The Golden Girls is one of the best ice breakers known to human kind. To be fair, I've really only put this to test amongst girls and gays. True, this knocks out a significant portion of the population. It just so happens that the remaining part is convinced that I come with an extra set of teeth, if you catch my drift. I think someone sent out a memo during my boy chasing days. Little did they know that my only intention was to reestablish the parameters of the power struggle on the kindergarten playground. I was pushing the envelope, not stalking prey.
Thanks in no small part to Lifetime: Television for Women and Homosexuals running The Golden Girls in syndication, just about everyone knows Miami's most famous past-their-prime prime time ladies. Sometimes I would watch the show with my Grandma in its original run. Grandma could read tea leaves, speak with a Lucky Charms leprechaun accent on command, and professed a giant crush on Willie Mays. I think this makes her a pretty cool lady. She thought Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia were hilarious. I, being a young and impressionable lass, had to agree.
People really seem to relate to the Girls. Whether through their particular antics or their character. I, for example, am especially fond of Sophia. I relate to her sense of mischief and her coinage of fabulous terms like slutpuppy. Mostly, though, I envy that she had the massive stroke that destroyed the part of her brain that acts as a censor. I often wish I had that excuse. Instead I must hope my lackadaisical tongue comes off as vaguely charming.
Quite recently, I busted out the old faithful of ice breakers. Because my social grace often fails me, I found myself working in a capacity where I felt peripheral and awkward. Then I made some off the cuff comment to the tune of, "Uh oh, sounds like another damn St. Olaf story." I thought I'd said it under my breath, but I soon felt the gauzy web of social ineptitude parting ways. This fellow's face lit up in a way that said to me, "Crow! Your semi-obscure pop culture reference has made me respect you and endear you to me. I shall now kiss you as a greeting at social functions."
I think the St. Olaf reference is near and dear to me because I use it as a reference point to remember my former boss with an appropriate dose of fondness. This boss used to give me a hard time about telling stories that could begin, "Back in St. Olaf..." just like Rose's accounts of her Minnesota home town. I never felt too bad for these reprimands because this guy was always calling me over to discuss "important business."
"Crow, come over here. I have something to discuss with you."
"Okay?" I say as the pitter patter of my heart accelerates to double time.
"Did you know that Hans Christen Andersen died a virgin?"
"What a waste of a penis!"
This was the boss that gave me a referral for a masseuse when the stress of a 2.5-3 hours of commuting was knitting my brow so ferociously, no amount of hot baths or cups of coffee could unknit them. I remember walking from work to the one and only professional massage I've had thus far. This guy worked out of his apartment, but it was done very professionally. Still, I felt a little edgy. It was pretty evident to me within the first few minutes that this guy had slept with my boss and, now that I had given the scoop that said boss was indeed single again, he hoped to do so again ASAP.
I feel that I was justifiably tense through the massage. There I am, naked on the massage table being kneaded by some strange dude who is now using me as a vehicle to get back in my boss's pants. To make matters worse, I had to ask, "Can we not talk about him? He's part of the reason I can't unclench my glutes." This made him noticeably strained. We both stayed there for most of the rest of the 90 minute massage with the O. Quard the Elephant in the room. Until the masseuse farted one of those elongated trumpet farts. There was no hiding it, so we both had a good laugh.
At the end of the massage the masseuse said, "You like like you're pretty hip, but since it's your first massage, I have to warn you not to drink any wine or smoke any weed tonight." I think I muttered a reply and slipped the guy his tip not thinking too hard about his advice. I walked over to a restaurant for a nice meal to end my evening of decadence. Because I was dining alone, I was sat at the giant communal table with a party of six wine guzzlers. The lady next to me took pity on me and poured me a glass of vino, an all important social lubricant. Next thing I know, this lady is hinting that she'd really like comp tickets to the theatre I was working at and I am nursing an instant hangover. I really wish I'd thought a little more about that tidbit of advice.
So, heed my tidbit of advice. When you're treading lightly on the social skate pond, never fear. Conjure a good fart, or muster the courage to share your stash of booze or weed. And if your cupboard is bare, all it takes is a simple, "Back in St. Olaf..."