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Awkward Moments in Dating: The Public Argument

January 29, 2018

(image via wikimedia)

I dreaded going back to work the Monday after my awkward date.  I didn’t think my coworker with the bland name would make a big deal about our mishap (you can start reading about it here ) because she was higher up in the company than me and had more to lose.  I figured she would just pretend the whole thing had never happened.  Maybe she would stick me with an unpopular project, but I didn’t think she would try to get me fired or anything like that.

The next Monday, _________ (remember, I don’t want to use her real name) and her friends left for lunch without me.  They worked on a different floor, so there would have been no way for me to know they had left, and we didn’t have cell phones back then, so I couldn’t call, but I wouldn’t have anyway.  I figured she needed a few days to let the effects of my perceived insult wear off and maybe we could work things out.  On Wednesday that week, I ran into ___________ (unplanned on my part), and our banter seemed to be back, so I was invited to the group lunch the next day.

At first, I thought that was a good sign.  We ate at a crowded restaurant, and five of us were squeezed around a square table for four.  I like a quiet spacious place when I eat, so I felt a little uncomfortable with the elbow collisions and the butts brushing against the back of my head as people kept bumping behind me.  Despite all the noise, I made a couple humorous comments with my monotone delivery, and my coworkers laughed.

Everything seemed back to normal when __________ said: “I still don’t understand what’s wrong with my name.”

I pretended I didn’t hear.  I didn’t want to take the bait.

“Who said there was something wrong with your name?” a male in our group asked.

“Jimmy,” _______ said.  “He said he didn’t like my name.”  She said it with a thin smile and direct eye contact right at me.

“I didn’t say I didn’t like your name,” I explained, the exasperation from Saturday night returning.  “I just said it didn’t fit you.”

“Your name is beautiful,” a red-headed female coworker said to _________, but I could tell she was lying.  Nobody would say ___________ was a beautiful name.  Maybe it has meaning.  Maybe it has tradition.  Maybe it’s somewhat standard in some cultures, but it’s not beautiful.  Nobody would say  __________ was a beautiful name except to get on __________’s good side.  But I couldn’t say that, at least not with ________ there.

“There’s nothing wrong with your name,” I said.  “I never said the word wrong.”  There she was, rephrasing me again.

“Your name is Jimmy,” she said.  “That’s juvenile, but I don’t say bad things about it.”

“Jimmy is a nickname for James, and James is Biblical,” I said.

“Maybe I’m not a Christian,” she said.

Crap, crap, crap.  I never should have brought up religion.  I had no idea what _____________’s religious affiliation was (or if she even had one), and we had never discussed it, and I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to be discussed, but if it were going to be discussed, this wasn’t the way to start it.  We were at the curiosity stage of our dating, and we weren’t serious enough to delve into religion yet.

Thankfully, I didn’t say, “Nobody’s perfect.”  I’m not that dense.

Instead I said, “Neither am I.  Kind of.”

I wasn’t going to church at the time, but nobody else knew that, so my comment probably made no sense to them.  I was hoping we’d talk about something less personal than __________’s name or religion, something like weather or sports.  I would have even talked politics.  Any other topic would have been better than discussing ___________’s name.

“I like my name,” she said.

I was starting to really hate her name.  I was embarrassed that we were having this disagreement in front of coworkers.  I don’t like conflict; public conflict is even worse, but the absolute worst is arguing in front of people you know.  I was taught not to do that.  Growing up, my family presented a united front in public, but once our front doors were closed, we’d destroy the house.

“Hold on,” the redhead said excitedly.  “Are you two dating?”

“No,” I said.  If this got out, it would be worse than arguing in public.

“That’s really cool,” the red head said, ignoring me.  She turned to ___________.  “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Can we talk about this later?” ___________ said.

The red head laughed.  “Leave Jimmy alone about your name,” she said, reaching out to touch my wrist.  “He was complimenting you, in his own way.”

“Finally, somebody understands me,” I said.  “But we’re not dating.”

“Right,” the redhead barely said before changing the subject.

The redhead didn’t fool me.  I knew she would remember that __________ and I were dating, and I knew we were going to hear about it again.  And I knew nothing good would come from this.

To be continued in Awkward Moments in Dating: Office Talk.

Or you can start at the beginning at Awkward Moments in Dating.

From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. best not continue. date another.

  2. what an idiot she was. She clearly wanted everyone to know you two were dating. No one pulls that “fight in public” crud without an agenda.

  3. I want to know her awful name!

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