Names have been omitted to protect the innocent and unsuspecting gentlemen, and have been replaced with initials. This is a love letter to the quirks and idiosyncracies of every boy I’ve been romantically or semi-romantically involved with.
NV, freshman year of college: Sold wool slippers at Pike Place Market; had a slight lisp; was way more into me than I was into him. Right after we met, he invited my friend Mia and I over to his apartment for dinner, where he answered the door in a really dorky apron and then proceeded to ask us, once we were seated, if we wanted to get high. He tried to kiss me once and I jerked my head away very tactlessly. I stopped returning his calls after a few dates.
BPW, freshman year of college: Curly mop of hair that was always kept tame by a hat; ridiculously large book collection (I think it was something like 500 in number); perhaps a bit of an overthinker. He was a friend of a friend who didn’t want to be my boyfriend. Every time I tried to define things, he would say something like “Why can’t we just let it be what it is?” We habitually stayed up all night having philosophical and existential discussions, and after a while it was like beating a dead horse. It became evident that we were better as friends.
MKN, sophomore year of college: Tall (finally!); let me mold his fashion sense to my liking (read: hipster sweaters and tailored vests); very sweet and affectionate. His mother was not the least bit impressed by me, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Our relationship was, in many ways, defined by Rilo Kiley’s “Under The Blacklight” album and our shared love for Jenny Lewis. He used to come over and play Guitar Hero with my youngest brother (who was a prodigy at Guitar Hero) even though he knew he’d get whomped every time. It took us months to achieve any kind of finality to our break-up. Of all the boys I’ve dated, he treated me the best. I have nothing but good things to say about him.
CDC, junior year of college: Redhead; sarcastic; had a really expensive camera and a rattail; didn’t have much drive . We bonded on our study abroad program in South Africa, and the following school year we teetered on the brink of relationship. He always had really nice Trident breath. And hugging him was always pleasant because he was like a big bear who hugged like a gentle boa constrictor. Once I started dating someone else, he never wanted to hang out anymore.
KW, junior year of college: Really short; worked in a coffee shop and wrote poetry; had a really big beard and a receding hairline; was a little awkward, but made some really adorable facial expressions. I had had a crush on him for two years before finally working up the guts to make a move. We unknowingly watched the unrated version of Forgetting Sarah Marshall once and were baffled as to why we were seeing male genitalia. It was very short-lived, and we spent nearly all of it smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee at FCC. I think he was overwhelmed by me.
JMW, junior/senior years of college: Short; really whiny; hated every piece of floral printed clothing I owned; was paranoid about going bald; was uncannily similar to my dad in some respects. It just kind of happened, and then somehow it turned into a two-year relationship. One time, he spilled water on an important document of mine, and instead of grabbing a paper towel, he immediately ripped off his shirt in the middle of my living room to soak it up. He had really great teeth, and when he met all of my extended family, the first thing they said was “He’s so cute… and he has great teeth!” (we’re a family of teeth enthusiasts, what can I say). I thought for sure we would get married. Clearly, we did not.