It's safe to say, dating Mr. Unicorn had been a rollercoaster with very high highs and very low lows, the kind of sudden dips that make your stomach flip flop and the kind of inexplicable twists and turns and warp speed that makes you feel euphorically alive.
After some of the most amazing dates of my life and also after some very honest conversations and necessary growing pains, Mr. U and I were set to have what would be our eighth and final "date."
This date was different than all the others. It was different because I had planned it, I would pay for it. And it had been all my idea.
We started the evening at Bar Pilar. A beautifully haunting bar, with small bites and interesting cocktails. Chandeliers fall brooding from the ceiling, couples flirt with one another across high wooden tables and the ultra hipster bartender chick with the dark eyeliner and checkered bandanna scarf concocts you a drink. As a super literature nerd, I love that this place is intended as an homage to Ernest Hemingway, hence the paintings of toreadors bull fighting, bizarre murals of half-naked mermaids at their best and a large depiction of the ragingly genius alcoholic himself.
I was a little nervous to see Mr. U. After all it had been a bit of a trying week. First with the difficult sleeping arrangements and then with the miscommunications over our relationship's biggest milestone to date. I wanted it all to go so well and as with most things in life, there was no guarantee they would.
He came in looking like he always looked. Bearded and classically, simply dressed, with a quiet confidence, soft glance and sweet smile aimed right at me. He'd been here before he told me, but enjoyed it and thought it was a good choice for a pre-punk concert dinner. We ordered octopus (unexpectedly AMAZING), italian meatballs and potatoes (delicious) and some green vegetable plate or another (which I didn't like but Mr. U did). I drank Dark and Stormy's (a dark rum, ginger beer mixture of some sort) while he drank whiskey.
While we drank and dined I told Mr. U how hard it was planning a date and that I had new respect for all guys everywhere having to do it all the time. "It's a lot of pressure," I admitted. "And as it turns out, I like being wooed a lot more than I like wooing. Go figure." "Don't worry," he assured me, "I'm not done wooing you yet." (Good man. What a good. man.) With that settled, we turned our thoughts to music and got totally pumped for the night's main event.
Mr. U is a HUGE fan of a local DC band whose two shows this weekend at the 930 Club (Saturday and Sunday) and another at the Black Cat (Friday) had been sold out for weeks. Mr. U had casually mentioned his disappointment at being unable to get a ticket to see them on one of our earliest dates. When I had thought to plan and pay for a date to celebrate his birthday, I instantly thought of getting these tickets some way, some how. It turned out to be easier than I would have thought. I called in a favor from a friend who manages a bunch of DC and Baltimore bands and coordinates shows at a variety of DMV venues. And we were all set! Just like that. As it turned out, a large group of my friends were ALSO planning on seeing the show and would be there the same night. I would finally be able to introduce Mr. U to some of my friends.
When I told Mr. U that I had obtained tickets, he hugged me so tight, I had to tell him to let go lest he crush my ribs. But I was thrilled that he was so excited. I had done good. And that felt great - to have hit the jackpot with my planning and efforts.
After Bar Pilar, we hopped in a cab and arrived at the 930 club a few short minutes later. They took our tickets and stamped our hands in heavy black ink. We stepped into the main room and looked around. It was still pretty early and my friends were no where in sight.
"So who all am I going to be meeting?" Mr. U asked as we stood in the back of the room facing each other with his arms around me. "Oh, just my friend J and some other people. They're cool." "I see," he said. "And do they know they are meeting me?" "Probably not actually," I answered back. "J has been out of town for awhile for work and we haven't really had a chance to catch up. And depending on who else shows up, none of them might have heard about you. But, you know, I'll introduce you as my 'friend' so don't worry. No pressure."
"Your 'friend' eh? Is that what I am? I'd say I'm more than a friend after 9 dates," he insisted with a mischievous look on his face. "Oh you know what I mean," I mumbled back. "And it's 8 dates, not 9," I corrected. "Pssh, 7, 8, 9- what difference does it make? You know what I think?" "No," I replied unsure of where he was going with this line of thought. "I think we should stop counting dates." "Okaaaaaay?" I answered still confused. "Which would mean we would no longer be dating." "Okaaaaaay?" I repeated. "I don't understand". "I don't think we should be dating anymore, because I think you should just be my girlfriend already." "Is that okay?"
INSERT GIRLY SQUEAL IN MY INNER THOUGHTS HERE. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!! DID HE JUST DROP THE G-BOMB! EEP! EEP! EEP! EEP! HUZZAH!!! HURRAH!!!! HURRAY!
Now despite the fact that I was internally giddy from head to toe and ear to ear, I am proud to say that I responded to this offer as cool as a frikkin cucumber. Meryl Streep herself couldn't have acted the part as unsuspecting, nonchalant and relaxed as I did. "Um, yeah, I guess we could do that." "Yeah?" he said. "Yes," I said.
Now because my head was about to explode right off of my neck, I had to reinforce these statements with some further validation, just to be sure I had heard correctly. "So...what you are saying is....when I introduce you tonight you want me to introduce you to my friends as my.........boyfriend???" "That's what I'm saying." "Okay," I said. "Okay," he said. EEP!
Shortly thereafter, my friends arrived, "the boyfriend" was introduced for the first time and the bands began to play. Mr. U stood behind me in the darkness with his fingers clinging to my belt loops. The music reverberated throughout our bodies and the concert lights washed over us as we danced and sang along to each familiar melody.
I was completely, utterly, senselessly, impossibly happy. Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy. No one seemed to notice that I couldn't stop smiling. That I was positively beaming. But I was just the same. I looked over my shoulder back at Mr. U and for some reason I thought to say above the noise: "We are going to have soo much fun!" He looked back at me and smiled wide. "You have no idea how much fun," he answered. "Sooooo.....much......fun."