I’m starting a new #TBT segment every few weeks now because I feel like I have a lot of fun stories to tell from my past.
I want to start off with one of my first hilariously awkward experiences with a guy I met in college.
Let me set the scene.
About a month after I was asked to go to New York for the final callback of America’s Next Top Model I got an email inviting me to a pretty exclusive party in Washington DC. It was one of the judges’ birthdays, and they had decided to air it on The Real Housewives of DC. This was a cool opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on, so I sent in my RSVP saying that I would be attending, despite not knowing anyone there except the guest of honor.
The party was at a swanky bar in the middle of DC and I convinced my dad to drop me off so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding parking in an unfamiliar area of the city. Frankly I was just nervous that I wouldn’t have the guts to walk into the party unless I had someone there to nudge me through the door.
After a 45 minute drive, we pulled up to the front of the bar and my dad stopped to let me out at the front.
“Nice ride,” joked the bouncer as I timidly walked up to the dimly-lit doorway. He was still chuckling as he looked up my name on the list and grazed over my drivers’ license. In hindsight I was really lucky he let me in — I was only eighteen at the time and they had an open bar.
Once I was inside I felt like I needed to settle in somewhere, but was really overwhelmed by all the glitzy people already there. I skimmed the room and saw sequins, martinis, and models, and felt so out of place. I quickly gathered myself, took a deep breath, and decided I just needed to play the part.
I went downstairs and found my friend Paul. I wished him happy birthday and chatted for a bit, then decided to figure out how adulting really works and meet some new people.
This is where the fun really begins.
I sat at the bar with a glass of sparkling water with a lime (Something I thought could pass for a fancy cocktail — I should’ve just gone with a Shirley Temple) and people-watched until a man in a nice suit approached me.
We got to talking and I found out he was in his mid-thirties — quite a bit older than I was at the time — and that he worked for a real estate company in the city. Our conversation was very bland, but I felt relieved to have someone to visit with, so politely listened and nodded along to his stories.
After a good twenty minutes of conversation we finally got up to go gather for some group photos. That’s when it hit me, all at once.
He asked me for my number.
Now that I’m 25, I realize that if I don’t want to give out my number to someone I can politely decline. I don’t owe the person anything, and it saves both of us time and trouble by just being upfront.
My 18-year-old self thought it would be rude to say no, so I went into panic mode. My mind started racing as I tried to think of what I could say, but before my brain could catch up with my mouth I was already spitting out random numbers. I included a “202” area code, along with 7 other numbers I just came up with on the spot.
“202-412-4809,” I said.
“What was that? Sorry — I missed the last few digits.”
“Umm, 202-126-8874.” Was that close to what I just said? I can’t remember. Why wasn’t I paying attention to what I was saying earlier? Think, Krista, think!
He looked at me, perplexed.
“I think I must have misheard you the first time. I apologize, but I still don’t have the right number. Could you repeat it for me one last time?”
My mind went blank. I didn’t know what to do or how to recover from this terrible web of phone number lies. So I did what any goofy teenage girl would do and gave the man my best friends’ phone number. It was one of the few I had memorized and I knew if he asked me for it a million times I would continue to get all 7 numbers right.
He gave me a look like I was crazy, typed the number into his phone, and looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Okay, I texted you.”
Both sets of eyes immediately darted to my phone, which was exposed, face-up on the bar. We waited. And waited and waited.
“You sure you gave me the right number this time?” he asked as he looked at me slyly.
“I must just have bad service in here.”
Gosh, I had such lame excuses. I’m ashamed of 18-year-old Krista’s ability to navigate through uncomfortable situations, but I think I have come a long way from there. Then again, I’m sure 7 years from now I will be blogging about some silly situations I get myself into now. Is there ever a point where people stop making rookie mistakes and can just be a pro at life? I guess that wouldn’t make life very interesting, would it?
Today’s lesson: If you are 16 and under, go ahead and just give your best friend’s phone number to any creeps you meet.* If you’re above 16, just politely tell them that you aren’t interested in exchanging contact information, and leave it at that.
*Kidding. Do the same thing the 16+ people do — you’ll be alright!