Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Danonymous Dan: Dribble tongue syndrome

I am not very often lost for words. I am pretty good at talking – so good I can even do it while walking at the same time. I was always excellent during interviews because I was able to bullshit convincingly enough to get a job – a skill I put down to having three older brothers and not wanting to look like the ‘spazzy younger brother’ when their friends came over.

What’s more, I actively enjoy conversation, whether it’s on the phone or in person I like interaction, meeting new people. As a very young cherubic-faced blond child I would stand on the roadside outside our house talking to people as they walked past (I did actually get offered sweets once which I like to think shows I was an attractive child). My mother would always realise and pull me inside trying once more to instil in me the mantra ‘thou shalt not talk to strangers!’ I – with faultless logic – once replied, ‘but if I talk to them, they won’t be strangers anymore.’ Ah, sweet.

So why is it that if I am faced with a girl I really fancy my finely honed conversational skill deserts me like French infantrymen? I shouldn’t make quips about the French – I bet they don’t get this problem, smooth bastards. It doesn’t happen so much now because I am older than I used to be (what an obvious thing to say) and also I am in a relationship and intrinsically know I have nothing to lose and am not after anything. When I met Michelle for the first time, I babbled absolute shit though. I’d like to think I did it with aplomb but really that’s a fiction and I ended up talking about the kids instrument ‘Gazoos’ when I meant ‘Kazoos’. I can only assume she found the bumbling Englishman thing cute. More Hugh Grant than Hugh Hefner, I mean shambolic buffoon rather than slick operator not that I’d rather sleep with a prostitute than a playboy bunny.

I should also qualify this by saying its doesn’t happen just because a girl is physically attractive, it only happens if I fancy them – they have that ‘thing’ about them that makes them really stand out. Doesn’t really happen now as I am with Michelle, but I am sure that if, hypothetically, my relationship with Michelle was to end, my ‘dribble tongue syndrome’ would return.

Not being a girl, I can’t say whether there is a female version of this although it would seem there probably is. A fair while ago, when I was about 19, a previous girlfriend I met said she’d experienced this when we’d first met. I was part of the media team filming a version of Jesus Christ Super Star and was relaxing with the cast during a rehearsal break. We were sat in a group and one of the girls introduced herself to me, we chatted briefly, and I then turned in an attempt to include her friend in the conversation. The exchange when like this:

Me “…and who are you?”

Her: “Oh er…I’m just a leper in the crowd.”

Me: “Yes...but do you have a name?”

Both of my parts in that exchange had come out much harder than I’d meant them to, because I was nervous, fancied this girl, and wanted to seem relaxed and confident – but my brain turned them into gruff and blunt. She had apparently fancied me for a few days by that stage, and panicked when the object of her affections actually spoke to her. In that instance, all worked out fine, but it makes me wonder how many potentially great relationships never get a chance to exist because one person panics or gets flustered and says or does something they wouldn’t normally say or do and creates a bad impression of themselves?


Anonymous said...

It's my experience that one of the key problems is even how to start the conversation off with the girl. My experience is that women are now less inclined to talk to strangers even in a social place like a bar. They're just there for a night out with their friends. When you approach them, they're instinctively a bit defensive.

So the first few lines can be a bit awkward anyway as you don't know anything really about them and you're not sure if you're invading their space.

I think body language is probably just as important as what you say. (Both yours and reading theirs.) Appearing confident but laid-back tells more in the end.

Peach said...

of course, here's an example:

Her Rabid Glow's Crush

it's not my blog but I have been there sooo many times, and no I am not 12... but that's how competent you feel sometimes..

LB said...

we're all just a leper in the crowd, aren't we....?

Anonymous said...

The french smooth talking is just another cliché. I have exactly the same emotional reaction in this case, and i've been french for the last 46 years.
Uncle Did

Lily Lane said...

Of course there is a girl version!!!
I had a very severe case on Friday, but I think the guy found it cute/funny/endearing so I'm pretty optimistic. Actually I've generally had pretty good luck with dribble tongue that way.
What's even worse is rubber tongue, which I've only experienced once, a few weeks ago. I was working in a bookshop and a guy came in and asked me for help. I looked up into the most incredible eyes and smile and I was gone. No idea what came out of my mouth, but I do know it felt like I was gulping like a goldfish. I wasn't nervous enough to be cute because I was struck dumb, with my big rubber tongue flapping away like so much useless meat! *shudder*

Applejuicey said...

I had that reaction at a job interview ths week!

I was expecting to be seen by a grumpy HR twit, so when he turned out to be the fittest man i've see in a while I was astounded!!

I felt like i'd made a right tit of myself and dribbled my way through, but it turned out they realy liked me and want me to attend a 2nd interview, so it can't be all bad :)