*To any friends or family upset by this title, I apologize for sharing intimate details about your 22-year-old baby girl. I realize sashimi doesn’t float everyone’s sushi boat, but try to keep an open mind, you might like it too! Also, names have been changed, as I’m trying to be at least moderately respectful of the poor saps that have been with me.
On my first date with Ian he took me long boarding to get sushi, followed by a romantic viewing of Friday the 13th. I was seventeen and willing to overlook my lack of coordination, hatred for seaweed, and the fact that even the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp were enough to make me pee my pants. A member of the opposite sex wanted to take the leap from 2 AM Gchat convos to a quasi-relationship, and post-braces shyness be damned, I was doing it!
We continued these awkward outings for three months sans kissing, but eventually realized we had nothing in common other than an affinity for being unnecessarily sarcastic. Our “relationship” ended when I faked a headache at prom so we wouldn’t have to grind, and he promptly made out with someone else’s date.
And so starts the tale of my passive dating life.
My brief stint with Ian was just one of many half-assed relationships filled with activities and conversations catered more to my suitor’s preferences than my own. I’ve consumed things no one’s taste buds should be subjected to (coffee, wine, gag me) and stayed up past midnight making out to country songs about dirty trucks and cowgirl tits. I’ve spent hours taming my fro because some guys didn’t like dating a chick with hair bigger than their ego. I’ve memorized favorite colors, and countless names of brothers, mothers, dead pets, and ex-girlfriends. Hell, I’ve memorized the favorite colors of said brothers, mothers, pets, and exes. I’ve tried not to vom when a boy told me my eyes were a beautiful algae covered lake he wanted to dive into—all because I thought that was the shit you put up with if you liked someone. Compromise and all that jazz.
I thought by being passive and letting the dude take the lead, I was being sweet, agreeable. Turns out I was just being incredibly boring. I’ve been consistently dumped by guys I didn’t even realize I was dating because the girl-next-door charm only works if the girl is, you know, actually charming.
But I am charming. I’m lovely and witty and a whole slew of other self-affirming adjectives. The problem is that I didn’t realize dating was a two-way deal. That I didn’t have to wait around for ho-hum guys to end things, but could instead admit right off the bat that I think hair belongs on your head, not on your face, and that no, I don’t want to come over for a Saturday night booty call and go to church with you the next morning. That I wasn’t doing anybody any favors by not being honest.
And then I met my kinda-sorta boyfriendy-thing.
A boy who lives in Hurley t-shirts and loves tempura rolls and suggests we watch lame horror flicks. Who probably spent his prom night drinking in a hotel room and actually feeling up his date. Who is smart and wonderful and goddamn sexy in all the ways I never expected.
And I find myself falling into the same routine. I’m looking up Pokémon pickup lines to send him at work. I’m laughing when he uses “gay” as a synonym for “stupid.” I’m giving up my prude ways and suggesting public places to bang so he won’t get tired after a year of seeing me naked. I’m putting myself out there and trying new things because sometimes putting yourself in “new positions” can feel really, really good.
But I don’t feel like I’m changing who I am. I’m not hiding parts of myself in fear of him fleeing in the other direction. If I’m being honest, the only thing I’m holding back is how hard I’m falling for this dude. Gross, I know.
So… like… what’s my point?
To all you single ladies thinking woe-is-me, or guys just trynna find a moderately sane female to eat food with: it’s OK to do stuff seventeen-year-old-you never would’ve been caught dead doing. Just don’t be too much of a pansy to end things even if the other person is panty-dropping hot, brainy, and nice. Because sometimes the perfect cookie-cutter guy doesn’t even like cookies. And that’s just wrong.