“I’m really attracted to you, you know?” I sat in the middle of an Italian restaurant, frozen in disbelief at this audacious declaration. I sipped some wine and awkwardly laughed, my cheeks growing redder by the minute. Waiters and waitresses drifted past. I nibbled a tiramisu and drank another glass of rosé. But all I could think was, I’m really attracted to you, too.
On the surface, this sounds like a typical first date: a guy takes you out to dinner and says he finds you attractive; you flirt back and wonder if he’s going to kiss you goodnight; you’re nervous and jittery; you try to be funny while carefully maintaining that mysterious façade that originally peaked his interest.
Except that this wasn’t a typical date, at least for me.: I was actually out to dinner with a woman. And all I thought about the entire time was how badly I wanted to kiss her. Keep reading »
At the beginning of our relationship, my now-wife “Charlotte” came over to my place for the first time and my room was immaculate. The pens and pencils on my desk were organized in straight lines. You could have bounced a quarter off my bed. Even the photos and posters on the wall were a study in flawless geometric alignment.
Charlotte just thought I was a “neat freak” at first, which, honestly, isn’t such a bad characteristic when you start seeing someone. But as time passed, she realized that my neat and clean ways went much deeper than just about being organized. After we moved in together, Charlotte started noticing some odd behaviors. For example, if something isn’t arranged just the way I like it on the desk, my breathing becomes heavy and I have a mini panic attack until the disorganized piles became organized piles. The first time she witnessed this, she thought I was overreacting and told me to “calm down — it’s just a little bit messy.” Yet my mind couldn’t think of anything else but the books that weren’t perfectly aligned, the pile of paper that wasn’t neatly stacked, the odd objects — a pen, a lighter, and some sunglasses — that were strewn about without any care about their placement in relationship to all of the other objects. I couldn’t continue on with my day without organizing that desk. So I sat down and organized it as Charlotte looked on with consternation.
She suddenly knew that she was in a relationship with someone who has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Keep reading »
They say that your life completely changes when you have a baby. That this overwhelming sense of love makes you forget all of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, the temper tantrums and crayon marks on the freshly-painted walls. Many new mothers declare that this is what they were meant to do: bring another life into this world. I suppose this is how I feel, too — except that I’m not a mom yet.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother. I used to create elaborate scenarios with my dolls as my “babies” where I was their doting mother. When I was around 14, I began babysitting for one of the local church’s childcare centers a few Sundays a month; I’d spend a couple of hours watching after babies and toddlers while their parents attended services. I bounced smiling babies on my knees, fed them bottles as they looked up at me with their big eyes, and patted their backs and sang to them as they cried. In college I made extra money by nannying for a family during the summer. I’d travel with them and their three small children, taking care of them practically 24/7. At night I was regularly woken up because of the two-year-old’s nightmares. My alarm clock was the baby wailing for his first morning bottle. But even though they weren’t my kids, I felt that emotional tug deep inside my chest. Children make me feel a peaceful happiness — like you’re living in a world where everything is pure and beautiful. Keep reading »
He was everything a girl could have ever wanted. Smart, handsome, a steady job, well-dressed, and French, Pierre met all of my requirements for boyfriend material. Our relationship — which lasted a little over a year — began when I was studying in Paris during my junior year abroad. I was lonely and depressed from a series of romantic failures and friendships gone awry, and he was getting over a broken heart. We met in a Parisian café on a cold March night and instantly hit it off. It was just like something out of a cheesy romantic comedy.
Except for the fact that Pierre was 30 years older than me. Keep reading »