My Dignity Died in the Lunch Line

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The proverbial “Chase” for women is a past-time that has plagued men since the beginning of time. With the outcomes more often turning out sour than sweet, it’s safe to say that the majority of men have had their fair share of not so great pick up encounters.

I was gracious enough to experience my taste of rejection during a reunion of old high school friends. After my high school graduation, most of my squad went separate ways due to their college choices. Our only means of contact was through a quirky Facebook Fantasy League Group: a place where our immaturities ran rampant.

We coordinated a little reunion, which consisted of a Friday meet-up at FSU, for central location purposes, and followed by a day-trip to Gainesville to visit the remaining stragglers of our squad. The whole week leading up to our Little Rascals gathering was honestly a blur; the excitement was definitely real. I woke up Friday morning with a chip on my shoulder, my first mistake.

My high school career was pretty lackluster when it came to the ladies, so I felt as if I had something to prove to my visiting friends. I traded in my high water jeans, suspenders and bifocals for something a bit more suave in today’s college standards: a button up shirt, khakis and the cleanest pair of Nikes I could find.

When my friends arrived and the usual rounds of jokes and fake fist fights dissipated, we decided to eat lunch at the on campus cafeteria, the crime scene for the death of my dignity. My friend and I raved about the on-campus cafeteria. Coming from not-so-generous high school cafeteria meals, our college cafeteria seemed like a wonderland. An all-you-can-eat-buffet is a college student’s Holy Grail.

When we arrived at the cafeteria, we made sure to not inform our friends of the bountiful spread encompassing the whole area. We wanted them to gawk in amazement as we spectated and decked our plates out nonchalantly. After we took our seats at a booth, we began to feast and dabble in the complexities of life: sports, get rich quick schemes for spring break and above all else, girls.

As soon as girls come to the forefront of the conversation, I made sure to boast about my imaginary success since attending college. Of course, none of my friends believed me so I had to find some way of proving myself. Across the maze of seats, I spot this girl sitting all by herself, enjoying a bowl of what seemed to be oatmeal.

One of my friend’s noticed the same girl and claimed that she’d been scoping me out since we got there. Feeding into his false information, I made my move. I waited until she got up to bring her plate to the plate drop off because of its seclusion from our booth’s view; as a fail-safe, my friends wouldn’t be able to see the interaction.

My heart at this point sounded like an overcharged metronome.

I hadn’t felt this much anxiety about an interaction since my first doctor’s visit when I was alerted that I would be receiving my first shot. As I walked, I went through a mental checklist in my head. My clothes looked presentable, my hair looked good, but when it came to the breath test, my greatest fear was realized. Halitosis. I shuffled through my pockets to find gum or breath mints. I usually was good about staying stocked on those items. Nonetheless, I couldn’t find any so I decided I’d just move my head on a constant swivel, so she wouldn’t be able to get a clear inhale of my rank breath.

I stopped her right in between two food stations and began my rejection application. I asked her why she let her friends let her come to the cafeteria and eat by herself. She gave off a slight smile, and said that they were all busy. That was the only prepared line I had for her so we shared a couple awkward seconds of silence after her response. I started to panic, which resulted in the worst pickup line ever. “So…….what’s your major?” A look of confusion shrouded her face, and I could tell she was a little creeped out when she made a beeline for the exit and took my shreds of pride with her.

The fact that I had an audience didn’t make it any easier. During my whole awkward exchange with the girl, the kitchen staff had taken notice. They tried hard to hold back their laughter, but unsurprisingly it seeped through. As I returned back to the booth, I could only imagine how this would go over with my friends.

I felt the moisture collecting under my armpits and on my forehead, and shed a few internal man tears for the loss that I had just faced. Honestly, I wish an alien invasion would’ve occurred at that very moment and I was the unlucky person who got beamed up for experimentation just so I wouldn’t have to repeat this awful encounter.

My friends were all ears as to how it all went down. I decided to tell the truth in hopes of receiving sympathy; I was wrong again. I was hit with tear-filled laughter and scolding as if I had sneezed in the girl’s face. “What’s Your Major” became my nickname for the next few months, and to this day, it’s always a recurring joke whenever we get together.

Brandon Hutchinson is a senior at Florida State University studying Creative Writing. In his spare time he writes poetry, screenplays and is learning how to play the piano.

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