Monday, October 6, 2008

Nothing Says True Love Like Mayonaise and Bacon

A lot of what defines me and has made mewho I am is the relationships I did not have. Yup, that's right, no typo there, the relationships I did not have.

As a young lad I had a tendency to idealize certain people. I had these crushes that I just wouldn't let go of. Most of the time it wasa relationship that never could be, someone attached, a girl that was out of my league, a friend's sister, a foreign head of state... but there I'd be with my crush anyway, an insecure adolescent who in no way, not in a million kazillion years would show his emotions and put himself in a position where he could actually be hurt. No, I'd admire from afar. I'd put them on a pedestal. I'd ignore other romantic possibilities, holding out for that impossible relationship, but neverever never ever doing anything to get the ball a rollin'. I admit that I was somewhere between one of those slightly nerdy guys in a teen romance comedy that eventually charms the girl and the dude that shot president Reagan to impress a woman, but I'd at least like to think I was slightly closer to the first one.

The first in a long line of these pre-failed relationships was with Carrie. She was my friend's sister, as off limits as it gets. Still, you can't control your feelings. Inner-most emotions don't know your buddy finds the mere thought, well, icky. It started innocently enough. I used to write parody songs to go with the hits on the radio. She'd read them and laugh and laugh and laugh; that's a lot of laughing. Some people might have suspected insanity or a gas leak, but me, I read it as true love. The feeling was not mutual, but that didn't stop me.

I continued to write songs... "Tim Tracy," about a friend of ours with anger issues to the tune of AC/DC's TNT. Van Halen's "Panama' became "Malaria," including the insanely romantic lyric, "Burinin'when I urine too." The best (read: most embarrassing in retrospect) was the history of our friendship and all the people around us to the tune of "We Didn't Start the Fire," by Billy Joel. It actually worked surprisingly well as a song, except that I couldn't come up with anything logical or real to replace "Bay of Pigs Invasion" with "May O naise and Bacon." No, it didn't make sense, and my friends called me on it, so I made up this elaborate lie about this dude that came into the burger joint I worked at and ordered mayo/bacon sandwiches. I even swore up and down that Carrie had been there once visiting me when the guy came in. I asked my pal Ray to back me up. He didn't. I had to back track and come up with some sort of "thinking of you makes me think of sandwich spread and pork products thing." The relationship was never the same.

I found out four months (four months of extreme candle burning) later, when I finally worked up the courage to ask her to the Valentine's dance, that she'd been secretly dating (in the way that only high school kids, co-workers, or leaders of the free world can secretly date) one of my best friends the whole while. Nothing says love like awkwardly inappropriate song lyrics.
He's still one of my best friends, I haven't seen her for a decade, but I was romantically altered for eternity.

I was over Carrie, but for a good chunk of high school I dreamed about, and had a very long-term non-relationship with Christine, my next door neighbor. Sure, I only actually spoke to her twice: once at the bus stop freshman the first day of freshman year. She was new. I was new. She asked, in a very friendly, very hot, manner, "Is anyone else here new?" Already smitten, I began a beautiful non-relationshipwith a meekly muttered, "me."

Sure, like any relationship, ours was rocky at times, there were highs and there were lows. The highs being the bus stop encounter, the lows being the subsequent four years during which we never spoke. But, fate stepped in. At the senior picnic, a water fight between the students and the teachers broke out. My counsellor, Mr. Keller, was hiding behind a tree. Christine was kind enough to point him out to me, shouting, "Mike, behind the tree."

Be still my heart, there was pointing too, yes, our relationship had advanced to the pointing point in just four short years. "Uh...eruhodeusdsickh," I shouted as I dumped a bucket of water on Mr. K, relieved that I finally got that off my chest.

Nothing says love like incoherent mutterings and an angry school dean.

My relationship with Christine ended that day. I saw her in the neighborhood once or twice that summer, but once she left for college, I never laid eyes on her again.

When I got to college, I developed a crush on Gina. Gina lived on my floor, right across the hall. Throughout the year, my feelings for her grew. She was amazing, the only flaw being one of those soul crushing "boyfriends back home." I didn't care. She was worth waiting for. I never made my feelings known, but I hung around her like a vulture waiting for little bits of roadkill (only she was quite a bit more attractive that roadkill). It didn't help things that her boyfriend was an ass. Frequent almost break-ups occurred, but it was never enough for me to make a move. We became really close friends, she often bounced boyfriend ideas off me, kind of like those little poisonous blow gun darts bounce of human flesh. It was fun, in the same kinda way that the poison and the darts and the bouncing from the flesh would be fun.

My roommate, fully aware of my predicament, suggested a heavy night of college binge drinking. "Emotions get high, inhibitions get low. Nothing erases an idiot boyfriend from a chick's memory like cheap beer. It's perfect," Ted swore to me.

I took his advice, he shooed everyone else out of the way for a night and the chugging commenced. I almost got up the courage to tell her how I felt. I swear, it was right there, almost perfect, but then... well, let's just say that nothing quite says love like dual upchucks.

Gina and I "broke up" when we both transferred schools the next fall.

At my new school, I met Sharon. She was the perfect girl to not have a relationship with. I worked backstage on the plays, she was a singer/actress. How not perfect is that? She asked me to help her with a play was directing for a class. I asked her to act in my play the next year. That was the extent of it. I never had the balls to figure out if there could be more. Two years later (yes, I know it's sudden), I made my move. I sent her flowers after a performance, that would have been a pretty good way to see if there were any feelings, except that I decided against signing my name and turned a nice gesture into just-on-this-side-of-creepy.

Nothing says true love like stalkerish tendencies.

After college I floundered around a bit. I still wanted to live the college lifestyle, only with a degree and no classes (read: Mike was a slacker fully prepared to out slack all slackers that had come before him). I kept working as a bartender and waiter, claiming that the poverty lifestyle would force me to work on my writing, force me to work for a better life, keep me wanting more. It also forced me to live in a dump and eat Hot Pockets and macaroni and cheese a lot.

While working at this little Italian joint, I met Toni. She had everything I didn't. Courage, an outgoing nature, spirit, vim and vigor (I have no idea what vigor or vim are, but somehow I knew they were good and Toni had them). What more could I ask for?

We became work friends, then sometimes outside of work friends, then really real friends. I actually made a move; I thought there could be something more, so I invited her to a party. That "something more" I was hoping for turned out to be the long-term boyfriend she brought along to the shin-dig, but had failed to ever mention before that night.

Nothing says true love like crying into your microwave meat filled pastry.

They say that fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce, and sincethe other fifty end even worse (no one seems to ever mention the part about the death and the 'til we parting), so I figure my non-relationships were much healthier choices. No one got hurt. No one got dead. And, best of all, no lawyers got rich.

It all worked out in the end though, eventually I grew up (and grew a pair). I met an amazing woman who showed me that I could love morethan I ever imagined a man could love. And, this one actually acknowledged my existence to boot. I went ahead and married her.

The only snafu, I couldn't convince her to play the May O naise and Bacon song at the wedding. Nothing says true love like being okay with that.

Throw a vote at true love at


Da Old Man said...

Very funny post. This line especially cracked me up "She was the perfect girl to not have a relationship with."

Lauren said...

I found you through da old man's blogcatalog page. You are hysterical! Just hysterical!

PlainOleMike said...

Thanks for laughing at my pain Joe. And Lauren, welcome to my brain, thanks for the kind words.

Preston said...

Great post. Love your writing style. Perhaps you should have tried peanut butter and bacon. Everybody loves peanut butter and bacon!

dadthedude said...

Plain o Mike - you and I are kindered spirits... now let me say that like the dude I'am.... dude, that shit rocked.

I too was SO much more comfortable with those relationships from afar. I've been thinking about posting the time I didn't get my first kiss cause I was way to shy to simply walk over there.

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