I may wear dresses and like to curl my hair, but as far as inward emotions are concerned, I'm so not a girly girl that it might be safe for you to just think of me as a guy. I like football and fast cars and when it comes to girl drama I wish I could take the route of a man: Throw a few punches, take out your aggression and be done with it. None of that catty crap, please and thank you. But, the one thing that always brings my girly side out, is love stories.
I love hearing how people met. I love when someone marries their High School sweetie (though thank God I didn't marry mine). I just love, love. Nick and I's love story is not your typical one. Maybe not even a romantic one. Actually, it's much like our interaction on a daily basis, goofy with a ting of awkward.
After calling it quits with my ex for about the 50th time (don't look back ladies. It's a vicious cycle.) I completely swore off men. Love had not been kind to me. It told me mean things, it lied to me, broke my heart into a thousand pieces and then made me out to be a horrible human being when I finally stove up for myself and left. And then at the tender but well seasoned age of 22, my mom told me my parents were separating after 20 some odd years of marriage. But that's another story. My theory on life became to love myself and have my own dreams before incorporating anyone else. Sure, I went on dates, heck, I even liked a few guys! But for the most part, if things got even slightly committed, I bolted. In a final attempt to get away from the toxic ex and into the arms of my grand dreams of being a museum director, I began the move away from Daytona and onto the bright lights in the big city of Orlando.
Now let's backtrack a little bit. At the same time I was with Senior Toxic, Nick was dating a guitar strumming lady with the heart of a gypsy. She wrote him love songs, stole his heart, then got uncomfortable with being comfortable and left. I can't say how this made him feel. That's not my love story to tell. But, at the risk of sounding incredibly selfish: I'm glad it happened. Because, about 6 months after this happened, the little heart broken boy joined an online dating website around the same time as the recently embittered girl. Yup. Bet you never thought we were THAT couple, did you!?
Online dating success story tip: a lot of online dating services work on a rating system of how compatible you and your matches are. While I'm sure these are worth a second thought sometimes, don't make a high compatibility percentage your final deciding factor. Nick and I were only 67%. One of the worst first dates I have ever been on was with a 94%. You do the math.
One evening I received a message on said website that simple said:
Too familiar for me not to message you.
Jul 7, 2009 – 3:47am
I of course was offended because I knew exactly where he knew me from. He was a year ahead of me in the same photography program while we both lived in Daytona. I thought he was dreamy, he had now made it PAINFULLY obvious he had never even noticed me. I toyed with the delete key and the thought of just ignoring him completely before deciding on what I thought was a snide response.
Jul 7, 2009 – 12:59pm
I do believe we went to school together. I graduated the DSC photo program last year
I'm obviously either not very good at snide or he wasn't very good at taking a hint and messaged me back… again. And I did the same.
Finally, one night the inevitable happened... I got drunk and gave him my phone number.
What were you thinking, Annika!?
This boys reputation greatly preceded him in his time in the tiny beach side city with nothing better to do than gossip and I wasn't sure if he was a complete playboy or gay. Either way, I just wasn't having it. I had enough gay bff's to last me a lifetime and had no interest in wasting my time on a male trollop. So he texted and I ignored. He invited me out and I made up excuses not to go. This cycle continued and lucky for me the broken hearted boy persisted in trying to woo the love bitterer girl. One evening however, my excuses became a bit too specific.
The conversation started out normal enough,
"Hey! What are you up to tonight? You should come downtown with some friends and I! ;-)"
Stupid winky faces. Who did this boy think I was?!
"Sorry, I have a friends in town and we are out at Cantina! Another night maybe?"
Note giving the name of the bar we were at.
"Oh really? Well we are at i-bar so I'll see you in 10 minutes! :-)"
Wait. Did he say i-bar? As in… the bar across the street from the one we're at? Shit. I panicked. As luck (or fate) would have it, I was dressed to the nines on the night I met the love of my life and it was actually the first time I had ever been stood up. Yup. I should have had another boy on my arm that night and I was NOT in the mood to play unenthusiastic footsie with a guy I wasn't even interested in. I tried to get my friends to leave and go to another bar with me and failed. Enter, three totally hipstered out boys moving through the crowd of drunks as if on a mission from god. They bought my girlfriends and I drinks, they charmed, they took cheesy bar pictures with us and we danced the night away. And when they left, I received endless crap from my friends for being so hesitant of these super fun guys that had graced us with their presence.
I still wasn't convinced though. He was too cute and too nice and in my experience, what seemed too good to be true, probably was. But, by this time I had officially moved into my tiny apartment in Orlando and the girls I had planned to move with had yet to join me. So after spending too many nights alone in a barren 3 bedroom apartment in what had seemed to be an ok neighborhood (mental note, when moving do a drive by of how the neighborhood is at night next time) I was desperate for any sort of human interaction. One evening Nick messaged me yet again to see if I was interested in being shown around my new city and for once, he didn't get turned down. The way he presented this didn't seem like a date at all. It seemed like he was just being nice and based on how he carried himself and dressed the one night we had hung out before, I was leaning more towards gay than true playboy.