Last night I went to karaoke with Leslie and Anne. Tod stayed at home because he wasn't feeling well. I've only gone out once or twice without Tod since I moved out here, and certainly not in some time. It reminded me of that scene in Garden State where he's sitting on the couch and everything was happening around him -- I couldn't help but watch all of the people having fun and asking myself why I couldn't just relax and enjoy other people's company in such a way. The obvious answer is the absence of alcohol (Tod and I aren't restraining, but we're not buying any until we move to help save a little extra money.) but it seems to be more than that: My negativity towards people and general ego keeps me from really having fun more often than not. This is a good safety net, and I can see where it is valuable, but on a night where I'm trying to have a good time, mentally judging everyone around me only hurts me.
A fine young gentleman (who is a regular and asked where Tod was) bought the three of us drinks. He and I spent most of the night chatting, and it was really fun to have a conversation with someone who was genuinely interested in me (not interested, just interested in what I had to say.) It was good conversation, and a good mixed drink, and the night picked up quite a bit. My naivety wins again, it seems, because at the end of the night Leslie commented that he only bought drinks for she and Anne so he could buy one for me. I realized then that he'd spent the night talking to me, while they retreated to the patio for a smoke (Anne.) An adolescene of harshly felt unrequited love and a post-adolesence spent first behind a computer screen and then in comic shops has given me a flawed self image, or at least a non-specific one. When I commented to a sleepy Tod about the situation, he said, "well, you're the most approachable, and the cutest." His bias aside, it's hard for me to consider myself "the cute one" in a group.
In the apartment days, I randomly started chatting with a girl I had gone to high school with. While we were never friends, we shared many classes together (I was in the "High Potential Youth" group, and the same 20 people were in the vast majority of my classes.) After catching up, we started talking about school and who had done what since, and revealing what we really thought of eachother in simpler times. She confided that she was jealous of me because "all of the boys liked your ass."
This was a revelation for two reasons: First, I had no idea any guy in high school found me attractive, even though I had relationships. I chalked it up to randomness, being at the right place at the right time, and finding someone who was desperate or foolish enough to want to date me. Add that to the fact that, with few exceptions, every guy I dated was at least a class lower than I was, and never "popular," even in his own class. The glaring exception to this rule was my first boyfriend who was a class older than I was, and a football player. (He was also in marching band, and would come on the field at half-time to play in his football jersey, sans pads.) I dated the football player for exactly one month, one week, and one day, which resulted in my first kiss, a travesty that I rushed home to cry about. A string of unpopular boys with questionable heterosexuality would follow, providing me just enough security to cheat on them.
The second part of the revelation was that I had an attractive ass. Raised by a mother who was constantly trying to lose weight, I thought my ass was "fat" and knew my hips only as "too big." I was a skinny 120 pounds for most of my formative years, with no breasts to speak of, and never once did I think this was a desirable body type. I was told by a boy in third grade that I had a "big butt" and had never let that go. Seventeen Magazine provided little help, as I was too busy rebelling against brand name labels to realize that more expensive clothes, for the most part, fit better. It wasn't until I met Tod that anyone ever told me that they liked my ass.
When we graduate high school, things are supposed to change. We're supposed to shed the person we were, as we go to college, live in dorms with people we've never met (sex) and find new ways of self-expression (drugs) and have fun (alcohol.) When Tod and I recount our pasts, we're pretty even as far as high school goes. We both shared the unattainable crush (though he got closer to his than I did mine) and the bus trips to band events spent exploring newfound sexuality. But when it gets to college, we veer. He went to the dorms -- at an art college no less -- and I to a community college with no semblence of a course of study. I took classes, he went to college.
Sexual freedom, keg parties and a hit of acid are not things I desire, but I somehow feel cheated. I wonder whether or not college would have provided me with the ability to have fun in a mixed group of people. Already feeling slighted by a stomach that can't handle beer, at parties I stand around uncomfortably, hoping there's something in the refrigerator to mix some rum into. Unable to take advantage of draft beer specials, Tod and I shell out more money so I can drink at social settings. No one says as much, but I'm certain that they're chiding me in their heads for not starting to drink sooner. Anne accuses me of lying when I tell her that I've only slept with two people in my life. I wish it were only one, but conversely fear that I may someday resent my husband for having a more expansive history than mine. Hangovers, bad trips, one night stands -- these are not things that people WANT and yet somehow I feel like I haven't gotten what's meant to be mine.
Meeting Tod was my dorms experience. I began drinking, I smoked and I had sex. I decided I wanted to drink coffee. I listened to new types of music. I found new ways to express myself. Incidentally, it was the first time I felt secure enough to not cheat on someone I really cared about. The relationship has also contributed to finally feeling more attractive, and coincidentally, taking better care of myself and dressing better. I (almost) like my ass.
One month, one week and one day remain and then I will be marrying him. The wedding has been meticuously planned together and we've been complimented for every detail so far. Everyone loves our invitations, and we think to ourselves, wait until they see the theatre. We've put together the mix of the music that best describes these last two years -- the work it took to be together, and how much it was worth it. We've carefully written our vows together, finding the perfect balance of God and our families to string the words together. In one month, one week and one day, we will stand, looking at eachother as we hear these very words spoken. We'll be frozen in time with everything around us happening.
If my relationship thus far with Tod has been my college experience, then this wedding is without a doubt graduation day. How lucky am I to have such a future laid out before me -- my career as wife and mother has already been applied for and approved. I will start immediately and can dress however I'd like for work. My boss suggest something that shows off my ass.