In Writing


A few days ago, I was standing over someone’s desk, offering an opinion on something or another. They began making some notes, not necessarily because what I was saying was so noteworthy, but just adding to an already lengthy ‘to do’ list. I watched as my name was scripted next to one of the items.

In ink or pencil, it leaves a mark.

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about seeing your name interpreted by the handwriting of another. There’s something … intimate … about it.

A person’s handwriting is unique among all the other scribbles, after all. Even when everything else seems familiar, there’s probably a difference in everyone’s ‘I’. You might choose a different letter to compare.

My first recollections of this fall somewhere between being old enough to have to open—and read aloud—the cards before unwrapping the presents to which they were attached, and having to deliver to my parents a note from my teacher describing my participation in a playground brawl (a simple misunderstanding of kickball etiquette among my fellow male first-graders).

They all read the same name, and they still do. All that different handwriting for all different reasons with all different intentions because of all different emotions. It makes things personal, writing a name. And when the name you’re reading is your own, a connection is made with the person who wrote it.

So why come to this revelation now? Maybe it’s because seeing my name in someone else’s handwriting isn’t in as many cards as it once was. Maybe it’s because seeing our names in writing is so rare these days (email signatures, anyone? @TwitterHandle, anyone? INSERT_FIRST_NAME INSERT_LAST_NAME auto-tagging on Facebook, anyone?). Maybe we should use names, first names, more often in our correspondence, no matter the form.

Its effect enhances its intention, something that works both ways. And although the connection might be fleeting, it lingers a bit longer.

See you soon, _______________.


When that’s what she said, and the Patrón-buying credit card

Not so long ago, around the time I became aware that my lack of game was actually a lack of awareness—‘cause we all got game—I found myself at a club in downtown Indianapolis. I wasn’t looking for anything other than a drink and a dance and a good night, nothing other than the promise of what might be while drenched in low lighting and remnants of “In Da Club.”

My credit card was invincible. That’s why it started buying rounds of Patrón. And, even while basking in the glory of all my unawareness, I noticed the card was also buying shots for the bartender. About her …

She was smokin’ hot, and in a girl-next-door kinda way. She wasn’t your typical no-chance-in-hell-with-her-just-pretend-she-likes-you-and-leave-an-impressive-tip bartender. Trust me—trust most of us guys—we know the untouchable bartenders when we see them and she wasn’t one of them. And, she was genuinely friendly (to me, anyway) and went out of her way to find me whenever I made my way to the bar.

She was talking to me. She was actually drinking the shots my card was buying and, as those who know me well will tell you, I don’t miss a detail like that. At some point in the single digits of after midnight, she flirted that I had gotten her drunk. I was flattered, possibly feeling a bit empowered to continue the conversation. Then, she slipped me a look—you know the one I’m talking about and don’t pretend otherwise—and wrote on a bar napkin …

insert her name (‘cause I don’t remember)
insert her number (which I wouldn’t divulge even if I did remember)
meet me outside around 3

Let me share with you this little secret:

There’s a part of us guys, no matter how much we think we want to hear it, that is a little terrified the girl might say, “Yes.” We’re a little uneasy when that IS what she said. The question and the answer is rarely so literal and direct, but we know when it’s there.

Just like it was on that bar napkin.

Even if we found the courage to approach her from across a crowded room, even if we’re making out and our hands are not discouraged from freeing buttons, the repercussions of a positive answer linger. Especially when we’re not sure how our game got us in that position.

Game and a lack of awareness. Fellas, if you don’t know where you fall on that continuum, figure it out. Because when she says, “Yes,” she most likely means it.

And that’s a hard answer to get in the first place.

Or, am I wrong? You tell me.

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