After the Bachelor High Court made their ruling, life went on. Jonny went back to Michigan, Jeremy went back to…whatever it was that Jeremy did, and Collins and Schmidty went back to trying to keep themselves entertained. Now that his life was more less back on track, Collins started thinking about his future. He realized that he couldn’t work at the college forever, or he was going to turn into that weird old guy who couldn’t let go of his alma mater (the security department already had a guy like that; truth be told, he was actually pretty cool, but I stray from my point.)
So Collins began looking at various colleges where he could finish his degree. He couldn’t go back to the college he had been attending because he couldn’t afford to re-enroll. He started looking at other schools, first local, and then out of state. Everything he looked at was out of his price range except for Jon’s school in Michigan. When he called them, they said he would be eligible for a grant called the “Orphaned Child College Fund.” It was exactly what it sounded like: people who have lost one or both of their parents can get help from the government to pay for college without taking out a major loan.
This sounded perfect to Collins, so he scheduled a meeting with Robo-Admissions and drove up there. It was a short trip, one day up and one day back, but Collins wanted to be sure he got all his financials worked out before he uprooted and moved to Michigan. On the way up, Collins called Jonny and told him what was going on.
“Hey, buddy,” he said when Jon picked up the phone. “I’m heading up to talk to Robo-Admissions about maybe finishing my degree up there. She said I’m eligible for some orphan grant since my dad passed away.”
“That’s cool. We need to come up with a better name for it though. How about the Batman grant?”
“Think about it: your father is dead, and you seek training to bring justice to the world. You’re Batman.”
“I suppose that’s one way to put it, and it makes it sound a lot cooler than it really is. I like it. Good thinking, Jonny”
“Hey, making fun of awkward and depressing situations is my favorite hobby. That, and slapping you on the back of the head, although you could make the case that one is an extension of the other.”
Collins laughed. “I would argue, but resistance is futile.”
The rest of the ride was quite uneventful. When Collins arrived, he had his meeting with Robo-Admissions, where she told him that he was no longer eligible for the Batman grant because he was too old. When he asked how he was eligible for it three days prior and not now, she simply shrugged and apologized.
Feeling somewhat down, Collins grabbed dinner that night with Jon. He then crashed on Jonny’s couch until morning and returned home. Deciding that he was going to be working for campus security for a while, he started investing in his personal life again. He started going out on the weekends, going on dates, and getting back into “the game,” as it were.
Now, Collins had never been good at the dating game, but after having been on-again, off-again with The Troll for a couple of years, his already poor dating skills were quite rusty. He also had a habit of attracting a very specific type of woman, namely, the clinically insane. There were very few women Collins dated who weren’t dangerously crazy. This is nothing against women in general, since there are plenty of pretty, well-adjusted women out there. Collins just happened to be a crazy magnet.
The first clue Collins had that he wasn’t any good at dating was when he went out for coffee with Mail Man’s Daughter. Collins worked up the courage to ask her out, they went out for a late morning cup of coffee, and had a good time. At the end, Collins remarked that next time, he would take her on a “real date.” She spit out the last of her coffee and told him that she had no idea they were on a date in the first place.
The second girl, we’ll call her McDonald’s In the Rain, made things uncomfortable for a different reason. Collins made sure she knew they were going on a date, and she told him she would meet him at his apartment the night of the date. When she arrived, she stood outside in the rain and said, “Chris, I’ve decided I don’t want to go on a date with you, but I still want you to buy me dinner.”
Collins was so shocked, that he stuttered for a second and replied, “Um, err, ok…”
Now, Collins wasn’t a complete idiot; he didn’t take her to a five star restaurant. They got in his car and went to the McDonald’s drive through. If he was being forced to pay for his anti-date’s dinner, he was spending the least amount of money possible. So they drove back to his apartment and ate their food in the parking lot, she got out of his car without saying goodbye, and went home.
Collins decided that perhaps he would have better luck picking up dates at bars. The first girl he tried to woo was “Chewbacca.” She was big, hairy, and she only spoke in deep, guttural grunts and noises.
Back at the bar…
“Jonny, that is not at all what she was like. She wasn’t the thinnest girl in the world, but she wasn’t hairy or incapable of speaking English.”
“Shut up, I’m telling the story. In my head, I always imagined her as a tall, hairy, overweight woman who spoke like Chewbacca. That’s why we called her that in the first place.”
“Seriously though, you make it sound like I had a date with a giant bear-man. If you’re going to tell the story, at least be reasonable.”
The waitress, who had gotten off shift and was sitting at the table with the guys now, spoke up. “I kind of like the way Jon tells it. It’s funnier that way.”
“He never met the girl though; and on top of that, I bet he’s got some whale of a tale to tell about me getting hitched to her in Vegas, too.”
“No, the only part of the story left up to my imagination is her description, although that would make for a pretty funny story,” Jon quipped. “Now that you have unsuccessfully defended your manhood to Sally the Waitress, may I continue?”
Collins took a big gulp of his beer before replying with, “Yes, but I’m seriously regretting giving you speaking privileges at my wedding.”
Ok, where were we? Ah yes: Chewbacca…
Now, Chewbacca was this big, hairy oaf who frequented this country bar Collins went to now and then with his buddy Eric. Eric was a Wisconsin boy who was fond of country music and whiskey, and since he was usually paying for the beer, Collins tagged along now and then when he went out. One night, Collins had just enough alcohol in his system to be stupid, but not enough to start dancing. We’ll say he was “buzzed.” He found his way out to the smoking deck, where he bumped into a group of three women who were celebrating a birthday. They asked Collins for a lighter, and since alcohol made Collins an extra friendly person, they struck up a conversation.
Collins especially hit it off with Chewbacca and the two wound up talking and drinking together until bar closed. At that point, Collins realized that Eric had left without him, leaving him without a ride home. Chewbacca hadn’t had very much to drink, and had spent most of the night drinking water since she was the DD for her friends. She offered to give Collins a ride home, and being in the position he was in, he agreed.
She dropped off all her friends first, and finally it was just the two of them in the car. About halfway to Collins’ place, they pulled over and got some food, and they wound up eating in the parking lot and talking for another hour or so. After the meal, they made their way back onto the road, and by now, Collins was beginning to sober up a bit. With some of his mental faculties returning, he started to worry that this woman was getting the wrong signals from him; he was just friendly, he wasn’t trying to hook up with her or anything. Nevertheless, she seemed very interested in him.
Upon pulling up to the apartment, Chewbacca put the car in park and turned to Collins with a gleam in her eye. She started talking very slow and provocatively, as she laid her hand on his thigh. In later years, Collins could never remember what she said to him that night, as he was much more concerned with monitoring the increasingly-uncomfortable placement of her hand. As she spoke, she ran her hand up his thigh, over his stomach and chest and up to his shoulders. Suddenly, she gripped the back of his neck like a vice and pulled him in for a kiss.
It was the worst kiss of Collins’ entire life. The woman was a chain smoker, and he could taste every cigarette she had ever smoked as she stuck her tongue down his throat. She was also a surprisingly strong woman, as no matter how hard he fought to get away, he was unable to pull himself away from her. Finally, she released him, and he flew out of the car mumbling, “Gotta go, bye…” Collins never looked back as he ran to the door, his feet barely touching the ground, praying she wasn’t following him. Surprisingly, that did not dissuade Collins from trying to pick up dates at bars; he simply stopped going to that particular bar.
Seeing how Collins was unable to find a decent date on his own, Schmidty took pity on him and tried to help him out. One night, Collins, Schmidt, and Jeremy were all out at dinner together and their waitress happened to be quite attractive. This inspired the boys to talk to her at length every time she came to the table. After the meal, the guys walked outside, and suddenly Schmidty ran back inside the restaurant for several minutes. When he reemerged, he handed Collins a napkin and said, “You owe me one; call her.”
Collins waited a couple days, and then called her. She invited him out to have drinks that weekend, and since it was earlier in the evening (around 7), along with the fact that she never mentioned that there would be other people there, Collins thought it would be just the two of them. It was not. It turns out it was actually ladies’ night for her and her friends.
When he arrived at the bar, he saw The Waitress sitting at a table with three other girls and one guy. She saw him walk in and waved him over. Thinking that things couldn’t be too bad and that he would have a chance to ask her out alone, he proceeded to spend the evening with The Waitress and her four friends. When everyone got up to go home, she pulled him aside and said, “What did you think of my friend?”
“Um…which friend? I was really here because of you; I didn’t know there was going to be anyone else.”
“You’re funny; I meant the guy who was with us all night. He’s gay too, and I think you two should go out sometime.”
“What…you…hang on; you think I’m gay?”
“You mean you’re not?”
“Not by a longshot, sweetheart. What could possibly make you think I am gay?”
“I don’t know…you just seemed gay to me. I didn’t mean to offend you or anything. I thought it was kind of weird that your friend wanted my number for you. I could have sworn you were gay…so, not even a little bit? Because Paulie is a really sweet guy…”
“Yeah…I’m going to go home now.”
That was the first and last time he let Schmidty set him up with anyone.
After that, Collins tried the online dating thing for a while. He didn’t really have much success, until one girl started chatting him up. After a week or so, she gave him her number, and they talked back and forth for a week or so like that. Finally, Collins asked her out on a dinner date.
There was a small Italian restaurant downtown, and Collins suggested that they meet up there (she was a very modern woman and didn’t want to be picked up or shuttled around.) The place wasn’t too fancy, but they made good food and it was a quiet atmosphere. Collins waited outside for her to arrive, and when she did, they went in and got a table right away. They sat down, ordered drinks, and began to talk. After getting their drinks delivered, they talked for a few more minutes while they decided what they were going to eat. They had been in the restaurant for about fifteen minutes, when the girl abruptly stood up and walked out, never to be heard from again. It was quite a blow to Collins’ self-confidence, but it gave the rest of the guys an excellent punch line for years to come.