I am a fundamentally logical person. Yes, like anyone I have moments fueled by emotion, but overall the guiding force in my decisions and actions is logic. However, there are times in life when no matter your disposition, emotion rules. It is these moments I struggle with the most. I find myself in turmoil, fundamentally divided, and annoyed with pesky emotions. Time and time again it has been in these moments of life, my equally logic driven older brother hands me odd tidbits. With them I gain sanity. I piece together the odds and ends he gives me and make sense of the unfamiliar terrain of erratic, intense feelings. No better example of this can be made than when navigating the highs and lows of my first romantic relationship.
I am often the girl mothers dote over and wish their sons would bring home, but alias that is seldom the case. I’m not “est” of anything, prettiest, smartest, funniest, sweetest, fittest-you get the idea, but in being as honest as possible I’m not a troll either. For reasons I have yet to discover, I’m the perfect balance of qualities that rarely strikes a guy’s fancy (perhaps because I say things like strikes a guy’s fancy). I mention this all only to put into context my having never kissed, dated, or been remotely involved in a romantic relationship until my senior of college at the age of 22.
I was completely ignorant and naive. I found myself struggling with the basic relationship skills many girls learn in middle school. In general, I decided to embrace my inexperience with one exception, kissing. I felt this was the most basic and yet a more essential skill needed in a budding romance and I was at a complete loss. I joked with my brother about my cluelessness and he reviled his spaghetti theory. He explained kissing is like spaghetti. Initially all you know is your mom’s spaghetti. It could be the stuff of Italian Gods or it could be noodles and ketchup but it’s not until you try someone else’s spaghetti that you know the quality of your first spaghetti. Your second taste of spaghetti can be a shocking experience in either case. The first person you kiss is your mom’s spaghetti. You know nothing except that person’s kiss. That first kiss sets your standards for future kisses and also your kissing technique. It’s not until your next kissing partner you will truly know if the first person you kissed is a good kisser and in a way if you are any good too.
My first kiss was a fiasco. After a month of ambiguous hangouts and date-ish things one night, he professed his feelings for me and went for it but I was so nervous I bailed…twice. Then I proceed to leave him, call him, come back and reveal my lack of kissing experience. He understandingly listened and let me know all hope was not lost and we could give it another go when I was ready. Frustrated and dying to kiss this seemingly perfect creature — we did. Lips made contact, we met the qualifications of a kiss, but that was it. I texted my brother the next day telling him simply: without a second experience I know I am ketchup and noodles. His response: cooking takes practice. He was right, my first attempt was a hot mess, but after that first time, kissing this boy was anything but Heinz and noodles.
I fell and I fell hard for my first boyfriend. Yet again this was an utter shock to my fact-based nature. I had always told myself I would not become one of those crazy girls who become a victim of emotion and a fool in love. After five months free of fights or worries and living on cloud nine I came to the realization I was in love. I came to this conclusion and kept it to myself. Too logical to speak the words aloud knowing while I might have been in love I was exactly what I never wanted to be, a fool in love. Much to my logical mind’s dismay, falling in love with someone can never be a completely sane process. As is often the case the fairy tale soon collapsed. It was shortly after I become aware of my feelings of love that my first boyfriend handed me my first heartbreak. Without warning or the typical distancing, he told me he no longer had romantic feelings for me. I was devastation.
I am lucky and received patient support and love from all around me in dealing with my first heartbreak, a hurt like nothing else. My mom and friends helped me weather through the tornado of emotions that ruled my world in the following weeks but it was my brother that brought me hope for the future. In the midst of my agony I asked my brother how all our seemingly magical adventures could have somehow lead to repulsion on his part. He wisely assured me, the magic was real for both parties at the time and for unknown reasons he no longer felt the magic. But the fact that they were over was actually a good thing. He told me you couldn’t be all starry-eyed in a relationship. Everyone needs to be jaded; when you are jaded your relationship is more realistic. When things are real, they aren’t always a magical fairy tale, but they are real good. While I just wanted the euphoria of first love back even then these words resonated with me.
Breakups are a paradigm of oxymorons. One of these uniquely awful feelings is wanting to be with no one except the person who has inflicted this agony on you and yet yearning to know there is a better romantic future still out there for you. While I’m still licking my wounds of rejection and sorting through what to do with love that will never be returned every so often I remember what my brother has taught me and I make myself spaghetti. I make spaghetti to remind myself that someday I will have my second taste of love. It will be not be my first dream like love but real and it will make me realize the love I have been mourning and missing all this time was simply ketchup and noodles.