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Awkward Moments in Dating: Clumsiness

March 21, 2018

(image via wikimedia)

When you date somebody at work, there’s a good chance it’s going to cause problems.  As soon as coworkers find out about the relationship, there’s going to be gossip.  If the relationship goes sour, there’s going to be friction.  And if you date a boss, there’s a good chance somebody will get fired.

________ wasn’t the boss, but she was a boss.  You didn’t mess with her.  I mean, you didn’t mess with her at work.  At any rate, she was pissed off at me because I told her that her name didn’t fit her (You can find out more starting here ), and everybody knew she was pissed at me.  Because of that, I was on the receiving end of some office talk.

This went on for about a week.  For a while, I was pretty sure I was going to get fired.  I never got called into an office for any reprimands, but I was pretty sure it was coming.  They wouldn’t fire _______ for the interoffice dating, even though she was the superior.  If I got called in, I wasn’t even going to pretend to have been intimidated into dating her.  I was going to go with the “just friends” approach.  Technically, we hadn’t gotten much further than friends anyway.  We had been about to go a lot further, but I had messed it up with the name incident.  I wasn’t sure the “just friends” would work, but I wasn’t going to blame her.

After a week or so, I started to relax.  I hadn’t been talked to, and if it hadn’t happened yet, I didn’t think it was going to.  I hardly ever even saw ________ anymore.  When we had run into each other, I tried to be polite, but she’d just glance away.  It wasn’t exactly a cold shoulder because she had plausible deniability.  She could always claim she hadn’t seen me.

One morning as I walked into the lobby, the first thing I noticed was that it was crowded and that _______ was there and that she had already noticed me.  She did the quick glance away, and I pretended that I hadn’t seen it.  I cursed myself for not getting to work earlier when I could have avoided her.

And then I tripped.

I didn’t fall, but it was a noticeable stumble.  I recovered my balance but then knocked a styrofoam cup of coffee off a couch armrest.  It spilled on the carpet, and everybody in the lobby had seen it happen.  The carpet wasn’t that nice or anything, but it had at least been clean.  I could tell from the way the coworkers were looking at me that they thought it was my coffee.  They thought that I had just seen the boss (the one whom I had allegedly been dating and had allegedly insulted), and they thought that I had seen her and gotten flustered and then tripped and then spilled my coffee.  Most of them didn’t know I could be clumsy under normal conditions.  Even though _______ and I had been out a couple times, I wasn’t sure if she understood that either.

“Doh!” I said, in a reflex Homer Simpson imitation.  This was back in the early 1990s, and Homer Simpson humor was still seen as new.  It hadn’t gotten old yet, and everybody recognized the reference, even if they never watched The Simpsons.  A few people laughed.

__________ grinned at me as I picked up the cup and looked around for a paper towel.  I thought about using my shirt sleeve.  Of all the times for me to stumble and knock over coffee, it had to be in front of her.

“That twig get you again?” she said.  She bent down with a couple napkins, and I wondered where she had gotten them so quickly.

“I hate that twig,” I said. “And why would somebody leave coffee on the armrest?”

“That was mine,” she said, extending the last syllable with guilt.

“Well, in that case it’s alright,” I said, understanding why she had the napkins.  I started soaking the napkin in the carpet. “I’m sorry I knocked it over.”

“It was office coffee.”

“Ha!  Then I did you a favor.”

We talked for about a minute, but I don’t remember much of what else we said.  I was just glad she wasn’t accusing me of saying she had an ugly name.

“The janitor can do this,” she said as she stood up.

“The janitor didn’t knock it over,” I said.  I was probably making the stain worse, but at least I wasn’t gawking.

“Well, I owe you another favor,” she said.  “Maybe one day I’ll pay you back.” She touched my shoulder and walked away.  I continued dabbing helplessly until a custodian showed up and I sheepishly thanked her.

And that was it.  After that, the office weirdness stopped.  All the awkward silences I got from entering a room were the normal awkward silences.  All it had taken was one positive interaction to clear up the air.  Nobody ever gave us funny looks when we were together.  We never talked about what had (almost) happened.  Instead, we had a bunch of appropriately friendly conversations about business matters.   _________ was promoted and moved to another office a few months later, but it had nothing to do with us.   As far as office dating goes, it could have ended a lot worse, but there were a few awkward moments in there.

I’m sorry this story wasn’t more dramatic.  That’s how life is.  Sometimes it’s just awkward.

This isn’t the only time that clumsiness has affected my dating life.  If you’re disappointed in this episode,  here’s a clumsy moment I wrote about a few years ago .   But I’ve had much worse moments, I promise.  I’m just building up to them.


Begin another awkward dating experience with Awkward Moments in Dating: The Ex-Boyfriend.

From → Dysfunctileaks

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