Perfect Romantic Moments of my Otherwise Average Life

First of all, school is slowly killing me. I think Hofstra is using this semester as a final test to see if I’m truly worthy of commencement. I am actually miserable, but I have less than a full month left at this point. So, I’m getting there. Eyes on the prize.

Second of all, I have a lot of things to say about Hurricane Sandy and public response, but I’m not going to because honestly I’m just tired of talking about it and dealing with it and I desperately want everything to be back to normal. Maybe I’ll make my thoughts known at a later time.

So, down to business: I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while because I think it’s going to be fun to write and I have a bizarre fondness for nostalgia. Also, my cousin Scott just got engaged, which is very exciting, but it also makes me the oldest, unmarried person in my immediate family. This fact is very scary at this juncture in my life so I need to actively remind myself that I’m not doomed forever. So, here goes:

I’ve talked a lot about my past boyfriend but there were others before him. All in all, I have a pretty average life but sometimes really great things happen and I like to call those the relationship-highlight package of my life. You can watch the highlights of a game but it barely sheds light on the whole story. That’s an accurate metaphor. Here is a short collection of my brief, most perfect, cinematic moments in my almost-22 years.

1. July 4, 2008

Late on July 3, 2008, my grandpa was admitted to the hospital for one reason or another. I know this because the next day would be the first Fourth of July I didn’t spend with my family. July 5th was my grandmother’s birthday so this was typically a non-negotiable holiday. (I was 17. All holidays were then non-negotiable family time. My relationship wasn’t recognized as real. I was a child.)  At the time, I was dating the rather unremarkable John, but I was forever in love and since I’d found an out on a family holiday, I would spend the day meeting his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents for the first time. (This was also the time that I learned that when meeting someone’s family, if you’re polite and the kids like you, you’re basically in; A useful tip for anyone half as awkward in these situations as I am…)

We spent the whole day at a BBQ at his grandparent’s house with his whole family. From what I remember, he has a lot of little cousins on top of his three younger sisters so we did a lot of running around and playing with them. Because the kids were so young, it was slated to be an early evening. As it started to get dark, it started to rain – not hard or anything, not enough to stop any fireworks – and John and I walked back to his house ahead of his family who was helping clean up (against my protests. I always offer to help my boyfriend’s mom/aunts clean. It’s the polite things to do as a guest and just makes you look really good as a girlfriend). It was only a few blocks back to his house and fireworks are one of my favorite parts of the summer so I wasn’t about to let a little rain prevent me from seeing them. We got set up on the hammock in his backyard (which I never once sat in gracefully) and watched the fireworks together in the rain.

Honestly the memory of this day has gotten a little hazy over the past four years and I couldn’t accurately recall to you the things we said or how it smelled or anything and I’m not all too willing to give him credit for doing anything too outstandingly wonderful, but I remember desperately trying to commit to memory the moment his kissed me in the rain, under the fireworks because I knew that these things don’t happen to everyone every day. It was a perfect moment in time. I like to think of it as the first great cinematic moment of my life.

He had some other great moments, but a collection of great 30 second clips doesn’t make up for hours and hours of crap. This is true in Film and in life I’ve come to realize.

(Also he broke up with me in Toys R Us on my best friend’s birthday. How’s that for a shitty person?)

2. Coney Island

The end of my freshman year of college, I briefly dated an older guy who, for about two weeks, I was completely taken with. He was charming and was more than willing to go completely out of his way to spend time with me. Smitten is a good word for what I was. He even got to meet my friends (A mistake I will never make so early in a relationship again). We had hung out a few times but on June 5, 2010 we went on our first official date. It was the best first date I’ve ever been on despite me falling way in love long after this guy was gone. He set the bar super high.

He wouldn’t tell me where we were going and I had no idea how to dress. (I can still, however, tell you exactly what I wore). Upon picking me up at my front door (a rule my parents stick to hard and fast) he revealed we were going to Coney Island, as long as that was okay with me, which it was, obviously. He drove us into Brooklyn and we rode the Wonderwheel and walked around a bit. He won me a goldfish, who, despite my best efforts, is still alive more than two years later. Then, we went for pizza at my very favorite pizza place in all of New York.

Again, things get blurry over the course of a couple years but I can remember a few distinct things from this night. First, I remember being kissed on the WonderWheel and thinking “I have now been kissed in the rain and on the WonderWheel. I have a sick list. My friends are secretly so jealous”. That’s not a joke. It actually happened.  I remember him being unimaginably sweet to me the whole night. I remember sitting in his car outside my house afterwards listening to Brand New and holding hands. I remember him telling me he was going to flush the goldfish and then me protesting vehemently. He laughed at me the next day when I went to the pet store and bought the fish a tank and food because it “wouldn’t make it to next weekend”. And then, he stopped calling and answering phone calls for the next 2-3 months. I’ve heard from him since.

The fish, Geoffrey, is stil alive, no thanks to him.

3. The time I liked a Frat guy

First, don’t do this. With very few exceptions, they’re douche bags. Stereotypes exist because they’re true. But anyway, last fall I had a couple classes with this guy who was very much my type and let’s just say he was hard to miss.  I was feeling pretty ambitious, I guess, so I made sure I sat next to him and struck up witty conversation at every chance I got all semester (witty read obvious) (I should also mention that I have a constant worry about how I will meet people after college because literally my only game is “Do we have anything due? I forgot to write it down in class”. I take the best notes ever. I never forget to write dates down. Nonetheless, it works. Boys are dumb). Halfway through the semester, he offered up his number to me one day on facebook and I knew I was in. My hard work was paying off.

The Friday after the last day of classes, right before finals, he texted me to come to a bar near campus, but none of my friends were having it and obviously I wasn’t going alone to hang out with him and his frat bros. I regretfully declined and told him I’d see him at the final. I was devastated I was missing my moment. He texted me back about 20 minutes later telling me he was leaving the bar, would I like to come over?

Yes I would.

I knew what this was. I’m no idiot. But also sometime’s I’m a little stupid in the decisions I make. I had put in too much time and effort to go to Christmas break with nothing. He was graduating in May and we had no classes together in the spring. This was my window. He was obviously a little drunk when I got there but he showed me around the house and then I awkwardly sat on the couch (like I do so well). He offered me a beer and then asked me to dance. I was pretty taken aback but then we were slow dancing (SLOW DANCING) to Christmas music under christmas lights and I was all melty and girl-like. I was won. That was the end. I would marry him if he asked me.

He didn’t though. He told me unprompted that he wanted to see me again and had a great time, never called and was in a Facebook-official relationship with some girl in some sorority less than a month later. I never saw him again and we’d avoid eye contact when we ran into each other for the next 6 months on campus. It’s like that sometimes. It’s a shame. He was kind of funny.

More to come someday. I hope.

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An Open Letter to the Dude Who Broke My Heart

First, my disclaimer is that I wrote this a while ago – not long after I got back from Ireland, so everyone who cares can relax. I was in bad shape three months ago, but I’m doing much better now. I won’t pretend like it’s some secret who this is about. Everyone knows. But, I obviously have no shame. I really liked it originally and was pretty proud of myself for getting my feelings down accurately and just getting them out of my body, where they were certainly doing no good. And mostly I liked that I was able to write him as not an asshole, because he wasn’t when I wrote this. (I don’t know what he is now. We don’t really speak.) But since re-reading and editing, I’ve realized it’s directly parallel to a Taylor Swift song and so, it’s lost some credibility. Seriously. It’s still very scary for me to put this out there for the whole world, even after I’m basically all glued back together, but it’s doing me no good keeping it for myself.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing for school lately and am a little sick of my own voice so I thought I’d post something that required no extra work. If you don’t have the time to read this or don’t want to puke because it’s really just awful, just give this a good listen and you’ll be caught up:

If you’re brave enough to make the jump and read my post-breakup pity party and not just listen to it’s summery by the glorious T.Swiz above, here ya go:

When we first met, you came on too strong. You called too often (actually called, not even texted. Called.) and used scary words like “forever”. Our first date was pleasant and you were a gentleman. I’d find out later that after that date, you went directly back to your friends and bragged and bragged which, at the time, in the haze of your affection, made me grin like a genuine fool. But, while you were bragging, I was unsure if I’d even see you again. I hadn’t been swept off my feet, but I had a good enough time and you didn’t seem to judge me while I ate my fajitas like an animal (there is simply no way to eat fajitas with grace). You talked too much about your tattoos and spent too much time showing me pictures on your phone, but you seemed sweetly nervous. Not to mention, me being swept off my feet had never ended well for me in the past, so why not give you another shot? I wasted hours of my friends’ time begging their opinions. I’d had a wall up for so long, but there was a chance that maybe you were sweet enough and cared enough about me for me to consider taking it down. They agreed that you might be. But still, I was unsure.

The night I decided to kiss you for the first time, you held my hand in the bar the whole night. You didn’t know me very well at that point, but if you did, you would have known that PDA freaks me out more than virtually any other thing that couples do. We sat across from my two friends who, little did you know, were out on a secret mission to determine if you were worth my time. While you were in the bathroom, they told me that you definitely were. You had come to my favorite bar for wing night, alone, rather than go to your regular spot with your friends. You came directly from work, just because I was having a bad day and you wanted to be there for me. I got into that car accident that afternoon, remember? I was okay, but you still offered to come help, even if it made you late for work. We had only been on one date and you were willing to do that for me. That’s the kind of thing my dad does for my mom. I was both impressed and flattered by your compassion while simultaneously being terrified of this man who seemed to care so much about me after so little time. I was unsure if I could return those feelings to you at all, let alone after only a week. But, my friends told me you were worth it so I kissed you goodbye outside the bar and it was nice. It had been so long since I kissed anyone who cared about me back. It was new and sweet and maybe I could do this, after all.

Then, first gradually and then all at once, I convinced myself that I loved you. I suspected you loved me too until the day three weeks later when you told me you did and I said it back (but I knew it was coming because you were bad at keeping secrets). The way you asked me to be your girlfriend and the way you told me you loved me, so thoughtful and perfectly planned – in my favorite places, while I was happiest. I became your girlfriend during a hockey game and I found out you loved me at the beach. I was convinced. You knew me and loved me anyway and so, I relaxed and settled in and trusted that it was safe to take the remainder of my wall down. I got to know your friends and family and for the first time in my life, I did things for another person that I didn’t necessarily want to do just because it was you. Knowing you wanted me to be at that awkward-bbq-party-thing at your best friend’s house made me want to be there, despite how terrible it was for me. I told myself over and over again that this was what couples did for each other and sometimes in life, you have to do things you don’t want to do.

And then, just as quickly as I’d gotten comfortable with the idea of being responsible for another human’s feelings, you were distant, which scared me more than anything. The person who once made every effort to make me happy was effortlessly killing me. I could feel what was coming but I wasn’t sure why so I talked myself out of its inevitability. You were the one who had all these plans for us “forever” whereas I barely knew what I was planning to do next weekend. I never asked for any promises. In fact, of the two of us, I was clearly the one afraid of what was happening. None of this made any logical sense and you, more than anyone, know how fond I am of logic. But, you had convinced me that we were real and you weren’t going anywhere so I thought we’d be okay. I believed you because no one who talked about “our kids” and “our house” would so easily run away. But, you were going somewhere. The sweet things you did ended and you seemed to care less and less. But I told myself that you were just going through something and we’d be fine because you said we would be. But then you were gone and I was bruised. I was black and blue from the inside out and couldn’t sleep, even though it was the only thing in the universe I wanted to do. There was no escape. The two to three hours of rest I got each night were dedicated to your face and your smell and then when I was awake every fucking Foursquare check-in was a painful reminder that you were going about your life while I had been reduced to a pile of sobbing blubber that refused to leave the house. The pain was unfamiliar and fucking awful. You were all I had for the last four months and then you just simply weren’t mine anymore and I couldn’t remember how to live without you.

But, somehow, I did. And then somehow, we were “friends” and I was forgiving you and then I left. I left for my great European adventure that I had been talking about unendingly with you only weeks before. You were supposed to be at home missing me and I was supposed to be reassuring you that I’d be home before you realized it and it would go so fast. It was supposed to be an excruciatingly long month apart ended with an immeasurably sweet reunion at the airport upon my return. But instead, you were no longer mine to miss and it would be my parents waiting at the airport instead of you. I had to believe that you weren’t missing me. But then on Skype one night, you told me you were and I had renewed hope that maybe I was coming home to you after all. I bought you the best gift I had ever bought another person and counted the days until I could give it to you. I rushed away my last two weeks in Europe to come home to you.

And that’s, technically, where it ended. I’ve read and rewritten the end a million times a million different ways, but I can’t get it right. Probably because I still don’t like the way it ended in real life. You were never mine again and I know you told me not to say never, but it feels like you’ll never be again. Never the same way it was. You were just gone without any explanation that I could understand and I convince myself every day that it’s okay and I’m better off; that one day, there will be some other man who I won’t have to talk myself into loving. I won’t have to convince myself it’s right. I won’t be scared of how much I love him, how I think of him all day. How he’s the first person I want in the morning and the last person I think of at night. I won’t hate how lame that sounds or how true it is. I’ll just love him for real when I see him and that will be the end and I’ll laugh at how silly I was for crying over you for so long and for wasting so much of my time. Ha, youth. Hopefully there will be. And hopefully, I can talk myself out of you as easily as I talked myself into you. But, I have my doubts.

The Biggest Non-Anatomical Difference Between Me and Men

I am the epitome of a cool girlfriend. This title is not self-imposed. Past boyfriends and friends of past boyfriends have told me this more than once.  I’ve discussed in the past my ability to be one of the guys, heavily influenced by the fact that I was basically the only female child in my family until I was 11. I should also note that the street I grew up on was also basically exclusively male, in that all the kids my age were boys. I have always taken immense pride in my dude-ness. I was never a very moody girl, I don’t particularly care about girly things. I wear barely any makeup and can do my hair exactly four ways: straight, naturally dried, in a braid or in a pony tail. I’m so confused as to how girls give themselves elaborate hair styles regularly. I even put the seat UP when I’m done when I’m in an all-male household. Literally, the only things I don’t understand about men is their seemingly natural ability to handle their finances and why they get so worked up when something goes wrong with their car. And, this is because my dad handles all automobile problems of mine. He will do this until my eventual-husband takes over and if that day never comes, my brother and cousins will be busy men until I kick the bucket when I’m 110.  I love beer, I love sports, I understand the need to play video games and take naps and even sometimes sleeping through an obligation. I get mad when a ref makes a bad call. I feel more loyalty to Hockey players than I do some of my friends. I get it. I can blatantly see and recognize when a girl/girlfriend is being unreasonable and ridiculous. I almost never side with them.  For my whole life, I have identified better with most dudes than I have with many of my female friends.

This being said, because so many men have deemed me such a “cool girlfriend” (I’m confident enough to put that in quotes. Those exact words have been spoken) it’s always baffled me that I can’t seem to hold on to a boyfriend.  My longest relationship to date is approximately four months. My brother dated a girl for something like a year when he was fifteen. I’m a failure. But then, it dawned on me. Relationships do something to me. They make me a crazy version of myself who I really don’t like very much. She is moody and clingy and impatient and not very understanding or caring at all. I essentially hate her. That being said, there are not enough benefits to outweigh all that craziness so, until I learn to get a reign on that, I’m gonna fly solo. Knowing all of these things about myself lead me to a pretty outstanding insight today:

In my Clint Eastwood Authorship class, we watched the film “Play Misty For Me” which I’d never seen or even heard of. The screenplay was shit but the story was pretty good. Basically, Clint plays a radio show host and some batshit crazy fan stalks the shit out of him and deludes herself into thinking they’re in love and attempts to ruin his life after she’d lied to him and tells him she’s only interested in no-strings-attached sex. (HA! Hilarity. There were obviously no sexually empowered women prior to Chelsea Handler.) So, poor Clint is stuck with this chick constantly showing up and cooking him dinner and offering to sleep with him and he is just so utterly unenthused. What I failed to understand about the scenario is why he continued to let her into his house when she showed up. Like, he straight up welcomed her in and then slept with her. In the end, (SPOILER ALERT) he punched her in the face and she fell off a cliff and Clint and his terrorized girlfriend lived happily ever after, but I was still unhappy that he took advantage of this psycho for a little sex which, by the way, was clearly available to him in a variety of other places. He’s fucking Clint Eastwood in the 70s. He was going to be fine without this girl.

So, while I normally talk to no one at school, between Clint’s class and the class I T.A. for, I was talking to a dude who’s in both classes and he asked what I thought of the film. I told him I liked the story, but voiced my concerns with Clint’s willingness to entertain the crazy chick when he was clearly in love with the girlfriend. I shit you not, the following is what this kid said to me:

“Yeah, I guess but I mean, if a chick shows up at your door naked, you don’t turn her away…”

…Now I know why I don’t talk to anyone at school. Please, please if any man who isn’t related to me and trying to set a good example disagrees with this, tell me. I truly don’t want this to be what’s forever implanted in my mind as a man’s idea of sex. I will hope to God forever and ever that this kid is just a poor film student with no other options. But, assuming this is the popular opinion because another kid in the room echoed it, I’m going to tell you the single largest difference between me and men based on this assumption.

If a man – batshit crazy stalker or not – showed up at my house naked and unannounced, he would be turned away. The door would be locked. I would not allow him in then and probably never,  ever again. I might even call the police. In addition, I hope that me being present and naked are never, ever the only qualifications needed for me to be invited inside a house for any reason, let alone to have sex. I’m sorry, I have a bizarre need to be liked as a human being with thoughts and a brain by the person I’m involved with at any level. In case you haven’t noticed and I haven’t said it enough, I’m pretty freaking awesome. My girlfriend resume, although with limited references, is outstanding. I am funny and smart and will never give you a hard time for wanting to watch football over have dinner or do something equally stupid that we can do at any other time that football isn’t on. I will always order beer and will get you one, whether you asked me to or not. I will offer and genuinely want to pay when I can afford it. I am both very cute and hysterical. I laugh at poop jokes and dead baby jokes and women jokes  and other equally offensive things and never get offended, and I will NEVER fart in front of you. Ever. As far as you’re concerned, the only thing that goes on in that bathroom is makeup fixing. Honestly, the benefits of dating me are truly unending.  DO NOT INVITE ME IN SOLELY BECAUSE I’M THERE AND NAKED! If I am batshit crazy and clearly trying to kill you/your girlfriend/your house keeper with a giant butcher knife, JUST SAY NO! There are a slew of other reasons TO invite me inside. Do not belittle me and my brain by having nakedness be the one that wins out.

And, I’ve decided that along with the clear anatomical differences, this desire and need to be liked as an actual person is the very biggest difference between me and the male species. The end.