So, I’ve never actually been asked for my phone number by a complete stranger before. It’s never happened.
The closest I got was when I was 14 and I went to Medieval Times with one of my good friends and the guy working the souvenir counter slid a sheet of paper across the glass with his name and number on it. He had long hair and wore tights with Converse shoes. I dug it. I actually ended up calling him too, which got really creepy. Never mind the fact that I was in PA and he lived in MD, he has a girlfriend who he gave some sort of crystal gift to that he felt the need to tell me about, I was the most awkward teenager ever, I still hadn’t hit puberty and wasn’t aware of how to be a female, he said he didn’t like school and wanted to drop out, but I digress. It was only one phone call because it was too weird, by the way.
My dating history is vanilla at best, so imagine my surprise when I got asked for my number in the grocery store this week.
It started in the bread aisle, as these things often do, as I had glanced down at my list. I didn’t need bread and wasn’t entirely sure what I needed in the same aisle, but I figured I’d make a pass to jog my memory. As I pulled my cart to the side and started to dig into my pocket for the list, a boy approached. He couldn’t have been more than 13 or so.
“Excuse me, miss?” he asked.
“Do you go to Scranton High?”
“I’m sorry, no.”
[Insert long awkward pause]
“Oh, so, um…are you a grown up?”
This was now turning into one of the most awkward experiences of my life. What did this kid want? Maybe he thought he knew me from somewhere, which is fine, but the whole exchange was just so unexpected. After that, he walked to the end of the aisle and turned the corner. I went further down the aisle, then he returned.
“So, um…do you mind if I get to know you better?”
I thought for a second. I didn’t know what to say, so naturally, I said, “Okay, sure!”
What am I getting myself into?
“My name’s Jamal. I like to play basketball, go to the movies, read a lot, stuff like that.”
“Nice! My name’s Mandy. I like to read and watch movies also.”
Another long awkward pause.
“So, do you think you could give me your number and maybe I could call you some time?”
Oh. My. God.
WHAT DO I SAY TO THIS KID?!
I had to have turned about 50 shades of red. This whole situation just screamed uncomfortable. How do I let him down easy so that he doesn’t get depressed and drop out of school and blame the girl that he got up the stones to ask for her number but she said no because she was a grown up?! (This is what happens in my crazy brain. I still feel terrible about this whole thing.)
“I’m sorry, but no, as I’m quite a bit older than you, but it was very nice to meet you!”
He looked heartbroken.
I felt terrible.
I still feel terrible.
I wish I would have said something motivating before he walked away.
“Hey Jamal, keep your chin up! Keep reading!”
I really do hope he keeps reading and watching movies, though, because he seemed like a nice kid. You’re too young to be picking up girls at the Giant, buddy. Focus on school and you’ll find the right girl some day.