We don't just label objects, we label each other, and it's usually to imply possession of someone else. My favorite band, my friend, my puppy, my neighbor, my boyfriend. We do this in order to connect with other people but also to let the world know: this person is mine. Even when there isn't possession implied, we still label to create order in our heads.
I do this with the people I date. I give them nicknames in order to help other people keep track of the men in my life - actually, one time my sister said she needed a spreadsheet in order to keep them all straight, and as a joke I created one for her, complete with real name, nickname, status, and explanation of why it didn't work out. It was actually pretty funny and a pre-cursor to this blog. This long list of names isn't so much a testament to my status as a player or man-eater but rather, a testament to the fact that I have been on way too many first dates (or have had too many crushes, as this list includes them as well).
The names are usually based on some sort of characteristic or trait that the person possesses, or his profession. The unfortunate thing is that when I talk about these people using their real names, no one knows who they are, but when I use the nickname, it's suddenly clear who the person is. Some of the funnier ones are as follows:
- El Gigante (not what you think, perverts)
- The Soldier
- The Drummer
- The Other Drummer
- The DJ
- LA Guy (not to be confused with California Michael)
- The Engineer
- The Physicist aka Astro Boy aka The Rocket Scientist
- Old Guy
- Fun Flirty Friend
- The Coach
- The Mover aka The Knucklehead
- The Water Dog
- Weird Walgreens Guy
- The Poet
- Young Trouble
- The Twilighter (yes, I stopped dating a man because his favorite movie was Twilight)
There is one more nickname, one that I've been saving. One that is so funny that the story is going to stretch over two posts because it's sort of a long story, and as many of my closer friends know, one of the most notorious experiences of my dating life. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:
Beer Can In The Shower Guy
I met Beer Can in the Shower Guy (or Beer Can for short) in the spring of 2008. When we met, I was just a few months out of a relationship and not looking for anything serious. I'm lying. It wasn't that I didn't want a relationship; it's that I knew fairly quickly that I wasn't interested in a relationship with him (reality is, however, that I wasn't ready to be in another relationship. Sometimes I wonder if I'm ready even now). For our first date, he asked me to meet him at a particular bar. I arrived first and realized that it was karaoke night. I called him right away, thinking he would want to go somewhere else. "I know, I'm almost there," he said when I told him, almost laughing, that it was karaoke night. Not only did we stay for karaoke but he sang "Looking For Love (In All The Wrong Places)" by Johnny Lee. I guess one could see this as cute, but I wasn't really into it, especially on a first date.
On the second date, he declared how much he liked me and said "so this means you're my chick, right?" Wrong. I was not interested in being his "chick." He was a nice enough guy, had a great job, a house, no kids, but there was a lot that was missing (see the Peter Baca list). One, he and I didn't enjoy the same hobbies. He is an avid bowler (league and all) and I can barely bowl a 30. No biggie, I don't need to be included in all of his hobbies, but he made this face when I told him my musical tastes (hip hop) and that I love to go dancing. He informed me that he was not much of a people person and didn't like to go out; he said he preferred to stay home when he wasn't at work (or bowling). Don't get me wrong, sometimes staying home with a good movie or a TV show or other forms of entertainment are just the ticket, but I am also a social person and I like being out, and I like when my partner is there with me.
It wasn't just that, however. His whole vibe felt funny to me. The fact that he was ready to make me his chick on the second date made me feel uncomfortable, and it was pretty clear that my interests and activities didn't sit well with him (I never slow down, but more about that later). Although we didn't seem to have a lot in common, I did like certain things about him - his sense of humor, he was respectful and handsome. I wasn't paying attention to the big picture; I wasn't paying attention to the fact that our lifestyles were completely different - all of our interests were completely different and looking back, neither of us were willing to change.
There was even bigger problem looming on the horizon, however, but that's a story for next time...
Next time: Part Two