So I got a request to try my hand at writing about "dating". I’m not sure that I can put myself into a pair of Manolo Blahniks and channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw. After all, I wear shoes from Payless and Target. But I’ll take a stab at it.
I suppose that in the very early stages of courtship comes the long and drawn-out process of elimination. You have to start somewhere. I started in high school, dating guys that were more "angsty" or something stupid like that. My ideal boyfriend was Jordan Catalano from My So-Called Life. So I dated a guy who had his room plastered in Kurt Cobain posters. Now if I could go back in time and say a thing or two to my 17-year-old self, it would actually only be one thing: "REALLY?!" and then I would slap myself upside the head. Those dudes might be nice to date in 10 years if and when they snap out of their emo-ness, but usually they just end up a huge disappointment. Bullet dodged.
Next was college. I was an art major so I met a lot of art dudes. My weakness in college was for guys who were both creative and funny. Dudes who could sit around and make fun of things, but in an intelligent sort of way. I was always a sucker for a great conversation, and these were the guys who were best at it. Thing about that was, these were also the type of guys who tended to smoke pot all day, and when weekends arrived, it was time to mix as many recreational substances possible. These guys were exhausting to be around. They didn’t care about much except 30-minute Phish songs, frozen burritos and getting the dankest weed possible, much less actually going to class. Eventually, that got very bor-ing.
After college I spent a little time traveling abroad. I spent some time in London and thought I’d run into a more sophisticated sort of lad, someone with whom I could have meaningful conversations about Monty Python or Blur vs. Oasis or something. Over pints. And while I met some really nice guys over there, I have to say… they were even more clueless than American boys. I got asked a lot of the same questions: "So what do you think of President Bush?" and "Is it true that in America, you have drive-thru’s?" And the worst: "You do realize that WE have the REAL football?"
It got tiring. It took everything for me not to say that REAL football to us "delusional" Americans isn’t running around on a soccer field barely scoring and faking injuries.
REAL football is all about viking-looking dudes crouching around a pigskin ball and getting medieval on each other’s asses while they throw the ball down the field. And they tend to score. A lot. It’s really much more fun to watch. Sorry, Brits (and the rest of the world).
By this time I was 24 and I was well on my way to figuring out what I didn’t want. I didn’t want any more art dudes. No "emo" or "angsty" ones either. And it was time to go back home to the States, so my fantasy of the perfect droll Brit (really, I just wanted Mr. Darcy) didn’t work out either.
After settling back in Ohio and getting my first design job, I dated a guy who thought he was Jack Kerouac. Looking back, I have no idea why. Boredom, perhaps. He used to make me watch Jim Jarmusch movies and I’d fall asleep to his guitar strumming. And I’m sure that all sounds idealistic and cute, but the thing about this kind of guy (the ones who walk around reading Bukowski while smoking and barefoot) is that they are incredibly narcissistic. I would regularly pull the muscles in my eyes from rolling them so much at him. It took me a little while, but I woke up and realized I would never get back those hours of my life back that I spent watching Dead Man and Coffee and Cigarettes. Everything is in black and white – get it? It’s deep.
Whatever. As far as I’m concerned, Jim Jarmusch made the world’s most boring Johnny Depp movie and that’s just not something I can forgive. I was done.
I wanted something I had never had before. I wanted to date a guy who was into – drumroll – sports! Try that on for size. I had plenty of guy friends who were into sports, but I never dated one. Maybe I was missing some kind of key ingredient here.
Through some friends I met a lad from Wisconsin who was a rabid Green Bay Packers fan. Bret Favre was a god to him (poor guy). And the other good part about him was that he was into music. Like me. I thought that I had finally found it. The perfect formula for me. The music + sports fan is my perfect match.
The thing about dating a guy who is into sports is that he understands a certain language that can be spoken universally. My Green Bay dude could meet up with my friends that he’d never met and all you’d have to say is "so what about that Buckeye game," and suddenly everyone was fast friends talking all heated and using words like "interception" and "pick" and "40-yard" something or other.
And then my Green Bay dude and I had our own secret language, music language. We’d talk about how messed up Pitchforks ratings are or the new Grizzly Bear tune and get tickets to go see the Raconteurs together. It seemed like a perfect match.
Only it wasn’t. I liked the sports + music formula but there was something missing. Chemistry was missing. If there’s no real chemistry, it’ll fizzle after the initial relationship high. By "chemistry" I mean the strange ability to "get" the other person, finish sentences, have whole conversations with just a glance, the ability to talk on and on into the night. The ability to feel totally and completely relaxed around another person. That kind of thing.
Green Bay dude and I…we tried, but we might have had one conversation in us a day, then one a week. Sometimes I’d try to talk and I’d just get shrugs. I knew we’d get to the point where we’d never talk again. We parted amicably, but I have since banned shrugging from my house.
After moving to New Orleans, I seemed to finally find the perfect formula for me: Music + sports + chemistry. And he’s a "southern gentleman", sweet as pecan pie.
When we first started dating, he’d pull out chairs and open doors – even car doors, which I always found to be awkward. We’d park somewhere and he’d hurry up and get out, run around to the other side and open my door.
It was nice, even at first, but I just wasn’t used to it. The kissing thing was also awkward. I learned very early on in New Orleans that people kiss each other on the cheek. I do not do this. I’ve never done this up north. We shake hands, maybe hug if we’re particularly close, or a "hey there!" Never kisses. When my southern dude and I met up for our first dates, he’d try to kiss me on the cheek and I’d never know what to do. The poor guy usually got my ear.
We developed our own music language right off the bat. We went to see shows together, listened to tunes together. And our house has become sort of 1960s-retro. It’s a battleground of the Beatles (his favorite band) vs. The Rolling Stones (my favorite band).
The Stones always win.
And this time, since I’d found a sports expert as well, I was finally able to ask a few questions that had been on my mind for awhile about football. Stuff I just never thought to ask or Google, like:
"So people keep saying that Ohio State’s special teams always suck. What is a special team? Is it like a special "for one night only" kind of thing? Are they only playing for one game? is that what makes them special?"
"So what is a ‘true freshman’? Does it mean he’s like an ACTUAL freshman and not a fake one?"
I think this little gif demonstrates the type of reaction I got from those questions.
This is the thing that really binds us together, the cherry on top: We make fun of each other. Constantly. We have fun together.
So much so that we decided to get married on April Fool’s day.
Photo Courtesy of Photo Steevo (he’s awesome!)
It’s all about the formula. The process of narrowing down what you want. And what you don’t want… but make sure to keep an open mind.
And that’s my dating story!
(p.s…. sorry for my recent animated gif obsession… I can’t stop laughing at those things)
Read more of Annie at AnniedelaDolce.com.