the belcher, the bouncer and the bumpkin

three b'sWhen you live in a college town, you encounter a lot of college-age males. I’m not going to make a sweeping generalization and say that all of these males suck, but I’m going to throw it out there that after four years of primary research, 85 percent of college-age males do indeed (suck).

It’s not always a heartbreaking, mascara-stained pillowcase kind of suck, either (although those are the absolute worst). No, usually it’s the kind of suck that leaves a girl, like my roommate or me, wondering on what planet certain behavior is appropriate. Don’t believe me? I present to you the three b’s: the belcher, the bouncer and the bumpkin.

1. The belcher: There I am, in a college bar. I am upset over a guy, and Maddie has forced me to come out from the comfort of my oversized t-shirt and couch and into the land of dark, smoky rooms and too-loud music. After a few minutes of typical across-the-room eye contact and a grin or two, the belcher came over. He struck up a conversation with the unsurprising question: “What are you drinking?” He earned low marks on his approach, but I gave him a shot anyway. Things are going well—he seems fairly smart and likable and invites Maddie and me to play pool with a friend and him.

But before we moved toward the pool tables, he burped. Loudly. In my face. Stunned, I laughed, fanned my face and waited for him to apologize. But no apology came. In fact, he was amused by his own burp. At this point, I questioned whether I should “go to the bathroom” and ditch the belcher. I decided to continue what had been a marginally-stimulating conversation. Big mistake. Not five minutes later, he has struck again. This time, he said (and I kid you not), “Whoa! Thought that one was going to come out the other end!” I am appalled. I am mortified. I am too sober for this. I took Maddie’s hand and we headed to the “bathroom.” The belcher didn’t deserve a minute more of my time.

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2.  The bouncer: Occasionally, as girls, we have to use our feminine powers to charm the bouncers outside of a bar. Maddie is particularly good at this. Several months ago, she talked the bouncer into letting our friend Amanda into a bar. The bouncer believed that Maddie’s five-minute conversation was love at first sight. Maddie believed that she was simply getting a friend into a bar. The bouncer subsequently took every sighting of Maddie as a chance to “woo” her. On one occasion, he explained that he’d been told many times he resembled Arnold Schwarzenegger “in the body” and spoke in-depth about his workout regimen. As he told her this, with three of our friends looking on in amusement, he pinned her to the bar so that she was physically unable to escape from the gun show.

Another time, the bouncer told Maddie that he’d seen her on campus three months prior and she had not said hello. He was still upset about this. He explained that the only reason he let Amanda into the bar was Maddie…essentially, the bouncer tried to guilt Maddie into dating him. Needless to say, Amanda and Maddie have not been back to that bar together on nights when the bouncer is working.

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3.  The bumpkin: He wore a camouflage hat and a grin. As trivia ended, he, a participant of trivia, brought me a glass of the beer I had been drinking. “I have a bar tab,” I explained. “You drink it!” “No, I bought you this,” he said. “Even though I think it tastes like old, nasty General Chow’s Chicken.” I laughed nervously. “Well, thanks,” I said. I put the beer beside me on the table with no intention of actually drinking it.

“I’m from out of town,” he slurred. Oh my. “I don’t know how you’re drinking that terrible beer,” he said. I’m guessing he was more of a Bud Light man (this was New Belgium’s acclaimed La Folie). The next ten minutes consisted of him alternately peppering me with drunken questions and falling over himself at my feet. “You’re such a good trivvvvvia host,” he slurred. I shifted on my feet in discomfort as the bumpkin went to buy me “another of those nasty General Chow beers.” Enter Cody. I didn’t know Cody, but, seeing the situation, he put his arm around me and called me ‘babe’ as the bumpkin returned. I thought certainly that the bumpkin would retreat after seeing that another man had moved in on his woman, but he instead took the opportunity to shake Cody’s hand and tell him how vital it was that he proposed to me that evening, even if I did have poor taste in beer and music. (I guess he didn’t like the Mumford & Sons I had been playing during trivia.)

Eventually, after I said six times (literally), “Well, it was nice to meet you…have a good night,” the bumpkin allowed me to leave, hand-in-hand with Cody (or in the style of this blog post, the boyfriend). We exited the bar and I hugged Cody, thanking him for his dutiful service. I hauled butt home and never looked back to see if the bumpkin was chasing after his true love. Note: I’m terrified that the bumpkin may return to trivia this week as this incident happened this past week. Stay tuned to see if a sequel to this story unfolds in which an actual marriage proposal takes place.

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Separate from these long, exhausting interactions, there have been countless isolated incidents. There was the man who growled out the passenger car window as he drove past us and then opened the car door to lean out and shout from the moving vehicle how beautiful he found Maddie and me. I can’t forget the creeper from a bar who hit on Maddie and Ada while I stood by, laughing, because he had met me and used the exact same lines a day earlier at the library. And of course, there was the guy who strategically scheduled a first date with me for early in the evening so that he could make it home in time to watch a certain sporting event (and he let me know this as our waitress “took too long” to bring the bill).

I feel like I should say, all of this hasn’t been shared to humiliate the aforementioned guys; they did that to themselves. I just get a good laugh every time I think about one of these stories and thought maybe I’d give others a chance to laugh at my misfortune. If you’re a guy reading this and you believe you’re in the 15 percent of college-age males who don’t suck… Good for you. Keep your burps in, your muscles to yourself and your beer commentary to a minimum. You’ll be just fine.

listen and rethink

RethinkGNV_Logo_Primary2ColorToday I had the privilege of attending Rethink GNV.

You should know, I’m an auditory learner—I learn best and most not from doing or seeing but from listening.  So, when I got the chance to sit all day in a cool, comfortable auditorium listening to smart people say inspiring things…you could say that was my idea of a great day.

I had some takeaways from this awesome event that I want to share in the hopes that maybe just one will resonate with you the way that it did with me.  In fact, some of these concepts are burning in my mind so fiercely that I find myself sitting in a Starbucks less than a mile from the event venue writing this post.  It simply couldn’t wait!

1. Antonio Neves: There are two kinds of people in this world: thieves of ambition and allies of glory.  Allies of glory cheer for you.  They celebrate your successes and they tell you yes, you can.  Be an ally of glory and surround yourself with them.

2. Jessica Ekstrom: 30 seconds is the perfect amount of time for your passion to talk.  There is no time for pros/cons or budget spreadsheets.  When an “aha” moment comes, utilize that 30-second window to conclusively decide to act.

3. Greg Reid: You’re the same person you’ll be in five years, except for the people you meet and the books you read.

4. James Robilotta: Role models are tangible and transparent.  Heroes are fake and aloof.  We love role models for their strengths and their struggles.  Heroes are egocentric and while they spend a lot of time “working,” they don’t actually get much done.  Our workplaces need more role models and fewer heroes.

5. Nick Friedman: Does McDonald’s make the best hamburger in the country?  No, but they make the most consistently mediocre hamburger in the world!  No, customers don’t want mediocrity, but they do want consistency.  Deliver reliable results every time.

6. Charlie Hoehn: Life is a series of opportunities to have your own fun.  Don’t let a drive for productivity or “success” leave you an anxiety-ridden mess.  Decide to allow yourself to have guilt-free fun in everything you do.  Success—when it comes at the cost of debilitating stress and feelings of inadequacy—is not worth it.

What ultimately clicked into place today (that I’ve heard many times before but has gone in one ear and out the other) is that there will never be an easy or convenient time to go after what you want.

Jessica Ekstrom put it well when she said, “It’s not about what we dream; it’s about what happens when we wake up.”  So, today is the start of a new chapter: of going after what I want, and knowing that I want it more than I am afraid of it.  Stay tuned.  I’ve got a running regimen to keep up with and a novel to write.