Wednesday, August 27, 2003

They say I'm hopeless
By Tia

I’m not a girly-girl. I never have been. I spent my formative years shunning make-up, skirts, and all things pink. I’ve only recently come to terms with the fact that skirts are okay. (I actually wear them willingly…with shell-toed Adidas. Don’t get it twisted I still have some tomboy in me.)

As a person who prided herself on being just as tough as most of the boys, you can imagine how shaken I felt when I discovered this little tidbit about myself: I Like Romance. (gasp!!!!) Not the Harlequin, kissy face, smut kind of romance. I’m talking the real thing. I grew up without my dad around, so a lot of things that dads typically do fell to my mother. Well, if all you see is a strong WOMAN then that’s what you mirror. I just assumed women were SUPPOSED to do everything. I didn’t know how boys were supposed to act. So when the boys did start coming around in junior high and high school I just figured the way they acted was NORMAL. I had the thugs and the roughnecks (Gotta who, gotta have a what?? Gotta watch out, gotta getta roughneck) in my early dating life. And just to clarify, roughnecks come in all colors. They didn’t open doors. They didn’t bring flowers, chocolates or trinkets of adoration. There were no kissy face love notes. But I always knew they had my back. If someone needed to be “handled” my boo took care of it. That was enough for me. The girls who were obsessing because Bobby didn’t get them flowers for their 3-week anniversary were Uber-Losers in my book and needed to be destroyed.

But as I got older I started to realize that there was more to a relationship than the knowledge of knowing someone would go to blows for you. Which, I am in no way trying to make light of. If my man won’t defend me then he’s not a man and he’s not mine. Anyway, I tried to ignore it. I chalked my feigned indifference up to being “tough.” Tough girls don’t want flowers. Tough girls open their own doors. Tough girls spit in the general direction of Valentine’s Day. I assumed that wanting the romantic aspects of a relationship would make me weak. And tough girls by their very definition do not show weakness.

I finally had to stop faking the funk. It all came to a head last week. (Last week was a pretty eventful week…) I love to cook. I wish I had more time to do it. I bake cookies that keep the people talking. (Thanks for the recipe, Megan) I get what cooking skills I have from my momma. My momma can burn. Literally. (Guess who started the kitchen fire?) Anyway, I’m always bribing the IT guys at work. I learned a long time ago that if you want guys to do something for you they move a lot faster with food in them. I took my favorite IT guy, let’s call him Fozzy, some brownies. The IT department was having a rough time with the viruses that ran through last week and I figured food would cheer Fozzy up. He was on the phone so I wrote him a note to tell him there were brownies in the crude looking foil sitting on the corner of his desk. I was on my way out when he grabbed me, pulled me close, kissed my cheek and gave me the “I’m really grateful and would otherwise say so, but I’m on hold with Dell so that your computer won’t eat every drug shipment order that comes in” look. Now I don’t want to come across as some attention starved chick. But I’m not going to lie. I was really touched. There is something about being appreciated that really strikes a cord deep within. (FYI: To my knowledge Fozzy is not feeling me “like that.”) As I walked away that’s when it hit me. I like knowing that I’m appreciated, that I’m valued just for being me. And ultimately, that’s what romance is. It’s knowing that the person you’re giving your all to extols you. It’s not all flowers and chocolates and lambs and crap like that. Romance is knowing your thoughts, your feelings, your dislikes and your idiosyncrasies are not only noted but also taken into consideration when decisions are made. A friend of mine’s girlfriend’s birthday is today. Her favorite number is 27…I don’t know he did 27 special things for her throughout the day. Some were big, some were small, but all of them were significant. Needless to say, she was floored. The fact that he got her quality writing pens because as a nurse she writes a lot made him look terribly thoughtful…and a teeny bit sexy. And it also showed that he’d taken the time to get to know her AND her needs. That, dear reader, is romantic.

The dictionary defines romance as an “ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people.” Ardent attachments aren’t formed over night. You have to take the time to get to know someone before you can know how to romance them. So maybe that’s why I love romance so much. Knowing that someone took the time to get to know me, the girl who is a total dork, and still wants to know me more is without question romantic. I love the fact that someday someone is going to be thinking about me and thinking about ways they can let me know they care for me, even though I have a big head and idiotic tendencies.

So call me hopeless…as a penny with a hole in it. I’ll be that. If being hopeless means that I want my man to value me, then color me pathetic. I’m okay with being a hopeless romantic. It’s easier than being a jaded cynic. Trust me.

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