By: Christina Harlin
On June 27, 2008, my husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and the 19th anniversary of our first date. Today’s blog is in tribute to him because he’s my big sweetie. I met Bruce in 1989. We both worked in our college textbook department. We were assigned together on an inventory project and we clicked immediately. I was a sucker for those dark bedroom eyes. I was so interested in talking to this funny, cute guy that I made several mistakes while working and it took us twice as long to complete the project as it should have. Duly noted: crushes are bad for the workplace. Real-life romance isn’t the same as it is in the idealized world of romance novels. In some ways it’s a lot simpler (for example, it seldom occurs in the middle of a murder mystery or a heist) but in other ways it’s a lot more complex, because none of us have the beneficial guiding hand of a narrator.
I must have been sending out some powerful ice-queen vibes because Bruce, who later confessed that he really wanted to ask me out, refrained from doing so for fear of rejection. Here is a short dramatization of poor Bruce trying to crack through my cold exterior:
Christina: I see that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is playing at the theater.
Bruce: Yes, it is.
Christina: Have you seen it yet?
Bruce: No, I haven’t.
Christina: I haven’t, either. I love Indiana Jones movies.
Bruce: Oh, really?
Christina: I am really looking forward to seeing it.
Christina: But I’d like for someone to go see it with me.
Christina: So I don’t have to go alone.
Christina: I’d hate to go see it alone. My roommate doesn’t really like adventure movies.
Bruce: Oh, really?
Christina: So . . . I wonder if I’ll go see it, sometime soon.
Christina: If someone would go with me.
Christina: Is my bludgeoning you over the head with this mallet painful? Should I bludgeon harder?
Men. Though I have paraphrased a bit, that mini-play was an actual conversation that we had. I had never so blatantly and obviously pummeled someone with hints in my life. When I told him about this conversation from my perspective, much later, he admitted that he never picked up on the fact that I was inviting him to ask me out. But we can’t hold Bruce entirely to blame for this. The logical next line for Christina, rather than mallet-bashing (which I admit is the one fictional construct in the mini-play) would have been, “For crying out loud, let’s just go see the movie together.” At the age of twenty, I guess I just wasn’t that practical. Luckily, Bruce and I somehow surmounted our communication barrier, and got around to someone asking someone out. Obviously I don't remember how we managed it because it's more fun to tease Bruce about the first try.
(Little sneak preview here: Next time my turn rolls around, I’m going to let romantic-advice-columnist Eustacia take the blog again. Since her first blog, she has received several letters from romantic heroines in desperate need of her services, and I fear the consequences if these poor women don’t get some help soon.)