Welcome to "I Heart Pop Culture Tuesday!" This one is a little bit different, but bare with me. Because Tuesday will soon be over (and we've all gotta watch LOST and Glee - the Madonna episode! - later tonight), let's go right ahead and bring it... The Dating Characters of just a small town girl. No bit players, no cameos. Just the major story lines. (This is the one I hope a few men don't stumble across, but, hey, this is the truth according to me.)
Let's start at the beginning. Shall we? We'll call this first feller Andy. (Not to be confused with a boy who was actually named Andy and changed my life one summer. You can read about him here.)
If you're anywhere near my age bracket, you probably dated someone a little like Travis from Clueless in high school. Am I right or am I right? Some skateboarding nice fellow with long hair. Played the guitar, listened to Nirvana (who didn't?). Seems pretty unassuming, right? Yeah, except this one broke my heart. I was eighteen, he was one of my best friends and to say he hurt me would be a grave understatement. You know the story because, at some point, you lived it. This is an arc in the story of all our lives. We all get our heart broken for the first time, we all learn to protect ourselves from future hurts in ways we didn't even realize from that first lesson in love. Luckily, I got over this - although it took YEARS - and I know you got over yours too. That's the sole job of your first heartbreak - to hurt and to move on.
This next feller we'll call Dan.
I originally copped out and didn't actually use a celebrity photo for this one. I just couldn't find the right one and didn't feel it was necessary to look any longer because this guy took up enough time in my life. I guess if I had to choose, it would be a young surfer Sean Penn - even though Mr. Penn is definitely the doppelganger of my current love, Jenner. I instead went in and chose Gabrielle Reece's husband, Laird Hamilton. My Dan (who was actually never mine) was a surfer, but this character can be many things. A soccer player, the quarterback, etc., etc. He just has to excel in something and have a great head of hair. This character is the one you thought - at least for a while - got away. This is the one you almost dated probably several times, but for one reason, or seven, didn't. It might have been bad timing or perhaps it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe this is the guy who comforted you when your Dad died or maybe that was just me. Whatever your Dan was to you, this is the guy who symbolized something to you for years, the guy who - in the end - wasn't what you were looking for (and vice versa).
This next character will be called Kevin and he had a pivotal role in my dating diaries.
This is the first guy outside of high school that meets your mother. This is your first big relationship. You know, the one you talk about your future children's names with and what kind of wedding you'll have for the first time. This guy is great on paper. Nice and successful and good looking. At first, you are thrilled and practice writing your first name with his last name. You know it's kind of antiquated and sexist, but you don't care. For a long time, you are happy... until you aren't. It takes several months for you to admit to yourself that something is missing and that as much as you care about this nice man, you don't see yourself growing old with him or engaging in philosophical discussions or laughing all night over caramel corn. He's really, really right for someone, but just not you. So you struggle... and, in the end, you break his heart. Why? Not only because it's best for you, but because it's best for him. Someday, he will be just the man that some very lucky woman was always waiting for and so you set him free.
My Kevin and I went through a lot together, including his diagnosis with cancer. This relationship taught me so much about myself, about my life and about what I was looking for and I am eternally grateful. Also, Kevin beat cancer and found the gorgeous girl of his dreams and married her on the beach. Even though I was single when I saw their wedding photos, I knew immediately it was right and was happy... for him and for me.
Okay, this next one still makes me shudder. I wouldn't even mention him, but - hey - everybody has to have their lowest point. We'll call my lowest point Shawn.
Shawn was an asshole. Like Carrie Bradshaw, I only cuss (at least on the blog, in real life I'm kind of a sailor) when I really mean it. Every woman has a Shawn. A man who courted you with flowers and big promises. This guy is often a bartender and sometimes lives with his parents. You're the fool who believes that a 25 year old man who lives with Ma and Pa might actually make you happy. This one is a charmer and in my case a Gemini. (Never trust a Gemini, at least not a male one with a mullet. Promise me that, dear readers.) Excuse me, let me rephrase that. This one is a charmer until he wins you over. Then? Yep. An asshole. This is the guy you will look back on - even immediately after - and wonder if someone had secretly been slipping a narcotic into your water each morning. To add insult to injury, Shawn wore socks with Tevas and I found the worst thing a girl can ever find in the room of the guy you're dating in his... a family sized bottle of LA Looks aqua blue gel (and the year was 2003 for God's sake). This was my own version of Carrie's Burger. Why? He basically broke up with me on a post-it. TWICE.
Here's the thing about this character, though. Everybody has one. This is your bottom line, ladies. Your own personal game of limbo. This person makes you ask yourself just how low will you go. How badly will you let someone treat you? However, this character is an important marker in your life because you will look back and marvel at how far you've gone for something that looked nothing like love. But you were young and you were hopeful and you were stupid like it was your job because, really, it was. Oh, and then you moved on and even though you laughed about it later, you never let yourself fall that low again.
This next character is called Matt and I'm pretty sure we all have one or two in our own story.
This character is almost always older than you, dark, broody and probably some kind of artist. There's something about him that you think is especially cool and smart and you are flattered when you realize the feeling is mutual. Seriously? It's like I'm reading your diary, right? How do I know these things? Because we've all lived slightly different versions of the same story. Here's the thing about Matt. He's fun, he cares about you and was probably once a really good friend of yours. That didn't stop him from stringing you along for years, did it? Sorry, I didn't think so. There is one common denominator in all Matt characters: they have serious issues with commitment. In Matt's defense, he is very honest with you, but you hear what you want to and tell yourself that he'll come around. You also tell yourself you're okay with it and sometimes you are, but deep down you wonder if there could be more. When you verbalize these feelings, he does what he does best, backs away. This little dance probably goes on for years and when it's finally over for good, you are uncharacteristically calm because - deep down - you were waiting for something more.
This next character doesn't have a name. We'll just call him that something more you were waiting for.
I don't want to get too mushy on this one, but this is the character that makes the long road here worth it. My something more happens to look a lot like both of the fellers above (and if you know me, you know I LOVE me some Scott Speedman), but that's just the surface. And even though the surface is incredibly handsome, it's what's inside that made me fall in love with him. This is the person who accepts you and all the little flaws you hid from the people before. This character is your best friend, your partner in crime and your biggest fan. When you ask him if he's cool with you writing this post, he says, "Of course." Your mother, your sister, your best friend, your nephews, and your gay boyfriend all love him. Wherever he is, you think your dad loves him, too. No matter what happens, this character will always be the one who taught you to believe in love, who taught you that the bumpy road here was worth it.
There you have it, friends. My dating characters. These are the ones that got cast in my crazy story of love. Did you ever date any of these characters? Or did you have others? I'd love to hear! Happy Tuesday! Xoxo!