Enunciation

Barney Stinson’s tactics for drawing in women by putting them down may have its tried-tested-and-true aspects, but let’s draw the lines at treating her like she’s Forrest Gump, and acting like a douche when you can barely manage dork.

I’m at some Asian Ivy League mixer (I suppose this in itself is an invitation for disaster), when some awkward-looking business type walks up to and starts chatting up my roommate. I’m hoping to quietly slip away to see if anyone I know is around when his equally awkward-looking friend “naturally” drifts over to me to strike up conversationn.

“So I guess this means we have to talk to each other, huh?” he remarks, waving at our companions.

“I… guess so, sure,” I say, smiling half-heartedly at the prospect.

He gestures toward our companions. “Look at him, isn’t he so awkward?” he comments on his friend.

I glance over. He seems alright. “Is he?” I ask, noncommittally.

He runs a hand through his hair and attempts a casual, lean-to-the-side slouch. This makes him look kind of like a broken laundry drying rack, elbows sticking out and everything.

He waves a hand over the entirety of his friend.

“Well, you know, check out the fully buttoned shirt, and the old-man glasses, and the sneakers.”

I raise my eyebrow. The guy is decked out in a suit and some frames, sure, but his shirt is unbuttoned to the appropriate, two-button measure, his specs are classy, and his shoes are a nice pair of (albeit worn) oxfords. I turn back to my companion, glancing him over quizzically, and then disapprovingly. You’re dressed in a fully buttoned shirt with wrinkled khakis, son, is what I want to point out him. Bad form, bro.

“He seems alright,” is all I manage.

Boy coughs into his fist then, still lacking for a response, hurriedly finishes his Corona. Then he looks up at me with glee.

“Well, I’m kind of thirsty. Can I buy you a drink?”

First interesting thing you’ve said so far, I think as we drift over to the bar. While we’re waiting for our respective drinks, I decide to be polite and ask him what he does.

Suddenly, Boy throws back his shoulders and puffs out his chest.

“Well,” he begins, lowering his voice an octave. “I work for this bank called” — here, he projects dramatically, over-enunciating each syllable of — “Mer-ryll-Lynch.” His voice returns to regular volume. “But it is known more commonly by the name” — he projects again — “Bank-of-A-mer-i-ca.”

“…”

I look at him mouth open for a moment. When our drinks appear at that moment, I take the interruption to my stupor to gather myself. “Yes, I’m aware of what Merryll Lynch and Bank of America are,” I inform him.

“So what do you do?” he says, taking our drinks in hand and passing mine to me.

I pick up my gin and tonic. “I’m a business reporter.”

He flinches, and I swear he starts to sweat. “WOW,” he responds, suddenly shouting, even as he attempts to go back into his broken laundry rack pose. “ARE. YOU. GOING. TO. WRITE. ABOUT. ME?”

“Perhaps,” I answer, then thank him for the drink and walk away.

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