Apr

9

Blue & White: Should You Introduce Yourself?

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In a preview from the April issue of the Blue and White, Will Snider and Lauren Glover tackle this month’s At Two Sword’s Length pro/con debate: is it worth introducing yourself at a party?


Just stand still and don’t say anything. No introductions necessary. All I need to do is stare at you and try to stay awake.

You sure do talk a lot. It seems that your mouth hardly ever stops moving. Please, just be quiet for a minute and drink the Long Island I bought for you? You have nice teeth, though. I like that in a girl.

Oh, a psych major. Interesting. You’re convinced we had a lecture together last semester? I e-mailed you the day before the final to “compare notes”? Fascinating. Wait. Did you say “psych major”? I wonder if you’re trying to read my mind. You better not be trying to read my mind. That would be freaky if psych majors could read minds. Maybe they can. Maybe that’s why girls major in psych.

I’d better stop thinking.

You know, I would introduce myself. I would tell you that my name is Will and that I grew up in Maryland with a loving family and two dogs and a sprinkler. I would tell you I was an all-star little league pitcher who ate hot dogs and played the violin and drank lots of milk because Michael Jordan told me to. I would tell you I read the entire Redwall series with a flashlight after my mom told me to go to bed, that I played Warhammer in my basement. But the thing is, you’d rather I didn’t. You want me brooding and mysterious. You want to take me back to your room, sexile your mousy roommate, and listen to me talk about my goddamn poetry. I don’t even have any poetry. But I can pretend.

What’s your name again?  I like your hair. Maybe I’ll start to pet it. Maybe you’ll like that. I need an activity to help focus my energy so I don’t fall over.

Oh damn. It looks like I’ve spilled my drink on your pants. Hm.

Wait—I meant to do it. Yeah, I meant to spill my beer on you, because you like being disrespected (Didn’t The Game say something about that?). I can so do this. And then maybe if I slowly lean toward your face, we’ll start making out. Here goes.

Nope. Spilled again.

Now you look kind of mad, but I’ll just smile and laugh to defuse the awkwardness. At least you’ve stopped talking for a second.

I wonder if you secretly want to know my name.  Maybe you do. Maybe if I tell you my name, you’ll go ahead and kiss me, and we can go buy plane tickets to Mexico and sit on the beach and make love in a hammock and never go to Butler again. But maybe you’ll think I’m lame. I’ll just be some skinny white kid with a Brooklyn lager and an above average SAT score looking to lock lips and hips for a few early morning hours.  If I don’t tell you my name, I could be anyone. I could be a shipping heir. I could be a war journalist. I could be an NYU student. You like these fantasies. I know you do.

In the end, though, I won’t introduce myself because self-introduction is self-defeating. People worth knowing know other people worth knowing; they are always introduced. Besides—if I have to start talking, I’ll start sounding like the played-out econ major that I am. and then I won’t ever get to say I hooked up with Lauren Glover.

 


Hi. I’m Lauren Glover. What’s your name? I remember you from last semester. Weren’t we in—what? Where are you going? Come back! Come back here right now, young man!

I’m sorry. Was I too forward just then? Are we not on a last name basis yet? I’m sorry…It’s just, there are so many Laurens. And we’re all brunette and 5’4” and were born in the mid- to late 1980s, so I always…

Hey, what’s your problem? You look like you’re going to vomit into your beer. No? You’re fine? Then quit staring at me like I’m playing my guitar on the steps. Did you really just write me off because I introduced myself to you at a party?

Listen, buddy. I know your game. For you, words are for after you’re drunk enough to spill your drink on a girl and you need to apologize, in addition to helping her wipe off her pants. Introductions are for the walk back to your dorm, and then again, the next morning. And then again, when you realize she’s in two of your classes. And one last time, at the paternity trial.

You say you’re not that sleazy? So, you must be following a more elegant stratagem: the subtle, yet straightforward tactic of never introducing yourself to anyone, ever. If you’re introduced to someone, it’s never your doing, right? And it’s usually a mistake. She’s trying to talk to the guy behind you, ouch! You’re awkward. You’re so awkward. And you secretly love being so awkward, don’t you?

Oh my god, I hate you.

Though, you know, I used to be like that. I never wanted to go through the trouble of speaking to or looking at a guy if he was going to turn out to be unforgivably weird, or in a relationship. So I would carefully select a few informants, then conspire with my best friend, the Internet, and cull enough information to fill out a brief pre-introduction questionnaire. It went a little something like this:

1.  Is he single?

2.  Is he passably articulate?

3.  Legally-speaking, would he be considered mentally stable?

4.  But is he still neurotic enough to be interesting?

5.  Does he have a minimum of the following: bitter ex-girlfriends, drug habits, and Facebook applications?

Any single “no” on the questionnaire was a dealbreaker for a potential introduction. Too many risks. Mission aborted. Then, Back to the drawing board, namely Butler.  

So, yeah, I used to be like you. I used to be like you until I realized that, on the off chance that the rest of the world isn’t as socially stunted as the Columbia student population, I should probably start practicing actual social engagement with my peers. Now, here I am, desperately trying to chat with a stranger at a party, getting nothing but scorn in return.

But I don’t really blame you. Life here forces us into physically intimate situations all the time; I have gotten closer with strangers while navigating 1020 on a Friday night than I have been with any number of ex-boyfriends. We believe that survival in this cramped environment requires donning a prickly protective carapace. But would it really hurt us to make eye contact on occasion, a few more spontaneous introductions at parties? What’s the worst that could happen? Anything a little mace couldn’t dispatch? Anyway, sorry to moralize your ear off. I’ve got to go clean the booze off my pants. Nice to finally meet you, Will.

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13 Comments

  1. haha  

    REDWALL!
    memories.
    hahahaha. excellent.

  2. That  

    was so refreshingly hilarious and so Will.

  3. general selection times  

    are posted

  4. redwall!  

    my favorite is mattimeo.

  5. sadia  

    so great. ultimately, i'm with lauren.

  6. well,  

    the long patrol definitely owns all. but a close second = lord brocktree. oh yes.

  7. this  

    was really cute. i'm a fan.

  8. nice

    well said - you somehow managed to capture the essence of the social "scene" at Columbia

  9. Redwall  

    Is a huge part of my childhood. I always wanted to know what Meadowcream and those yummy cheeses tasted like.

  10. and also  

    this rocked. it kind of reminded me of what it would be like if the blue and white had a blog.

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