Growing up, I regularly read Seventeen. It contained a wealth of information on how to be popular. As someone with distinct nerdish tendencies, I considered this teen magazine to be an essential part of my social education.
Being the good student that I am, I not only read it religiously, but also studied certain areas in great depth. I was particularly enamored with articles on what it took to get guys to ask you out and then want to date you on a regular basis.
It didn't take me long to see a pattern emerging. The secret to successful dating was clearly asking questions. The only thing a girl had to do was get the guy talking about himself and he'd think she was the most wonderful person on earth. That sounded simple enough.
The only problem was in the execution. I was so nervous when I went out on dates that I couldn't even keep a short conversation going. After one or two questions, my mind went blank. What followed was a deathly silence that seemed to last forever. It must have been 2-3 seconds long.
I didn't know what to say. Nothing clever came to mind. The next thing I knew I was blathering about something stupid. That wasn't supposed to happen, but I was so self-conscious that I was functionally unable to come up with any insightful questions. Clearly I needed more help, but what's a poor girl to do?