Courting Disaster

How a Nerd Became a Dating Columnist

Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.

If you read the first installment of Courting Disaster, which is about my sexual encounters with an older man, you may be wondering, "Who the hell is Katie Johnson?"

I get it. I'm used to relationships moving too fast. One minute you're fooling around, next minute he's flying you to the Ozarks to meet his family (true story).

So let's rewind and give you a little backstory about my sad, stunted sexual history.

See also: The Old Man and the Sea Breeze

To say I was a late bloomer is an understatement. Plastic fruit has ripened faster.

While other teens were attending the schools of hard knocks and knocking boots, I was wrapped up comfortably in my sheltered cocoon of nerd-dom.

If you don't believe me, go to my parents' storage shed and dig out my collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs, Jane Austen books, Sailor Moon comics, honor roll certificates, and pictures from the time I, as president, took my Latin club to the statewide Latin convention in Tucson.

Yeah. Hold on to your erections, boys.

I didn't have my first kiss till I was a senior in high school (it was terrible) and didn't have sex or a boyfriend till I was almost 21 (also very terrible).

The years that followed were a long humpy, bumpy road to self-discovery, sexual exploration, understanding the dynamics of a healthy relationship, and figuring out what the hell guys meant when they said, "I'll call you."

I like to think of this time in my early 20s as my Eat, Pray, Love years. Only this was college, so we'll go ahead and call it Eat, Puke, Lust.

I was slow to pick up on social cues and even slower in learning how to drop them, which consequently landed me in a number of bizarre romantic situations, sometimes frightening, most often absurd, and altogether hilarious to the friends and colleagues I shared them with. Because, much like the algae-infested Brita in the back of my fridge, I have no working filter.

After finishing college in Los Angeles and traveling abroad for a while, I ended up in my hometown of Phoenix, where housing was cheaper, the job market was no more shitty, and down-to-earth men were presumably easier to find. That was five years, six breakups, and more than a dozen disastrous first dates ago.

My now-married sister once told me, "You're really good at being single."

Now was that a bitchy thing to say? Obviously. Was there some truth to it? Maybe.

But being on Cupid's shit list does lend itself to some god-awful stories about getting it on, getting dumped, and getting the last laugh. So buckle up, because it's time for some serious kiss and tell.

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Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson