It may go back to my childhood, enduring frequent ear infections that forced me to watch the other children, poolside, my beet red skin dry as sandpaper. I had the tie-dye earplugs worthy of my peers’ judgment, but tended to opt for disengagement over ridicule. I formed a burning distaste for water. Similarly, my extreme reliance upon glasses to see anything around me certainly served as further encouragement to avoid weather at all costs, lest my world begin resembling a hot, sauna-like fishbowl.
Imagine my surprise, years later, when I was alerted to the reality that making out in the rain was romantic. Needless to say, I scuffed at the absurdity and vowed to make my moves without the help of drenched clothing, gloppy hair, and running makeup. Rihanna’s concept of a shared umbrella, albeit more appealing to some degree, also fell short of my comfort zone. My point is not that I’m necessarily a square as far as adventure goes; I’m no chicken, however vanilla I generally am when it comes to the art of intercourse and all that paves the way to it. Rather, some serious and unsafe ideologies dictate our desires, expectations, and, ultimately, actions within the realm of relationship.
I remember the first The Notebook experience I had, stumbling awkwardly through the motions of unchartered romantic territory in a dark, unkempt parking lot. At first, clouds yielded disappointing drizzle, not worthy of a heated movie scene reenactment. But we were, nonetheless, determined to coax the rain gods into downpour for the sake of acting out our Hollywood-born fantasies. Our pleas eventually led to absolute waves of cumulus fury pummeling our naiveté, letting our unrealistic ideals run off to leave a thin film of adolescent confusion and dissatisfaction. She said she loved me that night, despite our obvious inability to perform. I drove her home knowing what she loved was the idea of me, wisdom granted only because it was merely the idea of her which I loved back; it was the moment encased in prose, far from reality, that we were smitten by.
Naturally, there came a morning soon after when we woke up stunned by an unexpected loss of interest.
Where had it gone? The chance of cultivating a genuine long lasting and healthy relationship, rooted in the “real” and shrouded with nothing but sincerity, had suffered a premature death that night in the parking lot, our blind hands moving about in disfranchised cacophony.
We were doomed from the start, fed false definitions of “perfect” and “love” by a culture consumed by the theatrical, enthralled by candlelight and rose petals, and eventually scorned by the tendency to fulfill quickly as opposed to wait patiently for love to capture you when it rightfully pleases. In unpopular honesty, I need to tell you that it rarely occurs at 16 while you attempt to unhook a damp bra for the first time through cloudy spectacles. My hands shook only with the unknown and not the confidence and maturity gained through repeated failure.
So it is: I don’t make out in the rain, and I don’t sit through Nicholas Sparks’ faux depictions of boy-meets-girl in the name of wooing my companion back to bed. I don’t promise women that my entrance into their life will be on horseback, sword in hand, to battle away all of their troubles. Instead, I swear to not make our lovemaking a thing of fiction. We will be nothing of words and sunsets. We will be undiluted, dry of culture’s acid rain. We will last.