When it comes to boyfriends, I have never gone for the sentimental type. Maybe it’s because my dad is the sort of guy who likes to sit in the backyard and throw knives at trees. Maybe it’s because I’m not so great at talking about feelings myself. Whatever the reason is, I’ve always had boyfriends that appreciated my ability to chug beer and refer to my breasts as “fun bags.” I prided myself on being above all of that romantic mush, but it turned out, I wasn’t. Because when a guy did show up and started telling me about his feelings right away, I was charmed. What I should have been was suspicious. At first glance, he seemed to fit right in with the sort of guys I normally like. During our first outing he grabbed my leg under the table with one hand and devoured a giant burrito with the other. He wore massive amounts of Axe body spray. He played in a band, and complimented my ass. So I was taken by surprise when, a few dates in, he took my hand over Indian food and said, “I think I’m in love. How long do you think we have to date before I can marry you?”
He had actually done it. He said “I love you” right away. I was surprised, and then delighted. From there we quickly, (within a week), started sending sappy text messages, and writing adoring notes. “He’s so romantic,” I gushed to my friends, “He’s already given me a nickname!” Who cared that the nickname didn’t really have much to do with me. He told me how much he adored me. He wanted to meet my parents. I found myself swept along, never once questioning it, him, or how I could have found a soul mate in a week and a half.
But almost as quickly as we were professing our undying love, we were fighting. Mostly he seemed to have a problem with what I considered to be my most basic personality traits. “Why are you so competitive?” he complained one day after I screamed curse words at my baseball team from his couch. Then, another time, “you’re always trying to be funny.” For someone so into me, this guy seemed to lack a pretty basic knowledge of, well, me. How could someone so crazy about me a few months ago find my preference for rap music so crazy now?
It turns out I had been too busy writing love sonnets to notice what my friends later informed me was a giant red flag. Across the board, it was the same story. Any guy who declares his love for you right away was one to watch out for. They turn out to be flakes, or cheaters, or just plain nuts. What my friends knew, and I learned, was that someone that can fall in love that quickly is just as quick to fall out, or fall in love with someone else. They are most likely falling in love with love, not you.
Now when I first start dating a guy, I keep an ever vigilant ear out for those three little words. At their most harmless, they are just the result of over-enthusiasm, but they’re still a dealbreaker. Two dates in, if any guy starts talking about what our children will look like, I cut him off and ask for the check. And if I really like him, and he stares into my eyes and starts out, “maybe it’s too soon to say this, but…” I’m not afraid to put a finger to his lips and tell him to shut up.