“You? No! You weren’t in college!”
Of course I wasn’t shy in college. Nobody is shy in college. Everybody is drunk.
I told him that outside of situations where I’m pretty much forced to be social, I can be pretty shy and reserved. I’m not one to approach strangers, and I’m not one to make small talk for the sake of small talk.
“But you were a loudmouth in college. You never shut up.”
Right, and I was also a loud, obnoxious drunk.
I cited the perfect example of my shyness.
I had a huge crush on this girl in junior high. It was pretty pathetic, actually. I met her in sixth grade for the first time and instantly fell for her. She was in all of my classes, but she was completely out of my league. This girl was cute, smart, witty, and reserved. These are qualities most sought after by a 25-year-old, not a 12-year-old, but I was always told I was mature for my age.
(As a side note, at least I know I have good taste in women. She went on to an Ivy League education… and two national beauty pageants.)
In eighth grade, I finally convinced my parents that I could be trusted to go to my first junior high dance. These dances are not very big deals, as they were held once a month, and nobody actually asked anyone to these dances. This being my first school dance since I had chickened out of dancing with a girl I had a crush on in third grade, I was determined to make it memorable.
For most of the night, I sat on the sidelines of the cafeteria’s dance floor, shuffling my feet, like all eighth grade boys did (except the gay ones, of course). I had a whole ridiculous monologue in my head about what I would say to my crush when I finally got the nerve to speak up.
At last, I sensed that a slow dance was coming up soon. Sure enough, the DJ cranked up “I’ll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me)” by Expose. I knew it was my chance. I made my move, and walked across the dance floor and up to her. I took a deep breath, and started what could have been the most romantic line I had ever said at the young age of 12.
“Hi… I… I want to…”
And I walked away. I was a deer in the headlights. The song played, and she went to dance with another boy. I sat in a plastic chair, wiping the sweat off my brow, and still trying to find the words that completely escaped me.
To this day, I don’t remember what I was going to say. And today, I probably would have ended up doing exactly the same thing.
Unless I was drunk.
Previously: Junior High Report Card