Saturday, January 28, 2006

Practice Makes Pie

Once, I was in a relationship where I thought that I might literally die. As in: the angry girl on the receiving end of being dumped threatened to eat my soul (or something of the ilk—the details are foggy after all this time).

I’ve also been on the wrong end of infidelity, dated my first serious girlfriend for six months without kissing her once, and spent multiple years with a girl who I knew was absolutely wrong for me. Hell, I even spent precious years of my college career—a time when young men should be experimenting with Bacardi and sexing promiscuously with a superfluity of insecure 19 year-olds who, after said males have consumed 7-12 alcoholic beverages, share a subtle resemblance to Christina Aguilera—waiting for one particular object of my affection to break up with not one, but several boyfriends so I could get my chance with her. To make this particular scenario even more thwarting, we even went out a couple of times but decided that it wasn’t going to work because we were just too good of friends. It was like dating an estranged sibling.

Go figger, right?

And really, that’s been my luck with women for the entirety of my life. That is, of course, until I met Amy, who as of yesterday I’ve been officially dating for a year.

Now, about 97% of the people that Amy and I have shared this piece of information with over the course of the last week have said the exact same thing: “Really? I would’ve thought it’d be longer than that. It sure feels like it!” To this I can only sigh and remind my friends that Amy’s definitely been around for more than a year, but she wasn’t the kind of Cutie Pie you just walk in to Baker’s Square, pay for, and walk right back out with (Which was her ex-boyfriend’s mistaken way of thinking, by the way). No, Amy is the kind of pie you spend hours and hours making from scratch.

And with the way I cook, you’d think I would’ve burned the damn thing by now.

Surprisingly, I haven’t. The more and more time I spend with Amy, the more I feel like I may have actually gotten this one right. I could probably write a book explaining exactly how (and maybe I will someday), but I think the bottom line comes down to the fact that I’ve had plenty of practice with other lesser relationships, that I’ve learned something from my mistakes. I tell my students that they learn more from screwing up than they do from getting it right the first time, and when I reflect on that bit of wisdom (Because let’s face it—what comes out of my mouth that ISN’T wisdom? Seriously. Discuss this with colleagues on your next coffee break), I realize how true it really is.

So I dated the wrong girl for two years. At least I learned what a long-term relationship feels like. I waited forever to date a girl that ended up not working out. I’m okay with that, too, because I learned to be more aggressive with women earlier on (waiting forever is waiting for too long). As a result, I got RIGHT down to business with Amy, and my efforts were actually fruitful for once. As for the girl who I thought was going to stab me repetitively in my sleep: I learned a valuable lesson from her, too. I learned never to make a woman angry on purpose.

I know I can’t cook. I’ve even messed up Easy Mac (“Does anyone want seconds of the orange powder noodles?”). But, if you make a certain recipe enough times, eventually you’re going to nail it, and that’s what I think has happened here. Amy’s the first girl I’ve truly earned, through-and-through, and the payoff from really putting everything I’ve got into it has been extremely worthwhile. I mean, the girl’s got her head on straight, she’s absolutely beautiful, she shares my professional passion, she supports me in everything I do, and we share the same philosophies about the path our lives will follow together from here on out. I really made a worthwhile venture here. It’s like having invested all your money in Enron and dotcom businesses, but being handed a time machine and 1,000 shares of 1987 Microsoft stock. Amy is my Windows ’95.

I need the ladies out there to appreciate the risk I’m taking by putting all of this out there. I’m expecting a barrage of instant messages from one male friend in particular who will call me Duncan Hines for the next three solstices because I’m “caking it like a baker” in this article. But I think this one year thing is important. It’s a bit of a milestone for a couple. In the past, I’ve been pretty much through with my girlfriends by 6 months at the latest. If you’re wondering as to the reasons behind these breakups, please see above (it’s a virtual glossary of heartbreak). I’ve just always heard that if you can still feel the love after one year, things will probably be okay from there on out.

I’m still feelin’ it, people.

My next step is learning how to cook. I think I’ve got pie figured out for now; maybe I’ll start with Easy Mac. God knows I need the practice.

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