Communication

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks For Cock-Blocking Me. Twice.

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The few “skills” I have with women are due to my parents; I’m the first to give them credit for all the great things they’ve done for me. But my mom — despite being the wonderful person she is — has a tendency to cock-block me. Hopefully, by reading this, you’ll learn not to do this to your own sons one day. (Or at the very least, you’ll have a few laughs at my expense.)

C-B #1: The Graduation Picture

The summer before my freshman year at the University of Delaware, a form arrived at our house requesting a picture for the UD Freshman Book. This book would include a photo, the hometown, and a few indicated interests of the victim student.

This book, I found out later, would be referred to as the “Freshman F*ck Book.” [In other words, it was the  pre-Facebook face book.] Guys (and probably girls, though they won’t admit it) would flip through looking for conquests; name and hometown was all you needed to get a start. This book made appearances during many a drunk night, inducing laughter or condescending statements like “ah, that picture’s unfortunate.”

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My photo process was doomed from the start. I arrived for my senior pictures in sad regalia: a way-too-big white shirt that puffed out at the sides, capped off with a bow tie (this was well before Chuck Bass made them cool).

For those of you not from Maryland, the standard private school hair do for dudes was a helmet-like mullet. This mullet adhered to regular mullet rules: shorter in the front, longer in the back, but it had a bowl-like aspect to it around the top.  It was Beatles meets John Stamos from “Full House.” To my mother’s credit, she emptily said “I wish you’d comb your hair for this,” as I walked out the door.

At the photography session, things started off totally normal, pose-wise. Towards the end, the photographer “got a little wild” and constructed douchey poses like: “stand tall, put your hands on your hips and look confident.” This pose accentuated my puffy shirt to its fullest against the plain dark grey background. Quite frankly, this particular picture is legendary for its awfulness.

One day a few weeks before school started, my mom casually mentioned that she had “gone ahead and sent in one of my graduation pictures to University of Delaware” along with the form I had filled out in which I had randomly checked off “soccer” and “animals” as my interests. It turns out I was the only one who in the whole book who checked off “animals” — but looking at the list (which included boring things like “politics”), I couldn’t figure out anything I’d rather do than play with a dog or cat…I thought that seemed normal.

I went ballistic on my mom, like a boss who yells at an Administrative Assistant who leaked company info to the wrong person.

“Mom, we didn’t discuss this! I hate that picture!”

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I had been using the whole summer to marinate on the question: what picture should I send? There wasn’t even a requirement to send in graduation pictures. One of my best friends/housemates at UD, Jake (his last name is “Santino” so he eerily appeared next to me in the book, before we even knew each other) sent a picture of himself lounging on the hood of his old school Jeep. He looked smooth, in control, and confident. It was no coincidence that he had no trouble getting girls compared to me (yes, I’m blaming the picture).

“Oh, but it’s so cute,” she replied. Moms are so blinded by their love, they won’t admit when their kid looks like a loser. It’s admirable, but detrimental.

I had no choice but to forge on to school and hope that the picture wouldn’t make waves. Unfortunately, it generated a tsunami. Upon meeting girls, they’d wince as they went back through their minds: “I feel like I’ve met you before.” Then it would hit them: “Oh yes, the Freshman book. The picture. You like animals.” Game over.

My good friends would bring up the picture almost as a right of passage that we were close enough that they could make fun of me to my face: “Santos, what is with that picture?” I knew they spent many a late night those first few months of school laughing at my picture before they knew me, calling it “unfortunate.”

I still have my Freshman F*ck Book. That picture is kind of a classic by now — like that black and white one of the dude returning home from WWII and kissing the nurse in the street. I suppose bad press is better than no press. But if it weren’t for that picture, I would have gotten laid all the time in college (honestly).

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C-B #2: Seasonal Décor

For the holidays, my mom decks the halls spectacularly, without a hint of cheesiness. But she just doesn’t comprehend that a single dude in an apartment doesn’t do décor…let alone seasonal décor.

One year when I was living with a couple of guys, my mom sent a big packet of Autumn decorations. The headliner of this packet was a creepy scarecrow that looked like it should have been holding a knife.

My first instinct (well, second, after recoiling in fear) was to keep all the décor in the box. But (as is usually the case) my guilt overcame my judgment (there are many things my mom has given me that haven’t been thrown away, and are still somehow on a shelf on display just because I feel bad not using them). I hung the scarecrow on our front door.

A trio of good looking girls had just moved in upstairs. With no elevator in the building, the girls had to walk by our apartment on their way home. One night one of the hot girls drunkenly knocked on our door. Excitedly, I opened the door and I asked her if she wanted a drink.

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“Nah,” she replied. “Just wanted to let you know that we kidnapped your creepy scarecrow. We didn’t like having to walk past it.” I heard her laughter echoing down the hallway as she walked back up to her apartment.

The episode was a full cock-block because it didn’t lead to further correspondence–we were a mockery to them because of it…and I feel guilty, now, that I never got the scarecrow back.

 

Has your mom ever unintentionally cock-blocked you? Tell us in the comments.

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