Every Day I’m Hustlin’

by gooseandsoda

We can’t all be good at everything.  It takes lots of time, energy and practice to really be good at some things.  I accept this as a universal truth, and it doesn’t stress me out when I’m bad at something that other people are good at.  With one exception:  Pool.

I am SHOCKINGLY bad at pool.  I am so bad at pool that even just seeing a billiards table in a room makes my face get all hot.  I start to sweat and look for the nearest exit.

I want to be good at pool.  Hell, I will even settle at being sorta decent at pool.  I assure you, I have attempted to play pool many times in my life, and my wretched skills have never improved.  If I’ve got a pool cue in my hand, chances are someone is going to wind up with a black eye – either me, the person playing with me, or anyone within a 30-ft radius of the pool table.

It always makes me nervous when a guy takes me on a date to someplace where there may be pool involved, and I have spent countless hours in my life dashing the romantic/sexual fantasies of guys who thought they could show me how to play pool. Guys who thought they could stand behind me, moving my hips and arms into certain positions, and talking me through easy shots that we would celebrate after with a hug and maybe a kiss if he was feeling lucky.  Guys who didn’t know that trying to teach me to play pool is like trying to teach a bear stochastic calculus.  On the bright side, I’ve learned that I can actually tell a lot about a guy based on how he reacts to my pool playing retardation.

Some guys are “The Coach” – at first he starts out very encouraging and has all the right advice to elevate my game.  By the fifth awful shot he’s getting visibly frustrated and by the 10th he’s yelling at me to GET MY HEAD IN THE GAME.  When the game’s over, he wants me to play another round, and another, and another, because “Practice makes perfect!”…until my arms physically cannot lift the cue anymore.

Some guys are “Penn and Teller” – he starts off thinking he can perform some serious magic on me, really selling the hell out of it and getting me excited about how I’m finally going to be able to play something resembling pool.  As the game devolves into a series of mishaps and truly embarrassing shots, he goes silent.  Just stands there, quietly resigned to failure, before I take a bathroom break and he disappears altogether.

Some guys are “The Stage Mom” – he’s all smiles and helpful advice up front, determined to live through my success vicariously.  When he realizes that I really cannot perform on my own, he starts just scooting in and doing things himself.  Pretty soon, he’s just playing himself at pool, which is probably what he wanted in the first place.

Some guys are “The Heckler” – he starts off by innocently teasing me about my lack of ability, which I can take and appreciate.  But it doesn’t end there.  He’s got a disparaging remark for every action, and after about 20 minutes of getting constantly berated for what I KNOW are some real shit actions, I am ready to break the pool cue over his face.

I have yet to find that perfect pool date – the one who can be encouraging and playfully teasing, who remains confident and light-hearted throughout, and who, when the game mercifully ends, says, “Don’t worry, I will never make you play pool again.”