First dates; how romantic is too romantic?
It had been mere days after spending time with Jack in Laguna Beach that I had invited him over to my house for dinner. I was living in Long Beach, about twenty miles south of Los Angeles proper, and he was coming from school, about ten miles north of LA – in short, he was making a big commitment by coming down to visit me. I was kind of nervous. I wanted to be all cute and make him dinner – but what to make!? Was he picky? I wanted to whip up something impressive.
I had just gotten back from the gym when he arrived. He had just worked out as well and of course he looked fucking stunning. He had been at school all day, in college for something very left-brained that I usually couldn’t have cared less about, but because it was him, I found myself intrigued and actually interested in things that would have normally made me want to gouge my eyes out.
I opened the refrigerator and told him what was on the menu. I had been dying to try this mashed cauliflower recipe that basically tasted like mashed potatoes without the overload of carbs, but when I pulled out the head of cauliflower, Jack went wide-eyed and pursed his lips. He wasn’t a fan. I offered him some pineapple that I had just sliced up as an hors d’oeuvre, but he shook is head in disgust. My fears were correct: he was picky.
Thankfully I had some asparagus in lieu of the cauliflower, a sensible summer salad, and my secret chicken recipe in my back pocket. As we chatted, added each other on social media, and I cooked, I realized how relationships are like a three course meal, of which Jack and I were in the appetizer phase.
First, you have the hors d’oeuvres, dishes that are usually very pretty, appealing, and give you ever the slightest hint as to what your relationship, or the main course, might be like. Meant to tease, discover, but leave you wanting more.
Second, there’s the entree. This is the part of a relationship that lasts the longest. It’s usually the biggest, juiciest, and is usually comprised of many different facets – the steak, vegetables, and potato – so it’s all about balance. Sometimes the meat is undercooked, but sometimes it comes out perfect, but either way, you have to compromise to get it just right.
And finally, there’s the dessert, the sweet spot, the happily ever after if you will, where you’ve gotten over the humps and slumps and you’re so fully committed to someone after going through everything bad that could have possibly happened, the future is smooth sailing because you’re still together.
Looking at Jack as we dined, I thought about how I wanted the dessert. And I wanted it to be doused in chocolate, with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. I wanted it all. And I didn’t want to share.
As the wine flowed, we both became more chatty and Jack opened up a bit about previous relationships he had been in. It was at that moment that I realized that I not only really liked him, but I felt protective of him too. I wanted to keep him safe. Happy. Not let him get hurt. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and squeeze all my good energy into him. And what was more, I was having all these feelings FOR A GUY. While I thought the next budding relationship I would have found myself in would have been with someone who had boobs (because I still considered myself “straight”), I wasn’t afraid of what the future had in store. Instead, I subconsciously welcomed it, I think because there was a tangible connection with Jack that I knew I wanted to fight for. To see if we, as hors d’oeuvres, could maybe make it to the main course.
He slept over that night (in my old twin-sized bed, mind you, so I knew he had to like me to put up with that) and it was the first time we ever had a sleepover. I woke up first, to him still sleeping, and realized that he had done what the perfect appetizer was meant to do: leave me wanting more. We woke up, said goodbye to each other, both excited to see each other again, and me, always the optimist, open to the prospects of a recipe for something even more delicious down the line.