And you know the story of our first date.
And you know the story of our proposal… oh, wait, I actually haven’t told you that one yet, but no worries, it’s coming.
But I haven’t told you the in-between. And a lot happens between a first date and a proposal. Well, a lot happened for us between a first date and a proposal, anyway. If you’re like my parents, who were engaged within six weeks, or some friends of ours, who were engaged within three months, maybe that part of your story isn’t as long. But for us it was.
I’d like to tell you that everything was smooth-sailing between May 23, 2007 (our first date) and December 23, 2009 (our engagement), but that would be a lie. We didn’t have any ground-breaking fights or do any of that back-and-forth “we’re together, now we’re not” stuff. But we did have our differences. If it weren’t for the advice of my older cousin Jenny, who told me that “All guys have quirks,” I’m not sure we’d still be together.
After the big Shrek the Third night, B didn’t call for three days. On day one, I figured he was living by the old adage of waiting at least 24 hours. On day two, I started to get a little disappointed. By day three, I was convinced I was never going to hear from him again. And, actually, this continued for the rest of the summer. Each time I’d reach the point when I was sure he’d lost interest and moved on, my phone would ring. Why didn’t I call him myself? You’ll remember I was living by a new philosophy; I was trying to prove to B (and to myself) that I could be a GWTFEG (go-with-the-flow-easy-going) kind of gal. And in my mind, waiting for his call was part of that game.
Quirk #2 was a little problem that B seemed to have with time. It wasn’t rare for him to say he’d “stop by after work,” (which, to me, meant 5:30 or 6:00pm), then not show up until 8 or 9pm. Looking back, I’m honestly surprised I put up with that. Anyone who knows me is probably pretty surprised themselves. Maybe it was because of my GWTFEG strategy, maybe it was all the build-up of dating Blockbuster Boy, or maybe I was just allowing myself to be a doormat–but either way, I’m glad I stuck it out.
As we neared the fateful day in August, when I’d be moving back to Kirksville for another year of school, and he’d remain in KC, I knew we were going to have to have The Conversation. Somehow, we’d gone the whole summer without ever actually defining our relationship. Oh, believe me, I wanted to. I wanted to baaaaaad. But, GWTFEG girls don’t worry about that sort of thing, so I pretended I wasn’t worried either.
However, another wise woman I know helped me to realize that this wasn’t really fair to myself. “You have a right to know,” she said. “You have a right to lay down some ground rules and establish some guidelines. It’s only fair, and it’s only safe.”
It finally came down to three days before I was moving. Just as we were parting after an evening spent watching Dave Chappelle’s stand-up comedy (B’s choice, not mine), I decided I needed to brave the topic. It went something like this:
Me: “So, you know I’m leaving for Kirksville in three days.”
B: “Yeah, I know. I’m really going to miss you.”
Me: “So, what do you wanna do when I leave?”
B: “Well, I’ll see you whenever you come home.”
B: “I really like you, I just don’t want you to miss out on anything at school.” (Sounds like a line from He’s Just Not That Into You, right?)
B left that night, and I went upstairs to get ready for bed, a little upset, but not really all that surprised. For some reason, this was my luck with guys. I never seemed to have a shortage of guys wanting to hang out, go on dates, etc., but when it came time to actually commit? Not interested.
I was brushing my teeth, wallowing in my despair at losing Blockbuster Boy, when my cell phone rang.
B: “Can I take it back?”
B: “Can I take it back?”
B: “I don’t know what I was thinking. I really like you.”
Me: “I really like you, too.”
B: “But if we’re going to do this, we have to really do it. We both have to be in it 100%. I just don’t want to mess around.”
Me: “Me either.”
B: “So, we’re going to do this?”
Me: “Sounds like it.”
At this point, we hung up the phone, and I tore down the stairs, toothbrush still in hand. “We’re staying together!!!!” I shrieked as I felt into my parents’ room.
After that phone call, it was honestly like a switch was flipped. B resolved both Quirk #1 and Quirk #2 without me even having to ask. It was like dating a whole new guy–Mr. Committed. (Not that he doesn’t have quirks now. It’s still true that all guys have quirks. It’s all about whether or not those quirks are dealbreakers.)