I swear, I am baffled as to how any two people of the opposite sex ever meet and fall in love. Women and men are on totally different pages about so many things.
Case in point:
TLA doesn’t get why I’m into him. I tell him at least once a day that he’s amazing and it’s always because he’s done something well… amazing. And it doesn’t have to be anything “big.
Here’s an overview of what he does:
The man picks me up on time whenever I arrive in DC. He meets me in the station so I don’t have to carry my big bag. He goes to the grocery store to get me veggie food (none of his meals are complete without meat) and cooks it. He frequently makes me breakfast (and dinner) and when necessary will painstakingly pick the meat out of my dish. He randomly tells me I’m “lovely” when I walk in or around a room. He walks around BK with his arm around my shoulder just so. He stares at skylines with me. He opens all doors. He calls almost every morning to wish me a wonderful and/or God-blessed day. Everytime I call him, he answers or calls me right back. He remembers everything I say. He keeps his word. He’s reliable and consistent. All of this, and yet he doesn’t understand why I think he’s amazing?
Over my bday dinner, in the midst of grand conversation and me gushing over him and the restaurant (the spot he picked was gorgeous. I should have taken pics), he interupts me to blurt that he doesn’t get it. He actually apologizes for giving me a bday that sucked. (This is after he ran out in the rain for an umbrella. We could’ve sat on a wet park bench after that and I would have stayed awestruck.)
Then he spills out that things are crazy at work so he couldn’t take another day off (he took off 3 days the previous week to come visit me.) And that because he just bought (and fully renovated) his condo, his money is tight and “just” dinner is all he can give me right now without breaking his bank. (For nearly 3 decades I’ve listened to Larry -my dad, and yes, I call him that on occassion- rant about being house broke* and the importance of saving and sacrificing to accumulate wealth. This “house” thing is one of TLAs selling points to me. Ownership translates to focus and a degree of stability to me. It’s also a familiar woe.) He promises that as soon as his money is right again, he will get me a birthday present, a big one, to make up for today.
The man gave me exactly what I asked for as a present. For weeks, he badgered me about what I wanted. Repeatedly, I told him the same thing: to spend my birthday with you. That’s it. That was the biggest and best thing I could think of. He insisted he had to get me something. Finally, I told him it would be great if he took me somewhere nice for dinner. (I would have been happy with another livng room picnic, by candlelight honestly. But he doesn’t count that as a date.)
“Dinner isn’t a present,” he insists.
“That’s all I want.”
He thinks I’m being difficult.
I think he’s entirely too caught up in buying me something.
I thought all women-or at least most- thought the way I did on this. I now know I’m wrong.
I stopped by my parents’ house to see my mom on my birthday. (Dad was out of town on biz.) She called some of my “aunts” over to see me since I was in town. They wanted to know first what I was doing for my birthday and then quickly second, what he bought me. They were excited about the gift.
“Um, I dunno. I didn’t ask for anything.”
They look baffled. I try to explain that I told him not to get me anything. All I wanted was to hang out with him. By their reaction you’d think I’d just smacked Jesus.
My mother looks embarassed, like she’s raised me wrong. She assures them that he’ll get me something.
Here’s the deal: I’ve had fabulous birthdays. I mean fabulous! Magazine and liquor brand sponsored parties, all expense paid trips to MIA with the girls, courtesy of Daddy (I don’t always call him Larry), “just” parties where the liquor flowed like lies from a slick pimp’s mouth. But for the last two years, I’ve always gone without a plus one to call my own. Tarik is my boy; he doesn’t count. Now I love my girls and all my guys, but a platonic connection no matter how deep just isn’t a romantic one. And I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a little lonley on my birthday when there’s no one to wrap an arm around my shoulder or hold my hand to lead me through the crowd or catch eyes with across a room that hold the promise of a very special birthday present when we get behind closed doors. This is a big deal to me. Two years ago, I stopped speaking to Mr. Ex for over a year beacause he wouldn’t/ couldn’t come to New York for my birthday.
I told TLA all of this, breaking down everything the way I just have here. (I left out the part about my Mom and The Aunts wanting to know what he got me.) I reassure him that I am beyond happy, thinking this will all make sense now and he’ll recognize why I think he’s the best thing since a Loubitan red bottom sole.
He looked at me blankly, then changed the subject.
I don’t understand men (or my mother and her friends for that matter.) I give up.
*house broke-(adj. phrase)-having the long-term vision to pay out the wazoo for a mortgage and sacrificing damn near everything else to own property instead of rent space. It’s a necessary bitch and seems to be a rite of passage to real adulthood.