Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Delicate Art of a Doorstep Scene

I once went on a first date with a guy who hugged me from behind and laid his head on the back of my shoulder while I was putting my key in my door handle.

So, doorstep scenes aren't really my thing. This could be because I'm not really into hugging people I don't know very well, and it suddenly is highly expected of me after a first date. Dear culture, please make it stop. Also, there's the underlying fear that everyone is going around interpreting what a hug means. To that I say:

I recently dug up a newspaper column I wrote about doorstep scenes during my undergrad in Cedar City, Utah. It kind of makes me laugh and takes me back several years all at once. I mean, I dislike doorstep scenes now but I can handle them better than the 20-year-old version of myself.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from that gem:

Awkward Doorstep Scenes Present Present Courtship Difficulty
By: Katie Hawkes

Picture this: It's a frosty Cedar evening, the moon is full, and you find yourself on a doorstep at the end of a successful night of courtship. Up to this point, you've managed to quell the awkward monster inside of you and avoided any situations to go down in the archives of bad date stories.

But this is where things get tricky. The porch. The doorstep scene. The little siblings or roommates peeking through the blinds and flashing the porch light. The movie Hitch, in which Will Smith's character attempts to teach awkward, lovelorn individuals how to, essentially, "get jiggy wit' it," attempted to analyze this inevitable final scene of a date.

In the movie, Smith's character asserts that a girl will drop certain hints or clues -- namely, key fidgeting -- if she wants her date to smooch her. The movie purports that if a girl fiddles with her keys in her hands before she unlocks her door, then she's asking to be snogged.

We all have our own approaches to dealing with the infamous doorstep scene, and I'm sure I have yet to experience the extent of these tactics, but I am intrigued by the few that I am aware of.

First: the high five. Guys love giving high fives. It's kind of a "you're awesome but I'm too scared to touch any part of your body other than your fingers and palm for a split nanosecond" approach. It's a little juvenile -- but it's simple, it's friendly, no worries.

Second: the handshake. I've discovered this particular method to be typical of polite young men who may or may not have recently returned from a two-year hiatus away from interactions with members of the female species. (See: celibate church mission.) Some even feel the need to not only shake their date's hand, but also the hand of every living organism within the vicinity as well. More power to you, boys.

Third: the hug. This seems to be the preferred way of finalizing an evening together, and hey, who can't use a nice "skwudge" every now and then? However, the hug presents some quandaries of its own. For instance, arm placement. Girl's arms on top? Guy's arms on top? The one-over-one-under cross method?

This is an awfully big decision to make in that split second it takes to close the gap between the two of you. Be careful, if yours and your date's decisions are incongruent, you might accidentally cause a fumbling mess of tangled arms and the avoid-at-all-costs-too-close-for-comfort face collision.

The fourth approach is, of course, the kiss. Let's be honest, I'm not even gonna go there. Please refer to preteen chat rooms and magazines for advice on this one.

...end excerpt. Thank you for taking part in this ride down historical-Katie-writing lane.

...any of you single people or formerly single people (hint: this means everyone in the world) have an opinion about the infamous doorstep scene? Best or worst stories? Please do tell. It will be so fun for both of us.


Mikaela D said...

This truly is a gem! You really do have a way of putting things that makes the scenes you describe so real, especially in this post, and I was cracking up the whole time!

I didn't have a whole lot of memorable doorstep scenes, but one time when I was still living at home I went on a date with a young man that was extraordinarily awkward. (And I mean that both the date and the young man were awkward... it was an unfortunate situation all around.) I had a feeling that he thought the date was going much better than I thought it was, so instead of saying goodbye to him on the doorstep where I thought he might try to make some unwelcome advances, I invited him into my house where my numerous younger siblings immediately made things even MORE awkward, just as I hoped... muahaha! He left me with a handshake and I was A-ok with that, although I guess he was a little offended... poor guy. :/ My 18-year-old self just didn't have any better ideas!

Jenna said...

Oh, I have absolutely zero advice on this one. But I do have a good story. So, I was about 17 and one of my guy-friends was going on his mission in about a week. It was a Saturday night and he was hosting a game night for friends at his house, kind of a last "Hurrah!" before leaving. The person who took me to said event had to leave early, but instead of letting me go with her, the host insisted I stay and he'd give me a ride home instead. I was cool with this. Anyway, at the end of the night he took me home as planned. The car ride was uneventful -- small talk about mission stuff, yadda yadda. But the door scene was anything BUT uneventful. Right as we approached my door, he unexpectedly grabbed my face and kissed me so fiercely I think my eyeballs popped out. I quickly put them back in to see him saying, "I love you so much," and a whole lot of other sorts of nonsense. I was all at once charmed, confused, flattered and freaked out of my mind. I immediately told my mom what happened and she was like, "Oh! Poor boy was just fillin' the canteen." Poor boy?! What about POOR JENNA who never saw that coming?! For the record, I still sometimes bump into this fellow and it is always awkward never mind the fact we're both happily married to other people. I suspect he now regrets making that move.

Mandy Ballard said...

I was once set up on a date with the best friend of a co-worker's husband. (Follow?) We went on what was supposed to be a triple date. However, the girlfriend of the third gentleman (used loosely) involved had to go out of town at the last minute. He decided to come anyway. So. My co-worker and her husband, me and some guy, and then...some other guy. Less than halfway into the date it became apparent that things were not going anywhere fast with my date and I was just fine with that. He treated me to such gems as paying only for himself to enter the miniature golf course, leaving me at the air hockey table to go buy himself some nachos, and falling asleep on the ride home. However, for all my lackluster appeal to my date, the third (fourth?) wheel guy apparently found me to be exactly what his lonely heart needed that evening. On the ride home, he squeezed in next to me in the backseat, more in my seat than his own, and proceeded to lay his head on my shoulder, put his hand on my leg AND repeatedly attempt to hold my hand. The whole way home. While my date snoozed against the car door. Upon arrival at the house that I was house-sitting that weekend to drop me off, my co-worker tried to slap my date awake while I scrambled out of the car. The OTHER guy put forth his best effort to walk me to the door (though he was left quickly in the dust), and when he caught up to me at the door (as everyone from the car watched with wide eyes, he brought his face scarily close to mine. This landed him with various passive/aggressive injuries including but not limited to crushed toes, bruised shins, clawed shoulders, and possibly burnt retinas from the hellish glare I was forcing into his soul. Then he asked if I wanted him to come back later. When I said no, he didn't seem too surprised. Or disappointed. After all, his girlfriend was coming back in town the next day. All this while "my date" watched from the car. I told my co-worker that we probably wouldn't be hanging out socially again.

Elizabeth Downie said...

Oh gosh, I can so relate to that awkward feeling. I hate it! And I hate feeling pressured to have any physical contact at all with someone I'm not even into after a first date.

Alicia Snow said...

this just makes me think of all the awkward doorstep scenes i've had (see: every freakin' date i've ever been on). shudder.

The Suzzzz said...

I laugh in sympathy. Haven't we all had our fair share (or more?) of awkward doorstep scenes in the dating world? Heck I'm 33, recently divorced, and I am STILL having them.

A couple weeks ago I was on a blind date that got weird, really weird. After the evening of weirdness he pulled into my driveway to drop me off. He leaned over the center console of his car for a kiss and I literally jumped out of the car before he could kiss me, slammed the door as I yelled "Thanks, BYE!" and rushed into my house and locked the door behind me. Um, yeah, I felt like an awkward teenager for days afterwards.