The Boldest Thing I Ever Did for Love
Today, as I sat rocking my sweet, snotty little JD to sleep, I was reminded of a part of my love story with Alan that I don’t think about much. It’s a story I don’t recall sharing on my blog, about the boldest thing I’ve ever done for love.
Bold, outspoken, and controversial are not words that I believe apply to me, especially when I was young. When it came to boys, romance, love, and all of those sorts of things, I will tell you that I considered myself a true lady. Alan and I got married when I was 21, and he was turning 23, so I didn’t have to experience the single years for long.
I was a Southern girl. We did not ‘make moves.’ We did not call boys. We were great flirters, but we also knew how to play hard to get. I followed the rules to the T. If I called a boy, it was because I had information to request or to relay, and even then, I did it with a great deal of uneasiness! My mama had taught me well!
I still, to this day, believe that is largely the way to go. You don’t want to end up with a cowardly guy because you made it too easy for him. You want to marry a man who loves you with such great abandon that he rose above his fears because he knew that you were the one he had to be with. That’s my kind of romance!! Don’t you think?
I do. But with that said, I admit that there came a time, where I had to take my pride, set it aside, and place my entire hand of cards on the table. After even just my few years of dating, from age 15 to age 20, the ‘game’ had gotten on my nerves enough to realize that playing hard to get was the root of 99% of my dating (or lack thereof) misery.
My junior year of college, I re-met Alan. I knew of him already. We were acquainted. We ran in the same circles. I knew he was a trustworthy, responsible, Christian guy, but that was about all I knew. I liked his big muscles and the way that he carried himself. He was a man amongst boys.
We proceeded to spend every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday eating lunch together, with a large group, at the school cafeteria. We always sat across from each other, and we got to know each other better and better. We were just friends. I didn’t even realize that I had come to like Alan until November.
Once I finally figured out that I liked Alan, I decided that this would be one relationship in which I would play no games whatsoever. NO GAMES. Those games had caused me nothing but harm, and I was done with them. Did I rush to Alan and confess my feelings?
Heck, no! You can really freak a guy out like that! Instead, I turned up the attention level. I was careful not to flirt with other boys in front of him. I complimented him. I just enjoyed hanging out with him. I even arranged group outings and invited him along.
That worked well, and he asked me out fairly quickly. We went on our first date on December 11, 2001. The date was successful, and as he dropped me off, he asked for another date. I was flying high on the clouds of love. 🙂
Laugh all you want, but the truth is, I was falling in love with him already. You don’t have to date someone to fall in love with them. I had known of Alan for years, and I had been getting to know him well that whole semester at lunch.
Our first date was on a Tuesday. Wednesday passed, and it was finals week, so everyone’s schedule was thrown off. That meant that we did not run into each other at lunch. By Friday, Alan had STILL not called me, after our date. That’s three days! Did he not plan to take me out that weekend? Had he decided to put the brakes on dating me? Why hadn’t he called!!???
I was a whirl of emotions, and to make it worse, I knew that Friday night, I in fact would see Alan because we had both been invited to the same dinner party. How awkward!! I was going to have to face this man, this fellow that I liked so much, but who had destroyed my week of finals exams by neglecting to give me a follow-up call!! I wasn’t just sad or disappointed; I was angry!
Friday afternoon, as I sat in my room, venting to my friend Leigh, lo and behold, guess who finally called.
It was Alan. I was relieved that he’d called, but I was still offended. What kind of girl did he think I was? I had a life. I had friends. I was a catch! You don’t call me the day of, and ask me out, after you neglected to call me all week!!!!
Did I say those things? No. Instead, I was sort of vague when he asked me to two different group outings, both of which I had already been invited to by my friends.
It went something like this:
“A lot of people are meeting at Candace’s and getting together to go to this movie. I thought I’d see if you wanted to go.”
“Yeah..Oh yeah, that. I was sort of already planning to go to that.”
“Oh. Okay. I’m going to Wes’s for dinner too, are you going?”
I don’t remember what else was said, and we hung up fairly quickly.
Leigh and I headed to the dinner party at Wes and Elizabeth’s, and Alan was there.
“So what are y’all doing after this?” Alan asked.
“Going to the movies, I guess. Aren’t you?”
“Yeah, maybe, I don’t know.”
What!? Was he backing out? What in the world was going on? I didn’t have too much fun at dinner that night, thanks to my little romantic drama.
I went home in a fury of emotions. How had this perfectly timed romance exploded in my face? What in the world was going on? Was he trying to play games with me because I was DONE with that. Leigh and Chrisynda got an EARful that night.
But as I arrived back to my room, I decided that by venting my frustrations to my friends rather than to Alan himself, that I was doing us a great disservice. This wasn’t about my relationship with my friends. This was just about two people: Alan and me.
Forget the Southern creed. I was CALLING him.
But first, let me call Leigh, and see if she thinks it’s a good idea…….okay….Leigh seemed to approve…..soooooo….it went something like this:
Yes, even back then, we had caller ID.
“Hey. Look. We need to talk. I don’t understand what’s going on with you this week. I’m not trying to be weird or pushy or anything, but I’m just confused. You invited me to go out with your friends, but then you said you weren’t sure if you were even going. You didn’t call me all week. Do you like me or not?”
LOL Yes. Yes, I did this. No, I do not regret it.
“Huh? Oh! Yeah!! I like you a lot, April! I like you a lot! That’s why I wanted to take you out tonight, but it didn’t seem like you wanted to go, and I’m sorry.”
“Okay, well, that’s good. I promise I’m not usually this direct, but I’m just not interested in playing any games. I don’t want to fool with that. I thought we had a really great date on Tuesday, but then you didn’t call me all week, and I was really disappointed, but I figured you must not be interested. Then you called me this afternoon, and I was glad you did, but I don’t really like being asked out last-minute.”
Ha! Yes. I maintain that a lady should have standards, and her calendar should be respected. 😉
Alan explained that he was terribly sorry about that. He’d figured he’d see me at Burke, but then he just never did. Plus, his pals Jarrett and Will had advised him not to call right away.
Thank you, Jarrett and Will.
You know, it’s kind of funny. Maybe Alan’s buddies were a little bit right. Would I have gotten so invested in this if my pride hadn’t been threatened? Would I have liked Alan as much if he had called me on Wednesday or Thursday? I had ditched clingy boys before, so who is to say? Maybe they were right!
Maybe his strategy worked, but I think he pushed it one day too far. He should have called on Thursday!
So there you have it. Alan proposed that March, and we were married in August. We have now been married for 12 1/2 years. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.
What’s the boldest thing you ever did for love?
Alan did extremely well for me this year. I was delighted to discover, while out walking in my neighborhood, that calla lilies grow naturally here. There are calla lilies all over the place!
Alan took a mental note of my excitement over this and planted several calla lilies in our front yard yesterday afternoon! Love it!
You win the award, Honey. It feels like a hug every time I walk out my front door.
That’s not all, though. This year I have five Valentines. The one I got the most cards from was Caleb. Caleb made me SIX Valentine cards. He totally ‘gets me’ too, because one of my cards, which he stuck to my bedroom door, said this:
“To Mom and Dad, from Caleb
I love you. I hope you get lots of good rest.”
What a darling! You can see why I rushed to the grocery store last night, to buy these boys more Valentine candy!
Happy Valentine’s Day!