Since my last story was about a time when I was such a social embarrassment that I messed up a simple food order, I’d like to follow that up with one about when I was perfectly competent at ordering my food, but still managed to be extremely awkward. In order to do so I’m going to take you back in time, to an age where I was, against all odds, even less aware of how the world works than I currently am. It may seem surprising, but I wasn’t always as cool and put-together as I like to imagine I am now. To put it bluntly: Lil Ryan was an idiot.
I honestly don’t remember how old I was, but I remember that it was right about when I stopped thinking girls had cooties and started noticing that many of them made me feel fuzzy and act slightly dumber than usual, so I was probably around 23 at the time (that’s a joke, ladies). I still wasn’t quite sure why, but I knew at the time that I wanted these beautiful women I was suddenly noticing to also notice me and hopefully be (inexplicably) impressed with me. But what could I, Lil Ryan, possibly offer them to be impressed with? Certainly not by regaling them with my many tales of epic victories in Pokemon battles. No, these ladies were far too sophisticated for me to bring up my Squirtle around them. Perhaps I could impress them with my more empathetic side by telling them how meaningful it was for Goku to sacrifice himself in the latest episode of Dragon Ball Z (shut up). No, that probably wouldn’t work either. Maybe that hilarious new knock-knock joke I’d heard? Ha! She probably isn’t sophisticated enough for that one. What did I have?
What I ultimately settled on was equally simple, brilliant, and stupid. I would impress these beautiful women by being extremely polite. Now, before anyone says, “That’s cute! Lil Ryan was trying to impress the girls by having manners! What’s wrong with that?” let me explain that Lil Ryan (grade school age) was trying to impress women that were in their 20s. By saying “please” and “thank you.” And the places I was most likely to see these beautiful women that I was trying to impress were the restaurants that they were waitressing at while I was out to dinner with my family. So, let me phrase this perfectly for you: Lil Ryan was trying to convince 20-somethings into falling madly in love with him by being the most polite grade-schooler they’d ever seem, while I ordered chili cheese fries (without onions…in case they wanted a kiss)
Eventually, I became extremely well spoken and adept at perusing menus and reading confidently my choices of sides. Regardless, smiling politely and saying “May I please have another Mountain Dew?” never achieved quite the level of seduction that I had hoped. Honestly, I’m not sure what’s weirder; the fact that my stupid child brain thought this was a good plan, or the kind of woman that this idiotic mojo would have actually worked on. If it had worked, I’d probably be married to some 40-something right now and have way more emotional scarring to work through. And she probably wouldn’t find me attractive anymore now that I have (some) adult features.
I still try to be extremely polite when I order food anywhere, but these days I’m aware that I have no chance with the waitresses. I guess that’s better than some guys I know who are still convinced that the Hooter’s waitress isn’t working for tips and was actually spending the whole night hoping that guy who just downed 40 wings and made a fart joke would ask for her phone number.