Thursday, September 20, 2007

You can have cake either way

Yesterday I was sitting in class when a girl two rows over announced "in two more weeks, I will be twenty-one." I'll spare you the monologue about how hearing this made me feel old and so nostalgic I could almost smell the scent of a dorm room again and just say I was intrigued. I continued to listen as she described all the ways she planned to celebrate this milestone birthday including, of course, the almost obligatory "club hopping" night she and her friends were going to head out for on the weekend of her birthday. (Sidebar: Is it not okay to call this "bar hopping" anymore? Or even a pub crawl?) She proudly announced that, on the day following her umm, hopping excursion, she and her boyfriend were going to spend the day together.

"I told him there are three rules," she went on. "One, he has to make it all a surprise, two, it has to include cake and three, he cannot burp or fart or watch sports all day!"

While I wholeheartedly will agree with rule number two (because when is cake a bad idea?), I still cannot wrap my mind around this rule thing altogether. First, making rules? Um, high-maintenance much? Second, "he cannot burp or fart or watch sports all day?" Okay, is she trying to kill this guy?

I watched as two of her friends nodded along in agreement. "Awww, how sweet" was among the many phrases uttered. It was like they were saying yes, this is a good idea. Force the guy to do something, give him all kinds of conditions and expect nothing but perfection. This is true love. THIS IS REALITY.

I tried to think back to when I was twenty-one. There's no doubt there were things I did that I can look back on now and think my gosh, that was hugely stupid. Like the time the idea of a twelve-hour Checkers tournament fueled only by tortilla chips, Velveeta cheese and Arbor Mist seemed perfectly normal. Twenty-one is no doubt a great age to learn that the choices you make today, the beliefs you're tooling along with so happily can all come to a screeching halt tomorrow when you wake up and realize cheap cheese* ["product"] and even cheaper wine are getting you a whole lot more than you'd predicted. In other words, you learn to think ahead. And you learn to detect what's right and wrong for you, and what's real. Perhaps you even realize it's a choice.

I think that's what, at twenty-one, most of us don't realize about love and adult relationships in general. Rules are not always going to apply. There is going to be imperfection and unpredictability, and heaven knows there is going to be burping and farting. I'm thankful I realize this. I don't know what age it happened and while there is some charm in the fantasy, I'd rather choose the reality.

Later yesterday, while I was Interneting instead of homeworking, I read a short blurb from an interview in Essence magazine with Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell. In this portion of the interview, they were asked by the interviewer to defend recent divorce rumors.

Interviewer: So for the record, are you getting a divorce?

Tisha: Hell no!

Duane: Listen, let me tell you something. I will chew her ass up and swallow it before I let someone else have her.


For some reason I like that approach more.

____________________________________

*Okay, so I sort of still like cheap cheese.

16 comments:

AaroN said...

This made me smile and think of a similar conversation I overheard among a couple teenage girls. Some rules were meant to be broken. :)

e.b. said...

Oh dear god, what fun is life if there are rules? That kind of structured person is bound for some sad sad times ahead. Boys, relationships and really life should not be wound up tightly into three little rules. You can make a rule about that!

Bre said...

On my 21st birthday the only rule was that people needed to buy me shots (too many of them to recall without wincing).

But yes, at that point in my life I was certain that I would lock eyes with a stranger across the bar and we would fall in love and live out our JCrew commercial lives.

While the falling in love part is still a general goal of mine, I like to believe I'm far more realistic about it now!

Cravey said...

This is the kind of relationship that when it goes to hell in a handbasket, (and note, I said WHEN, not if) she'll will wail to those same friends "I don't know what I did wrong!".. um, hello.
RULES.

My birthday rules go like this
1. Celebrate just hard enough to hurt a little the next day, but not so much that I'm not looking forward to the next one.

Amen.

And that interview answer scared me.
yipe.

justacoolcat said...

I have no idea who Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell are, but I'd wager they are famous and getting divorced. It's seems the more celebs deny it the more true it becomes. Also, I'm sure it's because he farted.

brookem said...

seriously, the poor bf is doomed. rules suck. duane's comment just sort of made me teary right here at my desk. i guess in a good way.

oooh good lord, arbor mist and the memories that brings to mind...

sue said...

Rules are just soooo wrong under those circumstances.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

"there is going to be burping and farting" - you've pretty much summed up life right there.

Sizzle said...

"Listen, let me tell you something. I will chew her ass up and swallow it before I let someone else have her."

oh to have a man feel like that about me.

haha.

i am SO glad i am not 21. though i did have a higher alcohol tolerance and less gray hairs...

Backofpack said...

I don't know who Duane and Tish are either, but, um, I hope he's usually more well-spoken than that.

As for rules...I'm sure you already realize this, but the laying down of those rules is about insecurity - something I would expect to hear in a high-school class, not from a 21 year old. She's asking for "proof" that he loves her...if he is willing to follow her rules, then he must. Poor, misguided young thing...

Dawn said...

I like that response too...less syrupy, but so real.

GirlGoyle said...

and what kind of a boy are you dating if you have to give him rules and he can't figure out on his own how to 'surprise' you. I guess it's a boy who deserves to date high maintenance. Usually those are the ones with no imagination and just along for the ride. I don't miss being 21 one bit!

Amanda said...

I just have one rule for D and that's remember my birthday. Beyond that, we're solid gold.

Danielle said...

Ah yes, I remember 21...when I thought the idea of a guy bringing a single red rose on a first date was a great thing...then at age 30 or so a guy brought one to me, unprompted and I was a bit freaked out...mixed flowers on a first date, cool, single red rose...not cool...

As for the belching and farting though...I think I can almost go with that. At mature ages, that can be controlled at least around the person you are with for politeness sake, I'm thinking of the 21 year old boy and pull my finger comes to mind so I think I can empathize with her...but the rest of the rules and thoughts...does she realize she's going to be hung over the day after her birthday? :)

Database Diva said...

There are no absolutes, in 17 years of marriage I have had the stray belch or fart that would not be contained, but not Mr Diva. I figure he is a real tight a$$, and can therefore get away with blaming the dog. At least I hope so, or else I fear he may explode. And who would clean that up?

As for relationships, there are always rules. Is it worse to be up front about what the rules are than to torture the guy for breaking one he didn't even know about? Pat Benatar wasn't kidding, "Love is a battlefield." Although, something about this post had me thinking of Puddle of Mud's "She hates me". I really love that song!

Sister Buckle said...

Aw - yeah. I'd much rather a bit of real-life ass-chewing to all that rules crap.

To see the other side of that girl's rules - imaging how embarrassed she'd be if he boyfriend walked in while SHE was watching sports or being imperfect!? She'd probably be so shocked she'd fart!

And then DIE of embarrassment!

(I don't mean people should live in some sort of 'fart circus' but you get my drift.)