Friday, 28 June 2013
55. A Nice Boy
17 years ago, on the last Friday in June, my efforts to ‘set’ a nice boy up with one of my girlfriends spectacularly backfired. Why do I say ‘boy’? I guess because he was a few years younger than my late-20 and as I tended to avoid most guys in their 20s (because I thought they were flaky), at 23, he seemed like a boy – a nice one, ergo my decision to introduce him to one of my girlfriends over lunch. Little did I know he had already decided I was THE one or that lunch was going to turn into an afternoon of shooting pool, drinks, easy conversation and lots of laughing – long after my girlfriend left! Needless to say the long hard kiss he gave me when I gave him a lift home many hours later turned my matchmaking plans on its head! Like all good stories however, it wasn’t smooth sailing for a long time -- and I was mostly to blame.
The morning after, I was determined to push away this boy because he didn’t ‘tick’ my ‘boxes’. “Yes, he was nice but everyone is nice when you first meet” I rationalized. “He’s too young and probably lacks direction and maturity!” I vindicated. You see, up until then, I had registered that the 30-somethings and even 40-somethings I had gone on dates with were flaky or just dead boring and was beginning to wonder if I should just swear off men altogether or start dating 50-somethings instead. No wonder when this ‘boy’ turned up, I was quick to brush off that first kiss – no matter how much I enjoyed it. But in spite of myself, more dates followed and weeks passed, with the ‘boy’ spending most of his time at my place. I was in turmoil and on high alert, ready to catch him out! When he borrowed my car, I wondered if he was out ‘cruising for chicks’ because each time he returned, the top of my convertible would be down and his shirt would be off! “I knew it!” I would fume to myself! I tested what I thought was his ability to ‘put me first’ by offering him the last prawn during one of our dates. And when he wolfed it down, I dumped him. When he asked why, I told him he was too selfish for my liking! I still remember the puzzlement in his eyes and yes, we DO laugh about that prawn incident now.
Taking this walk down memory lane makes me cringe and shake my head at my 20-something self as I tried so hard to protect myself against any serious entanglement. But of course, unbeknownst to me, I had already started falling. Each time I tried to push him away, this boy dealt with me with a sense of humor and a grace that I wasn’t displaying. And then, one day, instead of trying so hard to find differences between us, I started noticing the similarities. Our work ethic, our sense of humor, our love of food, and so on. The list started slowly building up and once it started, there was no turning back. Even when I told him I was leaving Australia for work, and thought it best we broke up as I had learnt from past experience that long-distance relationships didn’t work, he surprised me by saying he would follow me. And just like that, this ‘boy’ quit his job, sold his stuff – just to show he was committed and was ready to invest in me! I was gobsmacked! He was so quietly confident in himself and us as a couple that nothing was un-doable! I couldn’t help thinking, “What a man!”
And what a man indeed! Over the years, I have come to realise what an honorable, kind, funny, smart, humble and inspiring person this ‘boy’ is. The only one who calms me down when things are crazy, who cheers me on with gusto in all my ventures; the one who shoots from the hip when I need some straight-talking, who knows when to give me space so I can work through ‘stuff’ and importantly when to pull me back in so I don’t end building up walls around me. He is the one who inspires me to be the best version of me I can possibly be and the one who makes me smile – sometimes in spite of myself. I am lucky that this ‘boy’ was stubborn enough to ignore my protests so I could see him for the man he is. My husband.
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