Knock Knock : Meet My Boyfriend
You know how girls will doodle their names on their school notebooks? Some girls even doodle their names with their crush’s last name. What do I doodle? You got it. Knock Knock, Give A Sock in all new logo forms.
The relationship I have with KKGS seems eerily to resemble a dating relationship — except I always seem to have more luck with socks.
Take, for example, when you’re texting with a guy you like. You know when he texts you, and you count to thirty in your head so that you seem like you aren’t too desperate? I constantly get emails and am about to write my response — then I look at the top and see it still says “Sent 0 minutes ago.” I don’t want the CEO of that sock company to think I’m desperate…
Then there’s the clothing. I can’t go more then a week without hearing a friend complaining about not knowing what to wear on dates. That’s just like me — when I’m trying to pick out an outfit for my meeting with a representative from the Nets. Those nights when I know I have a big meeting the next day, there is nothing more stressful then picking out what to wear! Do I go for the start-up look with jeans and a cool V-neck t-shirt? Business casual to make myself look more corporate? My favorite outfit — which is obviously always going to be a sundress regardless of the season? I don’t want to look like I am trying too hard, but I want them to see me for me. I mean, if it’s the right fit, it won’t even matter what I wear…right? This sounds a lot like what goes through my head when it comes to a typical date, but somehow the stakes feel higher.
And then there’s the fun part. Those days where you have a kick-ass meeting, and you leave feeling on top of the world — it’s like having the perfect date that ends with him saying, “Can we do this again?” Your heart is racing, you try to play it cool and not smile like an idiot, your chest wants to explode with fireworks and you legit feel like you can run a half marathon. On those days, right when I get home, I do a little dance similar to that scene from Risky Business — right down to the slide he does in his socks :)(There was that time I was so excited I did a jig in the elevator by myself leaving the building — until I wasn’t by myself and my arms were in the air. Now I wait until I get home.)
But like those first few dates, it almost seems like there’s more calculated planning than good fun. When dealing with a non-profit it’s a constant game of Ping-Pong, a game where I’m constantly thinking about strategy and how to present myself. When it comes to volunteers and donors or the friend I make in the elevator, I have to appeal to people’s emotions and pull at their heartstrings — all in the time of quite literally an elevator pitch. When it comes to companies, partnerships, and corporate offices, it becomes a business deal. As a social worker, this mentality doesn’t come naturally. It’s like trying to get a date — do you play hard to get? Do you lay all your cards out on the table? Do you appeal to their interests, or make them want to find out more about you? Can you ask them directly? Or just imply it might be a good idea? For those dating experts out there — I could use a bit of consulting…
Then, of course, there was my first ever date with the sock industry.
Three years ago, I had a meeting with a CEO. Like an awkward middle schooler on her first date, I completely messed up. First of all, I was wearing flip flops; there are SO many things wrong with that, including that I wasn’t even wearing socks to a sock meeting! Which he graciously pointed out.
Then he asked me, point blank, “So what is my company going to get out of this?” Umm… I felt like I was just hit by a train. I wanted to crawl under the desk and never come out! What is in it for him? Being a good person? Errr… Ummm… But he makes a good point. Why should he want to give thousands of dollars’ worth of socks to us just to be a good person? Not surprisingly, he never answered my follow-up email. And that was my introduction to the non-profit dating world.
And in case you were wondering how my actual dating life is going- did I mention how difficult it is for me to flirt like a normal person? Someone asks me what I do, and 10 minutes later my mouth still hasn’t stopped moving. Too late, I realize they were just trying to make small talk — And now they’re heading back to the bar. Whoops.
So maybe that’s why I stick with the non-profit version of dating. I’ve learned a lot about how it works.
For instance, there’s the end of the day, when the date is over. For anyone who goes to parties and leaves sober enough to reflect on your night, you can easily relate to replaying your night in your head and thinking about the different people you spoke to. Like the ride home from a party, my cab rides often consist of me replaying the whole night. Were they interested in me? Or in the work that I do? Most situations, I am always hoping for the latter.
Whether it’s with your own business or your own personal life, the ambiguity of relationships is never fun. I hate the waiting game of wondering what the other side is thinking. I hate being able to get a glimpse of the potential but not knowing how it’s all going to turn out. But at least in my line of work I do LOVE the job I have. I love talking about the work I do. I love explaining why it’s important to me. And I love going to sleep knowing I may have warmed someone’s feet. I am lucky to always know that within the glass full of NO’s, that maybe tomorrow I’ll get an exciting message. AND I know my significant other (KKGS) will never break up with me…