Call Me Maybe: In Which I Admit More 20-Something Insecurities

I have a lot of phone numbers in my contact list, from guys who practically chuck them at me. (Or perhaps a T-shirt launcher is a more fitting metaphor.) In related news, the continuing saga with my neighbor who wants my number more than my name could be its own web series, albeit a boring one that goes absolutely nowhere ever. Periodically, I go through the list and delete numbers I accepted politely without any promises to call or text. Periodically, I call or text. But more often than not I continue in my workaholic ways and laugh through the recent acquisitions with my coworkers. (If I actually talk with you, it’s highly unlikely that I have laughed about you. For the record.)

This is a new phenomenon for me: being asked for my number by strangers. And since I have had a mobile phone for going on 13 months, even having a number is still a fresh and surprising experience. Needless to say, whenever I hear “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen on the radio or jukebox, I can’t help but giggle and roll my eyes. Ironically and not-so-ironically, several friends have dubbed it my theme song. So, when I stumbled upon the Glee harmonized version of Jepsen’s summer anthem while geeking out with cooking shows on Hulu, I, being like any other semi-Internet-literate 20-something, had to find the full clip on YouTube. I did, of course, but in the related videos section I was practically malled with other covers, parodies, and lip syncs of “Call Me Maybe.” One in particular stood out to me because of the line up of bright white bikinis in the still shot. What is this, folks? The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders lip synced to Carly? No way! If their sense of humor is anything like the US Olympic swim team’s, this should be fun, right?

Well . . .

Oh yay. White, teal, and orange bikinis.

Within 30 seconds I felt about as awesome as soggy variegated cardboard. Maybe I just haven’t visited my local PacSun recently enough, but it had been ages since I’d seen such small bikinis accompanied with such large . . . amounts of eye make up. And not even interesting, artistic eye make up but boring-ass contouring anyone could get done at the Clinique counter. Now, I don’t see anything wrong with bikinis or eye make up. These women looked so fake and generic. But regardless, I felt a pang of–could it be jealousy? As they stumbled over the oh-so-tricksy lyrics while dropping it like it’s hot, I thought of these women, “I bet they could get anyone’s number . . .” with the inner-monologue tonage of a fifteen-year-old flipping through a contraband issue of Cosmo.

I looked at these women’s sleekly toned abs and then at my torso and immediately regretted the cupcake my manager brought from her visit to the bakery yesterday. I saw their long (extension-lengthened) locks and smooth, humidity-proof bobs, and felt my hands subconsciously reaching for the straightening iron. All of the sudden the tan I “earned” by hiking around Arizona this summer was uneven and unimpressive. And if that wasn’t enough disgustingness, I thought about wearing eyeshadow in taupe and shimmery teal rather than my usual liquid liner or smudgy black shadow. OMG. I considered foundation.

I know that the answer to this sense of Miami Dolphin Cheerleader Anxiety should go something like this in Classic Koh:

My job isn’t to work out four hours a day, shake my badonkadonk, over-process my hair, damage my skin, and get boob implants. I’m supposed to sit in a coffee shop (on my ass) reading for hours with my wash & wear hair after eating a cupcake in a flower shop with two hilarious middle-aged women. And I will wear winged eye liner when I do this. Deal with it, bitchez.

That isn’t, however, exactly how I respond. As much as I’d like to think that the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders get hit on for their personalities and sharp senses of humor, I think about the neighbor who I pass in the evenings while he and his friends repair his truck. He tells me I’m “really¬†pretty,” which is flattering, and asks for my number. I chock it up as a cheap compliment and good anecdote. These short interactions, like other requests for my number, make me feel really great for about three minutes. But, just like the Miami Dolphins video, they remind me of the expectations these perfect strangers seem to have for me, though they have very little to go on. They don’t even know yet that I laugh at my own inappropriately interjected ¬†one-liners, or that I’m a damn good cook, or that I am terrible at identifying flirting unless someone says, “Kohleun, this is the part of the conversation when I flirt with you.” I’m terrible at making small talk, and I’ve been told I laugh like a stoner. I’d really be no fun for what seems to be desired–a booty call or awkward date where he just stares at me and asks “You really teach college?” over and over–so I continue to put off the persistent neighbor. Maybe I would give him my number if he asked, “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but what’s your name?”

Or maybe not.