It all started when I was eight years old. A boy used to tease me at Sunday school. After church we would go back to my grand-parents house and I remember telling this to my grandma one afternoon. She goes Julia, boys tease the girls that they like. He likes you.
In college my dating life consisted of a twin size bed, brunches and a heavy night of drinking. Late night pizza was often involved. I even had a guy tell me that for Valentine’s Day he was going to drink with his buddies and proceeded the to ask me what time he should stop on by after. Just what every girl wants to hear. I slept with the dorm phone to my ear that night. I didn’t want to take any chances. Swoon. I thought back to the lessons of my grandmother, but she wasn’t around to ask. I decided he likes me. He showed up around 3:00 a.m that night. When I sent him an “email” saying I think we should become exclusive, aka please just acknowledge my existence in front of your friends, he goes I kind of like what we have built up right now. I enjoy being single it’s fun. Built up here? I mean, what does that even mean? In the words of Cher…. “I feel like such a bonehead.”
My parents are about to cross their 30th wedding anniversary this week. They met in the pre technology age or the “less ways to get mad at your boyfriend and let him know it” age. You could only yell at him when you saw him, and by the time you got to his place, you might have gotten over it. Today there are several ways to let him know within seconds: email, text (a personal favorite), voicemail, twitter, this blog, or in an extreme situation “defriend” or write an ambiguous status update on facebook. That outta show him. My mom told me they never fought and had better things to do. She says, “Julia when you get mad take a step back, don’t react emotionally”. Mom, but I totally paused! I don’t see my mother back in her early twenties laying with her cell phone against her head waiting for her boyfriend to come over. She still doesn’t have one. She said that when they were dating he called her up and they went out. They went to the zoo and took weekend trips up to Door County. He was actually pretty sweet to her. They had bbq chicken at his place. This doesn’t seem to correlate with what my grandma said. Isn’t he supposed to tease her if he likes her. I explicitly remember her saying that.
My boyfriend was the first guy to ever buy me flowers . I remember thinking who is this guy and what are these strange courting rituals. I was out with some girlfriends and when I came home my roommate was like these came for you today. I looked at the flowers and smiled, but the thought “is this guy psycho” ran through my head a thousand times. I turned to my roommate and said but do I have to call him. And she said god Julia, yes. He is being nice. He is a nice guy. I called him up said “thank you. they are beautiful”. We have been dating ever since. He never teased me. He always acknowledges me. He is really nice to me. Grandma, I hope this means that he likes me. Several months later I told him no one had ever bought me flowers before. I think that he was surprised, but kind of liked that.
My friend and I have spent many years laughing at the past. At all the “swoon, as if” people that have come in and out of our lives. Why did we do it? It’s hard to really know. What we agree on today is that it should be simple. It should be what my parents have had for the last 30 years and what my grandparents had the last 60. These days the only teasing that goes on in my home is about my mom not having a cell phone. She says her cell phone is on the wall. You will find my mom at yoga Saturday morning and my dad at the library reading a free copy of the Wall Street Journal, followed by a trip to the farmer’s market. He brings her home flowers. I often catch them early in the morning talking on the patio with their morning coffee . And sometimes they sit in silence. If my mom is mad she will let him know before she tells Facebook. Actually, she doesn’t have an account either. As If!
Happy 30th Anniversary Mom & Dad. May we all the see world as you do.