Before you plan anything romantic, read this.
Men have often been accused of being unromantic, and the reason most of us are this way is because, 90 percent of the time, any kind of grand romantic gesture on our part ends with the woman being utterly terrified. "Aw, that's so sweet! [Runs.]" I have serenaded women. I have purchased a single red rose on a first date (I planned a picnic; she brought a friend at the last second). I have made mixtapes. I have written bad poetry. You name the flesh-creeping romantic gesture, I have attempted it, only to see it end in catastrophic failure.
And I'm not alone. Witness now the poor souls who attempted to pull off some [...] "Cameron Crowe movie finale" action, only to have it go spectacularly awry. ...
It's my 8th-grade year, roughly 1998, and I have a MASSIVE crush on a girl named Abby. Abby was popular and pretty, and I was into the theater and had a bowl cut. As is so often the case with girls who are popular and pretty, Abby was on the girls soccer team. I was in the band. I played the clarinet.
One day, I decided I was going to attend one of her soccer games. My father, who I must stress did not stop me despite knowing my intent, drove me to the game and dropped me off. I hopped out of the car, clarinet case in tow, and walked to the field, full of the kind of confidence that can only come from sheer delusion.
I stand next to the bleachers, which were scattered with the few parents who could get off work by 4 p.m., and I put my clarinet together. By this point, I had been spotted. The girls knew I was there, and they knew why I was there. Abby wouldn't even look at me.
Even then, I figured what I had in mind would win her heart, because I thought real life was like the movies.
Right before the game was set to start, I began playing. Pep songs. On my clarinet. Accompanied by nothing but the inaudible sound of a collective sad empathy from the parents and utter mortification from the one girl I was trying to impress.
Needless to say, she didn't really speak to me after that until roughly our junior year of high school. Now, as adults, we live in the same large Southern town. According to Facebook, she's married to a lawyer. I bet he never played the clarinet for her.
Real life isn't like the movies, is it?