I watch a lot of romantic comedies. Some of my favorites are Moonstruck, When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail. Each of these movies follows a formula - girl meets boy, lots of drama happens between them, they break up, boy confesses love for girl, more drama, they kiss and - wait for it - live happily ever after.
I've written before about fairy tales and the fact that we, as women, are raised to believe in "happily ever after." Romantic comedies have added the belief that happiness with someone cannot exist unless there is a big drama that occurs beforehand.
I was not aware that I bought into the notion of high drama. In fact, I prided myself on being drama-free. Upon meeting men, I always tell them that I want zero drama in the relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my mind, unless there is drama, then somehow, things aren't right. Take Astro-Boy for example. We bickered constantly; he was unreliable and never showed me much affection - he could never bring himself to tell me how he felt about me. Or Freddy, with his "I've been hurt before so I can't open up" song and dance, or Randy with his fear of commitment. With each of these men, there was always the hope that they would come to their senses, realize how wonderful I am and we would kiss and dance off into the sunset. Sounds like a great movie, right? Without realizing it, I expected that I wouldn't find someone good until we had gone through a lot of drama followed by the big kiss at the end of the movie.
It's a silly thought, really. I want pain, sadness and un-certainty with the hopes that it would lead to happiness because I want proof. Proof that the relationship is worth it, that the person I am with is willing to fight for me and because the only way to ensure the relationship is real is to test it and push it to the limits.
I mentioned in the last blog that I met someone when I least expected to. A. and I met at a wedding and the last three weeks have been great - when I allow them to be. My affliction of being "that girl" has reached an all-time low - I have actively spent the better part of the last three weeks trying to figure out what is wrong with A., or wondering when I am going to find his bag of hair.
|Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn|
I first heard the term "bag of hair" on the movie Fever Pitch (yet another romantic comedy). The main female character, Lindsey, meets Ben, a seemingly great guy. Her friends like him, except Robin, who is skeptical about Ben. "What's wrong with him," she wonders, "why hasn't he been tranquilized and tagged?" She proceeds to tell Lindsey about a woman she knew who was dating a seemingly great guy until she found a bag of his hair and nail clippings - that he had been saving his entire life. Everyone gasps, doubts begin to sink in and drama ensues.
Needless to say, I've been looking for A.'s bag of hair and even making things up in my head. I've thought of everything from him having a secret wife to a drug habit to a secret plan to ensure my demise. Funny thing is, A. is not perfect and made that very clear when we first met. Much to my surprise, he hasn't lived his life in a cave, isolated from the world, waiting to meet me. Instead, he's lived his life - relationships, baggage, mistakes and all. On paper, I would have never chosen A. He's older than me (in his 40's), has kids, is obsessed with soccer, doesn't do social justice work, isn't a photographer nor does he dabble in French cuisine. I have found other reasons not to like him - everything from his hair to his shoes to his favorite movie (The Fountainhead, which I've never even seen). He is definitely no Peter Baca.
On the flip side, A. plays no games. He doesn't say things like "I've been hurt, so I'm afraid." On the contrary, he says "I've been hurt before, I worked through it and moved forward." He's very clear that he likes me, isn't moving too fast (or too slow), enjoys my company, and supports my interests and hobbies. He's got his own ideas about the world and shares them, but he also listens to my thoughts and ideas. He calls every day. He's a hard worker, a fantastic kisser and a great dancer. He makes an effort to see me and doesn't make a big fuss about it - he's just happy to see me.
Given all the good, a friend asked me why I'm having doubts. I was giving the silly reasons listed above and then I blurted out "it's been too easy. He likes me, plain and simple, and that freaks me out." Wow. Am I really that girl who is pushing away a man who likes me because there isn't enough drama? Really?
Thankfully, I have friends and family who help anchor me and, quite honestly, had I not taken a break from dating, I wouldn't have the clarity to see that the desire to push A. away is rooted in fear. I can conquer my fear of being with someone just like I conquered my fear of being alone. I don't go to him with the fears nor do I pick silly fights with him to either a) test him or b) push him away. When I start to freak out, I remind myself to relax. I have to tell myself that we're not getting married, we're just going out for dinner. Last week, I finally let myself relax enough to truly enjoy his company and I found that I smiled the entire time. No drama, just happiness.
I don't want the Hollywood happy ending; I'd rather have the real life happy beginning. He isn't Peter Baca. He's A., he's real, and I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Next time: Mama's Boys