Though I seem to be perpetually single, one cannot say I don’t put myself out there to meet new people. Perhaps I do need to work on my suitability discernment a little, as Chainsaw Boy has already highlighted beautifully.
Perhaps my most famous gaffe happened about eight years ago but nevertheless continues to be a source of giggles and mocking to this very day. I was around 22 years old, and working for the same organisation I do now, which at that point was based in an office next to a construction site in Newmarket. Like any bustling construction site, this one was home to a tribe of workers wearing lego hats and armed with power tools. It was quite nice to have a change of scene from watching my fellow office dwellers with their nana-blankets and staplers (labelled of course, heaven-forbid somebody get it confused for theirs and take it to the next cubicle).
Whilst my interest in construction was somewhat minor, it began to be fuelled by the daily spotting of a handsome worker who stood out among the crowd. Each morning we both arrived at the same time and while he set out the road cones I would ponder ways to casually need to tell him something very important. I had enough self-awareness to know that I’d make a complete dick of myself if I tried to say something construction-related, so decided that wasn’t my best move.
One day, having been through this morning arrival routine, I surprised myself with a strange and unfamiliar feeling – confidence. It was like I’d grown balls overnight! Not actual balls thank goodness, I’m not sure that would’ve helped my cause. Ewww. Anyway, this unexplained, out of character boldness possessed me to approach the construction site (once all of the lego men had gone home, I wasn’t that bold/stupid), find the whiteboard with all of the site hazards written on it, wipe the hazards out and write:
Can the guy with the curly brown hair please call Emma on 021……… Thanks 🙂
My colleague took a photo of my ballsy artwork for proof and we retreated inside. Come the next morning it seemed that the entire office had received word of what I had done. No pressure. Our CEO paid me a visit to remind me that she had indeed already married the only decent builder in New Zealand so I should be careful. Not long after that encouraging visit, I was sitting at my desk when my phone rang:
Me: “Hello Emma speaking”
Caller: “Oh hey, it’s Dave. I’m from the site next door, I got your message”
He invited me over to the site office at lunchtime, which I obviously accepted. I really couldn’t believe that (a) out of the 20ish guys they knew which one I meant, and (b) he actually called! Twelve o’clock came around all too quickly, and though I was quietly freaking out, there’s no way I could back out as about half of the office congregated in the corner of the building with the best view, eager to ensure I actually met him.
As I walked towards the site, Dave’s workmates started cheering and we both sheepishly introduced ourselves. I had been psyching myself up all morning to ask him out directly, and now was my chance.
Me: “How’s it going?”
Dave: “Yeah good thanks, apart from getting hassled by the guys all day.”
Me: “Oh, I’m sorry! Well, sort of…”
Dave: “Hey, um, there’s probably something I should tell you.”
Me: “Okay, sure. What is it?”
Dave: “Um, I’m 16.”
Yep, that’s right folks. I was all ready to ask him out for a drink and he announces he’s only 16. Too young to even get into a bar.
Me: “Wow, okay. Why aren’t you in school?!?”
Dave: “I didn’t like it.”
Me: “Oh, fair enough. I didn’t like it either. Um, okay, well, I’m gonna go back to work now but it was nice meeting you.”
Dave: “Okay, see ya.”
Seriously, that in itself wasn’t too bad although extremely annoying and embarrassing, but then I had to do the walk of shame back into the office to update those waiting in anticipation. Sigh. I hid my face and told them what had happened. At first nobody believed me as they were convinced I had chickened out and was just using the age-thing as a cover-up. If only!
Well, as you can probably imagine I regretted the entire process once the floods of comments started…
“Hey Emma, you guys could go get a drink sometime – oh wait, he wouldn’t get into a bar”, or “Oh, don’t worry, at least you’d save money because he’d get into the movies with the child price”, and “You could hang out with him, if his Mum didn’t mind dropping him off”…it seemed I’d earned myself a reputation and to this day I have not lived it down. But did I learn from this and hone my suitability discernment? Only time would tell.