Tuesday, March 9, 2010
She's Out Of My League
I see this poster every day on a massive billboard at off Exit 36 on Rte 93. I'm not interested in the film, but the subject matter brings to light a phenomenon that's near and dear to my heart.
Once in every man's life, he ensnares a woman whose beauty dwarfs his own so massively that he loses grasp on reality. It is the stuff of music montages and animated birds and dance troupes. It is a waking dream. That is, until you inevitably crash and burn and your heart becomes a chew toy for Bagheera.
My own such experience didn't have quite the harsh trajectory, but that's because I exploded into flames so quickly after takeoff that I scarcely realized I was flying. It's funny in retrospect, but at the time it was all I could do not to stare into the abyss.
During one of the first days of freshman year at UNH, we were introduced to our fellow Chemistry majors. These people would be in all of our classes and labs for the next four years, and we looked about what you'd expect a group of 18-year-old Chemistry students to look like. All of us except Tina*. Tina was breathtaking, a fact I verified with a friend of mine when I remarked "She is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen" and she did not refute it. I crushed on her like nobody's business. In the tide pool of freshman year, Chemistry majors didn't interact considerably, but Sophomore year when there were 10 of us in an 8AM Quantitative Analysis lecture, we got pretty cozy. Within said coziness and spurred mostly by pure boredom, rudimentary flirting developed. This usually consisted of me scribbling on her notes while our Geppetto doppelganger professor leafed through his notes at the board. This evolved into pen stealing and games of tic-tac-toe. Not traditionally effective tactics, but in a room full of SERIOUS nerds, strangely endearing.
By sheer blind luck (for me, not her), we both found ourselves without dates on Valentine's day, and for reasons I still don't comprehend, I finagled a movie date at her sorority house. I don't remember the movie, I didn't watch the movie. I remember kissing her and fireworks that made the Fourth of July look like a weenie roast. Walking with her later that evening, her arm in mine, I distinctly felt like Bob Dylan on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
My friends were absolutely flabbergasted when I recounted this story, almost as much as I was. I felt like a Michael Jordan-Bono-James Dean-Ron Jeremy hybrid of awesome. I knew in the back of my mind that the clock was ticking, and that she probably was probably just lonely or rebounding off of a bad break-up or wasn't wearing her glasses when she puckered up, but nothing could bring me down. We spent more time together, this courting process culminating in an event that summarizes my complete boneheadedness better than I ever could.
One night, after a late movie, she invited me to stay over, which I obliged. Then, after a few hours of lying awake in her bed, I decided to go back to my dorm to get some sleep as we had a test the next day. I don't remember what I got on the test and whatever points I gained and whatever infinitesimal boost my GPA received from those 3 hours of sleep I got in my own bed are beside the point. When a girl asks you to spend the night, you spend the night. The whole night. It doesn't matter if you are on the floor, or in a shoebox in the closet. You can't sleep, so be it, but don't even think about going home.
Shortly after this transpired, we both went home for Spring Break week, and I effectively snuffed out the embers of the relationship by asking for her address to send her flowers during vacation. I thought (and still think) it would be cute; she did not. And that was that. The end. Finito. I had no say in the matter.
In retrospect, it was a matter of time. I could not conceivably maintain the level of cool I had somehow convinced her I possessed. That realization did nothing to stave off the waves of self-pity I enjoyed the rest of the semester, but is comforting now. If you are reading this and you've never dated light years beyond yourself, buckle up and tighten your boots, because she is coming. You will not emerge unscathed, and you will need a pride transfusion, but for a few seconds it will be wondrous.
*Name has been changed. Obviously.