house so that they could coach me and listen in. This was, of course, after I had gone to his middle school graduation party, been up to his room, and saw approximately 12-20 different brands of deodorant.  I didn’t have the foresight to end it on the spot.

PJ set me up for years of awkward behavior near or around guys and though sweet, I would like to blame him for messing me up.

Point is guys, have a good Valentine’s day with your co-partner, or cat, or (ideally) both. I like you all.

Red is for Valentine’s Day, and I wore it here.

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What has turned out to be a post about what an asshole I am

Jana: Once I got to high school, things were different. As you can probably guess, this was almost exclusively to do with my hair. You see, one day at the end of my annual haircut (during which I fielded the friendly chatter of the stylist I’d known for years with one-word answers choked out ridiculously fast and with the sore throat that I got whenever I talked to people not in my immediate family), I managed to give her approval to straighten my hair after blow drying it. As always, I sat in silence while she worked and tried to talk to me, and then slowly lifted my head to look in the mirror when she said she was done.

I remember being honestly shocked out of my fucking mind, because I looked DECENT! It was amazing. Afterwards, I have this picture of going to CVS to pick up something random, and my mind’s eye just wanders over the check-out counter while I think to myself: I’m beautiful. This is it. It’s happened. Maybe there’s a way out of my weird frizzy world! WHAT IS HAPPENING? Yes I will pay for this chapstick. LOOK AT MY HAIR!

Anyway, obviously this only lasted until I washed my hair (luckily THAT didn’t happen very often, so I probably got a good week off that first buzz). But eventually, the straight hair was gone with the water and the Pantene two-in-one shampoo plus conditioner that I thought was so effective. But I’d had a taste of freedom from hair hell, and I knew I had to have it again.

When I graduated from the alternative school where I spent my childhood, I had no choice but to enter the public high school in the town where I actually lived. This didn’t happen without a LOT of crying, self-questioning about why I had to become an adult, etc, but as these things go, September did come and I did have to start high school. Prior to doing so, though, I was able to convince my mother that my life would not continue unless I could get my hair permanently straightened. Not being cruel or blind, she gave in, and that is how I came to start high school looking somewhat like a normal adolescent.

And then the craziest part. The boys at the new school didn’t know about my past. They hadn’t seen this picture:

Here I am on the first day of 8th grade. Really take it in, and then think about how much had to change before boys started to like me.

They thought I was the cute new girl. I was completely shocked. It seemed like a lie. It was way too much to handle! I didn’t even know. I did not. Know. What to do.

HERE IN BRIEF IS THE STORY OF THE END OF MY FIRST RELATIONSHIP

He was the nicest boy in the world, or at least, definitely in the freshman class. For the purposes of this entry, I will call him Mark. Everyone loved Mark, because there was not one thing not to love. He was kind and smart and talented. And for some reason, he liked me. I knew this because he told someone who told me, and then I got wind that he was going to ask me to the semi-formal dance. I died. He asked me, I did not pluck my eyebrows or put on makeup, we went to the dance, I hardly talked to him. Afterwards, for some reason, he chose to ask me to be his girlfriend, which I somehow managed to say yes to. Throughout this entire time, I barely looked at him.

The point that I want to get to is that I was in the chorus and Mark was in the band and eventually we were both on a trip to Quebec. I knew this would pose considerable awkward hurdles, and I dealt with them by not thinking about them, from what I can remember, and instead loading up on disposable cameras. But on the last night of the trip, there was a cruise. Sunset, boat, romantic, etc. Everyone told me that he was going to kiss me that night. This is where my head immediately went when I heard this: NOT AN OPTION. I don’t think I even remotely considered the possibility that we might actually kiss and I’d survive it. I just went straight into survival mode, which is to say that I COMPLETELY avoided him. I spent the whole night hiding behind people. I went to the bathroom for huge stretches of time. I hid in corners.

Somehow, the cruise ended without us ever being alone. WIN! We got back on the buses, where we had to sit with the seatmates we’d picked at the beginning of the trip (I’d forced a friend of mine to tell Mark that she REALLY WANTED to sit with me, so it looked like it wasn’t my fault – in retrospect, this was really similar to those calls I used to force my mother to make so that I could leave social situations and blame it on her. This, I realize, is fucked). Anyway, I was all like “Sorry!” and sat with my poor friend, who looked like a jackass. I’m a dick.

In our hotels, we were allowed to roam freely until 9 PM, which was “curfew” – everyone back in their own rooms. We arrived back at the hotels at 7 PM, and I spent the two free hours in my room with my poor friends, crying. IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME! I could not be near him. What would I say? What was I supposed to do with my hands while I talked? Or while I didn’t talk? Was I supposed to look at his face or at his t-shirt? WHAT ARE SOCIAL QUES, I asked them. WHY CAN I NOT MASTER THEM.

Somehow, they talked me down. And then, at 9:05, I did what I had to do. Mark was residing in the hotel room DIRECTLY next door to mine. But I waited until after curfew, and then I called him on the hotel phone (I just had to dial one number, since it was just a room-to-room call). And I broke up with him. OVER THE PHONE, WHILE IN THE SAME BUILDING. I don’t even remember what I said, but I know it was terrible. Just the worst. The most awkward thing one could really do. Especially since the next day we had to take a bus back from Quebec together (thank god for that seating rule, right!).

That is how my first relationship ended. In case you’re wondering, my first kiss did not occur for two more years, and it also had to do with a chorus trip and an awkward situation in a hotel room.

Catherine: Jana, you are wearing Tevas in that picture. You’re really ok sharing that with the world? I mean, if you are, then wow. Brave, but I just wanted to call it to your attention. Because Tevas don’t look good, not on anyone. And if you (dear reader) are wearing them now, perhaps this is a good time to take them off? Unless you’re wearing those weird toe shoes underneath or something. In which case, get off the internet and head back to the store and join the rest of civilization by buying some proper footwear.

This post also reminds me of a post I will have to write someday, about how I spent the entire Freshman Boat Cruise on the back of the boat, alone, because I thought it meant I was “really deep” since I wanted to “take in the skyline.” (Surely it had nothing to do with me having approximately zero friends.)

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