Monday, November 1, 2010
The fates have turned on me lately, sending ex boyfriends my way instead of new ones. The winds of change have blown the dust off the past fifteen years of broken relationships and sending the remnants flying right back in my general direction. This is precisely how I found myself at IHOP sitting across the table from a man who broke up with me in 1999 because (and I quote) I "made [him] too happy."
I had been crushing on this boy for a while but we were always only ever friends. He had a girlfriend in high school and another in college. I guess you could say that I was his graduation summer romance. (Don't we all have one of those?) Then one day, the world changed. He professed feelings for me that I'd always assumed were one-sided in my direction and we had the most wonderful thirty days together. It was a month of pure bliss. I felt like I'd fallen for my best friend and could not have been happier. He's ridiculously smart, I mean the kind of smart that impresses the pants off people. He's kind and sweet and considerate and always a gentleman. He's the sort of guy that any girl would be lucky to date (Are you listening single women? He's still available!) I fell pretty hard that summer and was consequently crushed when he told me he was going back to his high school girlfriend. I didn't understand it then. We had only just put our names together on a birthday card for his baby cousin. No one had EVER included my name on the card as part of a couple before, which I took to mean we were super serious about each other.
*Note: Did you see that episode of Sex & the City where Carrie and Big have a joint card on a wedding gift? He freaks out that they're "too serious." Or the episode of FRIENDS where Ross and his flavor of the month make Christmas cards together? That's my idea of love! It's especially funny when Chandler and Monica get married but still don't send out holiday greetings together because "I don't think we're 'there' yet." Too true!*
Anywho, I'd gone from being the other name on the birthday card to being the girl who made him so happy he couldn't function. He was not at all used to the level of attention I paid to him or how involved we were in one another's lives. He'd gotten quite comfortable in his last relationship and didn't know how to be himself without her. They only lasted the rest of the summer until everyone went their separate ways for college and then it was Splitsville once more. The damage to us was already done though. We went back to the Friends Zone and have stayed there ever since.
There have been some mild flirtations in the years since my divorce and I'll admit that the feelings never quite went away. He's never given me reason to doubt his sincerity as one of the good guys or that he has the purest of intentions for any woman fortunate enough to date him. Not that this man is a saint by any measure, mind you, and he does have his idiosyncracies like all guys do. He has a habit of staying in with a bottle of single malt scotch on nights when social plans fall through. I dare not estimate the amount of hours he's spent playing video games online. And his penchant for comic books and hand-drawn animation boggles my mind. I simply can't reconcile these factors with his level of intelligence and professional success but they're there all the same.
Deciding to have a weekend of indulgent debauchery, he messaged me first thing Friday morning to join him for Stuffed French Toast to kick the festivities off right. Knowing that I have a weakness for breakfast foods and nowhere to be during regular business hours made him sure I'd say yes. (Seriously, if I can put butter, maple syrup, or whipped cream on something, I will eat it!!!) We hit the IHOP and I was pleased to start my day off with a hot chocolate. He ordered black coffee and we toasted to me being (and I quote) "an internet sensation!" Yeah, he might get bumped up to favorite friend status for calling me that! He requested Stuffed French Toast as promised and I got the Pancakes stacked with Cinnamon Roll icing in between. Listen, if we're going to have an indulgent moment, I'm going all out!
We discussed both of our single-people lives, both of our upcoming 30th birthdays, his full-time work and my lack thereof, families, friends, vacations, dreams...the usual catching up. He's planning a trip to Vegas for his approaching milestone year. I have just less than six months left and am thinking something much more low key. (Let's hope the surprise party gods are listening!) As he paid the check and we headed for the door, the hostess pointed out a basket of Dum-Dums on the counter. Happy Halloween! Let the candy eating begin. I chose Root Beer flavor because I'm boring and predictable. He picked up Grape. Just as I began to walk away, I heard "Awesome!" and turned around. He'd discovered a blue lollipop deep in the bucket.
Blue? Who the hell likes blue anything? There are no blue foods in nature so I am highly suspicious of anything colored blue. I don't even eat the blue M&M's which my father swears don't taste any different but I refuse to consume simply on principle. He looks at me and says "Don't you know about my affections for anything blue?" Um, no...enlighten me.
"I love blue things. I'd love to date a girl with blue hair!"
I am blonde.
"Even better if she was an Asian girl."
My tan is comparable to that of the vampires in the Twilight series. While I don't sparkle in the sunlight, I'm obscenely pale. Almost reflective.
"Preferably a petite Asian girl with blue hair."
Petite? I'm 5'9! A few more inches and I'd qualify for Amazonian...
"Yup, a petite Asian girl with blue hair who loves Halo. That's my dream woman."
Halo? Is that a show, a band or a game? Have no clue.
Me: Can I ask you a question? If you have a desire to date petite Asian women with blue hair who love Halo, why on Earth did you ever date me? I'm the polar opposite of everything you just said!
"Cause you're feisty. I like that."
Me: I'm feisty? What does that mean?
"You know, you're like hard core. Energetic. Ready to kick ass. Dominating. Feisty."
Me: Wow, no one has ever called me that before. I kinda like it. Seems super confident. Very intimidating. (At this point, I make my "strong" face and flex my non-existent muscles. Then I start clapping and jumping up and down in my seat because we're going to Barnes & Noble.)
"Ok, now you're not feisty. Now you're just adorable."
Me: Adorably feisty!!! (Make "mean" face again.)
He laughs and continues driving to B&N so I can get my nerd on. I might not have blue hair but I do have an attitude!