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In late January 2010, I was working at my campus library and had recently sworn off dating. No, really, stay with me here: I. Was. Done. All I wanted to focus on that spring semester was my writing and my future, neither of which needed a distraction like boys. If I got lonely, that’s what Lloyd Dobler of “Say Anything” was for; to make my heart swell, if need be. That, of course, was when I first saw him.
Because of course that’s when he had to show up.
As any tale of love goes, after seeing this dark-haired, bespectacled boy put away books, I began the stalkage of asking around for his name. When said name was acquired, Sean, graced with the gift of Facebook, I then friend requested him.
I had become both Lloyd and Diane: I didn’t have time for a social life, but I wanted to be friends…with potential. Anytime we were around each other at the library I would always find something to say to him:
“I like your shirt!”
“Clayton showed me this video you made; wow, you’re just like, so talented.”
“Can you believe they’re going to move the periodicals to the basement? Sure, it’s 2010, but some people still read newspapers from the ‘80’s, you know? For research? What if I want to know Kansas City Stars’ review of Say Anything, where else could I find that, amiright?”
Each time he responded with wide eyes and complete terror, probably wondering why this strange girl was bothering him.
What a prince.
Luckily for me, it only took two weeks of annoyance before we actually began talking and getting to know each other. This turned into a crazy first date of me being the Mama Bear to Drunk Ducklings and him entering a creepy white van full of strangers (not much different from the Graduation Party Lloyd and Diane attend for their first date, including the overprotective friends), which followed by a second date of me sitting uncomfortably in a basement apartment with a bunch of strange dudes watching a horrific movie called “Cannibal Holocaust” and wondering if this was something I really wanted to get myself into. (Really, what is any tale of love without a few unexpected adventures?) A few more dates, all closer to “normal” than the first occurrences, and before we knew it, it was Valentine’s Day.
The first Valentine’s Day, especially when you’re not “exclusive,” is a rough time of confusion for both parties involved. We agreed to just do dinner and a movie at his apartment, very low-key, nothing too crazy, but it didn’t stop me from freaking out all weekend over what to really do.
Should I get him something?
We weren’t a couple, not really, and I had been the one to instigate that — I may have given up the “No Dating” rule, but a relationship seemed like a lot of work in comparison.
It’s not like I could give him a pen.
So about an hour before I was supposed to be at his place I made a quick mixtape of songs I was currently obsessed with, burned it onto a CD I decorated with a Sharpie, then, right as I was heading out the door, I grabbed a post-it and wrote “Wanna be my boyfriend or something?” and stuck it in the case behind the CD.
It felt very romantic, and if he said no, then whatever. Chocolate would be 75% off the next day.
When I got to his apartment, I was presented with an array of romance, Rachel-style: there was a bear holding a rose, so cheesetastic and glorious; a goodie bag that featured heart-shaped Reese’s, a Batman & Robin comic book, a small cup in reference to The Cup that my close friends are always teasing me about , and an array of Hershey’s Kisses. He made chicken and vegetables and we ate them while watching Forensic Files, my all-time favorite show. It was about as domestic as it gets, and I couldn’t think of anything better for a first Valentine’s Day together.
Then the bastard brought out homemade York Peppermint Patty cupcakes, and it was like I had no choice in the matter. I gave him the damn CD, his smile took up his entire face, and the next morning we woke up to about 200-plus likes notifications:
Rachel Fair and Sean Callahan are In a Relationship.
Five years later, “In a Relationship” has evolved into “Married.” I think Lloyd Dobler would be proud.