It's been a while since we had story time. You all know by now that I’m a sucker for a good meet-cute–kind of like Marianne Dashwood: “I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter in all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both.” What a hopeless romantic that girl was! And ironically, she ended up with the man who did not initially dazzle her or captivate every inch of her soul the way that Willoughby did. That being said, I still love the drama surrounding how Marianne and Willoughby crossed paths. Though I do, and always will continue to, give credit to Colonel Brandon for being everything Marianne needed (even if he wasn’t everything she wanted), I understand her inclination to be swept up in the romance of Willoughby. It’s easy to be carried away with a meet-cute when he’s literally carried you home in the middle of a rainstorm.
I’d missed my morning yoga class, so I decided to drag my mat over to the campus gym and get in a few Sun A Salutations before class. The first aerobics room was full of girls doing free weights and blasting rap music–not exactly the sort of Zen I was looking for. I opened the door to the next room to find this guy kick boxing alone in the studio.
Halle, of course you picked the room with the hot guy instead of the room filled with blondes–would you let me tell the story?
As I tentatively asked if we could share the room, he removed his ear buds, smiled his gorgeous smile–I have a thing about teeth–and nodded “sure!”
Even though he was using ear buds, he blasted his music so loud that it became very hard to focus on anything besides his muscles flexing every time he hit the hard bag. Every once in a while, he’d glance over at me, and I’d quickly look away. I proceeded to pull a few arm balances out of my (limited) magical-unicorn-yogi bag; I totally knew he was watching. After a little while, he started to lose steam, so he pulled the bag down and put it away. I figured the Kickboxer had left for good and was immediately heart-broken–I’d already started planning our life together. But he reentered the room, grabbed a workout mat, and plopped it down next to mine. He then continue to strike the most awkward and unnatural tree pose I’ve ever seen and ask, “Is this right?”
What a flirt.
We kept chatting, I learned he was graduating that spring with a degree in entrepreneurship. He’d played football in high school and college, as well. The Kickboxer was the first football player I’d ever been interested in. I distinctly remember making a sarcastic aside about something, and when he didn’t pick up on it, I had to explain that I was being sarcastic. He laughed, “OH, I never really pick up on sarcasm.” To which I (stupidly) replied, “Well, you are a football player.”
He ended up believing that I was kidding, and we kept chatting for ten more minutes or so, until he got up to leave: “Hope I see you around, Halle.”
That was that. That was all it took to send me on a Facebook-creep mission. I think the one main constant in all of these stories is actually Facebook, wouldn’t you agree? (At least I’ve been able to have a consistent relationship with something.) Post friend request, the Kickboxer immediately messaged me, inviting me out for ice cream–so naturally I ditched my statistics study group (priorities, right?). But I found the Kickboxer absolutely adorable. We talked the entire time, without any awkward pauses or first-date restrictions. We cut the date a little earlier than I liked because he and his roommates had a standing Game of Thrones night. But he asked me out again, to a bonfire with his roommates. Everything went well there, too. I even got the stamp of approval from his friends!
I only saw the Kickboxer two more times after the bonfire, both just as good as the last. So, now I’m sure you’re wondering, what happened? If you’re looking for some gap in my story, you won’t find one. We really did have a great time together. But two days after our last hangout, I got sick with tonsillitis. I could barely climb out of bed to eat, let alone go out on a date. By the time my health improved, finals wrapped up, the spring semester ended, and I moved back to Nebraska for the summer. There was no climatic good-bye, just a phone call that solidified what we already knew: this just wasn’t going to work out–right now, anyways. Neither of us wanted to do long distance after only a couple of dates.
Surprisingly, I’m okay with how it ended. Even though we didn’t completely close the door on the possibility of a some-day together, we didn’t commit ourselves to something we didn’t want just because we still liked each other. For the first time in one of my flirtationships, I behaved like an adult. I didn’t find myself Facebook stalking him, or “accidentally” texting him (when you pretend that the text you sent him was actually meant for someone else–like you’ve never done that before). For once in my life, I let it lie, and honestly, that felt like growth to me.
I know that meet-cutes are unrealistic and relationships need to be built on firmer foundation (though as Martin points out in Austenland, “romances have bloomed on stonier ground”). I think it can be fun to allow yourself to be swept up the excitement of a new relationship–that doesn’t last forever (trust me!)–to be carried away with the what-ifs of the unknown. I encourage you to let yourself feel exactly what you’re feeling without any regret or restraint. We can all take a little lesson from Marianne: feel everything deeply and live with passion. And whatever happens, happens.