~Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Definitions, or lack thereof

So I have a relationship.

And I have no idea what that means.

Saturday night Jack and I double-dated with Harvey and her husband. As I suspected from all the limousines we passed on the two miles to the restaurant, it was also prom night. We sipped from our wine glasses as girls with big hair and tulle dresses sat around us.

"I love tulle," I sighed. "I went shopping today and they had racks and racks of prom dresses in the front of the store. I just wanted to put one on and twirl."

"We should do that!" cried Harvey and her next theme party was planned. A prom birthday party. The boys already have tuxedos and we giggled over putting a flask next to the punch bowl and having a theme wall for pictures. Someone's mom would have to come to chaperone.

Afterwards Jack and I went to my place to watch a movie. Instead I opened another bottle of wine and we just sat on my couch and talked.

"Ask me anything," he said. My bedroom anxiety has caused me to reveal more about myself than I was ready to; additionally he knew more about me than I knew about him. Jack wanted me to catch up, but also I learned that he's a pretty open person. Whereas I delay opening up for fear of leaving pieces of myself behind, Jack views it as sharing and giving. Although he and I have so much in common, our respective motivations are often the exact opposite.

The conversation carried on late into the night and we eventually switched locations to my bed. I adjusted the sheets and blanket around me and Jack continued talking.

"It sucks that most of my friends are married."


"What's your view on marriage?"

My chest tightened again and I covered it with my hand. I had been seeing him for three weeks; it was a little unusual to be discussing heavy topics so early. "That question makes me really uncomfortable," I eventually spoke.

He saw how stressed I had become and dropped the subject. However he brought it back up Monday night. "I don't understand why that is such a difficult question for you," he said. "I would feel comfortable asking a stranger that. I was basically asking your five/ten-year plan."

Jack's good with the guilt. He's Catholic.

And maybe it wasn't the question so much as it was the answer. I didn't want to tell him it was something I think I want, but afraid of telling people for fear it never happens. I've perfected the eye roll and the snarky responses to anything relating to boys. It's my deflection of having to admit most of the time being single isn't my choice.

"Why are you so tense? What do you want?"

"I want a relationship-"

"You have that." He just carelessly threw those words out there. I was stunned. It wasn't anything we've talked about before. If anything, he's always making jokes about how afraid of commitment he is. He quipped he dug me because he knew I was too. Just the previous week when I told him I was asked out by a guy at my office, his response was "For the record, I never said you couldn't go out with other people. For the record." And maybe he just said that to look generous because he can really be ignorant with dating matters at times, but then again, maybe not.

I can see Jack as the kind of person to use "relationship" and not have it mean what everyone else in the entire world thinks it means. He's so different in that respect. When people compliment him, he doesn't respond. Not even a "Thank you." He says he doesn't feel like he should have to owe anyone a response.

At my desk the next morning I looked the word up in the dictionary to see all the different ways Jack could have meant it:

Main Entry: re·la·tion·ship
Pronunciation: -sh&n-"ship
Function: noun
1 : the state of being related or interrelated (studied the relationship between the variables)
2 : the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship: as a : KINSHIP b : a specific instance or type of kinship
3 a : a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings (had a good relationship with his family) b : a romantic or passionate attachment

I kept staring at number three. Is it a or b? A OR B!?

"So you have a relationship. What else do you want?" he prodded.

To know what the hell that means.


M said...

I think only the two of you can set the definition of relationship - and definitely for you it needs to be a specific definition. I would need it specific. So maybe...when you're comfortable bring up the 'what I mean by relationship is' - exclusive (?) etc.

James said...

Sounds like progress. Fingers crossed for you.

Anonymous said...

i love the way you write.

and i don't know what the hell having a relationship means either. when you figure it out can you let me know?

good luck.

Scorpy said...

Sarah...you have really delved deep in the past few weeks and I'm definately NOT the person to ask about relationships. I did have a woman ask me to call our 'relationship' an 'Affair' (She wasn't married) because she liked what it conjured up in her mind. It was very good while it lasted but affairs fade...relationships should not. Go With B and see if he walks.
PS: why are your friends named after Rabbits? Jack and Harvey? You may have to google 'Harvey the rabbit' - lol

Two Drink Girl said...

Woo....oy, that's rough.

Phil said...

I'm with Mez. A relationship is what you two decide it is. While the 'relationship' talk is rarely fun it is necessary.

Maybe to lighten the mood you could wear a red clown nose.

Sarah said...

M- I need to know specifically so I know whether or not I can date others. It's not something I particularly want to do at the moment, but if we're not, I want to keep my options open!

James- Things are going very well.

Kate- LOL! I will! I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

Scorpy- I'm not even sure I'm ready for a relationship right now. I think it's too soon. We were back to having the conversation about marriage and he was asking what I wanted out of that. The rest of my sentence was going to be, "I was a relationship: one that is non-dysfunctional and long-term." And he just cuts me off and befuddles me!

Two Drink Girl- See? Being married isn't so bad!

Phil- I don't think I'm ready for that talk yet. Maybe in another month I'll put on the clown nose. :)

general_boy said...

does it have to be a) OR b)? Why not both? just my two cents. ;)

Sarah said...

General Boy- I think if it were b, it would intrinsically also be a, but I can't say that for the reverse. Omph, too much thinking too early in the morning.


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