Every year, Matt and I host a party in honor of the NCAA tournament. It’s one of our favorite nights of the year, and Saturday’s extravaganza was no exception (despite the fact that West Virginia lost, which booted my bracket out of the running in my office pool). The best part of the weekend was that Jill, one my best friends from high school, came in town from New York. Everything’s more fun with an old friend, and Jill’s uber-supportive of my quest to find a new BFF. She’s also pretty supportive of my shopping habits, so I wasn’t surprised to find myself in J. Crew, and then Club Monaco, in search of the perfect hostess-with-the-mostess outfit.
While I was waiting in line to buy a shirt that may or may not have made me look like the Hamburglar, the woman in front of me complimented my curls and asked about my products of choice. If there’s one topic strangers talk to me about most, it’s my hair. I spent the majority of my life wearing my frizzy mop in a ponytail or half-up, but on my 24th birthday I found a curly hair specialty salon that taught me how to finally keep the corkscrews under control. Life changing.
So I told the register woman about Devachan, she told me that her seemingly straight hair is actually a mess of curls she blow dries straight every day, and I told her that the products I swear by (Devachan’s OneCondition and Set it Free) can be purchased at Ulta.
That was the entire exchange. But considering that she was chatty and I could talk about curl control all day, she had friend potential. I racked my brain for a sentence that would elevate our relationship. “I could show you a thing or two about curls,” sounds like some sick come-on from a B-movie. “Wanna come to my party???” makes me think of a 5-year-old blindly extending invitations to a clown-and-pony birthday show. I went with, “They have a green and white label. Look out for them.” She left. I totally botched it. Damn.
Two seconds later, the guy working the cash register asked me if I had any plans for the weekend. I said I was throwing a party. “What kind of party?”
“Oh, it’s a beer pong tournament.”
It’s true. Once a year we throw a college throwback fiesta (though the grown-up reincarnation involves protecting newly-painted walls and pregnant women playing with water). This fascinated Mr. Club Monaco. He asked my team name (“The Situation”) and how many teams there would be (about 15). He wished me luck in the big game; I accepted his good wishes. Only after I was halfway to the door did I realize that I’d had the perfect opening to extend an invitation. The second missed opportunity in a 5-minute span.
Jill says I need to work on closing the deal. She’s right, but how? Is there anything, for real, that I could have said to Curl Lady that wouldn’t have made me seem psycho? Or desperate? How could I have asked her out? And should I have extended an invitation to Mr. Club Monaco? Or is inviting a perfect stranger into your living room for drinking games the first stop on the crazy train?