Bowled Over

We’re going to a networking event next month through Business Buzz. It’s a bowling night. I’m not looking forward to it. Oh, it’s not the bowling I object to per se, or, indeed the networking (although it’s true that I’m not much of a people person) – it’s the two together. To me, a networking/bowling event is like the mullet haircut: business in front, party at the back, and never the twain should meet. That’s not to say, of course, that you shouldn’t ever socialise with business associates because that’s not my problem, either. No, my problem is shoes. Specifically: bowling shoes.

You see, bowling shoes put me at a huge disadvantage. It’s not just the sheer fugliness of them. It’s the “dozens-of-other-people-have-had- their-feet-inside-me”-ness of them. I hate that. I hate it so much, in fact, that a couple of years back, when Terry went through a “let’s go bowling every week!” phase, I complained about the shoes to such an extent that my parents actually brought me a pair back from Florida, so now I own bowling shoes. You can just imagine the kind of looks I get when I turn up at a bowling night with these babies and everyone assumes I’m some kind of freaky pro-bowler or something. Hee! “No, I’m not a professional,” I have to keep telling them. “I just have a LOT of shoes…”

So, yeah, I have my own bowling shoes, which means that my shoes are less offensive to the eye than the ones you’re given in the alley. (The bowling alley, that is. I made that sound like a crack deal, didn’t I? Bowling shoe crack. Sorry, ignore me…) The fact is, though, they’re still bowling shoes, and even although I’ve been having a flirtation with flat shoes recently, that flirtation is an ill-advised one, like having a fling with someone you just know is wrong for you, and will totally treat you like crap and then leave you, but you keep seeing them anyway because, hey, it might work out!

It will never completely work out between me and flat shoes. And, you know, it’s not them, it’s me. I need to see other shoes, specifically shoes with heels. All of my clothes are designed for heels. Seriously, I don’t have ONE SINGLE pair of jeans that aren’t about three inches too long when I try to wear them with flats. Not one. This means that, in addition to wearing BOWLING SHOES at this networking event, I will also have to wear rolled-up jeans or trousers. A great look, I’m sure you’ll agree. Why were the models not dressed like that at Fashion Week, WHY?

Anyway, as I was saying, bowling shoes put me at a huge disadvantage, basically by making me look like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes. To the fashion-conscious young lady such as myself, this is terrible indeed. I mean, OK, I don’t mind looking like an ass in front of my friends and family (And God knows, they’re used to it by now), but in front of potential clients? GOD, no.

The whole “me bowling” thing puts whichever team I end up on at a huge disadvantage too. The fact is that I can’t bowl to save my life. (So it’s a good job I’ll probably never have to, innit?) In fact, I can’t really do anything that requires hand-to-eye co-ordination. Going bowling reminds me horribly of being in high school, when I was always the last person to be picked for the basketball team, and would spend the entire game running around, being careful to stay in the general vicinity of the ball (so that I looked like I was participating) but WITHOUT ACTUALLY TOUCHING IT. If I’d touched it, the rest of the team would have beat me up after class. (Actually? One time I did touch the ball. It came flying at me and I reached up, panic stricken to bat it away. Staved my finger horribly. Never, ever again…)

I can guarantee that no one will want me on their team (Well, not unless there’s a really awkward, vaguely unpleasant networker, who no one else will talk to. They’ll be my friend for life), and you might argue that hey, they won’t know I’m not much use at bowling until it’s too late, but I would argue right back that as soon as they see me in my rolled up jeans and my bright white shoes, they’ll know right away that I’m not much good at anything. Also: Terry will totally tell them.

No, if I’m going out networking (and most of the time I’m not, owing to the fact that I like to live my live on the internet as much as possible), give me a nice bar and a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio any day. Chicken in a basket, blaringly loud music and fugly shoes just don’t do it for me. I mean, how are you supposed to network in that kind of situation, anyway? Start shouting out your services while spinning that bad boy? Nuh-uh. Give me somewhere I can actually hear what the person I’m speaking to is saying, and where I’m not constantly distracted by trying to tally up scores (maths phobic) and hide my shoes under my seat. Oh, and give me some more wine while you’re at it, thanks…

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  • You poor woman, you have my sympathy. I hate bowling. And*having* to be sociable against my will.

    You're right: sooo not a combination 🙁 lol

    September 28, 2006
  • I used to be a member of a breakfast networking group. We went bowling. I left.

    September 28, 2006
  • Jen and Linda, thank you, thank you for reassuring me that I'm not the only one! It sometimes seems like every time there's a group activity or meeting to be decided on, someone will always pop up and say, "I know! We could go bowling!" and everyone else will immediately adopt the expressions of delighted children, while I start muttering to myself and thinking up excuses.

    To be fair, I normally will enjoy the bowling once I actually get there. Just not as much as I'd enjoy going out for a meal, say, or some other activity that didn't avoid dressing strangely and throwing heavy objects around.

    September 29, 2006
  • No, totally with you on this one.

    And I have to be honest, I don't even enjoy it once I'm there.

    I am the world's *worst* bowler, I look a pregnant duck waddling down the aisle, trying to throw a bowl that weighs more than I can really hold up.
    Yeah.Not my bag at all.

    September 29, 2006