Friday, June 28, 2013

Bad Lesson Learned

So I went round to Bryce's house, and we went up to the study next to his bedroom.

'Look into her eyes.' he began, 'then you ask them about their dreams for the future.' I've forgotten the rest, and I forget what he was coaching me on. It was either kissing a girl or asking her out. I feel this is still a good opener though.

Anyway, I had her number, she lived in Mount Clear, so Bryce put the phone in front of me and watched me dial.

I probably said something like, 'oh  my god I can't do this.' or something, and probably took some last minute advice on what to do if her parents answered. I think in these cases I'm almost always praying for a machine to pick it up.

Anyway, something happened. I can't recall that bit, but eventually Sarah was on the phone.

'Hello!' she said with enthusiasm.

Then I asked her out. 'I was wondering if you'd go out with me.'

'I'd love to!' she said. I remember that much, it was probably the most exciting and relieving and uplifting thing I'd ever heard at that stage of my life.

Point of the call having been achieved, I can't recall how we wound it up. But we wound it up quickly, she must have been on speaker or something because I feel like Bryce could hear her side of the conversation to.

Then sweet, naive, 15 year old me said 'I love you.' A statement of fact, and Bryce was all 'are you fucking insane?!' and that was the first I was aware I'd made an error.

Sarah and I went out for 3 days, before a strangely superfluous middle-man that inserted himself into our relationship informed me it was over. And that's how it resolved itself.

In those three days, there was no kissing and I suspect possibly no physical contact. I really struggled with the adaptation to the identy of a couple and all the scrutiny I felt I was constantly under. I choked and died.

And you know what? I don't think that first failed relationship's failure had anything to do with my divulging that I loved her.

And an eternity later, like 3-4 months or so, Sarah started spreading rumours to the effect of 'oh my god I still really like Tom' (as I was still known back then). I don't know how long it took us to get back together, I can't recall if I stubbornly held out for her to ask me out, since she had allegedly dumped me the first time.

But it was at 'Saving Private Ryan' that she held my hand and bit my thumb when the sniped got blown out of the bell tower. Then we walked around town, and then she kissed me out the front of Central Square.

Which was fun to reminisce over, but I've strayed off point. I learned that day in Bryce's home office that you didn't tell a girl you loved her because it would freak her out. That something I had assumed naively was wonderful, and a wonderful thing to say to somebody could come across as quite threatening and scary.

So the new discipline, was that I waited until a girl told me she loved me before I told her. For me this was a hard discipline, and I'm not sure how well I held to it. I think I broke first with Chantelle and Claire, and fortunately Miki told me she loved me on our second date.

What I always kept secret though was that I loved these girls before I even kissed them. The failure of all my relationships isn't so much testimony to my ignorance of true love, but rather that love can't overpower all the other banal reasons relationships fail.

I think it was a bad lesson to learn though. It may in practice, still be valid, but the error I feel wasn't mine, the error is to get freaked out by somebody loving you.

Which I will freely admit, has it's limits, obviously you should be freaked out by somebody who declares their love for you and truly, madly, deeply wants to cut off your head and wear it as a hat while they make a night gown out of your skin.

But of all the human failings of a potential partner, the fact that they love you in most cases won't be the danger. Nor does it carry with it any reciprocal obligation to return that love. Nor do you need to lie, nor do you need to end things.

I did eventually get to kiss Sarah because I learned to play it cool and not panic and not withdraw. I just chilled until she, the more experienced got the confidence to take control. I think chilling out is a good lesson to learn with relationships, they are after all supposed to be fun.

likewise if somebody says they love you, just chill.

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