So I realize that our love story up until this point has been one constant stream of awkward-sauce, but it’s about to become one constant stream of eye rolling, gushy romantic-sauce. So if you’re not the type that loves gushy romance, well then you may as well stop reading our blog altogether. ‘Cuz I’ve done a personality test on our blog and it’s top strengths are ‘swoon’ and ‘love, love, love’.
Jeff and I spent a few weeks after our first date chatting via instant messenger, and since our budding relationship looked like it was going swimmingly, Jeff asked me out on a second date. We made plans to hang out after the homecoming basketball game (our school didn’t have a football team so we celebrated homecoming the week before Thanksgiving with basketball), and as with our first date, Jeff called me the day of to let me know how to dress appropriately. He said that I should wear warm clothes, preferably a coat with a pair of gloves and a hat.
Hmmm…. Such a curious dress code for San Diego…
Since I was in total crush-mode at this point, I was painfully nervous for this date. Just figuring out what to wear took the combined efforts of three of my girlfriends and their entire closets to mix and match an appropriate outfit of gold and green for the homecoming game inside a sweltering old gymnasium and then an adorable cold weather ensemble that I could carry with me and change into. But that wasn’t even the worst part. I was mostly nervous about sitting through the entire basketball game before the date – a game that we both would be watching, but were not attending together. We were going separately with our respective friends, so there was the potential awkwardness of ‘what if we end up sitting close enough in the bleachers to see each other in our small gym but not close enough to justify sitting together? Do I go sit next to him? Do I ignore him? Do I move farther away? Do I wave and then ignore him? Or do I just make eye contact throughout the game? Would that be totally creepy or would it be cute and flirty? I’m sooooooo not the cute and flirty type!! Ugh!’
This whole college thing was turning out to be way more complicated than high school…
When my girlfriends were finally able to dress me so that I didn’t look like a green and gold marshmallow with a thing for beanies, we headed to the game. Folks, I was a WRECK of nerves. I mean, I’m a pretty internal person that can keep a lockdown on my emotions when I need to, but I was busting at the seams with girlish anxiety. I was checking my makeup in every car window we walked by, pulling at my shirt, and constantly fiddling with my bangs. At the time, I was not a stylish girl – at least not by San Diego standards. I could hold my own with my preppy sweaters and Doc Martin boots in farmville Idaho, but I was totally out of my league in Southern California where everyone wore Rainbow sandals and skinny jeans. I had never even seen skinny jeans before. How are they even comfortable?? And now I wanted to impress a San Diego boy?
I felt like the boring tan crayon in the box of tropical colors. And we all know the tan crayon is the first one to get thrown aside and eaten by the cat.
When we got to the game, we had to wait for few more friends outside the gym, so I started nervously shifting my weight from one foot to the other, casually scanning the crowds in a ‘I’m just a really mature and observant individual and totally not freaking’ out kind of way. Pretty soon, Jeff appeared through the crowds with a few of his friends (eek!). My gut turned into a thousand knots, and I made my best effort to ignore my “There he is!!!” girlfriends as he slowly walked up to me, flashed his charming smile, said he was excited to hang out later, twisted my elbow, and walked inside.
Hold up – twisted my elbow?? Yup. He twisted my elbow. You know that little bit of tough skin at the tip of your elbow? He reached over, grabbed it between two fingers, and turned it like a twist tie.
It was so weird.
But here’s the even weirder thing (and perhaps kind of creepy thing – I haven’t decided yet). It actually felt GOOD. Like when a friend walks up behind you and quickly squeezes your shoulders and even that hasty squeeze feels amazing. I felt a wave of soothing tingles run up the back of my arm and suddenly my insides had transformed into a flock of butterflies. Maybe it was the fact that the boy I liked touched my arm or maybe it was the elbow – I’m not sure. All I really know is that I liked it.
When Jeff walked away, I had the urge to turn to my girlfriends and tell them about the crazy weird elbow thing, but I couldn’t do it. I was already self-conscious about being the token ‘farm kid’ of the group, so I was pretty sure the fact that I liked the elbow twist wouldn’t help my ‘believe me guys, I’m actually really cool’ cause. Instead, I let my heart float away as I watched Jeff slip through the gym doors with his buddies, gave him a good head start to find a seat, and chose a spot well out of eyeshot with my friends, wishing the whole time I could be sitting right next to him.
And the funniest thing about this whole story is that Jeff has never done the elbow thing again. It’s actually not one of his mannerisms – it was just a random nervous twitch that sent tingles up my arm and into my crush-stricken heart.
Later that night, we went on our second date, and it was just as magical as the first. In fact, it was where Jeff got the courage to kiss me for the first time. But something like that is gonna need an installment all it’s own.