Yara Farran / The Silhouette

 

And on the second day, God created soul-crushingly awkward conversation followed by intense staring competitions and jilted laughter.

It’s these uncomfortable interactions that form the basis of many people’s social apprehension. These fears are further magnified when forced into the infamous, “Should I say ‘hi’?” quagmire, where you end up battling your greater sensibilities in a game of tug of war. While your big old heart is advising you to take the plunge and just say “hello,” your mind is forewarning of potential disaster. What if the person you want to say hi to doesn’t say hi back? What if they don’t see you? What if after this painful ordeal you end up sitting beside this person in class, and have to spend a whole fifty minutes pretending that nothing ever happened.

There are a few options to explore when faced with this existential dilemma, all of which have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The Stare

You spot your part-time BFFL on the other side of the walkway. She’s walking briskly. You’re deeply wondering. She’s cheer captain, while you’re on the bleachers (at most Marauders games, that is). As you near her, you decide to pull the classic stare – an intense gaze that is a daring hybrid between Blue Steele and a collection of Gary Busey’s mug shots.

Pros: The stare, although initially creepy, can be quite understated when mastered. By quickly scanning your friend’s eyes you can determine whether or not they a) see you, b) show a willingness to say “hi” or c) aren’t in an early stage of catatonia. If your friend checks all three boxes, then you are all clear to proceed to the “Hey you!” phase.

Cons: The stare scores high on the creep-barometer. Staring too long or too intently is problematic, especially when attempted in a highly populated area. Also, the stare can be misinterpreted. What may mean approachable and casual to you can mean scathing and judgemental to others. And if the stare is anything like the latter, you’re going to have some explainin’ to do.

The Smile

You’re making your way to the stairs and you discover your professor taking a lovely afternoon stroll. You’ve talked to him a couple of times, but you’re still unsure if he knows that your name isn’t Kent. You want to be professional and warm and cool and awesome, all while maintaining the small inkling of grace that you (kind of) inherited from your mama. So, naturally, as your professor nears, you fall back into option deux, the smile.

Pros: This is my personal favourite. The best thing about this approach is that if your professor doesn’t see you/remember that you’re actually not Kent from fourth-period Economics, you can brush it off and pretend that your smile was directed elsewhere. Anyway, smiles are just so darn awesome. They make people feel good. They make you feel good, and really isn’t this what this whole thing is about?

Con:  The smile is almost 100 per cent foolproof, however, you need to take the smile spectrum into account. The “smile spectrum,” you ask? It’s the best way to evaluate whether a situation is in need of a full on toothy grin, head nod and finger point or a mild, sweet smize (yes, smiling with your eyes, ladies and gents). However, if you don’t have five seconds to pre-plan your smile, or if you’ve had past blunders with the smile spectrum (Did you once lick your lips while greeting your Nan?) then this one might not be for you.

The Pass

You’re at the hottest night club in town and the DJ is playing your fave remix of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise.” You’re breaking it down in the middle of the dance floor, when suddenly you spot your ex-crush. You wonder whether or not you should say hi, or continue doing the electric boogaloo. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Pros: By taking a pass, you can completely disregard all potentially awkward situations and pretend that you didn’t just see the former man of your dreams slowly rapping alongside Coolio. Dance on, player.

Cons: Correction. Passing can actually be way more awkward and cause you to feel paranoid and worried all night. Plus, if you see this person again in the near future, ignoring them can cause permanent emotional scarring and a lifetime of strained conversation at the chip table.

Well, that’s all folks! You now have the three best techniques under your belt to battle this predicament. But at the end of the day, if the stare, the smile or the pass don’t work, you can always go the unconventional route and just say “hi.”

“Does this look good here?”

“It’s an acrylic painting of a naked woman wearing a dead boar on her back. It won’t really look good anywhere.”

“Funny. I like it. It’s going on the mantel.”

“Whatever. Put your little deranged painting up. My couch is going in this room. ”

“Seriously? You know my couch is way nicer.”

“You mean the “I’m too poor to afford a couch so I ransacked my neighbour at his wake?” couch.”

“God. Why did we even agree to move in together?”

“A) Rent was up for both of us. B) We didn’t have the income to live on our own. C) I think you’re really cute. ”

“All very valid reasons; specifically the last one.”

“Especially the last one.”

“Oh shucks, you flatter me. But, what is up with the music coming from the apartment above us? That guy is always playing the weirdest stuff.”

“I know. I hope we don’t have to deal with this forever. This morning he was playing Meatloaf...and I didn’t get it...I don’t want to get it.”

“I actually like Meatloaf.”

“You’re kidding?”

“I’m kidding.  Now kiss me.”

 

___

“This is probably the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, Lidja.”

“It’s not that bad.”

“You’ve known this guy for three months. THREE MONTHS. And now you’re living together in an apartment that only has one bathroom. ONE BATHROOM.”

“Look, it sounds reckless, but he’s actually great.  He doesn’t have a criminal record. He’s holding down a job and he’s finishing a double major. Plus, he makes me breakfast and lets me put up my art.”

“Wow! What a catch? Where can I get me a boyfriend like that? Ebay, Craigslist, Kijiji?”

“Shut up, we met at the shoe museum and we’re not even dating.”

“The shoe museum? That’s rich. I just can’t comprehend how you let this happen. Lidja meets Boy at shoe museum and after three months becomes roommates with Boy. Lidja also kisses Boy and cuddles with Boy and...”

“Thanks for being understanding.”

“Lidja, you’re my best friend and I want you to be safe. Just please... if he’s ever unexplainably hunched over your bed at night with like an eye-patch on...”

“Don’t worry Kimmie-Cakes. I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl. This is a transition period. We’re just trying to start over.”

 

 

 

“I’m sorry! I just can’t believe that “Rational Ravi” is bunking with a girl he just met.”

“You make it sound like we’re committing a crime Lewis.  We’re sharing a space together, while trying to advance ourselves during a tough time. That’s not a terrible idea. It’s actually quite ratio-”

“Do you know what her favourite movie is?”

“A tie between the Kill Bill trilogy and The Whale Rider...I think.”

“How about her favourite song?”

“Umm...something by Aerosmith?”

“Okay.  What’s her family like? Her friends? Who does she follow on Twitter?”

“This interrogation is unnecessary.”

“No it’s not. If you can’t tell me simple things like what her favourite song is, then how the hell do you know if she’s not like, the ghost whisperer or something? Do you want to be living in that kind of environment—with ghosts and shit?”

“You just got to side with me on this one. When have I ever been wrong?”

“How about now...I can hear you shamelessly blasting Air Supply.”

“Oh that. That’s the dude who lives a unit above us. He plays ridiculously loud music all day. Last night, we went through the full ABBA repertoire.”

“That’s rough. Maybe it’s a sign from the Gods telling you to get out now, before he starts playing Insane Clown Posse.”

“Too late.”

“Ouch.”

 

___

 “I love this window. It gives us the most amazing view of the city.”

“It’s a real selling point. If we have to survive with one bathroom, the view better be killer. That’s how I rationalized moving into this place, anyway.”
“See right there Lidja? I used to work at that building during first year.”

“Wow, that building is so big and corporate looking. Is that glass panelling?”

“Well, it was very corporate, and yeah that’s glass panelling. You notice the weirdest things.”

 

“You look...sad. What’s wrong?”

“There’s you, noticing things again.”

“No, really.”

 

“It’s just...from this height, the city looks so small and yet that building, it still looks... I don’t know. It was just an amazing opportunity. I want to work there one day, like, really work there one day.”

“The future is pretty ominous from our view. But hey, it can only go up from here.”

“We live on the eleventh floor Lidja.”

“And...”

“And, there are eleven more floors below us.”

 

 

“Is he playing Coolio?”

“Yep, that’s Coolio.”

“Damn.”

___

“So, you got braces in second grade?”

“Yep! Who makes their six year old kid get braces? I still had my baby teeth.”

“That’s bad, but not as awful as what Lewis’ parents made him go through in middle school.”

“Lewis?”

“Yeah, Lewis...my best friend.”

“Right! Lewis. Best friend since third grade? The guy you talk to on the phone for hours? That Lewis?”

“Yeah. I thought you knew who Lewis was.”

“I do know! I just had a little brain fail for a second. He’s the guy who comforted you when your dog died, and pretended to be your brother, so that you’d get the family discount at that falafel place...”

“Yep, that Lewis. You guys should really meet. You can bring Jill along. We can have tacos...Lewis loves tacos...and then watch whatever’s on Netflix.”

“Sounds like a ball, but who the hell is Jill?”

“You know...Jill.”

“The only Jill that I know is my orthodontist’s secretary. Let’s just say we don’t roam in the same social circles, so no, I don’t know Jill .”

“Okay, you fully know who I’m talking about—the girl who’s in all of your fridge photos. The one you call Kimmie-cakes, which I don’t understand, because her name is Jill.”

“Nope, it’s Kim. And wow at your awful attempt at covering up the fact that you clearly have no idea who my best friend is.”

“Fridge photos—the girl in the fridge photos.”

“And?”

“I don’t know what you really want me to say.”

“What about me and Kim? I know a lot more about Lewis. I could give you a semi-detailed description about your friendship with him.”

“Right. Two seconds ago, you didn’t even know who Lewis was.”

“At least I didn’t call him Renaldo or something.”

“Kay, I messed up her name, I didn’t run over her cat.”

“Kim doesn’t even have a cat.”

“Okay, now you’re picking a fight with me for no damn reason. It’s not like I’m the third best friend here.”

“Really Ravi, then what are you? If you’re not a best friend and you’re not a boyfriend. What are you?”

 

“I...I...I don’t know. I’m your roommate.”

“Stop. You are not my roommate. Roommates fight over who’s going to take out the trash; they don’t kiss and cuddle like we do. Even though you thought my painting was ugly, it’s still on the mantel—it’s the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment.”

“I don’t know what you’re saying Lidja.”

“I’m saying. If you’re not my best friend or my boyfriend or my roommate, then what are you?”

“Do you want me to tell you the truth?”

“Yeah, that’s what I was kind of hoping for.”

 

“I-I’m a stranger... and you are too.”
“I don’t think you mean that.”

“You just...don’t try to turn this on me. You know I don’t say things I don’t mean.”

“No, I didn’t know that. Should I just start asking you all of these questions?

“Ask away!”

“Fine. What’s your mom’s name?”

“Carol.”

“What is your favourite item of clothing? Please don’t say that crusty denim jacket.”

“Actually, that “crusty” denim jacket.”

“Fine. Do you own an eye-patch?”

“What? No. Why is that even a question?”

“Because it is. I’m a big girl and I can ask any damn question I want.”

 

 

 

 

“If you’re a big girl...then why are you crying?”

“I’m...I’m not.”

“Those are tears.  Please don’t cry.”

“He’s just...he’s just playing a beautiful song.”

“The guy upstairs?”

“Yeah, do you hear that?”

“Faintly. It sounds like a dying goat.”

“No, that’s Steven Tyler...”

“...Of Aerosmith. And the guy upstairs is playing I don’t want to miss a thing, your favourite song.”

“You knew that?”

“Of course. That was the song to your first slow dance.”

“Yeah. No guy had ever asked me to dance before and then this song came on, and all of sudden...I was dancing and it was awkward, but it was beautiful.”

“Can you please stop crying Lidja?”

“No, you knew my favourite song Ravi. I’m mad at you, but you knew my favourite song.”

“That’s important, isn’t it?”

“Yes Ravi, it is.”

“For what’s it worth I kind of like this song too.”

 

“Can you just hold me now?”

“Yeah.”

“Thank you roommate.”

“I’m not your roommate.”

“I know that.”

By: Yara Farran

 

There is no way to describe your first love. Words have no taste, images lack colour (and need written consent), and actions pale in comparison to the strong emotions churning in your knotted gut. How do you confess these feelings? How do you express them in a healthy, socially acceptable way that doesn’t end up in a night at the local jail? Navigating through a fandom can be extremely confusing and terrifying at times, but don’t worry, you are not alone!

DO join social media sites, such as Twitter and Tumblr (aka the Mother Ship). The best part of being a fan, other than enjoying the magical craft of insert name here, is getting to interact with fellow fans. Fans are usually the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. However, while some collect merchandise, others may collect hair clippings. Choose wisely.

DON’T abuse this power. Harry Styles does not care that you’re eating a hummus wrap. More so, don’t tweet him 27 times in a row that you’re eating a hummus wrap.

DO attend and take part in events/fan expos/street teams. To find out more, go on the official website/Facebook page of [insert name here].

DO find groups within the McMaster community that share your passion.  Case in point: The McMaster Quidditch club (praise be). The moment that you discover that a kid in your psychology class holds World of Warcraft tournaments in his basement is the best moment ever.

DON’T YOU DARE let this consume you. There are too many horror stories about fans that just went too far. Remember, there is life outside your fandom. Don’t spend every waking hour of the day watching One Direction interviews (guilty as charged), or distance yourself from your friends because Robsten is going through a messy breakup. With everything, you need balance. Find it.

DO ALWAYS be proud of your status as a fangirl/fanboy. Who cares if your friends think JBeibs sucks, or that Star Trek is “nerdy.” Fight the Daleks, get into your Bat Mobile (...or Honda Civic - your choice) and pledge to be the best fangirl/fanboy that you can be.

 

- Yara Farran

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