Friday, October 24, 2008

How I Got To Be The Mister (Part 2)

Here's Part 1 of the story if you're just tuning in.

I left off at the interstitial period. That's the fancy word they use to describe the time in the Bible between the two testaments and I use it for just that reason. Those years are cloudy, dimly understood, poorly documented. The one thing that is significant to this story is that throughout that period I was still trying, although subconsciously, to find my wife and was always extra messed up by breakups, not because of the loss so much but because the girl had turned out, yet again, not to be my wife.

The next couple items are a bit of a touchy subject because they involve serious relationships that I'm not really comfortable talking about in front of The Missus. Not that it would bother her that much, but really, who wants to hear about their spouse's exes. So this is the only time this is going to come up and only because it's significant to the plot.

There was one relationship during my college days that marked a significant change in the way I did things. Early in my sophomore year we were sitting in my apartment with a bunch of freshmen over because becoming part of the herd was important in my department and helping the new recruits fit in is a long held tradition. There was a girl from Long Island who was loudly and obnoxiously a lesbian. One of her statements was that she required and would, in fact, demand cuddling for her mental well being, at which point she jumped in my lap. At that point a freshman guy and I decided that we were in a race to see which of us would be the first to bed her down.

College boys don't amount to much more than a set of genitalia, socially speaking. (The chicks weren't much better, or a help, before you go getting all high and mighty ladies.) But despite this, I was fast becoming friends with this girl and decided that trying to weasel my way into her pants was just likely to mess things up. I told her as much a few days into the contest, on a Thursday. Friday night there was a big party, and when I say big I mean BIG. Theater kids only get to party when a show opens and that only happens seven times a year. We're talking sound and lights that make the power brown out in the neighborhood, 300 people in a six man apartment, bouncers at the door to keep lame liberal studies majors out big. As it was winding down she asked me to walk her back to the dorms, which was not unusual for a girl to do purely for safety reasons. Strictly on the up and up I thought. Halfway there I jokingly said something to the effect that it would be disappointing to walk her home after a night of revelry and not get laid. "Oh... you're gettin' laid!" was the response.

Apparently exhibiting that minuscule bit of maturity was enough to elevate me in her eyes to the status of: Worth Switching Teams For. At least temporarily. We eventually, without actually defining it out loud, slipped into what was for all intents and purposes a committed relationship. We supported each other through thick and thin that year, while in our out-loud voices we were looking for someone else. (It was a favorite pass time of ours to scope out chicks together.) Obviously a guy dating a lesbian wasn't going to work out. So we never really got together and we never really broke up, but years later we both agreed that we loved each other. It was likely the fact that that things were so unofficial that we were able to keep it together, there were no rules and trappings of dating so we were freed up to just enjoy each other.

That was lesson number one on how to actually love somebody.

My last year at school I was home on a break and got introduced to a girl who was dating a friend of mine and knew my brother. We connected on-line and would mostly swap news about our mutual friends. At one point I let it slip that I was attracted to her and very nearly attempted to kiss her one night at Denny's. "Why didn't you?!" was her response. We saw each other all summer and finally, about two weeks before she went back to school I started pursuing her, and a week after that we fell madly in love.

For a year we suffered through a long distance relationship. It was working though and was mostly a happy experience for me. The whole time we were both, for the most part, very unselfish. I remember having some very long contemplative sessions and realizing in fits and starts what love was really about. I learned how to put something in to a relationship. Everyone around us assumed we would get married some day and eventually we started to think so too. The whole time I was just reveling in the experience of loving someone, unselfishly.

Right after she graduated that spring and moved home a few things happened. The first was that I did not want her to move in with me. That was a pretty hurtful discovery for her because she had assumed that she would. It was mostly because I was living with two roommates in an apartment that was just big enough for the three of us, there just wasn't any place to put her. The next big thing was that I got saved, again. I had grown up in the church and wandered away, to eventually come crashing back in that spring. I completely changed my lifestyle. I got off the drugs, moved back in with my folks, completely changed my circle of friends. Needless to say it put a damper on our relationship.

The thing that really killed it was going from long distance to local. We were both neurotic enough that extended time in close proximity was driving us nuts. She would say things like, "When are you going to shave off that beard?" To which I would reply, "I'll shave it off for my wife." Which I thought to mean that I would do it when she was in for keeps. Really that was an event to take place at another time, with another person. Unfortunately the breakup took about two months of actual breaking up and, for me at least, another three of feeling unbelievably shitty.

That was lesson number two about how to actually love somebody.

In those five years, I messed around a lot, slept around a lot, and in the middle, got to have about nineteen months of actual good relationship experience. Figuring out how to put another person ahead of myself in a relationship of any kind was a big step, that was the first lesson.

The second lesson was about marriage. I knew that to be really happy in life, I was going to need a wife. Up until this time I had never had a girlfriend that I hadn't cheated on. I was having a real hard time getting into practice the morals I had learned growing up. I don't mean all the safe sex stuff they were spewing at school, nor do I mean all the crap they shoved at me in youth group at church. Quite simply, I had my parents and grandparents to look at, who were happily married for a combined total of over 100 years and all of whom had yet to have their first fight. There was also no cheating, it wasn't even the glimmer of a thought for them. So I knew that I believed whole-heartedly in the sanctity of marriage, but hadn't been able to pull off a reasonable facsimile of it so far.

I realized it was likely going to take meeting That Girl. Not thatgirl, who is totally awesome, but you know, the ONE. I had a feeling that even then I was going to have some serious work to do (Those of you who have experience the first year of being married know what I was in for). I knew myself to be a mess of a human being, but I was slowly getting it together, and praying fervently for a wife. One day at a stop light, I even remember which one, I told God that I really, really, really wanted a wife, but that He was sufficient for me. It wasn't long after that when things got really interesting.

Check back in a couple and I'll tell ya about it.


1 comment:

Daniels5 said...

wow.................Brian and I were both with other people before we got together, All I know about Brian's one serious relationship is that he really loved her and thought they would live happily ever after, and she cheated on him and that was the end of that, then there were countless other ladies that fell in there before i came along. We don't talk about it to much becasue, although I also have been with other people, I am a very noltalgic (June Cleaver) want-a-be, in that I mean that I really wanted to be the story of two people that fell in love and had only been with eachother. But neither I or Brian were those people, and I am a very parinoid person and there for I always have that thought in the back of my head that I might not be as good as one of the countless others before me, or does he think about one of them instead of me.....(see paranoid) I have to give the misus some major props for being able to read this for what it is, a young man going through life looking for his wife and finally finding her. thanks for the snap shot into your life, Its fun getting to know people.