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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Important Love Stuff (47)

Friday
Apr222011

Keeping Secrets

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I’ve never been really great at keeping secrets. I can keep secrets of the surprise-party, Darth-Vader-is-Luke’s-father, the-island-on-Lost-is-actually-heaven/hell/purgatory/WHAT? variety. What I’m not good at is the big ones.

I remember in 1998 when I headed back to Virginia for my 10 year high school reunion. I spent a few days hanging out with my brother in Richmond first and we thought it would be a hoot to call my parents together. We took turns talking to the folks and I spoke with my dad first. In the course of our conversation, he accidentally said, "I’ve gotta go. I need to take my meds.”

“Uh, excuse me….WHAT medication would that be?”

And then my dad goes, “Oh shit. Nothing. No medication. Nothing here to look at. Move on. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” 1

Turns out my dad was dealing with prostate cancer and he and my mom thought it was a good idea to NOT TELL ANYONE. WHAT THE FUCK? Yeah, so he tells me all this while I’m standing right in front of my brother, my eyeballs popping and my jaw resting comfortably on my shoes. He then says, “Please don’t tell your brother.” And I’m all, “No fucking way!” and I immediately turn to my brother and say, “Dad has cancer!” and then we all freak out for a bit. In the end, my dad came away cancer-free (WHEW!) and my parents had a stern talking to about keeping important health issues to themselves.

Not long afterwards, my brother pulled a fast one on us too. Not wanting to air my family’s dirty laundry on the internet, I’ll just say that there was a secret. A pretty big one. It was emotionally embarrassing to my brother, which is why he didn’t tell us. When he finally did, all he got from us was the love and support he could have been getting all the while he was sitting on his secret. He drove himself crazy for nothing.

Recently, a very good friend of mine has been exploring, through therapy, some deep rooted emotions and behaviors surrounding the untimely death of her sister over a decade ago. There was a lot of secrecy surrounding her death and since my friend was a child at the time, a lot of information was kept from her. As an adult, she’s requesting more of that information and no one wants to share. There is a lot of emotional work she has to do in order to heal herself, as well as deal with the grief other family members have been harboring for so many years.

After writing an article for International Women’s Day, a dear friend wrote to me and told me of her date-rape and subsequent abortion. She never told her parents the truth about how she got pregnant, just that she was.

Me? I could never keep cancer to myself. I couldn’t ever keep the kind of secret my brother had to myself either. I imagine myself in my girlfriend’s shoes and I want to march right into her parent's house and demand answers about her sister. I would hope that if I had ever been raped, that I’d be able to tell my family and the cops about it. Family secrets can be huge. Family secrets can be small. Why people choose to keep certain secrets can be shame-based or fear-based.

Take a second to consider social behaviors and traits that you and/or your family might regard with contempt and/or pity, versus compassion and understanding. Here are a few to ponder:

rape   abuse   bigamy   imprisonment   "mental illness"  abortion   child neglect   being fired   fraud   divorce   betrayal   rage   crying in public   homelessness   desertion   slavery   addiction   rudeness   bigotry   dishonesty   cruelty   obesity   incest   infidelity   murder   lying   homosexuality   theft   atheism

There are a few words there that send a red flag waving in my heart and head. How about you?

I found the following info about family secrets:

Family secrets are different than unawareness of information about members and ancestors. They're conscious decisions to withhold details of a shameful, scary, or illegal event or relationship (like a crime, abortion, an affair, or desertion), a personal trait (like an addiction or perversion). Some family secrets stand alone. Others are part of an inherited family distrust-policy that says "We don't tell outsiders our family's business." *

Last year when I visited Thistle Farms, I listened to women recovering from addiction talk about the day’s topic: Secrets. There were a few statements from that discussion that resonated with me so much that I wrote them down:

“The only person I was keeping secrets from was myself.”

“I’m breaking the cycle of secrets.”

“I’m not ashamed of my past, "I’m proud of my future!”

“Freedom ain’t free.”

There is so much truth in these simple statements. To be free of the weight that a family secret can have, you have to first free yourself. Sometimes that comes with a price tag. Sharing secrets can cause long-buried emotional pain to come bubbling to the surface. Then you have to deal with that, whether it be your own secret or someone else’s.

Just like my own family, The Candyman’s family has their share of secrets too. I am privy to them because my husband trusts me with them. I remember right after we were engaged, The Candyman shared one of his family secrets with my parents. When he started to speak, I felt my heartbeat quicken. I held my breath, scared of what my parents might think. In my head, I was screaming, “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” I was embarrassed. I was scared. I didn’t want my parents to think less of my betrothed or of me, for that matter. I didn’t want to think or talk about it. But you know what? My parents were totally cool. They asked a few pertinent questions regarding the “secret” and then without actually saying the words, offered their love and support and that was it.  After that exchange, I was still embarrassed. I was embarrassed at my own emotions. I felt ashamed of myself and the fact that I thought so little of my parents and their ability to cope and of my own acceptance of the “secret.” It was at that very moment I had absolute clarity, that Oprah AH-HA feeling, that I could and would accept all that my husband-to-be had to offer up to me, both good-to-hear and not-so-good-to-hear. To assume how someone will react to a secret, whether your own or someone else’s, encourages the fear and the shame that the owner has assigned it. 

I realize now that there are few secrets that are so dark and dangerous that they cannot stand being brought out into the open and light, where they suddenly lose the fear and shame that once surrounded them. What was once said of war is true about secrets and the decision to reveal them: "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." *

I would like to start a discussion here about family secrets. I’m not asking you to air your dirty laundry nor am I encouraging gossip (as some family secrets turn into), but to talk about the theory behind the fear, the shame, the habit of family secrets. I want to talk about the fall-out from secrets left unrevealed, how they can be detrimental to families and more importantly, to marriages. Are you keeping your own secrets from your fiancé or husband? Why? How are you and your partner dealing with adopted family secrets? Feel free to post anonymously if that gives you a particular comfort level.

 

1Not sure why the Star Wars references are peppered here today, but let’s just go with it, OK? Also, not really what my dad said, but it was something along those lines.

Thursday
Apr142011

Duking it Out

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I was all set to write a post today that was all ooey and gooey and sickly romantic about a conversation I had with The Candyman yesterday1, but then it became morning time and that plan was blown to bits. Why? Let’s just say that The Candyman doesn’t really do morning and as a result, there are times when we don’t do morning.

I mean, I’m groggy when I wake up, but I’m generally someone who can be awake and full-tilt about 30 seconds after I have my first gulp of coffee. The Candyman? Not so much. It takes him forever to really wake up. A cup of coffee doesn’t always do the trick. The Candyman walks around and looks like a normal person, but the man has a hair-trigger of a temper that can be tripped at the slightest of morning-infractions. We’ve had some of our worst fights ever between the hours of 6:30am and 8:30am. Sometimes our fights remind me of those old Army ad slogans, “We do more before 9am than most people do all day.” Yes, exactly. I mean, how is it possible to go from zero to 100mph that early in the morning? I’m not sure, but we manage it somehow.

Often after we’ve fought, I will immerse myself in chores. When I’m pissed, I clean the shit out of some stuff. I’ll be squatting inside the tub with my soap-scum-busting cleaner and a sponge, scrubbing the hell out of the imaginary line on the tub, cursing The Candyman and deciding whose fault it was. It’s almost always his fault when I’m in the midst of anger-cleaning. This makes me feel better as I continue to scour the house until it’s bright and shiny and clean. And it’s ammunition too. I can say to myself, “Look! Look at all I’ve done today! I cleaned this house from top to bottom! What did HE do today? Huh? Tell me!” And it really doesn’t matter what he did that day, because it won’t ever be enough. When I’m still angry, it doesn’t matter who does what.

I’m no different from anyone else. I have to work through my anger. Some people can be over something in a nano-second. Me? Not so much. I’m a grudge-holder. I stew. I assign fault. I am the judge and jury. In the heat of the moment, The Candyman has the habit of assuming the very worst about me. He assumes I’m behaving in a particular way on purpose, that I’m being mean or self-centered or manipulative. Neither of us listen or care to listen. Usually, if the fight reaches this point, our imaginary referee rings the bell and  we go to our respective corners, get some coaching and decide who will throw in the towel first. I hate throwing in the towel. Even though the fight should be over and done, I’m still holding on to the “rightness” of the fight. Whose fault is it? To me, assigning fault is the key. If we can determine whose fault it is, then the problem is solved. If it’s my fault, then I say I’m sorry and stop the behavior. Same goes for The Candyman. We used to do this in therapy. We’d rehash our fights, assign blame and move on. This worked for about….oh, who am I kidding? It never really worked. I thought it worked. If it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t my problem. Period. The problem with this kind of non-problem-solving is that it doesn’t take emotions into account. It doesn’t take into account the fact that you’re actually sharing a living space with someone, that the person you’re fighting with doesn’t care about the “facts.”  The real facts are that the person you’re sharing your life with is angry too. Since we all process anger differently, there’s a lot to learn and accomplish when you fight with your partner. I think this learning process takes a while. It might take a whole lifetime.

*We interrupt this post to answer the phone and talk to a now-calm Candyman.*

Just when I was getting good and ready to attack the microscopic grout-grunge behind the toilet, The Candyman calls. We apologize. I read him this post. He agrees. We talk about what happened (without assigning blame) how and why it happened and how we can avoid it in the future. The conversation takes less than 10 minutes and the fight is over. Anyone witnessing our 7am exchange might be shocked at the intensity of it and how we get from there to forgiveness so quickly.

The answer is practice. We know our own faults and our therapist gave us the tools to make our fights work for us. Everyone couple fights, one way or the other. Ours are more of the explosive variety. If you think just because you’re not yelling that you’re not fighting…. well, you’re wrong. Silence can be the stuff of divorce. My bad habit of stewing and grudge-holding and resentment are unhealthy for our relationship. I have to fight with myself not to do that. The Candyman’s bad habit of assuming the worst is his challenge and I know he struggles with that too. For us, it’s the process of looking inside ourselves as individuals to work through what we’ve got going on in our partnership.

What’s your struggle? Is there a behavior, mind-set, time-of-day trigger for your fights? How do you resolve your conflict? Do you put on the gloves and go at it for a couple of rounds or do you nit-pick each other to death? Do tell.

1See tomorrow’s post.

Thursday
Mar032011

Musical Youth (not of the dutchie variety)

In our house, we have one desktop computer and one laptop. The Candyman owns the laptop and I command use of the desktop. The iTunes is on the desktop, yet we have two separate iPods. The fact that Apple has yet to figure out a way to have separate iTunes on the same computer baffles me. Yes, yes, yes, I know we can make separate folders and playlists and shit, but it’s a pain in the ass. When The Candyman and I started dating he didn’t have an iPod. I got him one as a gift and since then, we’ve shared our iTunes. I already had thousands of songs downloaded and to try to separate his music from my music was just too daunting a task. After several years of combined musical purchases, we gave up ever trying. One of the reasons we’d like to separate the tunes is while The Candyman and I have the same appreciation for music, we definitely don’t listen to the same kinds of music.

As a Marine Brat born in the 70’s, I grew up listening to the 8-track player in the Chevy station wagon as we drove from state to state every year or so. We had the following on heavy rotation: CCR, Simon & Garfunkle, Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, The 5th Dimension, Gordon Lightfoot, The Fendermen, Peter, Paul & Mary, Merle Haggard, Crosby, Still, Nash and Young and Johnny Mathis. The first cassette tapes I ever owned were Donny & Marie’s Goin’ Coconuts and The Best of Captain and Tennille (I still have them). I know, hot to death, right?  I was a teenager in the 80’s (for which I thank God constantly) and for the early part of that decade I was obsessed with The Stray Cats, The Go-Go’s, Duran Duran, The Fixx, Pat Benatar, The Style Council, The Police, U2 and Oingo Boingo. The summer between freshman and sophomore year of high school I was introduced to Midnight Oil and that band opened up a whole different genre of music for me. I discovered Siouxie and The Banshees, The Cure, The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen, Love and Rockets, Joy Division, The English Beat. I leaned hard for a few years getting into the DC punk scene with Bad Brains, The Faith, Iron Cross, Scream, State of Alert (featuring Henry Rollins), Government Issue, Void, and Youth Brigade.The music of the 1990’s just passed me right on by. Grunge was NOT my scene and I avoided plaid flannel at all costs. As my focus turned towards my career in the early 00’s, I basically stopped paying attention to music.  I listened to the radio and maybe bought a CD here and there if I really heard something I liked.

Moving to Music City (that would be Nashville) in 2005 got me back into a local music scene. It was all kinds of fun as I made friends with musicians and often got to watch them play amazing live music. When I met The Candyman, I felt like I had a pretty good repertoire of musical history and taste under my belt. Sadly, The Candyman doesn’t agree with this sentiment. He grew up in the 70’s too, but had older brothers who were way into the rock music scene: lots of Skynard, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Black Sabbath coupled with the blues of the South: Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy,Howlin’ Wolf, Ma Rainey and Ray Charles. He despises the 1980’s and I often wonder how someone who hates 80’s music so vehemently can love me so soundly.

So now that we’ve co-mingled our lives and our iPods, I’m exposed to all sort of music that I’ve never heard before. A lot of it I don’t care for. I feel like I’m constantly fast-forwarding through Johnny Cash (how much of one artist can one man have?), Mother Love Bone and The Black Keys to try to find my bubble-gum pop songs that just make me want to get all dance-y. I can’t get enough of Lady GaGa’s Born This Way or Pink’s Raise Your Glass. For reals.

There are times when I let the iPod just do its shuffle thing and I’ll hear a song I’m fairly certain I don’t want to hear, but end up listening anyway. What I’ll find interesting is a hook or a lyric that I just know resonates with The Candyman and I get why he listens to that song. One of the songs Howlin’ Wolf is famous for is called Louise.  He loves that song (go figure). He used to listen to Zero 7’s Destiny when I would go overseas. I would listen to that too, and think of him.

On a clear day
I'll fly home to you
I'm bending time getting back to you
Old moon fades into the new
Soon I know I'll be back with you
I'm nearly with you
I'm nearly with you

When I'm weak I draw strength from you
And when you're lost I know how to change your mood
And when I'm down you breathe life over me
Even though we're miles apart we are each other's destiny

I'll fly, I'll fly home
I'll fly home and I'll fly home

So this past weekend, we were driving somewhere and one of “his” songs came on. I was in no mood for the twangy, bluesy nonsense I heard, but resisted the urge to jab the fast-forward button.  I had never heard it before and I can’t even remember who or what it was, but there was a line in the song about a good woman bringing her man coffee. I looked at The Candyman and said, “This is why you like this song, isn’t it? It reminds you of me when I bring you coffee in the morning.”

And I was right. He’s so squishy and sentimental. That moment in the car last weekend has stayed with me and I’ve been rolling it around in my brain. I’m trying to figure out if it meant something. Should I listen harder for the sentimental cues? Will three to four minutes of patience through a song that’s not “mine” further reveal to me the man my husband was, is and will be? I wonder.

And is the comingling of music reflective of the comingling of our lives? Sometimes we should be able to listen to our hearts desire. Other times it’s more appropriate to let someone else have their heart’s desire. I am still learning how to share: my life, music, money, closet space. The Candyman and I were talking recently about his ability to break through the barrier that I built around my heart and he smiled and started singing Higher Than the Wall from The Steel Drivers:

There are walls made of paper, and walls made of stone
and some that are made out of livin' alone
I built a wall no one could break down
locked up my heart where it couldn't be found

You saw past my shackles and let love unfold
showed me the truth from the lies I'd been told
my heart was a prisoner like no heart at all
till your love reached higher than the wall

I smiled at him and he said, “Brick by brick, baby.” And maybe that’s the lesson. This whole love thing we’ve got going on is a process. Maybe it’s an un-building and rebuilding of ourselves.

You know, if Apple ever does figure out how to separate iPods on one computer, I don’t think I’ll sign up for it. Let’s just keep it all mixed up together. It’s better that way.

Friday
Feb112011

The Business of Love

I don't think I have to say anything to anyone about how expensive love can be, right? Those of you who hang out around these parts are, I'm certain, all to familiar with the price tag associated with taking your love and making it all legal and stuff. And erry-body is jumping on that gravy train. I mean, have you seen Google's new entrance into the wedding biz? Just in time for all those Valentine's Day proposals! Think that was a happenstance launch? If you do, perhaps you need to get your naiveté meter checked.

So let's talk about Valentine's Day, since it's right around the corner.

Valentine's Days of Yore for Thirty-Something Bride were generally surrounded by misery. Yes, that's right. Misery.

1985 - Sat in home room on pins and needles while the cheerleaders delivered Valentine's Day cards that students could buy their sweethearts during lunch all the previous week. My sweetheart apparently didn't think I was so sweet. CRUSHED.

1989 - I received a lovely delivery of a dozen roses from my EX-boyfriend, while my current boyfriend was hanging out with me in my dorm room. Not cool. Not cool at all.

1991 - I waited ALL DAY at my sorority house for my long-distance boyfriend's expression of love. He had graduated, had a real job, had money for flowers. When you live with 100 other girls, it's tough to explain, girl after girl, where the flowers are from your LDR BF. "Uh. Maybe he's travelling? I think he has a big presentation today?" I gave up after dinner and went to my room to study, heart-broken. Around 10:30pm that night, I was summoned to the front of the house. My boyfriend had forgotten and at the last minute had sent out one of his younger fraternity brothers to buy and deliver me flowers. The poor pledge showed up with 2 half-dead roses. It was all the poor guy could find. A great last-minute attempt, but I think my heart had already broken into a million different pieces.

After college, I just sort of gave Valentine's Day the big, fat finger and went about my business of being single. It's never been a holiday that was big for me. Growing up, my parents sent each other flowers a few times, I'm sure. I certainly don't recall a big hullabaloo. 

I do remember being at a friend's house in high school and seeing his parents Valentine's Day cards on display on the kitchen table. I recall my friend saying, "Oh, I remember these!" When asked what he meant, he explained how his parents had a few Valentine's Day cards that they kept giving back and forth to each other. They would scratch out the date, write in a new year and "regift" the card. In my youthful idiocy I remember thinking, "How cheap!" Now I think, "How cute!"

In 2007, Forbes magazine put the Valentine's Day industry at $17 BILLION dollars. This year it's estimated to be a paltry $13.5 BILLION. BILLION! That is, my friends, a lot of dough spent on chocolate, flowers, poorly chosen lingerie and over-priced pre-fixe dinners. Just last night, I was sitting watching America Idol (SHUT UP! It's the best TV evah!), and an FTD commercial came on. Back in the late 90's and early 00's I was a product development manager for FTD. I FREAKED OUT when I saw the commercial because I recognized people in it. Looks like budgets are tight everywhere as they're using FTD staff in their commercials.

The florist? Yeah, I know him. He's an actual florist - an amazing one at that. His "helper" is a gal I used to work with back in the day. That little smile the florist gives his assistant at the very end? I'll bet big money he could not keep from cracking up during the shoot. I'd recognize that devious little grin anywhere. A quick email on the Blackberry to my old boss confirmed the identities and I sat for a few minutes watching and rewinding the commercial, amazed that I knew people on the Stupid Box.

For a lot of companies though, Valentine's Day either makes or breaks their year. One thing I'm not going to do is sit here and lecture everyone on how it's a commercialized holiday, it's a made-up holiday for companies to make money, blah, blah, blah. The holiday is here to stay, whether you like it or not. I say keep the economy moving and express how you personally see fit. 

What interesting to me is the history of Saint Valentine's Day. It's shrouded in confusion and legend and is definitely murky at best. You can read about the history of the saints here or just read this little except from the same article regarding the festival surrounding St. Valentine:

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.

The boys then sliced the goat's hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

How about THAT tradition? Let's all slap our loved ones will bloody strips of goat's skin. Sexy! Romantic!

This year, The Candyman and I have jointly decided NO GIFTS. The budget simply will not allow it. The Candyman has been talking about homemade cards of construction paper and dry macaroni. Don't think he'll do it? Need I remind you of The Candyman's anniversary gift to me? That man is not above a little romantic DIY. In fact, it's this kind of act of love that means more to me than flowers or chocolate or jewelry. The Candyman's words of love and praise flow freely and often and are generally amazing. Me? I'm not as forthcoming with the romance. I blame too many years of too much anticipation and expectation quickly followed by disappointment and heart ache. I hardened myself to all that was romance and sweetness and love. I expected nothing so as not to be let down. I scoffed at the ridiculousness of those in love. I got angry when my single friends married, not because I was jealous, but because I thought them weak. I think the anger was simply my own defense mechanism.

The Candyman? Oh, The Candyman was the salve for my self-imposed wounds. During our courtship (and still) he was patient and kind and waited while together, we removed the wall around my heart, brick by brick. He might tell you now that he wishes I might have left a few bricks up. Me? I'm still wandering around, wall-less, trying to figure it all out. Sometimes it's like I'm skipping through a field of daisies in a long, 70's style caftan playing the flute with birds chirping and butterflies dancing around my head in a blurry, yellow-gold of romance. Sometimes I get scared and want the wall back.

Happily, The Candyman reminds me all the damn time why we took the wall down, together.  

P.S. Remember, voting for your favorite couple ends TONIGHT at midnight. At last count, the race is SUPER close, so don't forget to vote for your favorite!

Tuesday
Feb082011

Lip Strength

I had a post all ready in my head for today. It was about how after 3 months of loafing, work-out wise, that I went back to the gym. Finally. It was going to be about how my armpits ache from lifting weights. How my sides are screaming at me from doing side crunches. Shoulder blades from swimming, calf muscles from the elliptical - all aching. And how I had to finally find a gym (the YMCA) because I was getting...mooshy. Not fat. I haven't gained weight. But stuff is shifting and hanging and my clothes feel funny and I HATE when my clothes feel weird. So this post was going to be all about that and what going back to the gym can do to a person's psyche.

But then last night The Candyman and I were snuggling into our bed together and he did something to inspire a different kind of post.

As we snuggled down together in our giant, comfy Bed of Love, I grabbed my latest book assuming The Candyman would put on what he calls his Zsa-Zsa's (what he wears to get to sleep while I read. You can see them here.). Instead, he said he wanted to do some reading too. He reached into the drawer of his nightstand and I couldn't imagine what he was digging around in there for. What was in that drawer anyway? You know what he pulled out? Greeting cards. Yes, that's right, greeting cards. They were old cards that I've given to him over the years for birthdays, Valentine's Day, whatever. He carefully pulled out each card and read whatever sentimental notion I had written him at the time. He was all smiles and cooing (in the most manly of ways, of course) and after we has done reading, he donned his Zsa-Zsa's and snuggled up while I read my book.

And I thought to myself, "This guy is SUCH a keeper." And then I started thinking about whether or not I thought that when we first met.

I definitely knew The Candyman was different. As most of you regular readers know, I totally picked The Candyman up on-line. If you're new to T30SB, you can grab the back-story here. There were moments in that first blind date that were definitely different than other blind dates.

First, The Candyman was a little late for our date, which I know now, is weird. That boy is the epitome of punctual. So, I was waiting for him to get there (with all the anxiety of "is he going to show up" knotted up in my tummy) and I was sitting directly next to the entrance, as that was the only place to sit and wait since the bar was absolutely packed. The Candyman flew into the restaurant and right past me, using his full 6'6" height to scan the restaurant. He was clearly flustered. He wandered into the bar, looking...searching, his head snapping left and right as he made his way through the crowded bar. The whole time I sat rooted to my chair just watching him look for me. There was no intended malice, or any real reason why I didn't stand up and make it easy for him to find me. I just sat and watched with a stupid little grin on my face. Finally, he turned around and found me. He saw me smiling and a slow, easy grin came to his face as he walked, nay sauntered, over to where I was and greeted me for the first time.

After that first date, I didn't see him for several weeks. I'd warned him of this. I had a crazy job. Commitments. Trips to take. People coming in from out of town. "I am a busy girl," I told him over the phone. "My dad is coming in for the weekend so I can't see you again for a while." I figured that a few weeks of waiting after one pretty good date would send him back to Match.com to find a more accessible kind of girl. It had happened many, many times before so I was actually expecting it.  That weekend, as I was driving around town with my dad, my phone rang. It was The Candyman. I thought it odd that he was calling since he knew my Dad was in town. I made small talk in front of my pops and told him I'd call him when I got back home. After I got my dad situated with the remote control and a martini, I bolted up the stairs to call The Candyman. I felt like I was 14 years old again, calling boys while my parents suspiciously eyed me from the other room, pretending not to listen, but totally eavesdropping.  Our conversation was easy and comfortable. The Candyman has a thick North Carolina accent that can be quite soothing at times. I felt soothed. As a rule, Type A personality disorder doesn't include the word "soothing."

In that conversation, The Candyman told me that for our second date, he wanted time with me. He said something along the lines of, "I don't want to meet you at 7 o'clock, just to spend a few hours with you. I want to spend the day with you." Whoa. Really? With me? So that's what we did. I met him early in the afternoon and we went to see an exhibit at The Frist Museum. Then we went out to dinner at The Tin Angel. Then we went to see a band play at The Family Wash. I remember sitting on a bar stool, watching the musicians play. I was getting tired, so I leaned my head on The Candyman's shoulder. It was definitely not a move I'd made before. I wasn't even really conscious that I had done it until The Candyman leaned his head down and murmured, "Mmmmm...tenderness." I snapped my head back up, determined not to show weakness! Tenderness was for the meek and girly and stupid! I would not be those things! NO! I was conflicted. It was an unusual feeling for me.

When we parted ways at our cars late that night, The Candyman planted one on me. And I mean, planted one on me. I can't even find the words to describe how that kiss went. We still joke about that kiss. It was very passionate and came a little bit out of left field. It surprised me; shocked me even. As I was driving home, I kept thinking of the lines from the movie Pretty in Pink:

Iona: Does he have... strong lips?
Andie: How can you tell?
Iona: Did you feel it in your knees?
Andie: I felt it everywhere.
Iona: Strong lips.
Iona: I know I'm old enough to be his mother, but when the Duck laid that kiss on me last night, I swear my thighs just went up in flames! He must practice on melons or something.

When I ask him now why he attacked me with his lips that night, he tells me that he wanted to make sure I knew he was serious. That he liked me. That he really wanted to kiss me a lot more. And now, with time, a wedding, jobs lost and gained, a move to a new state and everything else behind us, I still really like to kiss The Candyman. Whether a fleeting, "I'm going to work now" kind of kiss to the amorous ones that lead elsewhere, I still really like to kiss The Candyman. Wait, did I mention that already? Strong lips, indeed.