Hi, I'm Neil Padover. I like to make people feel good about themselves and I also just happen to be really awkward. That's why I am sharing my awkward experiences with other people. So you'll see you're either not alone in having completely awkward situations or that I'm just a total douchebag and you are much cooler than me.
How awkward am I? So awkward that my superhero alter-ego is actually Awkward Boy. I'm serious. My friend Saadon coined the name in order to cut down my self-esteem as good friends often do. What he didn't realize at the time was that he was doing me a favor. Detractors have tried to emotionally slash me by throwing my awkwardness in my face, but their attempts are futile. I have embraced my awkwardness and thus I give you this first awkward installment:
AWKWARD BOY: MANHATTAN EDITION
Earlier this summer I was walking in Columbus Circle with one of the other interns in my office when I saw a stylishly dressed black man looking in a store window. He was walking along with two young white girls. I turned to the other intern and said, "Dude, that's Terrence Howard!" Of course he had no idea who Terrence Howard was. "Come on. Crash? Hustle and Flow?" Still nothing.
So in order to be able to tell my friends I saw Terrence Howard walking the streets I had to verify his identity. "Terrence!" I screamed and waited. He turned. "Yeah?" I froze like the awkward white kid I was in the presence of this tall black celebrity and said the first thing that came to my mind. "You're the man!" I said. And I gave him the thumbs up. To which he simply shook his head and walked away. Man, I'm awkward.
If a girl says she is taking a summer class at NYU called "Women in Politics" don't respond, "There are women in politics?" Chances are she will not get your sharp wit and she will not think it's cute.
The other day I was sitting down on the subway and saw a pregnant woman standing. So to be a nice guy I offered her my seat. She kindly accepted, and that really should have been the end of it. But I felt a newfound connection with this woman because of my charitable act.
And so I decided to make appropriate conversation. "How far along are you?" She had no idea what I was talking about and told me she was getting off at 42nd street. "No. I mean when is the baby due?" I asked her. "I'm not pregnant" she replied. And I slowly moved to the other side of the subway car.
I listen to my ipod on the subway a lot too. And sometimes I'll be listening to a really slow melodic love song. Like the other day, "Colorblind" by the Counting Crows came on. And I was getting really into it and I started to exchange glances with this girl sitting across from me. I would gaze up and she'd look up then quickly away.
It was like she was inviting me into this world that only the two of us, in this sea of people knew about. And then suddenly I had a moment of clarity. She wasn't listening to an ipod and could not hear the soundtrack that was going on in my head. She was actually trying to avoid eye contact with me the whole time. And I'm a creep.
Sometimes I have a momentary lapse in remembering my age. I know it sounds crazy but a girl asked me how old I was the other day and I
told her 19. I had no ulterior motive for lying. I'm just an idiot. But the problem was I had to then be 19 for all my future interactions with this girl.
Because I think it would be pretty weird if one day I
was just like, "Oh yeah, I forgot I'm 21 now." The best thing you can do in a situation like that is just fake a birthday so that at least then you're only off by one year.
AND LASTLY, AN ALMOST AWKWARD MOMENT:
I was riding the bus home last night and I went straight to the back of the bus sitting in the next to last row. I like it back there because it's quieter and I don't have to worry about people climbing
over me trying to get off. Gradually the bus started to fill up and after a while there were only single seats available next to people already sitting down. A black couple came on and looked around for two
seats together but couldn't find any. Then they saw the back row behind me was completely empty. They rushed to the back and put their stuff down. And then I overheard the woman laugh and say, "Look where we are." Now, as a comedian I assure you there were plenty of things that ran through my mind to say to these people. For example, "Don't
take it personally. There's a ton of Mexicans sitting up front." Luckily, what little filter I possess forced me to keep my mouth shut.