The reason why so many boys and girls aren’t willing to jump off the precipice and dive into a season of courting is because often, the community doesn’t do break ups well. The gossip, the assumptions, the taking sides, the ambulance chasers, the labeling, the uncomfortable boundaries already being broken by male and female friends who ‘liked you all along’. It’s heinous. All of it.
I believe if we were better at the break ups, we’d be better at dating; allowing relationships to just ‘not work out’, rather than feeling a failure – echoing an exposure to the broken hearted who witness nothing but ugly finger pointing. We need to go in with the hope that it will work out, but not be riddled with fear if it doesn’t.
That’s how I usually try to play it. And more often than not, the guy has been successful in covering me and telling others to keep their silly little noses out of a break up. It’s only the silent manipulators that probably won’t. But you’ll know the next time to beware of those traits, and so you won’t date them. Or will you?
Perhaps it’s not the community that’s caused this high altitude expectation of dating to marriage but they’ve just been hurt before in a previous break up and would rather play a round of Game of Lifeboard game, than actually part take in, well – life. Falling in love is as attractive to them now as a pigeon with a clubfoot.
But the beauty of where I was at, in New York, spring 2014, was that after the Lord’s tough pep talk, fear was now a loser’s game. And I refuse to be a loser.
So I flew back to northern California and I confessed to Gian (over some rather delicious quinoa and chicken salad) that I did in fact want to date him. That I was an idiot. That I should have just gone for it. That he should cancel any set up dates planned. That I was an idiot. That I was…for the last time…an idiot. Albeit a humble one.
‘Give me a few days.’ He smiled smugly. Rather pleased to see I had come to my own conclusion that I was a buffoon for not wanting to date him. I gave him his time, realizing it might be too late. Musicians don’t half move on quickly in my past experience, but of course, I am now not living in reaction to my past. So I found peace in the patience.
Days had passed and I had a wine and cheese soiree for my 34th birthday. Friends, vinyl, fake wooden snakes planted under my duvet, and around my apartment after me finding a real snake in my kitchen a few days ago (I have such kind friends) you could hear screams from different rooms as I found them, Toscano cheese dipped in Syrah lining – I mean what is not to love about my birthday?
Gian turns up with his Italian entourage of cousins. He hands me a bottle of vin rouge, the label having nothing but a question mark on it.
‘I thought it was apt’. He winked.
For the rest of the evening, he took over the jaunt like he had been hired to compere for the evening, with friends coming to me in mixed emotion: ‘He’s so impressive Caz’ one would utter, whilst another would whisper ‘Seriously this guy? He’s like 7 years younger?’
‘Didn’t you know sweetheart? It’s the year of the Panther. Cougar is so 2012 darling’. I’d clink glasses and move on.
Everyone leaves, apart from Gian and his cousin cleaning the counter tops, finalizing that last slug of Hendrick’s gin, singing to Louis Prima once more.
‘So I’ve been thinking about us – you and me.’ He shares.
‘I’ve been talking to the Lord about what it looks like. Whether I’ve got enough to give and bring to the table for a woman like you.’
‘Wait a minute, are you asking me out?’ I raise the eyebrows.
‘Well if you would just let me finish…’
‘Darling. Why aren’t you on your knees?’ I respond.
‘Excuse me?’ he stops wiping surfaces to the tones of Louis.
‘Sweetie.’ I’m raising one shoulder to pretend to be bashful. ‘I’m royalty. No knees – no girlfriend’.
He begins to walk around the kitchen counter into the lounge:
‘I’m going to punch you in the face’.
‘Oh this is awful’. His cousin pipes up, as I’ve just remembered he’s been sitting in the corner watching this dialogue take place.
‘Oh no. I was only joking. I was fooling around’. I’m climbing onto my knees to join him.
‘This is the most excruciating thing I think I’ve ever witnessed’. His cousin continues to give voluntary commentary.
‘Why do you think we should be together?’ I ask him.
‘Because we make no sense, and the Lord, beautifully, never meant my life to make sense – just radical.’
We began dating that night. 10th April 2014.
The posture in which we found ourselves in, the kneeling to each other in the middle of my living room floor, would be an apt indication of where our hearts should always be. Ready to serve each other, to be always humble, and to find unity in whatever the scenario might be to come.
Within a few weeks of dating, the concerns, the questions, the peace I had found in taking a fairly small step, had become a giant leap for understanding what emotional availability looked like.
After all, when you have peace, fun is more readily available to your tiny, timid, fingertips.