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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, April 21, 2008

What not to say to someone you're just getting to know

It's been a while - or a Hwhile as Meg Griffin might say - since we've discussed a specific element of Burnettiquette.

Sometimes it's hard to talk about, because you want to believe the average person possesses the basic common sense to, as Grandma Rosa says, not "act (like) a fool!"

Occasionally though, I'm reminded that belief is just wishful thinking.

So I was riding the people mover in downtown Miami about 30 minutes ago, on my way back to the newspaper with a court file I'd gone to pick up for an article. I had five stops to go.

At stop number one, a young man steps into the car and looks around. His eyes light up when he spies another young man a few feet away. He approaches. The other guy lifts his eyes. A second of recognition and then they laugh.

I'll call 'em Guy 1 (who was already on the train) and Guy 2. So Guy 2 says "Yo! How you been man? I haven't seen you since (indecipherable) party. I was thinkin' after that 'Yo, that guy was cool. I could probably hang out with him, you know just kick it'."

Now, let's pause for a moment: I know some of you will think this is a tale of failed bromance. But it isn't. This is more along the lines of the guy who is clueless enough to ask a first date if he can touch her.

Moving right along, Guy 1 nods enthusiastically, indicating he felt the same way about Guy 2.

For a couple of minutes they engage in small talk. By the third train stop the conversation shifted. Guy 2 asks Guy 1 if the latter had seen a certain young woman lately.

"Not since the party," Guy 1 says.

Guy 2 nods thoughtfully and then says "You know I heard she was a freak, right?"

Guy 1 grins coyly - as guys who really don't know are wont to do in order to keep up appearances - and nods. Then he volunteers "You know we texted each other for a minute after that party. Yo, she was sayin' all kinds of stuff, like she wanted to get with me. I might have to, you know..."

Guy 2 giggles and exchanges a cool hand shake with Guy 1. We've just passed the fourth train stop. One more to go.

They both chat for another minute about their sexual prowess and the humongous number of women they've turned down.

We're at the final train stop. Guy 1 and Guy 2 step off the train. I follow. Not 'cause I'm trying to eavesdrop, but because I happen to be walking the same direction.

At the bottom of the stairs, right before they step onto the sidewalk, Guy 2, wearing a "Hey, I just got a bright idea!" look, turns to Guy 1 and says of the alleged freak "You know, we could probably both get buck naked and (hook up) with her at the same time!"

Verrrrrrry pregnant pause. Like a vacuum. Like when a fighter jet passes overhead and breaks the speed of sound, and you have that moment of weird serenity, before the sonic boom follows.

Guy 1, face screwed up in horror - maybe mock horror, but it didn't look like it, sidesteps the playful punch Guy 2 has just thrown at his shoulder and snaps "Man, somethin's wrong with you. I don't know you like that!"

Guy 2 looks stunned and remains flat-footed as Guy 1, looking furtively over his shoulder to make sure Guy 2 isn't following, stalks off toward a nearby college.

I suspect these two will not be hanging out or kickin' it anytime soon.

Some things are not good conversation for budding friendships. And if you don't get it, please let me advise you to not:
  • ask the slightly paunchy checkout woman at the grocery when she's due, unless you are 100% certain she's pregnant,
  • tell your new would-be girlfriend on a second date that she should perform certain acts with you...and soon, because your last girlfriend did,
  • ask your new gal pal to accompany you to divorce court, so you can lean on her while you do battle with your soon-to-be-ex husband.
  • tell your new pal that you have a rash,
  • or tell your new pal that he shouldn't worry 'cause your foaming at the mouth will stop as soon as your meds kick in.

Keep "too much, too soon" in the back of your mind, and you should be safe from Guy 2-type mistakes.

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  • I'm giggling - just because recently a friend of mine was in a similar situation. She said, afterwards, she thought maybe she should start wearing a t-shirt that listed all the things she wasn't "into". This way - any awkward conversations would be immediately avoided.

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 7:07 PM  

  • This reminds me of what the last guy I dated said to me ... he said that if he was a female he would be a porn star. I was not sure if he meant that he liked sex that much and that it might be better as a woman to be receiving. But then I thought perhaps he's gay. I could not get past this comment and it made me question where such a relationship could go.

    By Blogger C, at 7:13 PM  

  • I am so happy that I haven't dated for over 30 years. I laid down the only iron clad law in the house that I expect to be upheld. Under no set of circumstances may my wife predecease me, and that's not negotiable. But please, keep writing.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:15 PM  

  • Oh, my.

    How very charming.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 11:48 PM  

  • Telling a prospective employer to watch you for signs of narcolepsy during the interview is also probably not a good idea.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 6:19 AM  

  • The thing about so-called Common Sense, I find as I get older, is it's increasing rarity.

    Otherwise I'm with CEO - so happy I haven't dated for over 30 years. These days it just sounds all so . . .

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 6:53 AM  

  • Karmyn, I'd buy a few of those t-shirts and give 'em out as Christmas presents.

    C, good call. If a guy tells you that as a woman he'd have lots of sex for a living, my unscientific brain would probably guess he is gay too. That's OK if he is, of course. But he may not make for a good hetero boyfriend for you, or anything.

    Monty, while I relish my relative youth, in many ways I envy couples who've been at it for decades. The further removed I am from the silly parts of my youth, the more at peace I find myself.

    HeartsinSanFran, I would have used a different word. But "charming" works too ;>)

    Sarc, that's right too. I wouldn't brag about narcolepsy to the prospective boss. Might be a deal breaker.

    Bronchitikat, like I told the CEO, I envy you guys.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:29 AM  

  • Isn't it amazing the topics people will discuss out in the open . . . in public . . . where other people can hear them??


    By Blogger SWF42, at 9:55 AM  

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