When I was a freshman in high school, I had a friend who went through a faux-rebellious phase and dated this senior guy named Steve who was into punk music and not on the approval list of her super-religious family. After a couple years of dating, the relationship between them ended, soon followed by the relationship between she and I. This was back in the day when all of my female relationships tended to implode for reasons I was never quite able to explain, a trend that was ended by my current group of girlfriends who are so thoroughly non-neurotic that I'm not sure they're real. I got lucky on that front.
Steve graduated, but he went to college at Purdue, so he was still around after that and he became my go-to person for first time college experiences. I once went to this this house with him to hang out with some of his friends. The guys were taking turns donning bicycle helmets and ramming into the walls at full speed, all while British porn played on the tv in the background. You can't make that stuff up. When I finally started at Purdue, he of course was a senior, and when I took my first drink at college it was at a party thrown at his townhouse the very first weekend. I still see him around when I hang out in my hometown, and I'm always happy when I get a chance to talk to him again. I've just always found him very easy and fun to be around.
That's the background for the following story. It's funny the things that stick with you over the years. I can recall this one thing that Steve told me, and he probably doesn't even remember saying it, but for some reason it rattles around my brain every once in a while. Not long after he and my friend broke up, he was trying to get back out into the dating scene. He told me of a strategy that he had either borrowed from somewhere else or came up with himself. What he would do was ask out lots of random people. He would just ask out any random girl that he happened to meet. If she happened to say yes, well that's great, he would go out on a date with her to see what would happen. But if she didn't, then he would become used to rejection and it wouldn't hurt as much. Then, when he met a girl that he really and truly was crushing on, he would be braver and able to ask her out without fear. That was the idea anyway, I wasn't really close enough with him to know the details of his relationships after that, just close enough to hang out every once in a while. And to remember that random piece of advice, apparently.
I thought of this advice when I went on yet another interview last week for a job I didn't really want. Well, I wanted it, just to get some money coming in, but it certainly wasn't my ideal career path. Going into it, I did feel like I was numb to the process, that I was just going to go in and answer as I could and if it worked out great, and if not, oh well, one more experience. But as the interview came to a close and she was essentially telling me that I was on the bottom of their list of people they had in mind for this job, I realized it wasn't true. Sadly, it just doesn't really work that way. Because even if you didn't want that job or that date, the rejection is what matters. You still want to be wanted, like in that Cheap Trick song. Sigh, oh well. Another day, another application.