I love my friends. That’s why I can’t really write about the night I met Lauren in full, explicit detail. Doing so might make a lot of my friends laugh, while some of them might remain indifferent. One of them, though, might get hurt, and that’s something I definitely want to avoid. If you want the complete story, you’ll have to ask me in person. Thankfully, though, that particular section of the night Lauren and I first caught each others’ eyes happened in the beginning, and waaaaay before all the mushy stuff. Without further ado, here’s my I-really-love-this-story-and-I-wanna-share-it-to-the-world-but-I-can’t-without-potentially-losing-a-friend-so-here’s-the-best-I-can-do account of that evening:
I was on the road with a bunch of my college friends, and we were on the way to Cantina at Katipunan. My friend JC got word of some late-night escapades in the area that somehow involved Paula, Rica, Kimi, some other Psych people that I’ve embarrassingly forgotten were there, and oodles and oodles of alcohol. More than anything, it was the oodles and oodles of alcohol that beckoned me.
Pardon the really bad chronology for now, but we’ll need about three flashbacks to paint the picture of that car ride right. The first flashback happened months ago, when my ex dumped me in August. Shortly thereafter, my manager in my former office decided to pounce on the opportunity to take her crush on me to the next level (why she crushed on me, I’ll never know). The days and weeks and months that followed were a harrowing ordeal that involved a lot of inappropriate touching, Miley Cyrus songs, and The One Cup of Pudding I Would NEVER EVER Eat.
The second flashback takes me back to one extremely slow day at the office. My mind started to wander out of sheer boredom, and I found myself realizing that I *needed* someone to love. I couldn’t quite explain it at the time, but I think I’m one of those people who genuinely feel an incredible amount of emotion, and without someone or something to share that emotion with, get unbearably restless and frustrated. My singlehood wasn’t characterized by a void, but by an upwelling of feelings that threatened to spontaneously combust within me. I told all this to one of my better friends at the office. I never felt like a bigger pansy for doing so.
The third sorta-flashback was that whole awkward stage after the epiphany, where I, for the very first time in my life, was actively looking for love. Eek.
It didn’t go very well, and after a lackluster experience and three rather frightening ones, I decided I had had enough of it all, which brings us back to the car ride. I resolved to stop looking and just live. I was tired and drained and I just didn’t want to put any effort into finding someone to love anymore. I was done with being single-and-seeking, and wanted to be just single. Most of all, though, I was frustrated – why couldn’t I find a smart, funny, sexy, cute, intelligent, dorky girl who wasn’t bat-shit crazy??? I wanted to cut my losses and ditch the whole “wanting someone to love” bit. I remember telling all this to everyone in the car. I never felt like a bigger douche for doing so.
When we finally arrived at Cantina, I was surprised to see more people than I expected, including a few unfamiliar faces. The group was way too big for the table we were at, so we moved to a bigger one. Since I was closest to the new table, I ended up being the first to sit. That’s when I found myself cut off from my Psych friends and surrounded by three long-haired strangers – Helga, Luis, and Lauren. What seemed like the perfect opportunity to make new friends was an incredibly terrifying experience for me. I’m incredibly awkward at these sorts of situations, so I made a hasty retreat to my beer.
Then, for some strange reason, something in me kind of just switched on. I figured since there was no way I could weasel closer to my college friends, I may as well make the most of things and *gasp* be social. I acted completely out of character and started blabbing away, although occasionally bringing the beer to my mouth at times of awkwardness. I didn’t realize it until long after that evening that Girl to the Left (Helga) did a fantastic job of facilitating conversation between me and Girl to the Right (Lauren), who I couldn’t help but notice was pretty damn cute. Helga asked if I liked zombies, to which I replied with a resounding yes. Lauren then followed up with “What’s your favorite zombie movie?”, and I told her I had to go with Romero’s rather visceral piece of social commentary, as it showed that zombie flicks could actually be quite profound. Helga asked if I liked cats, and I told the group I actually grew up as a cat person, but recently learned to appreciate dogs, too.
Then Helga asked if I was gay. I imagine Lauren looked mortified at this moment, but I was actually kinda glad Helga asked. I know I don’t necessarily look like my personality, so I took this as an awesome conversation starter. I asked them what I looked like, and after a few queasy replies, we determined that my overall aesthetic was that of a gay management student. I found this really funny, and I explained to them how far off that image was from the actual me. Somehow I got into joking that I was actually this totally emo character, and talked about how I love to slash my wrists and about how all I really wanted was to be hugged. Lauren kept laughing along with me, and we didn’t really notice that the conversation ended up being between just the two of us.
I couldn’t help but realize how good it felt to make Lauren laugh. There was just something about her that made me want to bring that beautiful smile out over and over again. Before I knew it, I was crushing on her.
It was getting pretty late, and people wanted to go home. Those of us who arrived late to the party, though, wanted to keep drinking. We decided to head out to Meat Shop 2.0 for a little more inebriation. To my surprise, Lauren didn’t leave with Helga and Luis, and instead came with us to Meat Shop. I was noticeably quieter at that point because of three things: 1) I was getting tired; 2) I was doing so well with this amazing new girl and I didn’t want to fuck anything up; and 3) HOLY SHIT SHE’S FUCKING SITTING RIGHT BESIDE ME DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID. Yeah, I was majorly crushing.
Thankfully, I avoided almost all sorts of I’m-a-cool-guy-and-totally-not-dorky faux pas. Almost. My friend Dino offered to drive Rica home after Meat Shop, to which a slightly tipsy Rica happily agreed. We all got into Dino’s car and headed out. After we dropped Rica off, Dino felt like driving a little longer and offered to drive Lauren home as well. I have no idea what possessed me, but when he offered, I found myself singing Drive by The Cars. Oops. For one thing, making a 80s reference was sooooo 90s of me. A poor rendition of the song, as performed by a tipsy talentless buffoon, is just plain sad. To my surprise, Lauren was perfectly fine with my act of dorkery. I found out weeks later that she actually thought it was kinda cute.
We dropped Lauren off at her place (during which I expressed my awe at the Big Boy-ish statue in her village), and that was the end of the evening. As I headed home, I remember thinking “Did I really just meet a girl who was smart and funny and sexy and cute and intelligent AND dorky???”
It’s been a year since then, and I can attest to the fact that Lauren really is smart and funny and sexy and cute and intelligent AND dorky.
And she’s bat-shit crazy in love with me. ❤