Monday, May 5, 2008

Love, Love, Love

The New York Times held a Modern Love Essay Contest, the first winner was featured in the paper on Sunday, May 4.

Seeing this article made me think a little bit of my own little notions of modern love, so why not write this here, really?

Love, to me, is all about finding a certain amount of balance.

It’s about finding someone who lets me be myself. My nerdy, completely clumsy, somewhat girly, into the wine -- which makes me very chatty, self.

It’s now a balance between the guy who once thought he was a good guy, but really wasn’t and another one who was annoyingly nice. The former told me he was, “so glad that I wasn’t a feminist” which bothered me as I do consider myself to really be into what’s good for my gender. We’d have in-depth discussions of Big Issues and he’d listen to my opinion and then repeat it back to me completely unrecognizable as he had morphed it to equal his own. He also had a sneaky way of consulting me on plans but ensuring that we did whatever he wanted to do. This eventually led to me crying in the Sand Hills, my pale skin roasting under the hot sun, my feet burning from the insanely hot sand. Mild heat stroke. Walking up steep hills of sand, which shift you back two steps for every step you take. That day, walking over the shifting sand, I also decided that I wouldn’t settle. Though it did take a bit longer to break things off.

The latter was another good-on-paper guy who I just was never really into. However, he wouldn’t let me really be me either. The only reason I really even went out with him was because I had recently gotten out of a thing with a guy who was less-than-nice to me, so it was a refreshing change. I would try to crack a joke about how clumsy I am, or a stupid thing I did that day and he would shut me up with a comment about how I was perfection. As my incredibly-too-smart-for-her-age baby sister has more recently mentioned (about a boy like this who she dated), “If he thinks I’m perfect, he isn’t paying enough attention.” This boy proved that he was far less than perfection, when in a fit of anger, months after our short lived whatever (I refuse to call hanging out a few times over a span of three weeks a relationship) he decided he couldn’t stand to see me with another boy and drove home from a party Roomie and I hosted incredibly drunk. After trying to get along “as friends”, this was the last straw. I haven’t talked to him since.

My mother mentioned to at least one of my sisters (can’t remember the details exactly) that she didn’t think I’d ever settle down. Mainly because I’m “too independent” and refuse to settle. Which, personally, I now take as a compliment.

Because of refusing to settle, I’ve ended up in something pretty great. Refusing to settle means that I made The Big Move from small-town Ontario to urban Alberta. It means that I’ve found a career that challenges and excites me. It has helped me develop friendships which otherwise would not have been developed. It has directed me to the current man.

A boy who makes fun of me just as much as I make fun of myself. But who also lets me make fun of him. A boy who I can talk to about the big things, without having to agree on everything. A boy who encourages me to play video games (something I am completely awful at) but who teaches and is helpful instead of demeaning. A boy who makes incredible breakfast and has very unexpected musical tastes. Some of which I like, and some of which I don’t. And he doesn’t expect me to like it all. For a long time, he was afraid of playing it around me because he “didn’t want to scare me away”. Heh. He’s incredibly smart and tells me about his day and his complicated scientific job even though I don’t understand all the technical stuff. Likewise, he asks about mine. We spend an increasing amount of time together it seems, but still have apart-time for other friends and our sanity. It’s all about balance.

More important than men/boys in life are the girl friends (or platonic guy friends). The ones who are around to listen and support. Sometimes with alcohol and ranting. The ones who make sure that we are well aware of our own personal worth and don’t settle for anything else. The ones who are close and encourage caffeine addictions by the number of coffee dates had. The ones that are unaffected by physical distance and are absolutely magnificent even 3,900 km away.

Those are the real modern love stories.

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