Previous installments: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10. And check out the official Livin' Large FAQ.

Mat didn't return until the next night. I wasted no time in giving him the good news.

"Aw, f*** me, Shelly's coming? That's great!"

Yep, Mat was pretty thrilled about Shelly's impending visit, which would occur in two weekends. He was so thrilled, in fact, that he went ahead and had five minutes of sweaty relations with Jennifer later that night. Say what you will about him, but Mat knew how to celebrate good news.

Now, my friends will tell you that I have a habit -- good or bad, depending on your point of view -- of giving unsolicited advice when I see someone doing something stupid. Normally, I'll open with a statement like, "Dude, that's stupid," and follow it up with a list of the reasons I think it's stupid.

This advice usually goes over about as well as a peanut butter and human feces sandwich. I've come to realize over the years that when a person behaves stupidly, they (usually) already know somewhere deep (or not-so-deep) inside they're being stupid but don't want to give up whatever selfish desire they're going after. Therefore pointing out the stupidity isn't helping them so much as reminding them of something they were trying to repress. And nobody likes that.

For example, I have a friend who's head-over-heels in debt, but he recently insisted on renting a two-story condo with a basement (despite the fact that he lives alone) and buying both a new Mustang and a new special edition Triumph Trophy motorcycle similar to the one Steve McQueen rode in The Great Escape. Now he's talking about buying a house, although I have no idea how he'd do it. (This "I'll accumulate as much insurmountable debt as lending institutions will let me" model is a big reason why our economy has failed by the way.) This is the same guy who had to cancel a recent visit because he couldn't afford gas money for the trip from Indianapolis to Chicago. Yet when I try to council him to financial caution, he gets pissy.

At any rate, with Shelly coming to town and Mat having both a regular girlfriend and a continuing series of one-night hookups, I saw the potential for disaster. Forget the fact that lying to all the women involved was wrong, I couldn't see how he was going to keep the girls from crossing paths in some way. I mean, what if Jennifer called and left a message while Mat and Shelly were getting it on? (We still had the free-standing answering machine that played messages out loud as they were being left.)

Of course, Mat had a plan. He wasn't going to make any dates. (Mighty considerate of him, huh?) He was going to tell Jennifer he'd be busy all weekend. As for the phone, he was going to turn off the ringer and disconnect the answering machine. There was at least one problem with that plan.

"Uh, how am I going to get my calls and messages?" I asked.

"Aw, you can help a brother out for the weekend, right?" (Yes, he occasionally referred to himself as "a brother" and on rare occasions the N-word.) This wasn't a threat. He was actually asking me. Nicely even. And it totally worked. It's kind of like when an abusive husband brings his wife flowers. She's so used to being treated like a dog that any sign of human kindness makes her melt. Mat spent so much time ignoring me and my feelings that when he acted like he cared just a little, it made me feel a surge of fraternity with him. Because, of course, I was a sucker.

I was still dubious about whether Jennifer would really stay away from the room. She often stopped by even when she knew Mat wasn't going to be there. Believe it or not, she didn't seem to be trying to catch him cheating on her. She just really hoped she'd be able to see him, and maybe surprise him with a gift or some Taco Bell. (Jennifer never gave me the Taco Bell intended for Mat when he wasn't there, and I often wondered what she did with a huge bag filled with tacos and burritos. That stuff doesn't reheat well. It's barely edible when it's fresh.)

"She'll stay away because I tell her to stay away," Mat said, and that did sound like a threat.

The days passed by. Mat's professors were starting to call and leave messages for him, requesting that he call them back. He never did. I figured the calls likely had something to do with the fact that he never attended classes. At least, as far as I could tell. I was usually on campus all day and working at the food service in the early evening. But on the rare days I had a break or a class got canceled, I would come back to the room to find him sleeping until an hour or so before practice.

Meanwhile, I was spending more time with Susan. We figured the best way to get through our pledgeship was to do all our hours together. Of course, she had ditched our last service activity. Apparently, she'd been nursing a huge hangover and couldn't get out of bed.

"You drink?" I asked, somewhat surprised because I was an idiot.

"Uh, yeah. You don't?" She said.

", not very often." Not very often? I never drank! (At that time, anyway.) But I didn't want to sound like a complete lameass, even if I was.

"Well, if we're going to spend this much time together, that's got to change. Me and my roommate are having a room party on Friday. You should come by."

Since I was a complete nerd, I brought up the fact that we both had to be up early the next day to pass out flyers outside the football stadium. It was actually a pretty sweet deal, because this particular service event earned us free tickets to the game. The game was against Notre Dame, and the tickets were impossible to get. (I wasn't that into football at the time, so I had no idea how big this was until someone at the food service offered me $100 for my ticket.)

"You don't think you'll be able to wake up the next day if you party?" she asked.

"I'm actually more worried about whether you can wake up."

"Then just crash in my room and wake me up yourself," she said. "I'll even let you get me coffee."

If I remember correctly, I forgot to breath for the next minute or so. Still, I assumed that Susan's comment was entirely innocent -- and it may well have been, I never asked -- but when I told Aimee about it during our nightly phone conversation, she freaked out a little. "I don't like Susan," she said.

"You don't even know her," I countered.

"Yeah, well, I still don't like her," she said in a pouty way. "I think she has a crush on you."

"Based on what?" I asked. Then I said, "It doesn't really matter anyway, does it? You still don't want to be my girlfriend, right?" I had her in a checkmate there, and she wasn't happy about it. Nor was she pleased that I had received another card from Latrisse. Still, she got along with her roommate so well she didn't say anything for fear of damaging their relationship. But all in all, she was wary of any women who gave me attention.

That's why I didn't tell her about getting a call from Nancy. I didn't call her after Sunday's service event, so she got my number from the student directory. She asked if I wanted to hang out at her place on Saturday night, maybe watch a movie. I had nothing else to do, so I agreed. It didn't occur to me then, but for such a "lonely" guy, I somehow ended up getting my share of attention from girls.

Shelly's phone calls were increasing in frequency and length, which required Mat to be home during the week more often than he typically preferred. It also blew his booty call schedule all to hell. Fortunately, Jennifer was willing to come over whenever he asked. That's probably another reason she became his only regular thing: she was terribly convenient.

Although Mat was always excited to hear from Shelly, there was something almost ominous about the phone calls. The conversations were becoming more serious. There was more pillow talk than there had been. Instead of beer and pot, they had started discussing the future and the possibility of taking trips together. Her visiting him Holland the next summer was brought up. Mat started occasionally using the L-word. Only in a "Love you too" kind of way, but it was stunning nonetheless.

"So," I asked one night, "things getting serious with Shelly?"

"F*** me, man," he said, "I have no f***ing idea." Experience has since taught me that particular answer to that particular question in those particular circumstances is a man's way of saying, "Yes, they are becoming more serious, and I am helpless to stop it. Also, I am scared shitless."

Friday night arrived. I went to Susan's party and found her dorm room stuffed with people I didn't know. There was her roommate Jen (a true BBW), her friend Jodie (an unfortunate girl who looked like the Rocky character from Mask), and some other guys and girls I didn't know and never bothered to get to know.

When I walked in, Susan -- already well on her way to "very drunk" -- ran across the room (which took all of three steps) and jumped into my arms. "My pledge brother...WOOOOO!" she screamed as she slopped beer on me.

One by one, Susan introduced me to the partygoers. When she offered me a beer, I politely declined. This was met with a chorus of boos, after which Susan kept attempting to feed me her beer every chance she got. "Oh yeah," she said, "getting my pledge brother drunk! I'm gonna corrupt you yet."

Jen took me aside the first chance she got. She wanted me to tell her everything I knew about Mat. "Oh my God, he's so gorgeous," she said in that breathless, "his mere existence makes my panties wet" way. "What's he like? Is he cool? Is he funny? Is he dating anybody?" I went ahead and told her everything I knew, most of which was not very complimentary. She eyed me suspiciously after that, as if she couldn't imagine Mat being anything less than super-awesome.

Unlike the frat party I went to, I made a real effort to mingle at this party. But chatting up a bunch of drunk people you don't know when you're not getting drunk yourself becomes increasingly difficult as the night goes on. Plus, at the time, my mingle gland was two sizes too small. So, after an hour or so, I excused myself. Susan was very disappointed.

"You have to staaaaaay," she moaned. "How am I going to get up tomorrow morning if you leave?"

"I'll come by and pick you up. I promise." I really put the "me" in "lame" didn't I?

Susan wasn't happy with the resolution, but she reluctantly accepted it. On the way out, Jen gave me her number on a scrap of paper and asked me to give it to Mat. I said, "Okay, I'll put it next to all the other girls' numbers." She gave me a beady look of pure dislike.

When I got back to the room, Mat was pacing around waiting for Shelly's call. It came shortly thereafter, and Mat rushed through it. "Baby," he said. "I's got to get up early tomorrow morning. De coaches are holding practice extra early. I have get my sleep."

He was out of the room less than 20 seconds after hanging up the phone. I dropped Jen's number on his desk amidst the rest of the mess there knowing he'd never find it.

I was about to put on an old Celtics game, but I forced myself to go down to hang out with the D&D group for a while. Sadly, I spent more time roleplaying that night than partying with a girl I was destined to fall in love with. Have I mentioned that retelling these stories makes me hate myself a little bit?

The next morning I went to Susan's dorm to wake her up. I called from the courtesy phone downstairs and had to let it ring 20 or 30 times before she finally picked up. "I'll be right down," she grumped and hung up.

Susan was cranky and dragging ass, but she came. We arrived at the football stadium 10 minutes early and she complained that I could have let her sleep at least nine more minutes. After everybody arrived, the event organizer started splitting us into pairs. Just as Susan and I were about to get paired off, this greasy guy named Steve said, "Oh, I'm Susan's friend, I'll go with her."

Not only did this piss me off, it left me as an odd number, and ended up having to pass out flyers by myself. I put "Kill this Steve guy" near the top of my to-do list.

Steve continued to dominate Susan's attention during the game. His method was to cover her like a blanket and block everyone else from talking to her. If this had happened a year or two later, I would have chewed the guy up and spit him out. At the time, all I could do was sit back, watch, and mentally kick myself in the ass.

The game was an embarrassing blowout at our team's expense (we didn't even score a point), so the three of us left early. To Steve's great dismay, Susan wanted to go back to her room and take a nap. I offered to walk her home, but Steve said, "Don't worry about it kid, I've got it" and off they went. I spent the next few hours fuming silently but bitterly.

However, I had plans that night, which meant I didn't have to sit around by myself, and that was a good thing. Nancy and I watched a movie, although I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Girls she knew kept coming by and saying things like, "Oh, that's Matt?" or "Is that the guy who likes pro wrestling?" and then giggling like crazy. That -- along with the fact that she had looked my number up and invited me to her room for a movie night -- would have tipped off someone with even the smallest shred of social aptitude. But I had none, and so I noticed nothing.

At the end of the night, Nancy said, "So, what would you like to do now?"

I was tired, so I told her that and said I'd probably just go home and go to bed. She seemed disappointed, but said she understood. "But hey," she said as I she walked me out of the building, "a group of us are going to Olive Garden tomorrow afternoon. Would you like to go with us?"

The dorms didn't serve dinner on Sunday, so I said that sounded great.

On the way back to my room, I saw Nathan's door was open. He was praying or something like that, so I asked if I could use his computer to check my e-mail. This was a novelty for me. I had gotten my e-mail account a few weeks prior, and it was my first. Mind you, personal Internet usage was still very new, and my school's e-mail system used a VI editor. I might as well have been carving onto stone and tossing it in the direction of whoever I was writing to.

I knew checking e-mail was probably a waste of time, but I had given Aimee my e-mail address earlier in the week and was hoping she might have e-mailed me. She hadn't...but Latrisse had. The message said something like, "Hey baby. Aimee gave me your e-mail address so I thought I'd send a note to say hello. Write back soon!" I sent her a note thanking her for e-mailing me, then left Nathan to his prayers.

Mat was not in the room nor did he return that night.

The next day I went to Nancy's room for this group trip to the Olive Garden. Kokomo didn't have an Olive Garden the time. In fact, I'd never even heard of the place before, so this was a novelty for me. I assumed it was some fast food place somewhere off campus. I wore my default outfit, which consisted of a t-shirt, jeans and my basketball shoes. When Nancy opened the door, I realized that was a mistake.

Including Nancy, there were three girls and two guys. The girls were wearing dresses an the guys were in khaki pants and button-down shirts. At first, I was like, Everybody dressed really nice today. That's weird. Then it hit me...this was a couples thing. This was a date!

Nancy looked scandalized by my attire, and the other girls looked at her sympathetically. The guys looked at me like as if to say, "Damn, I didn't know I could have worn jeans."

Suffice it to say, it was a terribly uncomfortable dinner for everyone involved. I felt like a schmuck for not realizing this was a date, even though there was no way I could have known. When the bill came, I only paid for myself, and Nancy looked stricken. The car ride back to campus was deathly quiet. They dropped me off at my dorm and Nancy mumbled something like, "Talk to you later."

I shuffled back to my room feeling like the world's biggest fool. My every experience with women felt like an exercise in humiliation and futility. I once again thought to myself that I'd probably die a virgin.

Mat still wasn't home. He had a dozen or more messages on the answering machine, and half of them were from Shelly. It sounded like he would be in trouble when he got home. I spent the rest of the day studying, taking breaks to call Susan (to see if she'd recovered from her hangover), Joe (to set up a time to play basketball), and Aimee (to increase my frustration with the opposite sex). I asked Aimee to thank Latrisse for e-mailing me hoping it would make her feel guilty for not doing it herself. Instead it made her suspicious. "Don’t you think it’s weird that Latrisse keeps sending you cards and e-mails?"

"One e-mail," I corrected, not even remotely seeing her point.

I hadn't been in bed for very long when Mat returned. He kicked open the door, flipped on the Heineken light, turned on MTV and flopped into his giant chair. "F*** me," he said to no one in particular. "Long f***ing weekend." Shelly called shortly thereafter, and I eventually fell asleep to the sound of Mat talking dirty to her.

Livin' Large: The official Cast List

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Blogger Sturla said...
I'm not sure what is more deserving of a facepalm, your akwardness and blindness towards women in these stories, or the fact that this painfully reminds me of myself during that age.

Double facepalm it is.

Nothing on Richard Jefferson's failed wedding? Come on!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow, thank you for all your work. It is appreciated.

Oh and btw, did anyone else notice that most people in the fail-banner are white?

Blogger Richard Zhang said...
What did Nancy look like?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man, reading this installment was like watching The Office for me. It's funny as hell but at the same time has a way of making me feel uncomfortable. Despite that, this is beginning to prop up my self-esteem from my freshman year at college. As inept as I was, I can't touch your social impotence!

This is great. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous Jon S said...
I'm loving this series!

You live in Chicago? Where do you ball at?

Blogger GonzoPal said...
Approved by men of all ages, this one is a real beauty. You´ll never get to old for the special "Damn, I didn't know I could have worn jeans." -situation.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If I had a time machine and I could only take one trip back in time, I would use it to go and slap you in the face to wake you from your ignorance dude.

Honestly, I feel for you.

Blogger Unknown said...
The way you handled Nancy thing....I feel so sad for her now. Also it feels bizarre, that as nerdy as u were, u still had so much attention. We, regular guys have to be much more like Stevie :P

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Sturla -- Double facepalms it is...

Raymond Blitzfucker -- I know, I know. I'm slacking on my bawful because of the Livin' Large series, not to mention this whole "work trip to Italy in which I'm putting in 13-hour days."

Anonymous #1 -- Thank you.

Anonymous #2 -- You know...I didn't notice that until you pointed it out. Dismissed as coincidence.

Richard -- Nancy was about 5'6", thin with a slightly above average figure, shoulder-length dusty blond hair, blue eyes. The eyes were spaced somewhat oddly -- like maybe slightly too far apart -- which is what kept her from being really attractive. Still, she was pretty enough. But I wasn't a look around at all the girls kind of guy at that stage. I felt like having a crush on Susan when I wanted to date Aimee was mildly scandalous.

Anonymous #3 -- Yeah, I think it's better that nobody touches my social impotence, thanks.

Jon S. -- I'm in Chicago, yes. Well, the Chicago 'burbs. I ball at various places such as lifeTime fitness and the pickup leagues run in various suburbs (like Oak Park).


GonzoPal -- No man wants to be in khakis when he could be wearing jeans. No man.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Anonymous #4 -- I'm cool with that, as long as you then take me to the future so we can fight the Robot Overlords together.

Adam -- Ah, that's the glory and the horror of being young. Hearts are being broken all the time, usually through sheer ignorance. But seriously, she could have TOLD me it was a date-like situation. I mean, right? Don't people usually share that kind of info?

Blogger Richard Zhang said...
Bawful, what suburb are you in?

Anonymous Shrugz said...
I'm gonna agree with bawful lol normally when you going on a date you don't say a group of us are going some place (no idea what olive garden was before I went either)
btw going to university sucks more when ur younger than everyone and everyone knows it AHHAHA :P

Anonymous Wormboy said...

At which point did you realize it was a date? Because I think that an honest confession would have had you in like Flynn. As in: "Nancy, I'm so, so sorry. I'm a clueless dork. I didn't realize what kind of situation we were talking here. Let me make it up to you with X." Or just an apology to smooth her feelings.

Of course, starting from roughly the same place as you, it was a few years later that I realized that kind of thing. So honestly, I'm sure I would have done exactly the same (well, there weren't Olive Gardens the few years earlier when I went to college.)

Blogger Dan B. said...
Bawful -- I'm a man, and I think khakis are more comfortable than jeans. Then again, I'm probably just conditioned into thinking as much after spending all of middle school and high school being forced to wear slacks at school, then having to wear slacks in the workplace at most of my jobs.

Reading this is really starting to remind me ever so slightly of my freshman year at college: terribly awkward social situations everywhere! (Except I never really got odd looks when I told people I didn't drink much. Then again, I didn't go to very many parties)

Like your awkward "date" with Nancy, I too once had a time with a girl where I didn't pay for her -- I didn't have much cash on me, so I stupidly rationalized I shouldn't pay for her since I didn't know if it was a date. Needless to say, she never went out with me again, and actually ended up hooking up with my friend and putting on about 30 pounds in just a couple months. So that one particular case worked out OK for me, but still.

I'm still dumbfounded by how you managed to get so much attention from the ladies. I was only slightly less socially awkward than you, and the only attention I ever got from the girls I met was from the ones already in longer-term relationships who just looked at me as only a good friend. You know, the cute little brother type. I got all kinds of that attention, especially since I worked the front desk at my dorm so everybody knew me.

And you know what? I'm in a story telling mood... (You might wish to get a snack. This could be long.)

I spent a lot of time my freshman year with a girl named Sarah whose boyfriend lived in another town. We went to lunch together at least three times a week, and we occasionally even got dinner together. We hung out in the lobby in the evenings, we occasionally did homework together for a couple classes we shared, she would come hang out in the lobby when I worked the front desk. If you saw us together out in public, you'd assume we were dating, but of course we weren't, and never would. Not to say she wouldn't break my heart ever so slightly. One day I was doing homework in the dorm lobby when she walked by and plopped down onto the couch next to me. I smiled and greeted her, and she asked if I would be interested in going with her to see a play that night. My eyes snapped up as my heart picked up a few extra beats.

"Absolutely! Sounds great," I replied through a goofy smile.

"Perfect! You'll get to meet Chris then."

Wait -- what?

My heart sank. Apparently within just a day of dumping her old boyfriend, she found another guy, who was only slightly less of a douchebag than her previous boyfriend. And this is how she decided to break the news to me? Facepalm. (And no, it's not the same Chris who posts here, just in case there was any confusion) For the record, she later broke up with him, and starting going back out with the first guy again! Then while I was on a camping trip with her and several other people, including her now-ex-boyfriend, she got drunk and cheated on First-and-again-boyfriend with the now-ex-boyfriend. Oh boy. Well, at least I no longer felt as bad about never getting a chance to actually be in a relationship with her.

(Well, that was long. I told you that you should have gotten a snack! Hope you all enjoyed my self-indulgent diversion from the real Livin' Large, but don't get used to it because I don't have many stories to tell!)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
6 days

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Good stuff as always.

A redundant and understandable cycle of youthful ignorance continues in an identifiable and comical manner.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful, I have a love hate relationship with this series...On the one hand, this is one of the most interesting/funny stories I have ever read, but on the other hand, it reminds of my own awkward freshman moments. Anyway, great work

Anonymous EnStar said...
Ditto to what Sturla said.

And, for the record, this series has been fuckin' GOLD. First semester of college is awkward enough for anyone, but I think you've got a whole new level of crazy going on here. Well done.

Blogger Japes said...
It seems to me that the pure innocence is what was getting all the girls attention. They were probably tired of all the Steve-like guys hitting on them that when they ran into a nice an innocent kid like yourself, they found it very interesting.

Still, when a girl I barely know invites me to a "group gathering", I always dress well just in case. Not necessarily khakis but jeans with nice shoes instead of running shoes.

Blogger Nick said...
And even though my last comment won't get shown, I'd like to thank you for making my summer job somewhat less depressing.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Aww dayam geeky Matt's got da college chicks all up in a hizzy. A few quick comments:

1) ProTip: In all fairness to Taco Bell, they get a bad wrap in the fast food industry. Everything on the menu is actually pretty good, except the ground beef. No one knows what the fuck is going on there, so pay the extra for chicken or steak, veggies are actually quite fresh.

2) You telling Jen the raw truth about Mat was completely hilarious, and I would have done the same thing today if Mat were my roommate, only without the "throw your number in the pile of the other girls' numbers" because I don't even I'm witty enough to have come up with such a brilliant line on the spot.

3) Mad geek props for the VI mention.

4) I think I missed something or something, but when did you get known for liking professional wrestling? You've talked about it on the blog before, but this is the first mention of it in Livin' Large...?

5) As you were the abused housewife of roommates, you have made us all the abused housewives of blogs. I need more of this story and would still be convinced it loved me even if it hit me.

Blogger XForce23 said...
Oh boy.

Bawful, I'm going to have to give you much respect for remembering such painful and embarrassing social episodes and posting them for everyone to see.

Your failures will be guideposts for future generations to come.

Blogger The Fairlady said...
Bawful: Wonderful series, but reading this part makes me want to beat you up. BAD!

Keep it up! (the stores, not your social inept)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful - I was just curious as to why you were so blunt and direct about Mat with Jen? Was this just more of you rebelling against your role as his sex secretary? Were you like this with all the other girls inquiring about his "services" at this point?

AnacondaHL - I totally agree with you about this blog. If someone made a bet with me that I'd enjoy reading about someone else's drama before this series I would have probably fielded it without a thought. Now I've discovered that there's a dark, dark part of my soul that needs to be scrubbed with the soap of Livin' Large. I can say that this is probably the first time I've hoped that the season doesn't start soon. F*** me...

Blogger chris said...
Bawful, I think the unintentional success that you half-squandered during your frosh year actually gives us all blog readers plenty of reason for optimism...

...or so I would hope. :P

Blogger The Fairlady said...
I thought that you said you never see Jennifer again after she broke up with she still keep going..umm sleeping with Mat?!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Young people.

I've been married for 11 years. My optimism is my wife's life insurance.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Too good!

Anonymous Ruben said...
Again, this series keeps getting better, and I definitely second Chris's comment.
I have a request though, since all these characters and girls are getting to be a little much for my untrained mind. Could you (or anyone who wants to study the series as if it were a book report) make up a diagram of the characters mentioned- especially the girls- in relation to both big and little mat(T)? That way, we could instantly see the bawfulness of Big Mat's pimping, and the bawfulness of little Matt's obliviousness to the opposite sex. I'm imagining it would keep growing into a giant web as the series progresses though.

Blogger chris said...
The Fairlady 350Z: IIRC, the breakup was mentioned out of chronological order in the story...

Ruben: "since all these characters and girls are getting to be a little much for my untrained mind" - that best describes Matholomew's lack of awareness that first year, don't it?

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
'My optism is my wife's life insurance'...wah wah waaahhh.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"BBW"...a term I haven't heard in awhile! LOL
I thought it was rather odd that the BBWs and FBWs didn't cross paths that often. Some were friends, but most kept to their own sport preference.

Signed...the anonymous guy who called you lame for being in the fishbowl...I'll call myself FB.


Blogger eileen said...
My friends and I have a term for when you end up in one of those "OMG I had no idea this was supposed to be a date" situations like you and Nancy at the Olive Garden: a Shanghai Date.

You might want to add that one to the lexicon.

Anonymous Guy said...
"It seems to me that the pure innocence is what was getting all the girls attention. "

That and I believe Bawful mentioned at some point he's 6 feet tall? Sadly, despite being a tall guy too, it took me a long time to realize how that is "valued"... I still find it odd.

Great series Bawful. Every moment spent in anticipation of the next installment is sheer agony. Damn soap operas.

Blogger Benjamin said...
this is the best series ever (obligatory "long time reader, first - probably - time commenter")

AnacondaHL: no idea if you meant to, but the "Taco Bell gets a bad wrap" pun was brilliant.

I've also compared the recent developments in Livin Large to the new season of Entourage... less Vinny (Big Mat: charismatic, they both like - and succeed with - the ladies), more E: likeable, kind of cute, but you wish he would... well... grow some balls, in the most polite possible way.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
This is at least one million times better than Entourage. Not to start a flame fest, but that show blooowwws. Why not just write the same episode over and over. Every time. The same thing happens every season.

Blogger Steve Lee said...
The Shanghai date is a scary one to go on, especially if she is in your group of friends. It usually gets you in deep water with the girl you really do want to go out with.

That being said, I'm super ready for the next 4 Livin Large installments this week. I always expect greatness when i turn on my laptop in the morning.

Anonymous VCfor3 said...
Bawful, wow, this post deserves the ultimate facepalm, I think I'm gunna need to grow a few extra arms. I can't wait to hear about your tales of how you changed.

Blogger Japes said...
Don't forget to throw in some of the tales about Aimee's dad in there. I remember you saying that you'd go home in odd times only to play ball with her dad whenever you got frustrated with school. I'm sure he gave you some advice to help deal with some of the awkward situations that you're telling us about now.

Blogger Victor said...
I like how Bawful has so many women that he can screw it up with Nancy and her friends, but still have a couple backups. Though she should have at least hinted with a "dress nice" or something.

Bawful's completely obliviousness on movie night was great too. Most guys' problem is that they come on too strong and let the girl know they're interested (Aimee, anyone?), but Bawful plays hard to get with these chicks and they can't forget him.

Blogger JMizz said...
Sorry for the tough 17-0 loss to Notre Dame. Have you gotten over it yet?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful - this is painful to read (in an entirely entertaining way, mind you). But it made me start to think about my first year in university ...

My experience with the ladies was poor (read: I lacked the requisite skills in the sack), but I managed to pick up more than a few. Sadly, many of these ended in rather humiliating displays of sexual ineptitude ... I eventually learned, but the point I'm trying to make is: don't feel too bad, looking back, I kind of wish I followed your track a little (I still get embarassed while privately thinking back to some of my worst experiences).

Blogger Unknown said...
shit, 'bawful. this was the first chapter that wasn't funny at all. this one just made me feel uncomfortable. kind of like when you're at a sporting event and the national anthem performer forgets the words.

Anonymous The Belgium Waffle said...
"Okay, I'll put it next to all the other girls' numbers" => great reply!

Anonymous m-dubb said...
Hey Bawful,

I'm def. enjoying this series and it sweetens my bawful summer workin in the office about 1000 miles northern from you actually. Now I even know why you are bringing up German words now n then. Sprichst du immer noch Deutsch oder hast du das inzwischen verlernt?
The Italian summer is pretty nice right now, huh? I've been there a couple times.
Will you write something about your transition from a nerd to "real" college guy? And can you say how much installments you will write?

Greetz from Germany,

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Can we get a "Cast List" page with reminders on who all these characters in the story are... complete with headshots from famous actors that would best portray them in the movie version of "Livin' Large" ??? Awesome, thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
did you let that steve guy get away with calling you a "kid"?

To me that's the biggest insult ever. unless you're at least a generation older than someone you shouldn't be calling that person a kid kid

Blogger chris said...
Japes: THAT I must hear. I remember those random mentions of pickup ball with the old man, from blog posts of yore...

Why am I viewing that scene in my head much like Miyagi in Karate Kid?

Blogger Tony Christopher said...
I'm just pissed this wasn't around to read before I went to college. This would have saved me so much time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Alright, I think I'll give a shot at the cast. If anyone's gonna jump the gun and do it instead, stop me now.

Blogger chris said...
Tony Christopher: This whole scenario reminds me of a much nerdier take on Tom Wolfe's book "I Am Charlotte Simmons" - a fictionalized primer on the realities of higher education. I remember reading that my sophomore year for fun, and if I recall, it involved basketball very briefly at one point, too.

Now, it'd be even better if the movie version was reminiscent of the typical 80s teen flick involving the likes of Molly Ringwald, Emilio Esteves, and Ally Sheedy. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
"No man wants to be in khakis when he could be wearing jeans. No man."

Nonsense. I pretty much always prefer khakis/pants/whatever to jeans.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Male Characters
Matt "Basketbawful" McHale: Protagonist and person dangling us mere puppets on his string. Also: Little Matt.
Mat: Bawful’s roommate. 7 foot Dutch Yao Ming with far less game on the court and far more game off it. Also: Big Mat.
Ron: Neighbor of Bawful. The "Towel Guy". A bit quirky. One of the D&D guys.
Nathan: Neighbor of Bawful and roommate of Ron. Quickly became friends with Bawful, also one of the D&D guys.
BadDave: Future roommate of protagonist, currently only an acquaintance. Commenter here on Basketbawful. Will occasionally supply color commentary.
Greg & Gauvin: Bawful's friends from Kokomo. Went to a local community college. Bawful occasionally visits them.
Brett: Bawful's RA and cousin of Shelly. Only has one good eye. Turns the other one to Bawful's situation with Mat. Wrote our protagonist up a few times.
Heineken Sign: The bane of Bawful’s slumber.

Female Characters
Shelly: Mat's long-distance super hot love interest. Yes, the one you guys keep asking about and googling.
"Taco Bell" Jennifer: The girl always available to service Mat and one of his few regulars. She would *later* end up dropping out of college and working at Taco Bell to pay for him, but ended up getting her heart broken by him. Had a huge falling out where she blows up at him *later*. May be living in Atlanta or Connecticut. (courtesy of AnacondaHL)
Aimee: Bawful’s love interest since high school. Goes to a different college. Won’t commit to a relationship with Bawful, but does get jealous. Also the reason Bawful refers to himself as schmuck many times.
Susan: Bawful’s pledge sister at Alpha Phi Omega. Enjoys drinking and spawned a wonderful discussion on chocolate and women.
Latrisse: Roommate of Aimee. Also friendly with Bawful, having sent him a care package and email.
Nancy: “Adopts” Bawful. Becomes good friends with him, and invites him for a movie night, and later to Olive Garden for, unbeknownst to Bawful, a date. Yet another “Oops” moment for our protagonist.

Minor Characters
Steve: Goes after Susan, blocks Bawful.
Jen: Roommate of Susan. Desperate for Mat.
Tiffany & Carolyn: Bawful’s pledge mothers.
Chad: Bawful’s hall manager.
The Future NBA All-Star: Proof you guys know how to use Google.
Zach: Bawful’s semi-friend from high school. Lives in a nearby dorm.
Jason: Fellow Kokomo…ian?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Had some trouble with hyperlinking it the first time. Damn MS Word.

"Taco Bell" Jennifer: The girl always available to service Mat and one of his few regulars. She would *later* end up dropping out of college and working at Taco Bell to pay for him, but ended up getting her heart broken by him. Had a huge falling out where she blows up at him *later*. May be living in Atlanta or Connecticut. (courtesy of AnacondaHL)

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

I'm working on a character sheet tonight, but your list matches my text list except for a few ommisions:

- Heather: Aimee's friend, 2-on-1 massage
- Additional dorm guy: Future NFL Player, had angry girl yelling at him, almost killed R.A. Brett.
- Professor "Bill Webster": Thought he was making a gay pass, was instead sharing secrets of his affair to random freshman Matt.

And the important objects in the story:
- Stolen Sorority House Chair
- Old Basketball Tapes (200+)
- Larry Bird Shorts

Also, not to raise any expectations of this story even higher, but there's an ongoing theme to each one of these installments: food. Taco Bell leads with 5 mentions, hamburger is mentioned in 4 parts, and pizza is in 3. Here's the list so far:

1 Taco Bell
2 Taco Bell/hamburger
3 Dining Hall/hamburger
4 McDonald's/hamburger
5 Heineken
7 Pizza
8 Pizza (Chuck E. Cheese)
9 Gelato/Pizza
10 Cookies (chocolate chip)/Taco Bell/hamburger
11 Taco Bell

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Don't forget, we need some famous actor/actress suggestions so Bawful can do a pictorial cast list!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Love the series - but I would give even odds that Thabeet beats out Stromile Swift, the duke J. Williams and Darko as the worst #2 pick this decade. Worst Summer League Ever.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Obviously Dolph Lundgren at Big Mat.

Anonymous OregonPete said...
Hi MattBawful. Have any of these people that you write about contacted you about how you portray them or how they want to be portrayed? Does anyone feel like you haven't been fair (I guess Mat's girls would be the only ones that this applies to)?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful, I got it figured out. You're Mikey from Swingers! Totally oblivious, yet somehow still likable. And we're pulling for you, seriously, even though this happened many years ago, to get your head out of your ass. Obviously, it happened for you. Thanks for the stories, btw.

Blogger chris said...
"William Webster" - the Livin' Large analogue to Donald Sterling? Maybe not in the money department...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
AnacondaHL - Damn, I don't know how I forgot about the professor. That was a pretty glaring omission. Oh well... By the way, no Olive Garden love in that list of food?

Too bad these comment boxes don't support ASCII art too well. Wouldn't it be interesting to see this in a character web at some point? A plot summary so we can remember which installment things happened in?

Blogger GonzoPal said...
@m-dubb: bawful already mentioned in the faq post some days ago that there will be an indefinit number of "episodes", until the powers of hauting memories run out. we will go back to our daily examples of fail when the season starts at the latest.

p.s. Grüße aus der Nähe von Bonn

So, Matt, are you looking for producers already? i agree with everyone, this should be a movie

Blogger Unknown said...
A thought just struck me.

You know, I was born in 1990, I don`t remember times without cable TV, and I barely recall living without zie Internetz. My character is preety messed up and I`m VERY shy when around girls, but hell, based on my poor experience, I`m already better then most of guys, who are posting here, when they`ve been my age. And it`s all thanks to TV and Internet, honestly. Never thought I`d be so grateful to modern technological achievements :D
What is more, I`m starting my college this year :D

PS: Greetings from Poland :)) I`m a huge basketball fan, but I`ve go here through, just for the Livin` Large part 1

Ich habe nicht gedacht, dass so vielen Europäer sind hier

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thank you NarSARSsist and AnacondaHL. I was losing track of the players myself, this is a helpful list.

Anonymous dunkside said...
You really gotta send a thank you note to the aliens that kidnapped you, probed your ass, found your brain there and put it back where it belonged.

I mean really ... it makes me feel so awkward while reading that I hope you made it all up.

a few things:

1. why the hell were you running your mouth to aimee ? you clearly weren't thinking about making her jealous (which would have been a decent plan to make her notice what a great guy you are - you must be great with all those girls wanting you).

2. "I was tired, so I told her that and said I'd probably just go home and go to bed."

look, i understand you were geeky and were not great with the ladies, and were timid and so on. i was too. i was shy and reluctant to take the first step, but fuck it, if a girl would take the first step and give me a chance, i'd take that. say you're tired and you're going home to sleep ? what were you ?? 85 ? Go home and sleep ? How about a very innocent "we can sit and talk a little ?". Anything BUT go to sleep.

3. i hope you don't mind, but aimee sounds like a cock blocking bitch. if i ever meet her, i will punch her in the ovary. right to the baby maker.

Blogger Jeremy said...
"but when I told Aimee about it during our nightly phone conversation..." "Nor was she pleased that I had received another card from Latrisse."..

Mannnn, I don't know. At this point in my life you sound like the kind of person who would call up the IRS and tell them you had made significant purchases online and needed to pay another $1,000 in taxes, so who can I send the check in to please, thank you for your time?

Blogger Benjamin said...
@Buck Nasty: I entirely agree, it's the same thing over and over, yet I watch it anyway (bizarre because I don't watch TV since it's always predictable). The similarities seemed striking, and I'm sure a lot of the people on here would understand the comparison, anyway

Some people like khakis, some people like heineken. Go figure...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hey dude, i keep forgetting the "characters'" names in your epic saga. who is nancy again? is it too much to ask if you do a cast of characters intro to refresh us every time?

matt - the hero of this story
mat - the cockjock
susan - the pledge sister
aimee - the frustration

your story rules man! romcom of the year!

Anonymous m-dubb said...
@ adam
@ Gonzopal

Schön mal was Deutsches auf einer Englischen Site zu lesen und dann auch noch auf einer meiner fave-sites!

Grüße vom Niederrhein, an der niederländischen Grenze, ca. 120 km von Bonn entfernt,


Blogger AK Dave said...

Finde Ich auch irgendwie krass. Allerdings wusste Ich gar nicht dass es so viele (Europaeer) gibt.

Blogger B I G scorps said...
your rookiness is mind boggling, you had the keys to the city..and seriously one social beer owuldnt have killed you champion! nor would have 4-5 gang bangs with mat

Anonymous Anonymous said...
the blog was mentioned on the UK@s popbitch mailout, meaning it prob reached a whole new audience. Good stuff. When we getting the next installment?