Assay: to determine the contents or quality of (metal or ore) or men
This could sum up my very long dating life! Did I assay through a long list of boys and men to find my ever after love? I sure did.
I liked boys far too early for my mother’s liking. By sixth grade, I had my first steady boyfriend. We didn’t actually speak to one another and I avoided face to face contact with him as much as possible. Our relationship conduit was my BFF and his cousin. She would say George (real names protected!) says hi and I would say tell him hi and then my face would turn red and I’d go back to whatever I was doing. Sometimes he would call me from her house and we’d sit on the phone in silence. This was the way things went until about ninth grade.
I went from a small Catholic elementary school with 20 classmates to the only high school in town and increased my class size by 400%. Freshman year I had a giant crush on one of the basketball players a year ahead of me and wrote his name on most of my notebooks. This was pretty brazen now that I think about it since he could have found out about my crush (and probably did). Well, one day in Earth Science, the teacher caught me doodling and picked up my notebook and started reading the boy’s name to the class. I probably don’t have to explain how mortified I was. I found out many years later when we became Facebook friends, I never had a chance.
That blew over pretty quickly and I didn’t take any of my crushes too seriously for a couple more years. I was more of a guys girl (aka, I was more a friend than a girlfriend). I was incredibly insecure and self-conscious because I wore a back brace (for scoliosis). I used to tell people who didn’t know what it was for that I broke my back skiing. Of course, I was only kidding but some of the guys didn’t realize it and found it fascinating. There was this one kid who lost his mom to cancer. He’d invite me over to “study” and I thought that’s what we would be doing and then he’d put the moves on me. Not interested. By the end of junior year and senior year, I had an on again, off again “bad boy” boyfriend. He drove a fast car and a fast motorcycle and was always getting into trouble at school. We broke up early in my college career.
College was a bit of a train wreck until late in my sophomore year I met this cute guy who would visit my dorm (house) to help another girl with her homework. It was stars and fireworks and that took me through graduation. He was a year older and off on his career track by the time I graduated and I guess we didn’t see us going the distance. Actually, by the end, we fought over everything. I specifically remember fighting over a straw at Burger King and I think that was the last straw!
From there I jumped into another long-term relationship. It was one of those relationships where one person (me) was doing much more of the work to keep it going than the other and he was really a commitment-phobe from what I could tell. After being together four-five years he wasn’t ready to get married and because being together so long was the only reason I could think of to get married, it turned out to be the best thing when we broke up. We were the worst communicators on the face of the planet. The final straw for me was when he said he was going to Colorado for the upcoming weekend when I asked what our plans were. That was the first I’d heard about the trip or the person he was visiting. Adios amigos. About a year later he got married to someone else. *Shrug*.
Dating in my late 20’s to early 30’s was quite painful. Most of my friends had gotten married and moved to the kid stage of life. I kept having as much fun as possible and thus began my problem with alcohol. I had a like-minded friend and we went to Turks & Caicos, New Orleans, and many visits to New York City I had wonderful life experiences but finding a mate proved elusive. I went through many short-term romances and even attempted online dating (this was in the late 1990’s and far different from the swipe right method of today and I don’t know which is worse). The harder I looked, the worse I felt. Eventually, I just settled into my singleness in my early thirties. I lived in a wonderful little city in a perfect little apartment with a cat whose name I cannot recall except to say he was always running away and someone around the corner from me adopted him and renamed him Clawed because he clawed everything up.
They always say it’s when you aren’t looking that love finds you and that was true in spades for me. I became friends with my husband for well over a year before we started dating. I had a very specific list of qualities I was looking for in a guy and he fell outside many of those characteristics. We had decided to help fix each other up. It turns out, you can’t submit a list to order up the perfect husband because God will have the last laugh.
And so I’ve come to the end of my assaying of men and I couldn’t be happier.