I’ve been with a lot of women. And to be honest, they’ve had their ups and downs. Lady Gaga was fun, albeit a little weird. Jennifer Aniston really is an absolute sweetheart. Mila Kunis said kissing me was better than kissing Natalie Portman. Unfortunately, there have been the bad times. For example, I still haven’t gotten over Carly Simon writing that song about me.

I wish the girls at my school weren’t so uptight. A lot of them are nice to me, but nice in that way you’d be nice to someone’s retarded younger brother. Now you may be wondering why I’d even want to go out with these stuck up broads when I’ve been with some of the most beautiful women on the planet. Well, the fact of the matter is if I’m going to be stuck somewhere, I might as well make the most of it.

However, I recently had an idea. If none of the girls were going to go out with me, I’d give myself away in a contest. So after school, I plastered fliers across the school advertising my contest – Win a Date with Robert Tolkien. I also scattered entry forms – which included some common knowledge Robert Tolkien questions – into a few girls’ lockers. One of my friends asked me why I would make it a contest when the girls won’t go out with me in the first place. I responded to his astute inquiry by pointing out that if you make something sound important, people will believe it’s important.

I figured entry forms would be returned to me so quickly it would make my head spin. But instead I faced a bigger disappointment than when LeBron personally told me he wouldn’t leave Ohio. It seems most of my applications found their way into trashcans. Oh, and the school sentenced me to Saturday detention for posting fliers without their permission. I don’t see why I had to be subjugated to that kind of treatment – I had places to go, people to see. I mean, do they think President Obama advises himself?

Believe it or not, I did get one of the applications back – namely because someone crumpled it into a ball and threw it at my head. I eventually tried to put it out of my mind and continue with my life. After all, I’m a single successful guy. I don’t need a woman holding me back, right?

Later that week, I was leaving karate practice (I should be a multi-degree black belt by now, but I still have to go through the motions), and there she was. With her clothes that looked like they were rejected by the Salvation Army, hair that I don’t was washed since Bush was president, and an odor that would make men of lesser caliber faint – “Stinky” Carrie Reinhold. And she was holding a “Win a Date with Robert Tolkien” paper.

I might as well elaborate. Carrie Reinhold was hopelessly in love with yours truly. I always tried to figure out ways to get her off my back, but when you’re as unbelievably handsome as I am, that’s a hard thing to do. I thought about just being a prick to her, but I didn’t want to risk people thinking I was cruel. Yeah, I know it’s kind of hypocritical to treat her this way when that’s how all the other girls treat me. But I’ve been electrocuted, taken a kick from Chuck Norris and someone once dropped a piano on me. I can handle being a called a hypocrite.

I politely greeted Carrie and asked her to let me see the application. I figured maybe I could use a technicality to get out of it. So I looked over the questions – 1.) What’s my favorite movie? Ferris Beuller’s Day Off – Okay, she got one right. 2.) What’s my favorite band? Van Halen – She even made a note of mentioning I don’t like Sammy Hagar. That’s two. 3.) What’s my record for running a mile? Five minutes –I really shouldn’t have posted that on my Facebook… There were others, but I think you understand the trend. By default, Carrie had won the contest. She blathered on about her excitement about the contest, how she found one of the applications in the trash and how she couldn’t wait for our date. I just nodded and smiled, waiting for her to leave.

I figured I’d be able to just blow Carrie off and go on with my life like nothing happen. I suppose if Carrie asked me where I was, I’d tell her Tom Hanks was begging me for acting lessons again. Unfortunately, Carrie’s mom was friends with my mom, and Mrs. Reinhold couldn’t wait to tell my mom that I was going out with her daughter (Then again, I can’t really blame her). I told Mom I didn’t want to do it. She said that if I blew Carrie off, I’d be grounded until doomsday. Normally, I’d take it like a man and just accept being grounded, but I had just gotten off of being grounded when Mom found my fake I.D. so I wasn’t ready to go through that again.

But then again, anybody who thinks I can’t haggle doesn’t know Robert Tolkien. I still had some of my Christmas money left over, so I offered my mom a fast $50 to let me out of my date with Carrie. But that didn’t work. I tried convincing her that Lars Ulrich was feeling sick and thought I was the only one who could fill in for him for the upcoming Metallica concert, but she told me she didn’t care.

So I tried reasoning with her. I argued that if I went out with Carrie, I’d be dating waaaaaay below my station. I argued that Carrie smelled like a zoo. I even made a compelling case that going out with Carrie would lead to a rise in infant mortality. Finally, I resorted to something I swore I would never do – I got on my knees and begged. True, such behavior was beneath me, but I just didn’t want to go out with Carrie. This display naturally meant nothing to my mother. My mom can’t be bargained with. She can’t be reasoned with. She doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear and she will not stop until I am miserable!

So Saturday night came. It’s funny; I’ve made Chuck Lidel tap out. I’ve driven from Cleveland to Washington D.C. with my eyes shut and I’ve even beaten Battletoads without Game Genie, but this was going to be my most treacherous challenge yet – a date with Carrie Reinhold.

Of course, I did have one other ace up my sleeve. After all, I am a master of disguise, having fooled thousands with such personas as Hunter S. Tolkien, Ziggy Tolkien (and the Spiders from Mars), Groucho Tolkien, Luke Skytolkien and even Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Tolkien. With my skills, I could blend into a crowd better than Waldo. Unfortunately, my mom confiscated my disguises beforehand.

So I trudged my way to the Reinhold residence and Carrie answered the door. And much to my surprise, she actually put some effort into looking nice. She still looked like she spent the night in a dumpster, but at least I could see the effort. Her acne-ridden face actually had some makeup on it, her hair was done nicely and she even put on deodorant. I could tell because she had deodorant cakes in her pit hair. Happier than a kid in a candy store, she took my hand and we were off (while I used my free hand to cover my face).

So I took her to Taco Bell. We ordered our food and believe it or not, I actually started to enjoy myself a little. Carrie was totally up for hearing my stories about wrestling alligators, surviving an earthquake and how my grandpa won World War II by shooting Hitler in the face with a bazooka. It was a breath of fresh air to be able to talk about these things without being told to shut up, without being asked a bunch of dumb questions or without hearing “Interesting” in a tone most condescending.

Unfortunately, there was the matter of watching Carrie eat. As if it weren’t bad enough that she ate with her mouth open, glaring at her unbrushed, braces-covered teeth made the experience all the worse. It was one of the most revolting things I have ever seen in my life and I’ve watched Meat Loaf eat! Although I lost my appetite, I kept going out of fear she might take my food and I’d have to watch her eat some more.

Also, Carrie could be quite the chatterbox. She babbled endlessly about her family, the marching band, school and a bunch of other stuff I just didn’t pay attention to. Of course she got my attention when the radio started playing “Don’t Stop Believing” and she made me dance to it. How I hate that song, I really wish I had never written it.

So after that debacle, I walked Carrie home. I don’t know why, but on the walk home, I asked Carrie a point blank question – “Carrie, why do you like me?”

“What do you mean why do I like you?” She asked.

“Well,” I answered, “other girls treat me like I’m bleeding AIDS, so why do you like me?”

“Well, you are very handsome,” she finally replied. “But you’re one of the few people I know who’s nice to me. Besides, your stories are awesome. All other guys care about is boobs and football. When you talk, it’s like an adventure.” God, the rest of that walk was awkward.

When we arrived, she thanked me for taking her out. Then she leaned over like she wanted me to kiss her. Not wanting to do that, I held my hand out and gave her a hardy handshake. I noticed a little bit of disappointment in her eyes, but I tried to disregard it and get this night over with as quickly as possible. I walked home with my shirt covering my face, hoping nobody would see me.

When I arrived home, I was faced with another problem – getting in without having to face a bunch of stupid questions and comments from my family. Fortunately, over the years, I had acquired the skills of a master ninja. I used said skills to sneak into my room through the back window. Unfortunately, all the ninja skills in the world won’t help the fact that my family knows I would just hole myself up in my room (I wonder if Ric Ocasek ever had that problem).

Of course, I was barraged with asinine questions about how it was and if we’re ever going out again. Of course, my odious little brother, Tim mocked me as much as possible, telling me he can’t wait for the wedding and how you have to marry the first girl you date (to which I responded “Is that why you haven’t been on a date yet?”). But eventually, my family decided to leave me alone.

That night, all I could think about was my date with Carrie. I actually started feeling a little guilty. I couldn’t help but think maybe I could have been a little nicer to her. It reminds me of whenever I hear “Ex-Girlfriend” by No Doubt. Maybe if I had been a little nicer to her, Gwen Stephani would have married me instead of that guy from Rush. And that’s how I felt about Carrie. True, she was obnoxious and gross, but what if she became really hot some day?

Oh well, I couldn’t let “what if’s” constantly eat away at me. I had however learned one thing – No more contests!

Copyright 2011 Alex deCourville

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