Tag Archives: dating

Always The Friend, Never The Girl

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I didn’t date for most of my college existence. But I had lots and lots of guy friends.

It usually went like this:

“Hey, your nice. Can I sit by you?”
“You just used the wrong you’re.”
“But I’m talking, not writing. How did you know?”
“It’s my superpower.”

Wait. It went more like this:

“Hey, you’re nice. Can I sit by you?”
“Sure.”
“Great. Can I look at your notes? I was busy and missed class.”
“Ummmmm. What were you doing?”
“Helping orphans. Or taking a cute girl to Billingsley for coffee.”
“Not today. Try getting to class. There are cute girls here, too.”
“Where?”

Most of my college life was The Friend. The one he sat with in class, chose for group projects, had inside jokes with, and asked for opinions on anything with a heartbeat and an exposed midriff. Why did I put up with it? I would rather be a friend than completely ignored. Didn’t realize how messed up that was at the time, but we rarely understand these things at 19.

One friend needed someone to go watch basketball. I didn’t really care for the game, but it was better than studying what I was already going to get a perfect score on come test time.

“Will you go to the Lions game with me? As friends, of course. We’re totally just friends. Nothing else.”
“Sure.”
“Cool. I need to go home first to change. Ride along?”
“Who else will be there?”
“Ummm, does it matter? Nothing would ever happen between us. Like never.”
“I’ll stay in the car if your mom isn’t home.”
“Cool. But it doesn’t matter.”

“Mom, this is Lyndse. We’re just friends.”
“Oh, she’s lovely.”
“What? No, we’re just friends.”

“Hey, guys! This is my friend, Lyndse. We’re just friends.”

After telling 14 different groups of people at the game that we were just friends, I introduced myself to the fifteenth group.

“Hi, I’m Lyndse! I’m K’s fiance!”
And showed them my purity ring. Which was a cathedral set solitaire.

My night was made. As I silently chuckled and witnessed this kid, bright red and choking on his own amazing cologne, I felt power. If they didn’t love me, they would at least know I was there. Standing out among girls as the witty one. Funny. Slightly obnoxious, but not crossing the line.

I started using my sarcasm with all my guy friends. It made it a lot easier. I felt less undateable and more like I was calling the shots. I used the fiance line with a few other friends. Got the same results each time. Because nothing scares a Freshman Flirt more than commitment. Even when it’s a joke.

I spent many semesters being the sarcastic, smart friend-who-is-a-girl. I didn’t get to date any of the boys, but they still bought me lunch and carried my backpack and made sure my car started in the winter. There were perks to not being the girl who gets the guy.

But then I finally dated someone, because he wanted to introduce me to his friends as his girlfriend. He was a gentleman. He was kind. He didn’t lead girls on or chase every fake blonde. Things didn’t work out with him, but the few months we dated were fantastic. I was the object of his affection.

As a woman in her thirties, I look back and wonder how I became such a magnet for guys who wanted a girl, but didn’t want the work of a relationship. I was like a G-rated prostitute. Hanging out with a guy who didn’t love me, because I could make him laugh. And he would bring me snacks as payment. I obviously taught them how to treat me. But how did they know to even try in the first place?

Most of them are now married to dropdead gorgeous women. They have adorably perfect kids in boutique clothing. And dogs that could be in that dog show on Thanksgiving Day. And don’t get me started on their homes. It’s like an episode of House Hunters.

Maybe I secretly thought if I was around long enough, I would move from the friend column to the girl column to the dropdead gorgeous wife column. Maybe I just liked having someone sit by me everyday and bring me food. Who knows.

What I do know, is that I ended up marrying a guy who loves literature. Always brews my coffee. Never fails to introduce me as his wife, especially when he’s left his wedding ring in one of three places while working on the house. He isn’t scared by yoga pants, laundry piles, kids in clearance finds, and brushing the teeth of a piranha disguised as a beautiful soon to be four-year-old. And he cooks and grocery shops and bleaches bathrooms. Loves me everyday, even when life is messy.

Twelve years ago, I somehow got the boyfriend I didn’t think I deserved and didn’t realize I needed. He took me on real dates. Genuinely laughed at my jokes. And helped me heal from being the study buddy to a lot of insecure and immature college guys. Who were still somehow sweet and charming. It’s like they all learned from the same textbook.

Dave was my Junior year miracle. So unbelievably corny. But true. And the best part…he didn’t care about basketball.

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Yeah I Saw Sparks

It’s so cliche, but I fell in love with Dave’s eyes the first moment I saw them. He walked into an ice cream shop and I turned to my best friend and whispered, “He is so sexy. I see Jesus in his eyes.” Then Dave sat down across from us. I blushed. We talked for almost 5 hours.

And that night, I told my mom I wanted to marry him.

A few years later, we were Mr & Mrs David Ballew. Alex, who had introduced us, was our best man. My sister was my maid of honor. Dave and I danced to a Coldplay song with twinkle lights all around the room. And he touched my leg for the first time when he removed my garter. His eyes were twinkling brighter than those lights, and I couldn’t stop looking into them.

And I haven’t ever stopped.

I promise I get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when he looks at me. While he’s making dinner. Or making a bottle. Or making a Lego helicopter. His eyes have seen grief and joy and test results and I still get lost in them. They are my safe place. But also where I find so much excitement in myself.

It sometimes takes my breath away for a moment when I think back on that day. When I least expected to meet the person I would never want to be away from. And I didn’t want to leave him. Then, I got into Alex’s car and remembered I was dating someone. A really nice guy from my university. So sweet. And a great friend.

Dave just wanted to be friends, but there was no way I could continue dating someone else. I broke up with a perfectly wonderful guy, for one who wasn’t that interested in me. “I met someone else. He doesn’t actually want to date me, but I can’t date you when I’m in love with him. That seems like a horrible thing to do.”

My mom had always teased that ‘you never know when you’ll meet your husband’…which was her line every time I tried to run an errand in baggy yoga pants. But she was right, as most moms are. I didn’t wake up that June Wednesday thinking I would meet my future lover. Over strawberry ice cream.

And I didn’t think I would love him before he loved me. It just happened that way. And I waited and waited for him to either fall in love with me or just fall in love with someone else. Even though the thought of him marrying anyone other than me caused tears so many nights.

There are times when I forget that I’m a mom with three kids and a mortgage and junk mail to sift through everyday. And I just think back to our first kiss.

I don’t share the details very often, because it’s one of the most intimate and gorgeous nights of my life. Months before, he had already told me he wouldn’t kiss me until he knew he wanted to marry me. So when his voice said, “May I kiss you?” his eyes said, “I want to marry you someday.”

This month is the anniversary of our first date. And the anniversary of when he asked me to be his bride. One year apart. We went through four seasons together before he was in front of me with that ring box. And that’s another story I don’t share very often, but I just might if pressed.

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