I Already Know

Our drive up to meet his parents and some of his siblings is rough. Right before we got in our separate cars he had been super impatient. He had been impatient all weekend. Owen was stressed that his friends weren’t doing anything fun. He wanted everyone to get moving. Instead of helping people along and being kind and generous with his behaviors, he would charge ahead, leaving other people to carry all of the things. Frustration without helpful actions. I was tired of it. I hadn’t said anything all weekend, but now that we were alone, I snapped.

His whole demeanor changed. I automatically knew that I had cut deep. I apologized for snapping but the damage was done. He said he was fine and got in his car.

Twenty minutes in to the drive, he calls me.

“I’m not okay”- O

“I know”- LD

“You are 100 percent right. If I’m going to be impatient, I could also be helpful. You’re right. However, you could have told me this when we were hanging out with Big Sexy and HLM or with BFF and BFF’s Wife. Literally, any other time than right before I take someone home to meet my family for the first time. I’ve been looking forward to this. And now I have to figure out how to get over this so my parents don’t notice that something is wrong. Gah, Le Distraire. Any other time.”- O

He’s right. I could have continued to be patient. Shit. He is crushed because apparently he’s nervous. He’s denied it this whole time. But I know he is. Especially now. Mister Chill Fun Party Guy is actually Stressed Out Planner Control Guy.

“I’m truly sorry Owen. I know what this means to you. I wasn’t planning my timing. I made a mistake and let it just come out. I was frustrated and exhausted from this weekend and I messed up. I’m not perfect. I can’t always plan everything. And I’m sorry”-O

We go back and forth a few more times with him reiterating how important this day was. Like I don’t know that. Like I haven’t been a saint of a girlfriend with a smile and open arms for all of his crazy. I’M FUCKING EXHAUSTED. And also sad. Is there anything worse than hurting someone you care about? We talk like this until he’s good and fine. I’ve apologized 5 different ways and he feels good. Me? I’m crying. I’m so tired. Is this what a relationship is? I’ve forgotten how much work they can be. Does he not want me to meet his family now? I would hate that.

“I’m so sorry Owen. We’re about to hit the split in the highway where I could go left to my sister’s…I have been so excited to meet your family. And I was super happy and excited to show you off to my family. I wouldn’t want this moment to feel obligatory to you. If you want, I can go to my sisters?”- LD

“Le Distraire. No. Stop. I don’t ever want you to ask something like that ever again. I am so proud of you and happy that you’re the person I’m taking home. It’s ridiculous that you think so little of us and how committed I am to you that you would question that. I’m bringing you home and that’s it. I said what I needed to say and heard what I needed to hear and I’m okay now. Are you okay?”

I whiff out a little huff. I’m okay. We hang up. I attempt to de puff my red cried out face.

We get there, and I’m immediately greeted by 2 of his 4 brothers. They hug and look thrilled to see him. Immediately, I love seeing him relax. I walk in to a kitchen full of his family. His mom hands me a blended margarita in a “dog lover’s” glass. It’s loud and goofy and diverse and relaxed and obnoxious and everything I thought it would be.

I jump from person to person, especially the ones that married into the family. It’s always good to win those ones over. His mom is quick to ask me lots of questions and stick close. Owen pours himself too much whiskey in his drinks. They all drink a little too much. You can see where he gets it. His stepdad observes me from afar. He doesn’t ask me much. His fully biological brother turns out to be my favorite. He’s sweet and you can tell that his and Owen have a special bond. Owen sits outside with some of his family and they ask if my family is religious. He tells them about our mission trips in the Philippines when I was younger. I get nervous that they’re asking him about this. And hoping that he is gracious and kind about it and doesn’t secretly berate it with him. Later, I joke that he was “talking shit about me outside earlier”. He responds with “oh no no. Only good things” and smiles. It makes me feel better. That night its just his parents, his sweet brother, and me left. We eat leftovers and watch a movie.

We climb in to the same bed that night (I still can’t with this. I don’t care if its a religious thing or not, it still feels very weird to do this at someone’s parents house). I can tell he’s relaxed and feels better. I do too. It’s nice to see how much his family loves each other. We wake up next to each other and he’s just staring at me. We don’t talk. Just holding each other close and kissing and touching and its all very quiet and intimate and pressed together. I’m thinking about how overwhelmed I feel with learning so much about him. About how different our backgrounds are. About how we handle stress and old friendships and deep family connections. And I’m fascinated and scared by how close I still feel to him. I know he’s in love with me. I know I’m in love with him. I’ve been saving myself for a long time. I thought about letting that go with the last guy I dated. But I waited. That morning, we were close. He held me tight and told me how stunning I am. Smart. Wonderful. Beautiful. That he was crazy about me. But he wanted it to be perfect. I did too. I knew that. I also knew it felt like the loveliest feeling to desire someone and also to be in love with them. He holds me back, staring at me with his big brown eyes. He gapes his mouth a few times like he’s going to speak. He doesn’t. I ask him what’s wrong? Is he mad at me? He laughs and whispers he’s the furthest thing from mad. But he’ll tell me later.

Okay, darling. But I already know.

I love you too.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

“Oh…so being from the other side of this equation 95% of the time, I just want you to know that you’re not allowed to say the things that you said. You can’t say ‘You can manage the store I’m going to open later in my life’. And you can’t say that you want to be the Dustin to my Stranger Things’ Eleven Halloween costume. You’re not allowed to make plans for our future. You’re not allowed to come over multiple times after I get back from vacation; you flirted with me, you asked probing questions, you had me make dinner for you. 

You laid on my bed and touched my body and let me touch yours. 

You can’t do that shit and then when I tell you ‘I like you. Just FYI. No defining the relationship or anything’, say, ‘Well, I’m still really messed up from my ex’. 

Were you messed up from your ex 15 minutes ago when you came in 20 seconds while getting head? Or were you okay enough to handle that?

You can’t be an asshole if you’re not an asshole. You can’t act like you’re moving towards a relationship and then back off and still be a nice guy. 

You’re officially not a nice guy.”

This is what I said to the Lion.

Except I didn’t. He said the “messed up from my ex” line. All I said was “Oh. I thought something was off.” Then I kissed his cheek and shut the door.

Fucking not a nice guy.

Not-Dating, Dating

Mr. Hard Body Security invited me over for dinner last night. I wore matching navy lacy undergarments that have a single thread of gold woven throughout. I also wore a maroon dress, but thats neither here nor there.

His apartment is clean, industrial, and sparse. He has neon beer signs which he swears were in his garage, but which now line the area on top of the kitchen cabinets. He swears they’re going to get put back in the garage as soon as he moves back in to a house. Mr. Hard Body Security opens the door and his mildly sweet cologne affronts my nose as I took in his medium wash straight leg jeans, forest green oxford shirt, and slightly scuffed, square-toed boots. His handsome face was set off by his dark wavy hair that he tamed with a touch of gel. Cheap gel, I found out later when I used his bathroom.

I don’t remember if he complimented me or not, but his smile indicated his visual appreciation. Mr. Hard Body Security makes excuses for dinner not being ready, “I haven’t used this oven since I moved in. I forgot I need to pre-heat it and all. I thought I had it timed perfectly.” I took in the table he had pulled out, complete with placemats and candles. He had the two types of red wine I had mentioned I liked out on the table, and the white chilling in the fridge. On the TV, he had (only semi) jokingly streamed the “Fireplace” channel from Netflix. As I recounted stores about my day, I noticed I was singing along to a Hozier song, humming along to miss Dolly, then as the song from the dance scene from The Perks of Being A Wallflower came on, I had a realization. I turned to him quickly, surprised, “You made me a playlist?!” I exclaimed before I could exhibit my usually much more controlled behavior. He slowly smiled at me, nodded once, and quickly pecked my forehead before my phone rang.

It was my sister. She’s always been good about cutting in whenever she’s not wanted. She asked me what I’m up to and I filled her in before letting her know to absolutely not tell mom. My mom had called earlier and asked what I was doing for dinner. I answered with a vague “Oh…just munching on…food…you know…” It’s not a lie if its by omission, right? My mother has no idea what Tinder is or what one would use it for or who I meet on there. Meeting at a bar is enough to make her furrow her brow and pray that I meet someone at a much more respectable establishment. So no. She doesn’t get to know.

He finished cooking, offers to make me a plate, grabbed me a glass of water along with my wine, and listened intently to every story I tell about my work day. He tells me that we should take a cooking class together. Then a dance class when he Google told him there are no cooking classes in our city. He mentioned that he got rid of Tinder. Already?! I thought to myself. “I already met the best girl on it.” Shit. 

We were supposed to watch The Notebook. The DVD I brought wouldn’t work, so we watched a scary movie. He absent mind-edly traced his hand the whole time along either my shoulder or around my knee. His arms were big and his cuddling was bigger. Eventually, I was pressed against his wall, kissed along my neck, then picked up and moved onto his bed. This is where the navy bra and panty set come in to play. He liked it. And just like earlier in the evening, he traced his fingers along my body; he paid attention to how and when I reacted to his touch. He was big and muscular and attentive. There is not an ounce of fat on him and his tan skin is smooth and warm.

Eventually, he rests on top of me while never letting his body fully relax on to mine. Mr. Hard Body Security looks at me, dips his head low so I can’t see his eyes, and spoke slowly, “I think…you’re perfect. You’re perfect.” I subsequently, freak out. I do and absolutely don’t enjoy being told that I am perfect at the same time. My response? “I’m not perfect. I have debt. Split ends. I’m hard on people when they disappoint me. My weight fluctuates…” I trail off to his laughter. “Are you trying to scare me off or get me to like you more? Because I do. I like you”. Then he kissed my left cheek, my right cheek, above my left eyebrow, and finally rested his lips above my right eyebrow and relaxed in to me.

I said nothing. He didn’t ask more of me. Which is good, because I don’t have much else to give.

Powerful

Do you remember what underwear you were wearing when you first started to realize that everyone else was wearing low rise thongs from Abercrombie and Fitch? Mine were Fruit of the Loom. A multi-pack number with rainbow stripes. I was in 6th grade. My soccer team was jogging around the fiend singing every word to 50 Cent’s Lollipop.

6th grade. Why on earth did anyone in the 6th grade need a thong? That was also the time of super low rise jeans and baby doll t-shirts and The O.C. was still on TV. Ohhhh popular culture.

The point is, it took me until 9th grade before I purchased one. My friend, Caiti, and I were at the mall. It had a Victoria’s Secret, an Auntie Anne’s pretzels, and not much else. Not that it mattered, because what else is necessary in life to bored teenage girls? They had a ‘Buy 3 Panties for $15’. I just so happened to have $20 burning a hole in my horrible, pink canvas, shoulder purse. I bought a cream colored lace thong with three little blue bows on the back, a maroon lacy number with embroidered blue flowers, and an extra sassy pair of black polka dots that said “Sexy Little Thing” on the back. We snuck them home in our purses so Caiti’s mom wouldn’t ask about them.

I wore the “Sexy Little Thing”‘s pair one time to school. Then realized that there are a lot of thongs that are horribly uncomfortable. Why did it ride up? Where was it headed? I didn’t even know that part on my body existed...I put them up and forgot about them for a year.

I wore the cream colored pair when I was 16. I was going on a date with The First One before he went off to college. I wore a chiffon zebra dress and had a bunch of drunk college boys growl at me and told me they’d be my lion.

On the way home, The First One pulled over to a road side stop. It was a full moon. We danced to some R&B song…I can’t recall which. Then he begged. Groaned. Beseeched me to show him my thong. The cream one with the bows. The moonlight lit up my bare ass. And my bare ass lit up his eyes. And my mind lit up with the idea of the power that I held. That I hold.