I dated my high school boyfriend for three years, my college boyfriend for two. Even then, I was asking the big questions. If we couldn't agree on child-rearing practices during our junior year of high school, then what was the point of staying together in the long run? Imagine my dates' delight: what 16-year-old boy doesn't want to weigh the benefits of day care versus stay-at-home parenting?
The point of all this questioning, I suppose, is to keep ourselves safe. If we can solve the small stuff, then maybe we'll be able to conquer the scarier, unanswerable issues, too: Will we get married? Live happily ever after? Break up next Tuesday? Stay together for 42 years only to have you leave me for our grandchildren's buxom piano teacher on your seventy-fifth birthday?
I think it's vital to spend a long time getting to know someone before you commit to a life with him. But the constant analysis doesn't leave a girl with much hope of walking into a room one day and being love-struck, the way my mother was. Or so I always thought.
Then, a little over a year ago, I met Colin. He came highly recommended by mutual friends. "He's a Southern gentleman who holds doors open, and his mother is a feminist," one of them gushed.
"He once listened to me cry about my ex all night long, and afterward he paid the check," said another. "He has more hair on his head than 98 percent of the men in Manhattan," whispered a third.
Usually, a guy so lauded—but not scooped up—by other women is either physically deformed or gay. But this one was actually quite handsome. And there was nothing even remotely metrosexual, let alone gay, about him. I later learned the following: He's in multiple fantasy baseball leagues. He does not think shampoo is necessary. He owns only two bath towels, both stolen from hotels.
Five minutes into our first date, I knew that everything had changed.
That night, I text messaged my friend Laura: I am smitten. She left a voicemail an hour later that went something like, "You?! Smitten?! Smitten?! You?!" From the tone in her voice, you would have thought I’d said, "I am a rare tree frog." I also told my mother that I’d just met a man I was going to love. Going to love, mind you. Because, smitten or not, a girl like me draws the line at love at first sight.