I received an email from a friend of mine the other day. It read; “Well now I’ve seen everything. John Testa passing advice about love, lust and relationships. Lord help us all!”
The email was all in good jest, but it got me thinking; what makes me such an expert on dating? Here I am, this regular 20-something guy. There’s nothing particularly Hitch-like about me (other than my incredible dancing skills), yet I’ve made a career out of bringing people together. What gives me the right to tell people about the do’s and don’ts of dating? After all, I still catch myself making the same mistakes as everyone else.
Speaking of mistakes, I came across a story I wrote some time ago. I’ve never shown it anyone, but seeing as though I’m a so-called “expert” these days, perhaps it’s time I start swallowing my own advice and leave nothing in the closet. Like most stories, it begins and ends with a girl:
There’s a reason why we keep our distance. Why every hello and goodbye is met with an awkward wave. Why a kiss on the cheek means more than a kiss on the cheek.
There’s a reason why we don’t about the opposite sex. Why the subject mysteriously changes when that part of the night approaches.
There’s a reason why we don’t spend time alone. Why there needs to be someone there, distracting the elephant in the room.
There’s a reason for it all. But somehow, the answer doesn’t matter anymore.
It’s been said that we just don’t recognise the significant moments in our lives as they’re happening. That we grow complacent with ideas, things, or people and take them for granted. It’s only when we’re about to lose something that we realise how much it means to us. How much we love it.
I had a cancer scare earlier this year. Woke up one morning, felt a lump on one of my marbles and freaked out.
I’d seen enough after-school specials to know I couldn’t brush it aside. So I took the day off and went for an ultrasound.
Here I am, lying on the hospital bed, breezy gown and all, ready to be lubed, and all I can think about is this girl. The one who challenges me. The one who captivates me. The one I’d rob a bank for if she asked nicely. There she was, running laps around my mind. Dressed that cute little number she wore on her birthday the year before.
Fellas, here’s a tip: When you realise that the girl of your dreams is in fact the girl of your dreams, the ultrasound room probably isn’t the best place to be. Not while a nurse who could only be described as Meg Ryan circa ‘93 is playing with your jatz-crackers. Luckily, I was able to restrain my Harry from her Sally, and the procedure finished smoothly.
As it turns out, the swelling was just a case of a bad night’s sleep. But that day scared me into making a decision. Was I going to sit back and let this girl slip away? Or, will I put my bruised, bloated balls on the line and make something happen?
I’m not saying she’s the one. That’s going too far. Call me old fashioned, or perhaps an idiot, but in my books, you can only ever be in love with one person.
All I’m after is a date. A chance to sit and talk about something real. An opportunity to tell her how pretty she looks, because she does. Always.
There’s a reason why I thought about her that day. Why I’ve thought about her every day since. And this connection, this friction between us, it means something. It means everything.
For the record, I did own up to my emotions, not long after the story was written, come to think of it. I sat the girl down in the middle of a courtyard, mumbled a few words (which I have since repressed), and waited for a response.
Nothing can prepare you for that moment when, you know what’s coming, but the words haven’t been spoken yet. The girl’s eyes fogged (and not the good kind), and I knew then and there that I had been rejected. What’s worse is that her tears made me feel bad for her! The crying card; it works every time!
The point of the story is not to score pity points. Au contraire, this story is about taking chances. Knowing what I now know, if you’re going to sit there and wait for the girl of your dreams to make the first move, well my friend, you’re in big, big trouble.
Take a chance. Run the risk. Roll the dice. Gamble on life. I’m not saying jump off a bridge without a parachute, but if there’s someone you want to be with, let it be known. Sure, the feeling of rejection may hurt for the next couple weeks, but regret lasts a lifetime. And for you girls, if there’s a guy you’re into, break tradition. Give him the most obvious of hints. Mexican stand-offs are SO 1872.
My bruised balls didn’t work in my favour that time, but that’s not to say they won’t in the future. How do I know? Trust me, I’m an expert.
Have a relationships-based question? Want a man’s perspective?