When I was a younger Aunt Becky, my idea of romance was (and I quote) “a 12 pack of condoms and a bottle of Jack Daniels.” Since I’ve gotten older, my tastes have gotten a tad more refined. I mean, I prefer Bulleit Bourbon and my husband recently got a vasectomy so I’m anxiously awaiting the day that I no longer require the condoms. And I’ll be honest, the concept of romance, which has always sort of given me an unsightly rash, has gotten more appealing. Maybe it’s years of being married to the least romantic person on the face of the planet, but damn, I could use a little romance in my life.
But not the Grand Gesture kind.
I know that in the movies, the Grand Gesture romance moves always look so appealing. The guy runs through a busy airport to tell the love of his life that he’s sorry and he never meant to hurt her. Music swells as he sweeps her into his heavily muscled arms and they kiss, her perfectly made-up face expressing just the right emotion and then they walk off onto the plane together. Airport security, of course, is forgotten for the sake of the plot-line, as are his indiscretions or her past fuck-ups. The closing credits roll and you walk out of the theatre, happy. All is right with the world and you’re left wondering why you could possibly be annoyed with your husband for not properly loading the dishwasher. At least, I think that’s how it goes. I don’t really watch romance movies because I think they’re annoying.
And Grand Gestures, no matter how they appear in the movies, and how often you wish that John Cusack would appear at YOUR window with a boom box playing “In Your Eyes,” well, they’re kind of overrated (unless John Cusack is doing it). I had a Grand Gesture Guy once.
Right after I met The Daver, someone who must have been interested in me before must have felt another male sniffing around. So, he decided that the best way to handle it was to make me a Grand Gestures that I couldn’t refuse. It started with a bouquet of filler flowers on Valentine’s Day. You know, the sort of flowers that say, “I love you, but not very much (because I am cheap)?” Mostly Babies Breath and Carnations, neither of which scream, “I need you madly, Aunt Becky.” I wasn’t exactly wowed by his choice in flowers. If you want to win a lady—especially one who is very into botany—my suggestion is to find out what she likes.
The very next day, he sent me a huge bouquet of roses, which I do love. But having ignored his first bouquet and made it clear to him that I was pretty happily dating The Daver, I was getting slightly creeped out. Not because it wasn’t sweet, but because it was just a little overwhelming from someone who hadn’t even so much as called me in the weeks before the flowers started arriving. Nevertheless, he seemed to think that these Grand Gestures would have me running into his arms in no time flat.
It wasn’t working.
Since this didn’t work, he upped his game. The Grand Gesture guy decided that the next course of action would be to come to my house. But I wasn’t home for most of the week, thanks to my busy school schedule, so he just waited. And called. And waited. And called. And waited. By the time I got home, my parents house, I should add, where I lived with my wee son, my mother informed me that Mr. Grand Gesture had been calling all day and that he was waiting for me in the neighborhood. He lived about an hour away from me, and apparently had been waiting patiently for me to get home from school so that he could see me. When I went to see him (so that he would leave my parents alone), he didn’t really have anything to say. It was just the Grand Gesture that bordered on stalking.
The phone calls, I should add, never ended. I got no end of phone calls, text messages, emails and voice mails from him during this time that never really said much of anything. He’d quote sad songs, beg me to call him, threaten me that “this would be the last time he called me” (ha, don’t I wish?). With the exception of sending him a scathing email where I pretty much told him to eat my balls and go to hell, I mostly ignored him. I mean, what more is there to say?
After class one day, I was sitting at the train station (I commuted to college) with a friend. She pointed out someone sitting across the tracks staring at me, and when I looked up, my heart sinking, there he was, Grand Gesture Guy in the flesh, waiting for me. He’d apparently learned my schedule well enough to see that I was going to be on this particular train at this time and would be at the station (Or, he’d been waiting for hours in the sub-zero weather, I didn’t ask.). Reluctantly, I stood to speak with him when he came to my side of the train. Maybe he’d thought this would make me fall into his not-so-chiseled arms. Maybe he thought that this Grand Gesture to beat all Grand Gestures before it would prove to me that he really knew how to stalk me and that meant that he was a better fit for me than The Daver ever would be. I don’t know. All that I do know is that for someone who was so intent upon speaking with me, he really had nothing TO say to me when he finally got in front of me. And I sure as shit didn’t have anything to say to him besides “go the fuck away.”
Miraculously, he did.
I never saw Grand Gesture Guy again, except to CC him on my wedding pictures. And while I might occasionally crave romance in forms other than “Hey, I picked up the Thai food you asked me to,” I can totally appreciate that The Daver will never, ever follow me to Target blasting, “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” out of an ancient boom-box when I’m furious with him.
Mostly because we don’t HAVE a boom-box.