“Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.” – Anais Nin
Paul and I went to New Orleans recently. This is important for two reasons: 1) I bought these tickets when our relationship was still relatively in its infancy and 2) it would be the first time in the history of our time that we’d be spending ALL OF OUR TIME together.
Obviously, I’m writing this so you might say things went pretty well. The first two days in NOLA were spent gorging on all things Mardi Gras. We witnessed nakedness and stupidity and beads and parades. The good thing about going on vacation with him, I discovered, was that he liked to take breaks from vacation as much as I did by frequently chillin’ in our room and reading books.
I’m telling you, people, this guy is the fucking greatest.
The last couple days were spent taking streetcars and walking around seeing sites outside of the French Quarter. It was really, really beautiful – but the last full day was my favorite. We took a streetcar to the New Orleans Museum of Art, decided not to go in, and walked around the free sculpture garden instead. Up until Thursday, I had documented our entire trip on Facebook (much to his annoyance), but after some (sadly, hard) effort on my part – I decided to keep Thursday offline.
I’m telling you, people, this guy better know that I’m the fucking greatest.
We then walked around City Park; our original plan was to walk the length of the park to get to Lake Pontchartrain. But after about two minutes in 75-degree weather I wasn’t having it (I am not a hot-weather type of person. Give me your Falls, your Springs, your MILD WINTERS yearning to breathe free…). We Ubered up to the lake, had lunch overlooking said lake, and then walked a mile and a half along the lake – and it felt special. It made me really happy to be able to share that with him. We Ubered back to the hotel, got fancy, and went to this amazing restaurant called The Bombay Martini Club.
(Sidenote, here: NOLA knows food. Like, I’m not a seafood person, in general. And I had salmon and oysters and crab and crawfish. I also had alligator [but spit it out when Paul said, “I guess it tastes like any other reptile,”] and rabbit [which tastes like turkey. Sorry bunnies]. NOLA also knows drinks and I would go there again just to do an eating tour. I discovered upon returning home that despite the endless walking we did, it did absolutely nothing to combat the food and the drinks, and weighed in at 163. Fucking NOLA.)
So, back to the amazing restaurant in the land of vacation. Our waiter, who constantly asked us if we were “doing awesome”, convinced me to try a drink that had egg white and absinthe in it – and it was weird, but tasty. Paul had the aforementioned rabbit (in a pot pie). As if the experience couldn’t get any better, they had live jazz toward the end of our meal and I just about died and went to heaven. I asked the waiter if we could just sit in the booth and listen to the music even though we were done with our meal and he was like, “Sure. I’m here til 9:45.” So, waiter did awesome.
We returned on Friday to lovely 16-degree Chicago weather and spent the rest of the weekend holed up in the house. We both got wicked colds (one night, he accidentally coughed in my face. Love, people. So much love). And then on Monday, we returned back to the land of jobs and responsibilities. Much sadness was felt.
And then, something strange happened. Upon returning to work, Paul’s co-workers (seeing my Facebook posts) were like, “Soooo…. when are you getting married?”
And he said, “We’ll get engaged when I am 100% sure about her.”
He relayed this story to me, and at first, I was like, “Rational; we’ve only been dating for 9 months. We’ve said that it would be weird to get engaged before a year, and other rational thoughts.”
But then, I’m sitting there on our couch, and I’m watching my lovely boyfriend do lovely boyfriend things (make dinner, be randomly affectionate, help me find something I thought I lost, etc etc) and I’m like, “What do you mean, 100 percent?”
And so I say, “Why wouldn’t you be 100 percent about me? I’m awesome.”
And he’s like, “You’re still thinking about that?”
And I’m like, “… Of course not.”
So we had a discussion (not a euphemism for argument; we literally talked it through. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER) about why he might say what he said and why we might feel how we feel. He said he was headed in that direction, and that every day he spends with me he knows he wants to spend more days with me. And I told him, rationally, that I understood where he was coming from but irrationally, I was wondering if – on a scale – I was a 9.5 and he was just holding out for a 10. He said he didn’t believe in scales and that I was as perfect as he was going to get. I said that we had had discussions about planning our lives together, so I couldn’t understand why that sort of commitment might not be on the table. And he said commitment WAS on the table, it was literally the center of the table, we were the table sturdily made of commitment!!! … but he wondered why I couldn’t see it without a ring.
I told him I had a fear of abandonment and that I truly believed the wisdom of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. He reassured me that everything would happen the way I thought it would happen, and meanwhile, I was trying to convince myself not to overthink everything I thought might happen – because it took the fun out of it.
And yesterday, he mentioned that at some point we’d have to go ring shopping – not so he could buy a ring, but so he could see what kind of rings I liked – but I didn’t like that idea. When he asked me why, I said I didn’t want to EXPECT a ring just because we had gone ring shopping. It would drive my irrational side nuts, even though my rational side would think him very considerate.
So today, after Facebook appeared to have overheard our conversations and showed me an post for engagement rings, a lightbulb went off in my head. I said, “PAUL I HAVE A GREAT IDEA,” and he said, “Oh no.”
I said, “No, really, it’s great. See – I don’t want to go ring shopping later in the year and then wait around to see what happens. But I WILL go ring shopping now so that we can see what’s out there because we’ve already established that you’re not proposing tomorrow so it could still be a surprise,” which then expanded to, “… maybe I could just search online, because I don’t really want to know what the ring costs.”
He seemed to think this was reasonable.
And so I searched. And I was appalled at the variation and cost of engagement rings. I am not a gold person. I love silver. But apparently, silver doesn’t exist. White gold exists. Platinum exists – but only if you’re a millionaire. I was looking for something simple. My hands are tiny, like an 8-year-old’s. I didn’t need flash and craziness, but some of these diamonds… Jesus Christ. It’s like, you wouldn’t even see my hand, just a blinding piece of coal. And to be honest, I’m not much of a diamond person either. I don’t understand why people love them. I did eventually find some reasonable ones, but not after wanting to slap all the jewelry retailers everywhere. Occasionally, Paul would look with me and offer support: “What about that one?” or “…OH DEAR GOD NOT THAT ONE.” It was helpful.
I told him that searching was giving me a headache, and that maybe I’d search with my sisters when we went to Arizona next weekend (oh, by the way, we’re going to AZ next weekend – we’re pros at traveling together now). He said, again, that it was reasonable.
And this is when I realized that this was all part of his master plan to get me off the engagement path.
Very sneaky, my boyfriend. But I remain stupid happy in love.
Have a good night, friends. Be kind to yourselves.