Ask A Girl
Winners, Shy Guys and New Moms

it’s mixed tape winner time! First of all, I must really and truly thank all the lovelies who sent in submissions. I got many more than I thought I would, which has made it very difficult to find a winner. The only recurring theme was, of all things, Roxy Music. Other heavily taped bands were the Decemberists, Wilco and Big Star. Because the quality, thoughtfulness, and effort for pretty much every submission was sky-high, I chose 5 winners. But in reality, you are all winners.

5. James Z

This gets into fifth place for two reasons: 1) he ONLY makes tapes, which I find very endearing, and 2) his song choices really hit the perfect equilibrium between sugar-sweetness and darker, more intense love. Plus, these three songs in a row

T-Rex – “Jeepster”
Rocket From The Crypt – “Your Touch”
Depeche Mode – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

is just a smashing idea.

4. Andrew Unterberger

Andrew’s concept is sheer genius. He makes his own version of the Magnetic Field’s opus 69 Love Songs. Following the format: Part 1, Pursuance; Part 2, Acknowledgement; Part 3, Resolution, Andrew filled each disc with bands as diverse as Portishead, OutKast, Orange Juice, Gang of Four, and 10cc! Plus there is a bunch of my own personal favs on the list. I am sure even Stephen Merritt would be into this. And, Andrew is one of my Stylus family, so he deserves a little special shout-out.

3. Jim Hart

Jim set himself some parameters, like only choosing things from his own collection so he could make a provisional mix to test it out, and I have a lot of respect for someone who makes that kind of investment in their work. Plus his first three songs just melt my heart:

Cinerama – “Love”
Luna – “Lovedust”
The Dream Syndicate – “When You Smile” (The Days of Wine and Roses version)

He then takes the mix up and down and I can hear in my head how well the whole thing just works together. Very nicely done.

2. Jeff West

Mr. West gets the coveted second slot because he did his homework. There are a few Lisa-specific songs and that is always gonna score big points. Also, his notes are both sweet and quite funny—another great for combo this girl. Finally, his choices are ace. He’s got Sam Cooke, Lois, The Shaggs (!), Daniel Johnson and he even got The Replacements’ “Kiss Me On The Bus” in there, too. Bravo.

1. T. Christian Hutton

Take a bow—TCH!

Yes, you are the winner. Why did he win? Glad you asked. This guy really went above and beyond the call of duty. Instead of just submitting the one track listing, he sent in several “themed” listings all culminating in this one. And every list was so good, but his Love one is stellar. Starting with The Damned, and including Teenage Fanclub, Gram Parsons, Smokey Robinson, and The Pretenders, it all just runs together perfectly. Tragically, the mixed tape I make for him will have a lot of the same songs. Oh yeah, his notes for every list? Bloody gorgeous.

So readers, let’s all take a moment and salute my very own Mixmaster General!

Now, on to this week’s Ask A Girl

I haven't had a steady girlfriend in a little over a year (we were together about 2 years, and before that I wasn't exactly Casanova). Since then, I've had a few very brief encounters, all of which are hindered by one thing: I CANNOT talk to girls at all. The moment I even consider asking a girl out, I get too scared to do anything. I know that everyone gets nervous about it, but I find it near-crippling. The only time I ever get to go out with a girl is when they come to me, and that's only if I don't come off as a nutcase because I get so shy.

Here’s my latest example: I'm waiting at the bus stop and this girl starts talking to me. Apparently she is in my night class, and we hit it off pretty well, and by the time we're on the bus, she is in full-fledged conversation. As she's approaching her stop, she begins to hint that she wants me to ask her out. I really would have liked to, and in the back of my head I'm trying to get the gall to, but again, I couldn't. She got off the bus and I'm all bitter. This happens too much—girls approach me, then quickly back off then they realize how horribly shy I am.

So, two questions:

1) Is there anything I could do to fix this?
2) Would it still be worth a shot to ask the bus girl out next time I see her, or do girls have a "one strike and you're out" policy?

Oh man—don’t be so hard on yourself! First of all, rest easy. Girls like shy guys. In fact, jerky guys sometimes adopt the persona of shy geekler to get girls. Adam (I was totally amazing in Punch Drunk Love) Sandler has admitted to doing this over the years.

Building on what you say, if girls approaching you “happens a lot”, you must be cute and you must seem approachable. Because honestly—a girl won’t approach a guy who looks like a total creep. Just won’t happen. I doubt they are backing off because they think you are shy. They are backing off because they don’t want to be humiliated. You are giving them the shy vibe, but they read it as the standoff vibe.

But let’s get on the bus. Right, you say once you get on the bus she is “in full-fledged conversation”. In conversation with who? Herself? No! You silly. So clearly you can talk to girls, your shyness comes in the next phase—the asking her out. And like you say, most people freeze up at the prospect of that. I don’t know what you can do to “fix it” per se. It’s who you are and you shouldn’t try to be something that you aren’t. But, maybe you could think about what causes the deep freeze flip. Is it the possibility of rejection? Are you scared of starting a new relationship? While you think about that introspective stuff, you can try to make sure that girls see your shyness as shyness, and not being moody or standoffish. Smile and then look down all coy-like. It’s worked for women for years—why not have a bash yourself? Or you could even be honest and say “Sorry, I am not very good at this, I am a bit shy, but would you like to have a coffee sometime?” And that is really flattering for the person you are asking out since you are overcoming shyness to ask them out. How special must they be, eh? Or you could (and I know this sounds totally dumb, but it works) practice asking someone out. After all, you can’t practice your Academy Awards acceptance speech in the bathroom mirror forever right? Or maybe that’s just me.

As for your second question. It’s a resounding YES! Ask her out! She hasn’t written you off, I’m sure. I mean, unless she looked you straight in the eye and said, “Ask me out or die lame ass” it’s still game on. Try this—and don’t be worried, this is easy, casual stuff. No great shakes. When you next see her in your night class, go up to her before the class and just say “hey, what’s up?” After class, ask if she is getting the bus. As you are walking, ask her if she maybe wants to have a coffee or something. If she says no, just shake it off, say, “Maybe next time” and get on the bus with her and just carry on chatting. Because, even if she says no, you asked. And that is the important thing. You did it. If she says yes, that’s all gravy. Go get ‘em tiger! I know you can do it!

My good friend is having a little baby boy in May, and I was wondering will this mellow her Goth/Metal taste in music? I figured the extended posse might contain some Mothers.

My extended girl posse does include moms, two in fact. And I can say, with hand on heart, it didn’t change or mellow their music tastes at all. In fact, my one friend is a drummer and she plays drums and her little girl (who is 6 now) plays keyboards along with her. And one of my guy friends who is a dad, still plays in his band every chance he gets—in fact, his kids come to the shows. Since our musical tastes are big part of what defines us, we tend to hold onto them for dear life. Even if we have kids and our lives change, we are still essentially ourselves. And if that self includes Goth/Metal, then she is going to be a Goth/Metal mom with a gorgeous baby son. Who, in all likelihood, will be wearing a lot of little black onesies. Huzzah!

Got a question for a girl? Oh yeah you do.

By: Lisa Oliver
Published on: 2004-02-20
Comments (3)

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