Introducing, the first ever Stylist Quo Speaks–let me read you my blog. It’s safer than reading while driving. The Spark and Growth of Modern Love
I sat cross-legged in the bathtub facing my laptop, which balanced on a vintage brass vanity bench. I was sick of it, fed up. My boyfriend–titled only out of convenience, I reminded myself; we haven’t been together for months–consistently disappointed me. Canceled on me. Left my place every night before I could even think to pout about sleeping alone another night.
“I might as well. What’s there to lose? $60? I’ll make up for it in free dinners with boring men.”
I was taking the plunge, signing up for match.com, but still unsure why. As a performer and audio salesperson, it’d be fair to say I had no problem meeting men whatsoever. My trouble? Meeting the right men.
My entire dating career, I ended up with the same exact guy: a skinny musician with no major life aspirations, coy enough to play a game of cat-and-mouse with me until I tired of it and caused enough fights to wriggle my way out of it as the victim. There was nothing ever wrong with these guys, per se, but they weren’t what I was looking for. I just didn’t know that.
I’d felt guilty for having “corporate” ambitions, wishing to make it as a well-known capital appeals attorney, or, I don’t know, running my own fashion magazine. This could not be understood by the boyfriends, as they looked down their noses at my unartistic dreams.
Yet time after time, I found myself in the same bed on the same flannel sheets with the same wild-haired musician. I found myself playing their records in my car; rolling my eyes at the giggling gaggles that threw themselves at my man at shows; waiting by the phone during tour, hoping he wouldn’t forget to call again.
Finally, if accidentally, I tired of it. I began to fantasize about having a man come over for dinner, watching Tivo with me until nine, brushing our teeth together, and climbing into bed. Falling asleep unsexed.
I joined match.com because I knew there would be no flannel-sheeted, giggling-gaggled musicians there.
I typed in the debit card number I’ve had memorized for years, a convenient side-effect of my penchant for spur-of-the-moment Amazon buys. I wasn’t used to spending $60 on anything that seemed frivolous, but for some reason, I forged ahead.
“Three months should do it,” I thought. “If not, I’ll just use OKCupid or something. Or just end up with a musician. Whatever. It’s fine.”
I clicked “submit”, and up popped my first “You might like…” profile recommendation.
Match endeavored to know me after having only taken a quick quiz, naked, in the bathtub at 2 a.m. Who is this guy? What the hell kind of screenname is ready4life2010 anyway? What an enormous loser.
But, really, what an attractive enormous loser.. I scanned the unmarried, unchildrened 29-year-old’s page and stopped at a reference to one of my absolute favorite novels, Catch 22.
Perhaps the dining-out, sports-event-watching, travel-lover had a bit more culture than I’d initially perceived, and I sent him a coy message.
Having always enjoyed holding the reigns in a terribly coquettish way, I sent several more messages that night, sparking conversation that would inevitably lead to him asking for my number, texting me a bit too much, taking me out to some decent restaurant with a good selection of appetizers, and trying to kiss me when he dropped me off.
And me leaping out of a still-moving vehicle to avoid the goodnight kiss.
ready4life2010 was a lawyer in town. That’s funny; I went to law school, too. His family is the most important thing to him. How odd; I feel the same way. He’s ready for a real relationship. He went to one of the brother schools to my all-girls school in town. He relates often to Major Major Major Major, but doesn’t look like Henry Fonda. The similarities became nauseating.
On paper, he made perfect sense, but was he artistic enough? Was he tortured enough? I couldn’t get over the username; I mean, ready4life2010?
Yet, I immediately began to anticipate his emails, fueled by an unexplainable, unexplained feeling that was comforting and terrifying, all at once. Around 4:30 p.m. every day, I started checking my phone incessantly for new emails, unable to restrain myself from reading each new message no matter where I was–work, dinners out, movie with TJ..
He asked for my number, and I obliged. He, of course, began texting me, hinting at wanting to get together immediately. That night, facing the reality that this digital affair might become actual, I made the mistake of asking one of my attorney friends if he knew ready4life2010.
This friend was the type that called me often, took me to late-night dinners to discuss the theatre project we worked on together, stared at me unblinkingly, and seemed to always be there for me. I’d had a notion that this friendship was not as platonic as I’d hoped, but when he became flustered when I asked for his opinion on ready4life2010, I immediately forgot any suspicions I had of unrequited romantic feelings. It took him a fair 90 seconds to come up with any specific charges, which were vague at best, but I assumed the worst.
I’d been so burnt by TJ that I wasn’t open to gambling again–simply uninterested, unamused, unexcited. I stopped responding to his texts.
He kept texting.
The next day, he sent a follow-up email, assuming I’d just lost my phone, dropped service, gotten distracted by the firefighters that ended up flooding my apartment after a few friends got caught in the elevator (true story). I didn’t respond.
He kept emailing.
He asked me to go out. I didn’t respond.
He kept asking.
Eventually, he asked to take me to a Deathcab for Cutie concert in one of my favorite venues. A safe distance from this suspicious friend’s suspicious caveats and, let’s face it, a bit tired of not responding, I agreed. We’d meet at one of my favorite gastropubs and take the trolley from there.
A couple days later, on the drive home from work, speeding along the Mississippi River at sunset, I thought about canceling.
“He probably is skeezy anyway. I mean, isn’t that what Mark said? But, well, I mean, I don’t have to work tomorrow. TJ is playing a show or something. And I haven’t seen Deathcab for Cutie in probably eight years. I might as well..”
“Nothing will come of it, of course, but it’ll at least be a fun fling, if anything. I get a free dinner, and I mean, the show will be fun. What else would I do tonight anyway?”
I got ready, but not that ready, because, obviously, nothing would come of our meeting anyway, but it would be a fun fling, if anything. I drove up and parked, inundated myself with a quick flood of salesman-ego, a trick I’d learned over my sales career.
“What are you doing on a date, if not selling yourself?” I asked myself. “How is this any different from selling a 24-channel digital console? You are worthy. You are a serious catch. You are a badass.”
I walked in and looked around, immediately struck by how more alive and real he appeared, as well as how genuinely attractive he was. He was talking to a few girls he knew, and my suspicious friend’s suspicions were validated.
We sat down and began to talk, but about what? I couldn’t tell you. I probably couldn’t have told you an hour later. He showed me his badge–an anecdote he will never live down to his coworkers–and I joked that if I’d known there were badges up for grabs, I’d have never quit law school.
Aside from my singular quip, I remember nothing about our first date, except consciously thinking I was having so much fun. I didn’t even understand it. Was I just exceptionally charming tonight? This has to be me, doesn’t it? This couldn’t possibly be an us thing. He’s probably just such a player he’s chiseled this down to a science–let the girl think she’s being charming, make her think she’s having fun. Bang her and never call back in a week.
But he texted me when I was on the phone, once I landed safely in the privacy of my car–the requisite call to my mother post-date. She could hear me smiling, and I knew without looking that the little double-ding of my text was him. I told her it wasn’t serious, that I wasn’t expecting much of it, but it’d be fun for now.
That was one year ago, three hundred and sixty five days ago. Eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours ago.
Somewhere in between there, in between the awkward meeting and him moving all of his things into my living room, I fell in love. For life. I knew early that he was the One. The one I’d let move in, have me for life, eat all of my food, force to be my photographer.
They say it hits you, but I didn’t believe it.
Happy anniversary, mon choux. I love you.
If you enjoyed this post, tip me! I won’t even make you fish a wrinkly dollar bill out of your pocket.. Just share this post. Like it on Facebook, tweet it, Pin it.. all from the share bar right below!0