Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Heart's True Color

I was pretty disgusted with Love. In fact, we weren't even on speaking terms anymore. Nevertheless, every Friday night I went out anyway, just to socialize a bit and get away from the desk.

This was one of those typical, discouraging Friday nights. It was quite late, and a rather large man had just finished regaling me with talk of his "forty acre spread outside of Dallas." I wasn't sure if he was talking about a ranch or his waistline. Either way, I found an excuse to escape to another part of the nightclub, telling myself that this would at least make good material for a satirical expose' on the dark underbelly of today's dating scene. Like we needed more underbelly.

It wasn't long before another man approached me and out of the blue began to chatter on about the wonderful, loving personality of the common pit bull.

"I was recently attacked by pit bulls," I warned. "They nearly killed my dog."

"You just don't understand them," he countered, not missing a beat, but completely missing my warning signs. Here we go, I thought. He's just as misunderstood as his beloved pit bulls, yet the fault belongs to everyone but him. Maybe they'll eat him in his sleep.

"I think I understood these pits pretty well," I growled. "They had my dog by the jugular." He continued on, oblivious to the disconnect. This guy needed to be in a story. Whether it was in the How NOT to Meet Women handbook, or in a police report after I slugged him for being a complete moron, either way he was destined to be put down on paper.

"Excuse me, are you with him?" A cowboy hat interrupted the pit bull monologue. The hat belonged to the best looking guy in the place, and now he had suddenly turned humble in my presence, his hat tipping forward in a sort of cowboy curtsey. Thinking this might be some sort of set up, I glanced about for a hidden camera. The pit bull lecturer was still jabbering.

"Oh hell, no!" I replied. "I am NOT with him!" The Hat dipped down, his shoulders shaking at my joke. He caught that quip pretty quickly, a sign of wit and smarts. Perhaps all was not lost.

"Would you like to dance?" The Hat asked.

"Where were you an hour ago?" The Hat tipped forward again, laughing. I had known him for all of ten seconds and already I was nagging him. They say sometimes when you meet the right person, you know it right away. We headed for the dance floor.

As we danced, an odd feeling came over me. This was nice. This might work, I thought. That was unexpected and made me a bit dizzy.

Most men I meet spend the bulk of their time building themselves up, to the point where they can't maintain their own lofty image, only to slink off to some cave to escape my wrath. Not the Hat.

"I have a two-year-old," he warned, much like someone would mention owning a sawed-off shotgun. He waited, unblinking, for me to squirm.

"I have two tween boys," I countered, knowing I was outgunned by the two-year-old, but wanting to show force anyway.

"I smoke and drink," his eyes narrowed and one eyebrow went up. Now he was double-dog daring me.

"I......don't," I had him on this one. He smiled.

We were both at the point in our lives where we didn't want to expend one bit of effort on something that didn't have a chance. So we parried and circled each other, throwing out any frightening bits of our lives that might send the other scurrying down the road. Better to know sooner than later, after wasting time and heartbeats. It was tough love in the form of full-frontal truth. And it worked. We've been together ever since.

While I don't recommend blabbing your biggest issues to every possible date you meet, I do suggest losing the fluff, the fibs, the phony. It's such an effort, and it's not worth it. It's just not... you.

I have an idea. That doesn't occur too often, so perhaps you should listen. It's kind of a romantic idea, which is even rarer, so anyway, you've been warned...

Valentine's Day is here. If you've been successful in love, why not plant a heart where you met your sweetheart? Just a red piece of paper, perhaps taped to the very spot you met. You could put your names on it, or the date you met, or a little inspirational note, or something like "On this spot two hearts met." Or nothing at all.

On the flip side, if you met someone, fell in love, and they took your forty acre spread and fed it to their pit bulls, you could place a black heart on the site. In parts of Europe, they have 'Black Spot' areas, featuring little monuments warning drivers that someone died there in an accident. It's an effective, sobering reminder. Why not do the same for misguided love? You could write something like "On this spot, two hearts met, fell in love, and bugged the hell out of each other for 2 years and 238 days." Who knows, it might make the next person think twice.

When you meet your Hat, let me know. Let the world know, and put a red heart on the spot. Love may be blind sometimes, but it doesn't have to be invisible. Give hope to those who are still wading through the fakes and the phonies, and paint the town red. At least for the day.