Welcome to The Inbox, where we thoughtfully respond to your e-mails in written form, because we couldn’t find time to work them into the show.
I was emailed yesterday by an attractive woman on an online dating site. Sadly, she lives 500 miles away, and she’s also a Clemson fan. I told her it would never work, because I know we’d have seven incredible dates, and then, on the eighth one, we would go golfing, a sport that she is probably better at than I, and she would inexplicably lose by 30 strokes, which would kill the date and significantly diminish our hopes for a successful relationship. Then we’d have four more dates, three of which would be good but not quite as exciting as the first seven, and one that was disappointing but not altogether unexpected. We’d then have our first travel date, which would be somewhere nice but probably her third choice of destinations, and she’d really want to have a good time but her heart really wouldn’t be into it, so it wouldn’t go all that well, and that’d be the end of it. So I think I’ll steer clear of Clemson girls going forward.
Oh, it’s a metaphor for a Clemson football season! So clever!
We’ve received numerous messages like this since the Clemsoning meme took off and we listed it on Urban Dictionary. The main difference here is that you’ve found a microcosm for Clemson’s entire season, not just one disappointing game, which kind of blows my mind.
In short, most Clemson football seasons are sort of the same: Quiet optimism followed by suddenly high expectations followed by a knife to the heart and a limp to the finish. With this in mind, I’m not sure if your situation truly pairs up. Let’s examine:
1) “Sadly, she lives 500 miles away.”
The main reasons why a Clemson season can be so disappointing are the cautious expectations and preconceived notions that precede it. For example — and not to pick entirely on Clemson — take a look at Oklahoma State’s journey in 2011. Early season optimism turned into a full-on feeding frenzy before the Cowboys lost, inexplicably, to Iowa State in November, effectively killing any chances of an assumed matchup with LSU for the BCS National Championship. This is what gets Clemson. It’s not so much the disappointment as it is the hype leading up to it.
In your case, can you truly say there are expectations when you’re starting out the relationship with a long-distance tag on it? You even told her it would never work. I’ll be honest, if you can make anything of a situation like this, you’re playing with house money. This isn’t Clemson losing in a curious spot; this is James Madison potentially knocking off Virginia Tech.
2) “…and then on the eighth [date] we would go golfing”
Make no mistake, unless you’re golfing with Paula Creamer, a golf date on a regulation, 18-hole course is poorly-conceived and almost always a recipe for disaster. If anything, YOU are the one Clemsoning this relationship away for agreeing to such an arrangement after “seven incredible dates.” I mean, are you trying to blow this?
If you’re not good at golf, that probably means you’re shooting somewhere in the 105-115 range at the local course. If you beat her by 30, that means she’s somewhere in the 135-145 range. Rough calculations make this the longest six hours of your life. Nobody’s having fun on this date, Adam. Just make sure you take a cart so you don’t piss off the poor saps who get stuck behind you.
The sheer frustration associated with golfing tends to bring out the absolute worst in people. Rumor has it that a golf experience once scarred Gene Chizik so deeply that he let his sideburns grow out for a full day and a half.
3) “Then we’d have four more dates”
Probably not. But I’ll play along.
4) “…one that was disappointing, but not altogether unexpected”
Right, we’re still talking about Clemson football. OK. In that case, you’re dead on. The direct aftermath of a Clemsoning is usually a deflating situation; an odd mix of “We can still win the ACC!” combined with “We might play Rutgers in the Orange Bowl?” Within the context of your conundrum, it’d be like your female friend answering “It was fine” after you asked her how she thought the night went. “Fine” never means fine.
5) “We’d then have our first travel date”
Adam, I’m sorry, but this relationship just isn’t working out. You’re looking for a travel date? Pump the brakes, dude. We all know you’re a hopeless romantic, but didn’t she tell you she wanted to take things slowly? Oh, but you got the room with two queen beds? Does that make you some kind of gentlemen?
6) “…but her heart really wouldn’t be into it”
Um, hello? You beat her by 30 strokes, asshole. You probably have one of those tribal arm tattoos, too, don’t you? You know, it’s guys like you that make women excited to ride bikes with Bobby Petrino.
7) “…think I’ll steer clear of Clemson girls going forward.”
That’s probably for the best. Call of Duty is more your speed anyway.
Actually, I’m being harsh. I have no idea whether you like combat games or bad tattoos, or whether you volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Kidding aside, this totally could’ve been a Clemson-y situation if you hadn’t had the foresight to pull the plug. But, just in case, we’d still encourage you to send along a picture of the little lady — you have our e-mail address — so we can further examine the situation, from the standpoint of a football metaphor, of course.