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“How to Fail on a Date” – Deleted Scene #7

This deleted scene is actually an entire chapter.  It was originally Chapter 11 in "How to Fail" but in late edits it got completely 86ed.  It was just too similar to "How to Fail in Bed" and "How to Get Laid on a Couch" and it didn't really progress Stu's story in any way.

"My success has allowed me to strike out with a higher class of women." --Woody Allen

I flipped open my cell, scrolled to her number in my Contacts, put my thumb on the “Send” button, and…paused.  I realized I had no idea what I was doing.  Shit, I hadn’t done something like this in years.

Despite being a failure in pretty much all aspects of my life, I've always thought I had pretty decent “game.”  Now I’m no Giacomo Casanova or anything, but I’ve always been a deep studier, a student, an autodidact, and a tinkerer and after a decade-plus of noticing my many failures in the world of women, my many failures just in the year since my girlfriend had dumped me, I thought I had developed some pretty decent skills.  In fact, I’d felt for the past few years leading up to meeting my last girlfriend, that I’d made these skills, these dos and don’ts, such an ingrained part of my persona that I could just successfully exist around women on autopilot, which is a great thing when you’re often loaded.  I’d gotten pretty damn good at soliciting reciprocal intrigue from strange women that I was attracted to, at culling contact info from them, landing dates and outings, which typically lead to in flagranteness.  Each of those steps a chance to flounder, to have the process aborted on me, yet I was still putting up both great contact and power numbers.  We’re talking a .350 AVG, maybe a .450 OBP, and a slugging percentage that would make Jimmie Foxx blush.

That is until I met Miriam.

My god was she gorgeous.  Just silly attractive.  About as good-looking as a girl could be without you thinking she must surely be an actress or a model, though, then again, when you actually meet actresses and/or models you’re often like, “That’s it?!”  But I digress.  I was in a piece-of-shit Murray Hill sportsbar killing some time one night before joining Dan and ME for an overpriced Thai dinner when I heard violent shouting to my right:

“Goddammit Ilgauskas, could you defend the fucking pick-and-roll?!  Big Baby is torching you!”

“Would a little hustle be too much to ask, Delonte?!”

“Yep, me too, Lebron, I’d be shaking my head in dismay too if I was playing with these failures.”

The shouting was female.  I turned and saw her.  5′2″, 110 pounds, flowing golden locks, emerald green doe eyes, high cheek bones beset on a flawlessly symmetrical face, the flattest stomach I’ve ever seen peekabooing from just under the bottom of her tank top as she pumped her fist in the air after Anderson Varejao took a charge.  Who was this divine creature?

I wanted her to be my girlfriend.  It was finally time to move on and get a new one.  Another one.  Someone to support me, mentally and physically.  Yes!  A new girlfriend would be the key to pulling me out of my failure doldrums and on the road back to success.

“Big Cavs fan, huh?  You don't see a lot of those in New Yorks.  Knicks fans sure, that's what I am.  Nets or 76ers maybe too.  But Nets?  Is it a Lebron bandwagon thing?”

She didn’t even respond to me, as if she was ignoring me completely.  But she wasn’t, because the second the game went to TV timeout, she turned to me with the sweetest smile on her face, and the softest, kindest voice.

"No, I'm not a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, not in the least.  I'm just an NBA fan.  I'm just an overall sports fan.  An addict!  I don't have any favorite teams or even players.  They are all my favorites!"

"You are my dream girl."

But I was also intimated.  Good lord.  Both by her attractiveness and sports acumen.  Now, I’m no chump in the sports knowledge department, not in the least, but when a 10-out-of-10 beauty turns to you and matter of factly says, “Am I crazy or is Mo Williams overplaying Rondo to the left?,” there’s not much you can do besides go, “Uh… so would you like a drink or sumpin’?”

Not that I usually ever buy drinks for girls because I am insensitive, not to mention unemployed, and I’m not a sap and I am a guy that always usually knows what to say and offering to buy a drink is the last refuge of the sap and guy with no clue and, shit, now I was a sap with no clue what to do.

"Thanks for the offer, that's very sweet, but I don't drink."

"You don't drink?!  Who doesn’t drink?  Uh...if you mind me asking?"

"I mean, I drink liquid, water and Gatorade and ginger ale, I'm in no danger of dehydrating don’t fret, I simply don’t drink al-kee-hawl."

"Are you religious?  Or maybe a recovering alcoholic?"

"Nope.  I'm just very much into fitness and energy and health and I don't find that alcohol fits anywhere into that lifestyle."

"But alcohol makes sure your blood is thin and pumping!  It's like pretty much health liquid!"

Miriam laughed hard.  She thought I was joking.

I awkwardly sat there trying to flirt with this teetotaling, gorgeous, sports savant, no clue what to do…but get loaded myself.  I drank so quickly and nervously that I don’t really recall much of how that night ended, but I guess she liked me somewhat because before I left she coolly handed me her card and said, “Call me.”

"Call you?!"

"Yes, call me."

Call her?

Shit, I hadn’t called a girl in years.  My modus operandi for the longest time, even dating back to my last girlfriend, had been to get girl’s e-mail addresses.  A lot of people make fun of me for that,  ME and Erin and Kirsten especially, but it’s so much simpler.  Besides the fact that I hate talking on the phone, I also don’t like dealing with things in a time sensitive manner.  Nothing better than shooting off an e-mail in the morning and giving the gal all the time she wants to respond for the rest of the day.

I first realized I had a power with words back in 11th grade.  I knew I was a good writer, even then, but I didn’t quite know the effect my words could have.  That was until the last day of class that year when during a yearbook signing period I quickly scratched out a message to a girl I had an unrequited crush on.  Now, I hadn’t written anything romantic or perhaps even creepy, if that’s what you’re wondering, I had just slopped down a nice, brief “good to know you” message.  The kind of message I would slop down for any one, guy or girl, that I honestly felt it was good to know.

I thought nothing of that message until later that night when the girl called me–she never called me!–to tell me that her and her mother had been rereading over my message all night, it had moved them so much, to tears even, and she just wanted to thank me for my beautiful note.  From that point on, I realized how I could affect people with my writing, and I began wielding my pen like an epee.

Fuck!  That stupid yearbook message and that stupid girl who was so touched by it had gotten me into this huge mess.  I'd probably have never even pursued, unsuccessfully so far, a writing career if not for that girl.  That girl who I could barely even remember.

But even if I was a good writer, just like that longaway girl thought, now I was being handicapped, one of my greatest skills taken away from me!  I hadn’t called a girl to ask her on a date since like 1999.  How did one even go about doing such a thing?!  I was actually getting nervous!  I don’t get nervous for anything any more.  It's hard to when you're a failure, I mean, what's the worst that could happen?  Just another failing to add to the pile.

Shit, what to do?  I went to Facebook to look at Miriam's page.  Maybe she wasn’t as good looking as I recall.  Perhaps she was not truly that interesting.  Maybe she listed her religious affiliation as Wiccan.  But she didn’t even have a page!  The hell?  What twentysomething chick doesn’t have a Facebook profile?  Well, at least I knew she didn’t have any children, cause no new mother nowadays can possibly avoid posting zillion of pictures and inane status updates about their miserable rugrats.

Should I just text her?  Naw, that would be cowardly.  And, I later found out, impossible.  Miriam didn’t even have a cell phone.  So I called the number she gave me, a landline, and fought through the nerves to arrange a date.  She had only one rule:  we had to go to a bar with plenty of TVs, and good ones, she wasn’t going to miss that night’s Nuggets/Lakers game.

Meeting up with her that evening, she was just as gorgeous as I recall.  I pounded How to Fail Ales while she drank cranberry juice.  I wondered if she had a bladder infection.  I quizzed her on her seeming lack of technology, her Luddite values.  She didn’t have a Facebook page because she thought it was childish, a time suck.  I couldn’t disagree with that.  She didn’t have a cell phone because she didn’t like to be reached at any time, any place.  She also thought it was rude to have your ears and eyes glued to a device while out with other people.  Again, couldn’t disagree with that.  As for e-mail, she only checked it once a week, so sending her messages was borderline pointless.

I soon realized, I had no fucking clue what to do.  Just like with all these other aspects of my life.  I’d followed a very simple pattern with the previous zillion women I’d dated:  get e-mail address, send pithy and humorous message the next day or so, meet at bar around happy hour, get loaded going drink-for-drink with a girl I outweighed by fifty pounds at least, be funny, be interesting, and by midnight or later I was usually in bed with said female.  I had a system, a damn good system, an innately New York City system, but now I was just flummoxed.  Especially, when at 9 PM, Miriam told me she had to get to bed.  As in, go to bed alone.  Seems she wakes up every morning at 4 AM to work out in order to be at her job by 7 AM.

Who was I dealing with?!

This girl was one of the most committed, focused, good, pure, and successful human beings in this entire miserable city.

Miriam quickly kissed me on the lips and sprinted from the place, leaving me there to reassess what went wrong.  Our chemistry had been solid enough, sure, but I never felt like we were making a full connection, she seemingly more interested in Carmelo Anthony’s shooting that night than in my hilarious anecdotes of a life of failure.

I typically wouldn’t even continue going after a girl like Miriam after such a modest failure of a first date, but she was too goddamn hot, and I was still certain we were destined to someday soon have the same last name.  Maybe she was just shy, nervous herself.  And did I always have to take the easy way out?

The easy sluts to sack or the tough nut to crack?  I'd always taken the former but now it was time to pursue the latter.

I needed to try to pick up my game, swim in the deep end without any floaties on my doughy biceps.  You can only get better at things if you challenge yourself, right?

Forced to call her again for a second date, I would have to show up and be as charismatic as I’ve ever been, and be aggressive and sexy and manly too.  I’d have to work quick, cause I’d only have til her witching hour of 9, but I could make it work.  I’d barely drink as well, flip the tables on her.  Yes!  Maybe she was only so intimidating, so cocksure, because she was a sober beauty dealing with drunken buffoons like me, each pint we drank knocking five points off our IQs until Miriam was dealing with a borderline retard.  My Lesbian Wingman and Brandi thought it was a great plan and even offered me a few tips of their own.  Boy they musta wanted me out of their hair.

But I would flounder again this time, too self-conscious at my behavior, my lack of drinking, her placid and sober demeanor.  Nothing had changed.  After we again chastely kissed goodbye at 9:00 on the dot, I knew it was over.

Walking home up Ninth Avenue, I came to the realization that I must have no game.  Sure, I’m good at meeting women, good at getting them to meet me out, and good at–I guess–taking semi-advantage of them while we’re both equally drunk.  And, once a women’s slept with you once, the hard part is over.  Even if she doesn’t like you once you’re already one of her “numbers,” a tally on her sexual abacus, she figures you guys might as well forge some sort of relationship out of this fact, whether you become as much as boyfriend and girlfriend or just sometime besotted bedmates.

In fact, it could be said that chemically, once you’ve slept with a woman that first drunken night, the bond has been formed for the immediate future as Oxytocin is released into the women’s nervous system during distension of the cervix and hopefully for her sake orgasm, causing her to have a mysteriously uncontrollable and intense need to bond with you.  Even for a night.

I was at the Wee Pub talking about my struggles with Lynn.

"My dealings with Miriam made me realize I have no game.  I'm not good with women.  Great, yet another thing I find I'm a failure at.  One of the few things I had thought I was good at!"

"Yes, y'are a failure with the birds.  Young guys like you got'it t'easy.  Back in m'day we act'lly had to woo the woman.  Y'know wut wooing is?"

I nodded.

"Yer whole life you've been using some fookin' thousand dolla' titanium driver that corrects all yer mishits.  Ha, ever notice how mishits sounds like 'my shits?'  I grew up using piece of fookin' shit wood clubs and hittin' rocks.  That's why my game's so tight now.  Better than your weak generation. When I grew up in Cork, rather than relying on textin', Face-fookin'-booking, e-mell, I had to learn my craft by doin' t'ings like making plans in advance, callin' birds on the kitchen phone with my fookin' parents in the next room. Try that!"

Lynn left to tend to a customer and I thought about what he had to say.


Yes, I would start wooing women.  Courting them.  Like all men had done from Adam til circa 1995 or so.  Before cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, texting, and the brilliant drunken social mores of the 21st century.

Wooing and courting.  When was the last time a man had done that?  When was the last time a man had used those words?

Technology and the mores of the 21st century has made dating so impersonal.  You meet a girl at a bar, you hit it off, but forget to exchange info.  You look her up on Facebook, find her, friend her, e-mail back and forth a time or two.  Ask her if she wants to grab a drink.  She agrees.  Gives you her phone number.  Tells you to text--don't call--the day of to confirm.

You meet at a loud bar, you both can barely hear each other over the music and chit-chat of others.  That doesn't really matter because you've both memorized everything there is to kow about each other.  Or, at least everything facile there is to know (her favorite movie:  "The Princess Bride"; your favorite book:  "American Psycho.")

You get drunk, go to her place and fuck, soon you've doing this 2-3 times a week for the last 2-3 months yet you barely know each other.

I wanted to change that.  Really get to know a girl.  That would net me happiness.  I was certain of it.


Besides the now-dated Lebron references, I kinda like that passage.  But it killed the flow of the book, I was right to cut it.  Oh well, at least I got to share it here.

Check out these other Director's Commentary and Deleted Scenes:

#1 -- "FUCK YOUS" (dedication page)
#2 -- "QUOTING BIGGIE SMALLS" (including famous quotes)
#3 -- "BLURBS" (cover blurbs)
#4 -- "CHAPTER ONE" (genesis of HTF idea)
#5 -- "THE FAILURE INTERVENTION" (deleted scene)
#6 -- "I'VE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER" (deleted scene)

If you’ve read "How to Fail" and haven’t yet left an Amazon review, please take 30 seconds to do so here and keep spreading the good word, even to your friends that can't read.

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