W and I celebrated the first anniversary of our commitment ceremony today.
Our six-year relationship has been fairly consistent from the get-go. Pretty solid and steadfast with very little drama, which sometimes makes me forget that we’re lesbians.
I’ve been thinking back to our first date.
I arrived way ahead of time. That’s what I do. I am neurotic and anxious and operate by different time rules than the rest of the world. It’s like Middle Age Butch’s Excellent Adventure without the phone booth. Or, 12 Monkeys and a Lesbian.
My usual rule of thumb is to arrive ten minutes early for routine appointments like teeth cleanings and parent-teacher meetings. I allot 20 minutes for outpatient procedures and job interviews. A first date warrants an arrival 30 minutes in advance of the scheduled meeting time.
The extra time allowed me to stake out a strategic spot in the bookstore. I wanted to be able to see W when she walked in the door and have her see me. I didn’t want to have to search her out or have her sneak up on me. Why I was preparing for an ambush of sorts is beyond me as this was just a first date and not a drug deal or Little Bighorn.
I tried out a spot near the front door right by the bargain books. This made me look cheap and anxious. W would learn soon enough that I possess these qualities. But this was way too soon.
Next, I tried out the benches in the fiction section. I sat facing the O’s for Joyce Carol Oates. Too pretentious. Then the B’s for Rita Mae Brown. Too obvious. The S’s for David Sedaris? Too dark.
I moved to the magazine rack. It had a great view of the front door but wasn’t too obvious. And, I could rest one Doc Marten on the bottom part of the rack and look casual.
Now to find just the right magazine to leaf through. Curve. Too cliché. Maxim? Too distracting. I needed to pay attention to the front door while looking like I wasn’t paying attention to the front door. A magazine filled with breasts wouldn’t help me do that. Muscle and Fitness? Too manly. Cosmo? Too girly.
I ended up “reading” some French book review magazine that had an article critiquing Stephen King’s latest work. Look, I’m sophisticated and smart, this choice said, but not pretentious. Yes, I am reading in le francais. But, King is very accessible. I mean what’s more down to earth than cannibalism and burying people alive?
So, I planted myself at the magazine rack and waited. And, waited. Glancing at the front door every 30 seconds or so. So very casually. Oh, who, me? I was just reading le critique.
Finally, W came through the front door. The first thing I remember seeing was her smile. Or, maybe it was her big brown eyes and the way they reflected the light. Or, how time stood still when she entered the store. For just a second.
She didn’t even ask what I was reading.
I think of the voice-over to the lesbian classic Go Fish:
Don’t fear too many things, it’s dangerous.
Don’t say so much, you’ll ruin everything.
Don’t worry yourself into a corner; and just don’t think about it so much.
The girl you’re gonna meet doesn’t look like anyone you know. And when you meet her, your toes might tingle or might suppress a yawn. It’s hard to say.
Don’t box yourself in; don’t leave yourself wide open.
Don’t think about it every second but just don’t let yourself forget. The girl is out there.
My grandmother always said there’s a lid to every pot.
I’m not sure who’s the pot and who’s the lid in our relationship. I have an abnormally small head (think Beaker), so I might be the pot.
Anyway, I found “the girl” that night and I haven’t let go since.