How We Met – Part 4: What’s Your Name?

So there I was.  I had accomplished my first goal, I was sitting next to her.  But, she didn’t even look over when she came in late and I knew that I would have to find a way to get her attention or get her to glance in my direction or  notice that I existed.

I decided to wait until the conversation between her and the Baron took a good turn and I would break in with something completely profound and clever.  Of course it would be clever enough to send everyone within earshot into fits of hysterical laughter.  She would see how incredibly funny and charming I was and drop the Baron like a cheap transmission.  It was perfect.  That is, if they started talking about something that I knew really well.  So, I waited for them to start talking about Star Wars, dads that bike around the south and write about it, Dungeons & Dragons, encounters with thugs that eat Doritos, or jazz band.  Okay, so it looked like I was in trouble.

I waited and listened for the opportunity to shine.  And it came about half way through class.  The conversation went something like this:

BLvC (Baron Lively von Conversation): “So do you dye your hair?”

HC (hot chick): “No, no, never.  I get that question all the time but it’s always been this freaky white.  How long have you had your hair like that?”

LC: “For a couple of years.”  He had curly hair that went down below his shoulders.  He continued “Its kind of frustrating.  I may get it cut.”

HC: “So are you in a fraternity?”

LC: “No, I didn’t join one.”

Ooo, there it was.  They started talking about the Greek system.  If there was one thing that I knew nothing about, it was the Greek system.  But I was under the impression that I knew everything there was to know about it.  My Dad had drilled into us a couple of higher education “absolutes” when we were growing up:  1) you can be anything you want to be as long as you complete four years of college first; and 2) fraternities and sororities are hives of scum and villainy.  I imagine that Dad had some bad experiences and although he didn’t describe them in detail, my siblings and I understood that we were not Greek system people and that I would be an independent or more lovingly a GDI.

Anyway, now was the time to break in.  I was ready to take the small pat of information I had and spread it thick across the bread of this toasty conversation.  I mustered all of the “dang I’m cool” mojo from around the room and spit out this gem of verbal glitter:  “I don’t think they’ll let you in,  they don’t allow guys in a fraternity with long hair.  So, neither of us would get in.”  I punctuated this last sentence with a flip of my head to accentuate my frizzy bangs and a two handed index finger point to my hair.  I think I even smirked and did the “yeah man” head bob thing.

HC and LC looked over at me like they were shocked that someone was actually sitting in that seat and “did you know he was there?” and “is he supposed to be in this class?”  I think she actually jumped a bit.

A silence hung in the air for a few seconds and then she said “I don’t think so.  I don’t think your hair length is a factor.”  I countered “No, I think it is.”  She looked at me for a few more seconds and then shifted her gaze forward and gave me the “yea, you’re a bit scary and a lot strange so I’m not discussing this anymore” posture.

Mission accomplished.  I think.

The next couple of classes passed and I didn’t have much contact with her other than a “hi” or a wave from a distance.  Eventually, I found another chance to impress her with my powerful conversation skills.   At the first break of class we all went to our respective areas.  I went to get a coke and a brownie; she went to get a water, and the rest of the students went to smoke.  The two of us ended up back in the room by ourselves.  I am not a small talk kind of guy but I needed to keep the line of communication open or she would slip away so I asked something stupid like “What’s your major?”  I thought it would die on my lips, but she surprised me and actually engaged in a conversation.

“I’m in Industrial Design” she responded

“That’s cool.  What is it?”

“It’s product design.  What about you?  What’s your major?”


“Oh, that’s cool too.  So what did you do this weekend?”

“I went to church and played ping pong.”  And that was it.  She looked at me for a second to see if I was joking and after realizing that I wasn’t, she began to be more interested in me.  She realized that I wasn’t the guy that she assumed at first and that I shared a least one huge thing in common with her.  We both went to church…I’m the only one who played ping pong.

After that line we began to spend every break together and had good conversations.  She found out that I had a good sense of humor and she laughed at my stupid jokes.  I found out that she was really, really sarcastic and I decided that this girl was getting better all the time. But, there was one bit of information that I didn’t know, or did I?  I think I forgot her name.  Unless she didn’t tell me.  Did she tell me?  I wouldn’t have forgotten a thing like that, would I?  Oh crap, I did.  I forgot it.

So what was I going to do?  I couldn’t just say.  “So hey, I know you told me your name but I really wasn’t paying attention to you and even if I was, it obviously wasn’t important information so I forgot it.  So, hey babe, how about you lay your hot name on me?”  I decided that was out of the question and that I would need to find out another way.

I thought about asking the Baron, but he was long gone.  I think he decided that he was no match for me and gave up the fight, or he just got interested in someone else.  One of those.  I also thought about rifling through her backpack when she stepped out of the room.  The only problem was she never stepped out unless we stepped out together to hit the concession stand.  And I decided that although peering into her bag was perfectly acceptable, reaching my charcoal covered hands (it was drawing class by the way) past the lip of the opening and grabbing her wallet was not going to work.

Nothing was working, including my attempts to get her to tell me her name without actually asking her directly.  I would say things like “So yea, when you were a cheerleader, did you do any of those goofy cheers that you had to yell out your name?  Let’s hear it.”  Then she would look at me with concern and say, “Uh, no.  I think they stopped doing those back in the 50’s.  And I’m not doing any cheers for you, ever.” and I would go, “Dang”.

I went a couple of more classes running through every possible attempt to find out her name.  They were all unsuccessful so I decided that I would have to man up and just ask her.  I did and it happened like this, we were on one of our ten minute breaks, standing by the window in the classroom.  I felt my mouth get dry and my nerves getting the best of me, but I pressed through the urge to cave.

“I, um…I have to apologize.  I don’t know your name.”  Her eyes widened and she laughed, “I don’t know your name either?!  I was afraid you told me and I forgot it.  So, what’s your name?”

“Clay.  My name is Clay.”

“Oh, that’s a cool name, I like it.”  She liked my name, she liked my name!  I had to act cool.

“So, what’s yours?”

“It’s April.”

“I like that.  It’s pretty.”

We were off to a good start.  She was beautiful and funny and now she had a name.  April.  This was going well and she seemed to like me.  I was starting to make progress until she told me some devastating news.

[to be continued]

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27 comments to How We Met – Part 4: What’s Your Name?

  • Stefanie

    Don’t make us wait another FIVE DAYS for the next installment. Puh-LEEEEEEEEEZE!


  • Barb

    Oh, this is getting good. Hey, April, my husband is an Industrial Designer. (He went to the CIA). Did you end up going into that line of work?

  • Liz

    What Stefanie said. :)

  • Deenie

    Oh I’m lovin’ this………..

  • Carol

    Sweet! Should have figured you were a GDI. Way too original and clever and not one to follow the pack. I did that too.

  • That took guts. I’ve forgotten peoples names before and I just can’t get the guts up to ask.

  • Great cliffhanger! I’d pay to read more.

    I’m 39 and women still make me nervous. I always feel like the boy in the corduroy pants at the junior high dance when I’m around a group of women I don’t know well.

    This morning I dropped by daughter off for Vacation Bible School, and of course, I’m one of the few men doing this. I always feel a little awkward and intimidating. I still have this junior high fear of saying or doing something stupid around the girls.

    I wish I possessed a Cary Grant or Clay suaveness.

  • Jill

    I lost a boyfriend in college once because his name was Bill but I called him Bob. But hey, he stepped from around a corner in the campus rose garden and startled me…who wouldn’t say “oh hey, Bob!” Anyway, he never called me again.

    Love the cliffhanger….! Can’t wait for the next installment!

  • Tiffany

    Your writing is great, Clay. I was actually cringing for you when you were describing your first attempt to break into April and “Baron’s” conversation. The head bob…ouch, but add in the double finger point and holy moly, it’s a good thing she gave you a second chance. Has your daughter stopped rolling her eyes yet?

  • Maggie

    I am absolutely loving this story, that was hilarous!

  • This is such a great story. I just love the awkwardness. It’s so… real! :-)

  • There’s a certain Napoleon Dynamite quality to this love story, without all the annoying bits. It’s got all the humor and the endearing awkwardness without the long pauses and awful music that made ND seem so drawn out. (Gawd, how many hours of my life did I waste watching that movie? It felt like forever.) No, really, I mean this in a good way.

    It’s also nice to know that guys feel this awkward, too. What I would have given to know that in high school.

  • Sweeet. The photo. The photo. It SO brings me back. Skinny ties…poufy hair for one and all…wide shoulder pads and skinny waists with wide belts. I have a very 16 candles feel right now….

  • Meg

    Clay, have you taken your storyline development MO from the comic strip “Mary Worth”? Never in all my life has a story evolved so achingly s-l-o-w-l-y.

    And yet I return for more. Hmmmm.

  • Charlotte Wilson

    Oh Clay! I thought this would be the final one. You are reminding me of “Black heels to tractor wheels”, the pioneer woman’s story of how she met her MM. I love reading your blogs! Keep up the good work.



  • Thanks for the addition to the novella but we need more!! Please! : )

  • Elizabeth

    Clay, you are a delightful writer. We know April rocks, too.

    We’re taking our older son to college next month and I absolutely bawled at that installment. Great. This is gonna suck. I’m sure I’ll embarrass him to death.

    As for the cliffhanger, well, that’s just as mean as Ree.

  • Clay and April,

    Really enjoying your story, looking forward to more. Tears and laughter – a good mix!

  • Stefanie


    It’s been four days since this installment.


    Just sayin’.

  • Hey! I don’t think “The Baron” was that smooth – he asked April if she dyed her hair! BIG mistake!

  • Helena

    After a 30 year relationship…which included 27 years of marriage…and my resulting divorce..I honestly was questioning if love really existed. I longed to know more than one couple who would do it all over again..that felt their partner was the icing and the cake of life…I pretty much had began to think it was hooey..

    Thanks Clay and April…for making me believe that there still may be love out there…and that relationships do survive…And to Clay.that men really do fall in love…and remember those small what we were wearing..and how long our hair it was yesterday..because those small details were important to you..

  • Okay….I had a mouth full of coffee when I read your frizzy bang statement. OMG – I am cleaning coffee off my keyboard and monitor. So funny!

  • My hubby forgot my name the second time we hung out in our little group of friends. I told him he did a great job on stage (he was a bass player in a punk band) and I thought I sounded pretty cool. I said something like, “Wow. You really know how to rock.” And he said, “Thanks. What was your name again?”
    You could hear my heart fall out of my body and crash onto the floor into a million tiny pieces. Or at least I could hear that happen. I mean, how could he forget me? ME?
    He did.
    Kind’ve put me in my place, I suppose. And I was intrigued by this…..

  • Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  • Well done on your site, dude! Thanks!

  • I just wish i could find a company i could geniunely trust… Does that even exist anymore?

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