Dating. Courtship. I never understood what those words meant because I’ve never seen a need for these rituals in my life. To date someone involves a certain kind of caution and certainty-seeking that I don’t have the patience for; I believe that the only way you can ever be sure of how the other sees you is by jumping in with your eyes closed. My idea of getting into relationships involves talking nonstop until both parties have fallen in love with each other, enough to want to be an item. The dating stage of my three serious relationships were pretty much whirlwind romance types that lasted less than a month; after realizing that, “You like/love me. I like/love you. Let’s be together!”, we’d officially take ourselves off the market. No dinner dates, no flowers, no dramatic displays of love. (Well okay, the catalyst of the second relationship was the relief I felt over his having survived a physical confrontation with 75 men, but this is a strange story for another time.)
So I wanted to do something different with Marco and try to make the dating period last as long as possible. It wasn’t because I was unsure of what I felt for him; in fact, from the moment I first saw him (January 3 at Cantina through the intercession of the Hohobags; I have Kimi and Rica to thank for being particularly insistent that I be there that night), I liked him. The more I got to know him that night and the weekends that followed, the more I realized that a) we are insanely compatible (he likes zombie movies and he actually listens when I talk about Marxism), b) he gets cuter every time I see him, c) I can’t imagine a weekend without seeing him, d) shit, I want to be with him but he probably won’t feel the same way because I’m creepy and dorky and weird. So I kissed him (and with a “kbye!” I made my way quickly into my house because I couldn’t look him in the eye after). I figured that if I never hear from him after that night, my fears would be confirmed and I can just chalk this up to another one of my many failures in dating/relationships.
But I did hear from Marco the next day! And at some point over the next couple of weeks, he actually told me that he was falling in love with me! OMG OMG OMG. The Relationship Talk was inevitable at that point. He admitted that things were going unbelievably fast for him because it usually takes him forever to warm up to people. Not that he wasn’t happy being around me though. The problem is that he can’t accept happiness until he feels he has earned it. And to that, I showed an unexpected amount of maturity and patience. The old neurotic me would have freaked out, but all I said was, “Okay, take your time. We have all the time in the world. It’s not like I’m dying or moving out of the country or anything.”
Last night, Marco took me to a fancy restaurant carrying a huge bag and a bouquet of flowers. “No, these are not for you yet,” he replied mysteriously when he caught me looking at the bouquet. Throughout our appetizers (snooty French onion soup with lots of cheese), he kept fiddling with something under the table. I wondered if he was setting up a bomb to blow the place up, and if dying together was his idea of romance.
Finally, Marco explained what was going on. He was ready to jump into a relationship with me, but before doing so he wanted to “earn” it by courting me in record time.
“Wait, that’s completely unnecessary, you know I don’t believe in courtshi-”
“Just play along, it’ll be fun!”
And when I nodded dumbly, still confused about what was going on, he procured a checklist and timer from under the table.
Taste of LA at Tomas Morato. It had well-designed interiors, yellow lighting, and appropriately expensive snooty food.
And he thrust the bouquet into my hand. I still wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.
Persistence Check #1
“Will you be my girlfriend? (Say no!!!)”
“No!” But I was laughing as I said it.
Totally Lame and Cheesy Drawing
“It took me a long time to come up with this.”
“AWWW! It is so not lame! But cheesy yeah, definitely.”
“I was so worried that I’d be late because it took me forever to narrow down the selection.”
“OMG MINT CHOCOLATE! But you already know my tastes in chocolate, how hard can it be to choose one?”
“The boxes didn’t look romantic enough!”
Marco once told me that he used to look like Filipino singer/child star Aiza Seguerra in his early teens, and last night he finally brought picture proof that he did in fact look like a lesbian at one point in his life. Let us compare! This is Aiza Seguerra.
And this is Marco on his fourteenth birthday at Italiani’s. (Notice the expression on the waiter’s face.)
And he grabbed my hand and said, “I am so in love with you!”
Persistence Check 2
“Will you be my girlfriend? (Say no!!!)”
Still laughing, I said no. I think people were already staring at this point.
Marco then whipped out his cellphone to call up Dodge, his childhood best friend. “Dodge, I’d like you to meet someone,” he said before handing the phone to me.
“Nice to meet you,” Dodge said.
“Uh…hi Dodge. I’m Lauren. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on right now. But it’s nice to meet you anyway!”
Random Act of Chivalry
“Stand over there,” Marco said, pointing to a few feet away from our table.
Once I was far away, he proceeded to spill a glass of water on the area outside my chair. From the corner of my eye, I thought I detected a horrified look from the waiters.
“Oh no!” Marco exclaimed, with exaggerated bad acting. “There’s a puddle of water on the floor! Here, let me help you avoid it.” And he dropped his jacket onto the water puddle.
“Step on my jacket!”
“WTF I can’t step on your jacket!”
“I brought the jacket here for stepping purposes! Step on it!”
And so I stepped on his jacket with my three-inch heels, landing back on my chair a little awkwardly.
Make Her Laugh
I’d been laughing the entire time but he started tickling me anyway, much to the annoyance of the diners at the next table.
Pepper with I Love You’s
“I love you, I love you, I love you. Will you be my girlfriend?”
We kissed, and the timer stopped at four minutes and fifty-eight seconds.
If life were a romantic comedy, the entire restaurant would have burst into applause, but all we got were dirty looks from diners who were too old to remember what it’s like to be 22 and in love. I spent the rest of the meal picking at my food and grinning like an idiot, because I was too happy to eat. Occasionally I would punctuate the happy silence with something really dorky like, “Omg we’re together, this is so cool.”
And this is where I end this blog post with cliches about how I’m the luckiest, happiest girl in the world, because I really don’t know how else to describe what I’m feeling right now.