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Your Father Isn’t…Ethan

12 Oct

For Valentine’s Day, I decide I’m going to wow Ethan. I’m always good at the cutesy romantic stuff; I once left conversation hearts in every place my then-boyfriend would touch getting ready in the morning until he came upon a big I ❤ U on his kitchen counter. I know, I’m adorbs.

Ethan just got rid of a huge pile of old nerdy tshirts and oh, it pained him to give them up. It pained him so much that he went through the box one by one, telling me how he got each shirt, some memory attached to it, and often what the heck it meant/why it was “funny.”

So I’m beyond excited to order him a new nerdy Game of Thrones themed tshirt, since we’ve bonded over the books and the show. I even throw in a Stark direwolf mug for good measure. I wrap it up in the cheesiest Valentine’s Day paper possible (to lower his expectations) and head to his house for dinner feeling quite proud of myself.

Ethan opens the door and immediately scoops me up into a huge hug and kiss. I nearly drop his gift but thankfully I regain my senses in time. Of course, as I do, I’m overwhelmed by the most delicious smell, which turns out to be homemade chicken marsala, bowtie pasta, and a salad (which doesn’t really smell but must be included). The kitchen is dim though… it turns out he has spread candles over every surface of his kitchen, giving the entire room a soft, flickering glow. Combined with the aromas and the food, well, it’s heavenly.

It’s so magical I can almost ignore his roommate making himself pancakes while we eat dinner.

It is far and away my second best Valentine’s Day ever (the first was with girlfriends in high school, eating nothing but sweets and watching the Notebook in pjs, which of course cannot be beat). Best for a boy though.

Definitely best for a boy.


Kids, Valentine’s Day gets so over-hyped. Try to remember what matters and it will always be special.

As for Ethan, he’s a wonderful guy but he’s not your father. Seven months and a day after Valentine’s Day, we broke up for good and I wish I had a better explanation than “it didn’t work out.”  As usual, How I Met Your Mother summed it up best, although they did so in most-likely-fictional-but-maybe-not-because-it’s-German terms I cannot spell: Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz* and Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand*. The first  roughly translates to “life long treasure of destiny,” while the second refers to “the thing that is almost what you desire, but not quite.” Ethan is, I’m sorry to say, the latter.

*Translation and spelling from How I Met Your Mother episode “Farhampton” and a sketchy fan website respectively. Please don’t judge my German. In unrelated news, I bought myself a yellow umbrella.


Your Father Could Still Be… Ethan

9 Oct

At this point in a new relationship, it’s time to meet each other’s people. First up is dinner with Ethan’s roommate, which takes place at a nearby Chinese restaurant. I’ve briefly met Frederick before, but I’m still a little bit nervous. Frederick’s sharp wit and daunting intellect have me on edge but he remains indifferent as he blatantly sizes me up. (Like that, Frederick?)

The guys are actively debating some technical topic that is outside my realm of understanding, and further outside my realm of caring, so I stay fairly quiet through dinner. That is, except for one key moment, that changes everything.

Our food arrives and Ethan’s plate is significantly larger than Frederick’s. Ethan waves a chopstick at Frederick and exclaims,

“See? Size DOES matter.”

Without even looking up from my food, I gently rub Ethan’s back and say,

“No, it doesn’t sweetie.”

Frederick nearly chokes. After a few minutes of laughter (and a quick check that Ethan’s not upset), I wipe tears from my eyes while Frederick slides from his side of the booth. He’s suddenly serious, although I still can’t stifle my giggles, and he motions for Ethan to stand up next to him. I expect something to happen between them, so I’m surprised when Frederick slides into the booth next to me and gives me a hug, saying, “I rarely do this.”

Frederick then returns to his seat and resumes conversation as normal, but I at least know I have won him over.


Kids, a person’s close friends will tell you more about them than anything they can tell you about themselves. I found an ally and friend in Frederick, which was good because we’d end up spending a lot of time together over the coming months.

Your Father Could Be… Ethan

27 Sep

After that second date, things have taken off with Ethan. We talk throughout most of each day and see each other nearly as often. Insert happy relationship montage here. Everything is rainbows and butterflies and giggles and kisses and… ok, even I’m feeling a little sick from all that. Still, that’s what it’s like. There are even a few times that I think, “Geez, I hate couples like us.”

Six weeks after that should-have-been-awful first date, Ethan looks deep into my eyes and says the words every girl longs to hear (and I honestly doubted I would ever hear from him)…

“So…we should put this on Facebook?”

Only, it doesn’t really come out as a question, so I do the only reasonable thing to do: I laugh in his face.

I don’t mean to do it, but the situation is just so absurd… so 21st century and yet also so middle school, that I just don’t know what else to do. Ethan changes the subject, but I’m still chuckling.

It takes me a good ten minutes to realize that I never actually gave him an answer. “Of course!” I say, with an added apology.
We spend the rest of the night fielding texts and comments from people we barely know interrupting our date time, but it’s ok because I smile each time I tell someone about my boyfriend.


Kids, I worry for you. If this is what I’m dealing with, well, you’re in for weird relationship milestones.

Your Father Isn’t… Kevin

17 Nov

When Kevin and I finally make plans for our third date, I’m excited but wary since I can’t handle another crazed cycle of waiting, moving on, waiting, and moving on. I’m not good at either of those things at the best of times.  Even so, I can’t help getting all giggly.

We’ve made plans for dinner and a movie on Friday, but on Thursday disaster strikes. Its name is Comcast. The cable in my apartment decides it’s about sick of us and calls it quits, but of course Comcast has nothing open for three weeks… except one cancellation for Friday afternoon between 3pm and 8pm. Surprisingly, the operator doesn’t give a damn that I’ve waited three weeks for this date. Sophie’s choice: Kevin or cable. Whatever I choose, it’ll be three weeks until I see the other.

Anyone who knows me should know how I’d handle a situation like this. Whenever anyone tries to force me to do one thing, I’ll do the opposite. Try to force me to choose between two options, I’ll find a third. Just on principle.

I beat the devil at his game by inviting Kevin to watch a movie at my place (the DVD player still likes us) before going out to dinner once one of my roommates get home. Evil incarnate Comcast admits defeat and shows up promptly at five, but Kevin and I opt to stay in anyway. After four hours, two movies (one good, one not so much), one medium pizza and a bottle of wine, Kevin finally kisses me. I’m so over the moon about the entire evening that I muster the courage to tell him that three weeks between dates is way too long.

As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I panic. That sounds so needy, so demanding! He’s a slow and steady kind of guy and there’s a very good chance I just blew it.

Kevin looks at me in the dark of my living room and says slowly, “What are you doing tomorrow?”

Well that pretty much convinces me that everything is solved and we’re ready to move forward. We’re past the three dates and into the realm of dating.

Within a few weeks, we go on a handful more dates, including a baseball game with my friends. I even meet his mom, although informally as we stop by to pick up a few things from her house.

Even so, each date still feels like one of the first dates and Kevin’s schedule isn’t getting any easier. I find myself secretly hoping his lacrosse team will get knocked from the playoffs so he’ll actually have some free time. Then I feel incredibly guilty and unsupportive for thinking such awful thoughts. And I wonder why I’m single?

His team does lose in the second round of the playoffs, which doesn’t make me happy at all since I figure I’m karmically responsible. And even then, our schedules don’t quite match up.

After an early dinner and movie one Friday (7pm movie… 5pm dinner), Kevin drops me off at home. As I get in bed at 9pm on a Friday, too ashamed to call the friends I turned down because I had a “hot date,” I start to realize the perils of the all-American good guy with his life together: there isn’t much room for a girlfriend.

I text Kevin that night, indulging in a little melodrama, to ask if he thinks this is actually going anywhere. In true Kevin fashion, he doesn’t answer until around noon the next day, at which point I’ve already punched out my frustrations in boxing and eaten my feelings at brunch.

Kevin agrees that things aren’t really taking off, but that he does enjoy spending time together. It takes all my willpower to reply, “Since we’re on the same page, let’s just leave it at that.” I’m still proud of myself for that one.


Kids, perfect on paper is so rarely perfect. Exhibit A: Kevin is not your father (although I’d be open to revisiting the matter if it ever came up again).