Someone who reads my blog (a cookie to him) asked me to provide an example (I have many) of the festival of awkwardness that is coming out to strangers. I told him my favorite story is less of an awkwardfest and more of an inappropriatathon. He looked a little deflated when he said he thinks awkward stories are funnier.
Fear not, my friend, and read on.
A while back E and I were at a party with a lot of people who were meeting us for the first time. As is my fucking lot in life, I got trapped in a conversation with an Annoying Person. He was in his 40s, probably, and I think he lived in Manhattan, or perhaps Jersey, which may or may not explain some things. He was a triathlete (I know this because he spoke of it all evening), and was clearly taken with E and I, as he was hanging around us a lot, talking of his Iron Mans. I demonstrated some genuine interest in the conversation -- a colossal mistake, btw, when an annoying 40 year old man hangs about you and your wife and without having much of a reason to.
Annoying Person approached me *again* later in the evening and squatted down next to where I was sitting. He leaned in a bit, rather conspiratorially, and said: "So, do you know [insert female name here - let's say Phoebe McGee]?"
GS: "No. Why?"
AP: "Hm. Well, are you sure? Her name is Phoebe McGee. She's a lawyer at a law firm in New York."
GS: "Still not ringing any bells. Should I know her?"
AP: (slightly flustered) "Phoebe McGee. She works at a big law firm. I think it's downtown."
At this point I'm confused. Who is this McGee person? Why is he being so damn persistent? I'm terrible with names, so I was straining to remember this person that I must have met and now can't remember and I'm such an asshole for not remembering anyone I meet!
GS: (making an effort) "What's the name of her firm?"
AP: "Gee, I can't remember. It's a big firm, though, and I think she's a partner. I read about her in the paper. Her name is Phoebe McGee. Are you sure you don't know her?"
For the love of Stan, why does this guy keep repeating her name? He doesn't even know her -- he doesn't know the name of her firm or whether or not she's a partner. And did he just say he read about her in the paper? I was suddenly suspicious of Annoying Man. I looked at him blankly.
AP: (with desperation creeping into voice) "Yeah, she, um, has a partner, and I think she is a partner..." He trails off.
Ahhhhh. The many twinkling lights of understanding shine about my head.
GS: "Oh, I see. She's gay and she's a lawyer so you thought I'd know her?"
I cannot believe this just happened.
A) Why didn't he just say she's a lesbian? The conversation would have been over 5 minutes ago!
B) There are probably ten thousand lawyers in New York. This guy thinks that, what, 15 of them are gay? 20, tops? And we all know each other? And hang out? We probably meet up weekly to have gay parades together.
E is elbowing me ferociously in an effort to prevent me from saying something inappropriate. As if I could top this douche-bag.
GS: "No, I don't know her." In my effort to keep from laughing, I contorted my face into a frown.
AP: "Oh, really? Well. Okay." Without the frown he undoubtedly would have stayed and pressed on. But he took his cue and toddled off, not in the least sheepish. I think he even smiled and waved to me from across the room later on, probably as I was rolling out the door.
I was probably heading to the evening Gay Meet-Up.