Well, I’ve come to a decision. I like Hot Bartender. A lot. He’s got abnormally sharp canine teeth (top AND bottom people) and I am obsessed with them. (I maybe stare at them when he talks.) Don’t get me wrong—while I’ll read a good paranormal romance, I do NOT fantasize about landing a vampire—or a werewolf. No, I definitely do not want anyone to drink my blood … but I have included the occasional love nip fantasy staring my favorite bartender. Premature to call him mine? Yes. Foolish. Again, yes. It is probably not the best idea to start getting cocky now.
But I wouldn’t say the place I’m in is cocky. Instead, I would say active, aggressive. For 23 years I have sat back and waited for Prince Charming and he has blown me off one too many times. So instead, I’m taking the reins in my own hands and shooting for what I want.
So yeah, you probably guessed that I’m going to ask Hot Bartender to come with me to the wedding. And timid, mousey me might have balked when I found out it would be a two hour trip there—asking too much! But this aggressive me is dismissing that. If he says no he says no, but people travel to go to weddings all the time. And I’ve decided I won’t be awkward about it. The next time we’re alone, I’m going to pop the question casually and gauge his reaction. And if he turns down free alcohol and a party because of having to spend time with me … or be at a wedding—well then, I have a backup plan to eliminate any future awkwardness as well.
This new me is scary and quite heady.
I have been so controlled by my fear of what may happen that I finally see it doesn’t matter as long as I don’t give it power. And I’m not going to.
You see, I did give in to it once and I feel like life has come full circle.
The day of this wedding will mark exactly ten years since I last put myself out there, completely, for a guy.
From the first grade, I knew I liked him. He was cute and had ginger hair and masses of freckles. Alas, I cannot help my seven-year-old taste. My sister called him Carrot Top and while some may find that name offensive (as surely my sixteen-year-old sister meant it) I always savored it fondly. In fact, I took it to the next level, eating baby carrots for snacks, sides, breakfast. I just wanted to be closer to my gangly, sharp featured seatmate.
For years I was a casual friend and loved him from afar and finally it was the sixth grade, the end of the year. Next year I knew we would be going to Jr. High. A part of the high school and he might be lost to me forever. I had nothing to suggest he returned my feelings, but I was young and thought my crush unsinkable.
Our elementary schools would combine, and in anticipation of the event, we would go to a camp and celebrate on Memorial Day weekend with a camping trip and dance. I was nervous and plotted and schemed out the ask and one day I caught him getting his backpack in the cubby area all alone. Thirteen and fully equipped with every awkward stereotype associated with that tween age, I stumbled through an ask. Would he come to the dance with me? I’m sure it was far less smooth. But the point was delivered and he was very nice and kind as he explained his mom would be a chaperone and wouldn’t it be weird to go to a dance with a girl when his MOM would be there? Oh yes, I agreed, desperately trying to fight the deep red flush of shame filling my face. Totally I agreed, before I ran off.
I was devastated.
Now, of course, no parents were chaperones and he went with A, a girl who had been my friend for the past six years. A and I drifted apart after that—no major drama, but it was embarrassing to talk to the girlfriend of the guy I had crushed … who also knew every mortifying detail. I hope they didn’t laugh about it and to give him credit, we still speak as friends occasionally five years after our high school graduation.
But the ten year anniversary is looming and I realize it is ironic I have landed myself in this same situation. Now, I have only had the hots for Hot Bartender for a few months and we are all adults now and I’m not TECHNICALLY asking him for a date, but still, same scenario basically.
I have thought about this and while I was thinking that things would be different this time–he might say yes–I realized last night that it’s not really about his answer at all. Instead, it’s about what I do with that answer. Even if he says no, that doesn’t mean it has to be a repeat of history. This one won’t cripple me. I refuse to give anyone that kind of power over me that I don’t even have a relationship with for heaven’s sake!
So I’m going to ask him and he may well say no. But if that happens, this time I’ll hold onto my dignity and shake it off as the “not a big deal” it really is.
That being said, I really hope he says yes, because I think it’s time to shake my life up. And a certain bartender has a mean shake …