A few years ago, when we were living in Deseret, we were visiting its capital where there was a guy talking about… well, I can’t remember what now but I heard every word. He was very loud. Someone at another table commented, also with a voice loud enough that I could hear, “You know, there’s one at every table.” I laughed, they saw me, our tables acknowledged each other, and we all collectively rolled our eyes at the really, really loud guy at the other table. Ever since then, “There’s one at every table” has become a staple of the sort of long-term couple private dialogue that occurs between Clancy and I.

Clancy and I were eating out at a restaurant on our move out here to Arapaho when there was one at the booth behind us. It was a guy talking about… well, everything. He was talking disapprovingly about sluts and waxing philosophical about the failures of his generation and the poor prospects of marriage out there because of all of the sluts. To be fair, he was disapproving of guys that sleep around a lot, too, though I don’t remember what word, if any, he used to describe them.

He was sitting at the booth behind Clancy and was alone with a young woman. He looked to be somewhere in his early-to-mid thirties. He apparently dated a girl for quite a while. One night, she went to a party that he didn’t go to because he had to work and the next day she broke up with him. He thinks that she had perhaps been unfaithful. He thought she was a promiscuous sort – or at least had taken a step in that direction while he was working. That seemed to be his defining story. He talked about her alot.

The young woman was more attractive than he was. She wasn’t stunning, but looked like of like Aubrey Plaza with less even skin. He was a stocky – but not fat – fellow. But he was kind of funny looking. Sort of like his face was put together by an 8 year old on one of those rudimentary face making applications on the web. His nose was a little too big. His eyes were a touch too close together. Something… off. Not ugly, just… ah, well, the words escape me.

And there was something about how his story, and the way he told it, and the way he looked, and the way he looked while telling it, all failed to match up quite right. It sort of felt like the guy was trying to invent a personality and was failing. It was impossible to tell whether he was on a date with the Aubreyesque young woman or whether it was just a dinner out between friends, but he seemed to be putting on a show of sorts. Either trying to get a date or a second one. In a Michael Scott sort of way, he struck me as a guy with a certain, sad darkness in him trying like hell to compensate and just be… normal. Not even spectacular. Just normal. Well, sometimes to be impressive and sometimes to be normal. You get the feeling that at first he wants to be accepted but then the second he is, he wants to be admired.

She got maybe 100 words in all night. The conversation was completely and entirely about him. Not just his previously failed relationship, which itself took up half the conversation, but about his thoughts of sluts, sexual promiscuity, marriage, and so on.

After we left, Clancy and I speculated as to whether it was a date or not. She said it sure came across to her like one and I couldn’t disagree. I said that if it was a first date, though, it was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. I then cited that in addition to being something of a bore, he also completely overlooked the cardinal rule about never dominating the conversation too much or talking too much about yourself on the first date. She and I related some of our experiences. I talked about a couple of opportunities that I really fouled up. She told me about a couple of dates that couldn’t end soon enough for her.

She also told me about several years ago with this one guy she’d recently met that drove her to Pontchartrain once who wouldn’t stop talking the entire way and how she thought, “Gosh, this guy sure talks a lot.” Thankfully, she said, it didn’t stop her from eventually marrying the guy.


Category: Downtown

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6 Responses to Voices Carry

  1. Peter says:

    It could just be that the picture of Aubrey Plaza at the Wikipedia link is a really really poor one, but if the man was stranger looking that the A.P. lookalike, people must avert their eyes at the sight of him.

  2. stone says:

    “The conversation was completely and entirely about him. Not just his previously failed relationship, which itself took up half the conversation, but about his thoughts of sluts, sexual promiscuity, marriage, and so on.”

    Talking about yourself is one thing. Some people like to take the passenger seat in the conversation. But disparaging the opposite sex? When you’re trying to *impress* someone of the opposite sex? Always a bad idea. Bad idea to talk about past romantic failures, too, especially if you’re blaming the other person.

    Yes, I’ve had meals like this, where the guy’s line seems to be “Look how poorly I’ve been treated by your gender, aren’t you going to make it up to me?” The blueprint is it’s something that *might* become a date (dinner between acquaintances) or a setup between two people who don’t really know each other. If it were a real date, between two people who already knew each other, she’d probably know his backstory already.

  3. Kirk says:

    I recently saw the movie Funny People, in which Aubrey Plaza has a role. Two viewings and six beers couldn’t get me through the movie, yet I liked Aubrey.

    (I wasn’t surprised to find out it was a Judd Apatow flick. I don’t care for most of his stuff.)

    As for the list of roles she was in, “Girl with Massive Head Wound,” looks interesting.

  4. Maria the Lurker says:

    Obviously, the guy was a reader of the “roissysphere”.

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    Maria:
    4.Obviously, the guy was a reader of the “roissysphere”.

    On the contrary, it’s quite obvious that he isn’t. Admitting to—and whining about—having been cheated on? Disparaging promiscuity (to someone he was presumably trying to get to have sex with him)? Going on and on about an ex-girlfriend who broke up with him? This is Beta of the Month material.

    Peter:
    Yeah, that’s an awful picture. First thing I thought when my eyes drifted from the picture down to the biographical data was, “25? Really?” Here’s a better one. I still wouldn’t call her beautiful, but she’s not unpleasant to gaze upon.

  6. Maria says:

    On the contrary, it’s quite obvious that he isn’t. Admitting to—and whining about—having been cheated on? Disparaging promiscuity (to someone he was presumably trying to get to have sex with him)?

    I meant “whiskey” specifically. 🙂

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