Friday, March 11, 2016

Lifestyles of the Romantic and Pragmatic

The worst thing about finding out your best friend is getting married is now you have to lose weight too. I've been busy finding myself, which includes eating whatever I want, swiping left and not having to shave 80% my body hair just to have 50% of it grow back halfway through a date. Now I have to worry about what I'm going to look like in your wedding photos.

The night that my childhood best friend broke the news of her engagement to me, I could hardly believe it. Gabi was the first friend I made in the 7th grade after moving from Long Island, New York to Charlotte, North Carolina. We sat next to each other in AG English1 and used to pass notes about teachers we hated and boys we liked in a composition notebook.
We used our planners to pass notes in class our entire school career 

Flash forward almost 20 years later and we're sitting across from each other at a gastropub discussing how Gabi's fiance had proposed to her.

For the past couple years we haven’t been as close as we were growing up but I still consider her a best friend. So much so that I could barely focus on her story because I was getting nostalgic about our friendship. We’ve been through so much over the years...

Like watching TV on the phone together: In middle school I would call Gabi up Monday through Friday at 4:00pm and sing the opening theme song to Sailor Moon at the top of my lungs over the phone. Except when it was storming outside because Gabi was afraid that lightning would come through the phone and electrocute her2

Our first jobs: Gabi is a few months older than me so I always felt like she got to do everything first and her life was way more put together than mine. She was the first to drive and worked at JC Penny. She probably came home smelling like a mixture of Japanese Cherry Blossom body spray and loose change because she worked in the shoe department. I worked at Subway and walked to work after school because my bike had gotten stolen. I would come home smelling of cold cuts and bleach.

Losing our virginity: Don’t worry Mom, this part never really happened. At least it won’t until someone asks for my delicate hand in marriage, I do declare. *clutches pearl necklace*

And all of the glorious crushes on guys we’ve had from 1996 through 2015; Me more than her because I’ve been boy crazy since the 7th grade.

Senior year Gabi signed my yearbook & made sure to list all the crushes I had from middle school to that point
We would do this thing where we’d conduct mock telephone conversations pretending to be each other’s crush. Kinda of like practicing for a job interview with a friend.

Me: Hey is <insert name of this week's crush> home?

Gabi pretending to be my crush: Who is this?

Me: C’mon Gabi. He knows who I am.

Gabi: Yeah but maybe he has a lot of girls calling him.

Me:  So you think he’s a player?

Gabi: No he’s not that cute. But you are cute, so don’t worry about it. Be confident.

Me:  OK. Let's start over. Hey, It’s Tiffany from Social Studies.

Gabi: Oh this is his mom. I’ll go get him. *Deepens her voice* What you want girl?

Me and Gabi: Breaks into uncontrollable laughter for the next couple minutes until Gabi hangs up the phone without explanation after she hears thunder outside

After I got the proposal details the first thing I asked Gabi was, “How do you know when it’s right? How do you know that this is the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with?” Gabi responded with “Maybe I’m not the right person to answer that question.” 

Well if you're not the right person then who in tarnation is? It can't be me. I have a fall back marriage arranged with an old friend if we haven’t found anyone else by the age of 35. I also fell in love with a guy after knowing him for only 3 weeks, mainly because he called me baby girl and he was a fierce dancer. Hell, I fell in love with the cream cheese on my bagel this morning because it had salmon AND capers in it. I obviously need some guidance.

Gabi told me that her engagement made sense. He’s sweet and kind and treats her better than previous boyfriends. They get along well and don’t argue much and she wants him to be around even when she hates him in the moment. Don't get me wrong, it's not like Gabi turned 31 and thought "Hey I'm getting older. Here's a nice guy, I'll pick him." It's just that she's less emotional about her relationships than I am.

All of the things Gabi mentioned are important and obviously honesty, supportiveness, trust and communication go without saying. But I wanted to hear about the passion and the butterflies. I wanted her to say, “Guuuuurl I can not get enough of that baby arm he has between his legs". I want my friend to feel that giddy, take my breath away feeling that I've felt after drinking a pitcher of hard cider, downing 3 shots of Jameson and making out with a hot co-worker3

My friend Stephanie says she loves the way her husband smells, even when he’s been working all day and comes home sweaty. She told me she’ll be doing laundry, sniff the armpit of one of his dirty shirts and it smells like homemade hamburgers to her. It gets her blood going. That right there is the kinda love I want. That drunk in love with hamburger pheromone love

Mmmm. Juicy
After hearing Gabi justify her relationship, I suddenly realized that I'm a hopeless romantic. I want a guy to look at me the way I look at my food when the waiter is bringing it to the table. I want a significant other that will eat mini cupcakes with me at night while we're watching Cartoon Network. I want a humorous love story that my husband and I can share with neighbors at a block party. "...And then she tripped and fell face first right into the potato salad and that's when I got the inspiration to write Best I Ever Had. She was that special somebody."Drake playfully kisses me on the cheek and smiles at our neighbors, R. Kelly and Soledad O'brien.
You want another hot dog Kels?

Really Gabi should blame herself for my romanticism. She was the one who introduced me to Harlequin romance novels in the 8th grade. She had a stack of them in her locker and would loan them out to me one at a time as long as I would pinkie-swear that I'd return them in good shape.

To be fair, Gabi has always been way more pragmatic than I have. Once in the 11th grade, I got into an argument with a ratchet girl who didn't say 'excuse me' after bumping into me in the school cafeteria. Gabi whispered in my ear, "she's bigger and way more hood than you. Do you really think you'd win that fight?"

With all that being said, I'm happy that Gabi is embarking on this new stage of life and her hubby-to-be is really a lucky guy. Heck, she's lucky for getting out of this terrible buyers market (i.e. millennial dating culture) and finding someone that she wants to spend her old crotchity days with. I don't know for sure but her fiance also looks like he may be the proud owner of a baby arm so hooray for that. Gabi and I have a lot in common but it so happens that we think about love differently and that's OK.

And since I know Gabi is reading this, I want her to know that I've never been a bridesmaid. I know being a bridesmaid means that I'd literally be a slave maid because I wouldn't be paid for my hard work throwing bridal showers and bachelorette parties. I actually hear it’s an awful experience something akin to being water boarded while being forced to listen to Rihanna sing a ballad. But somehow I still want entry into this exclusive club.

If you can not accommodate me in your wedding party then that's OK too. I have already found a banging dress to wear to your wedding that will show my effervescent beauty without stealing your shine on your big day. I also promise to give the best drunken wedding speech your guests will ever hear.

1. AG English was Academically Gifted English. It was a class for smart kids or for kids whose parents didn't want them to be eventually filtered into the prison system

2. Gabi was adamant about her no talking on the phone during thunderstorms rule. I actually Googled it and there have been no reports of people being electrocuted through landlines during lightning strikes. Back in the late 90's there was really no way to find out if that was true unless Bill Nye had decided to do a show about it. So thank you Google. Bill Nye, you let me down man. 

3. This hot coworker is the same guy that called me baby girl and I subsequently fell in love with after 3 weeks. It didn't work out between us in the long run (week 4) because even though I knew how much he liked me, I don't think that he realize just how much he liked me.