I've been wondering whether it's best to hide your worst attribute until you're so involved in a relationship that it doesn't matter, or reveal it up front in the beginning to see if the girl takes it or leaves it.
I believe it's best to let it out later after the girl loves you so much, there's no way she can opt out of the relationship. I've learned this through my friend Margaret and one of her crazy date stories.
When Margaret got to New York from Richmond, she was an innocent wide-eyed southerner. She trusted everyone. She reminded me of Axel Rose in the Welcome to the Jungle video when he steps off the bus into New York City with the piece of hay hanging out of his mouth.
After Margaret broke up with her long-time boyfriend (he's a whole other story), she was a young vibrant 23-year old in the big city ready to meet people. She went on a number of dates, all with their own quirks. No quirk was better, however, than George's.
It was a strange day at work when it sounded as though a horse was galloping down the hallway on cobblestone. It was Margaret clomping in on gigantic six-inch cork heels and a skirt that barely went ¼ of the way down her thigh. Was it Halloween? I asked her what the occasion was for this getup:
"Ah gotta date…" she gushed.
I knew things were going to be interesting given her Springeresque garb, but I was not prepared for the wonderful little nugget I got the next day at work.
Margaret came in, visibly shaken. She had us all sit down and she recounted the date.
The first thing George had done was suggested that they take a walk on the West Side Highway. There are some good views from the highway, but what George didn't realize was that Margaret's 6-inch cork wedges were not meant for trailblazing scenic routes. Strike one: failure to be sensitive to wardrobe limitations.
After their walk they sat down to dinner. The waiter asked them if they wanted wine, and George ordered a white wine by the glass. Margaret did not like his wine choice and was definitely not happy with the by-the-glass approach versus a bottle. Strike two: poor ordering at dinner – no wine discussion, and small wine portions.
The two then went to a bar where George proceeded to get touchy feely. His hands were all over Margaret. So what did she do? Naturally (even with two strikes so far) she made out with him at the bar. They went outside and continued making out even though Margaret continuously punctuated her story with:
"Jo-wuj (Southern for George) was so gross!"
George walked Margaret home. Now was her chance to get away. She had not had a good time and thought he was disgusting. What followed was certainly logical:
George: "Man, I have to catch up on The Office. I haven't caught the last two episodes." Margaret: "Well, ah got 'em all on Tivo. Come on upstay-uhs, and we can watch!"
Now, I've heard of Southern hospitality, but come on. How does George screw up continuously and still get to makeout and make it up to the Margaret's apartment? Turns out that Margaret was even more innocent and naïve than I thought.
Once in her apartment, Margaret began shuffling around and setting up the Office episodes. And then, something happened that accelerated the date to epic proportions:
George, with no request from anyone in the apartment, completely on his own accord, removed his shirt while sitting on the couch.
Margaret finally caught on: guys are always on the prowl for action, and always think that getting into an apartment means action (unless they are lame like me and they are just after pink hairspray).
I wish the story ended there, but it didn't. Margaret noticed that there, growing like vegetation on the African plane on George's back, was the thickest pelt of back hair that she had ever seen. She later explained that she was both disgusted and scientifically interested at how something like that can even occur on a human back.
Finally, Margaret had had enough.
"Ahm really getting' todd, George. Yo-uh gonna have tuh go now." (I'm really getting tired, George. You're going to have to go now.)
With that, George was off into the night, back hair breezing in the wind like wheat fields in the Heartland.
There were many theories why George chose to remove his shirt with absolutely no cue:
1.Who needs cues with someone as naïve as Margaret? George had been screwing up all night and Margaret kept letting him makeout with her and invited him up to her apt. Might as well keep going until you're rebuked.
2.Margaret did give cues—just all the wrong ones. Perhaps George was reading the signals, and naïve Margaret was leading him to believe that he really could get action so he took off his shirt to get started.
3.(I believe this theory) George has been aware of his back jungle for years. He knows at some point the girl's going to see it, or stroke her hand through it in the dark. Why not get it out in the open: "here is my back hair. It's my worst feature. If you can handle this, we are good to go. If not, at least I wasted no time"
There were so many things wrong with Margaret's story. Despite George's back, his poor behavior on the date, and general creepiness, Margaret had the nerve to say:
"Ah thought things wuh lack college. Yuh know? (I thought things were like college, you know?)
I thought to myself. No, Margaret. This is New York City. This is not your small liberal arts school chock full of 5,000 privileged kids where your date might pass out in the common room and you can all laugh about it the next day. Luckily, Margaret has sharpened up since then.
I did learn that hiding your worst traits upfront might be the best way to go from this little tale. I also learned I should be going for just-out-of-college Southern girls who just stepped off the bus in NYC: even my cluelessness would have a chance.