He enters your living room without hesitation because he knows he’s always welcome there. You can never completely get angry with him because you’ll forgive him anyway (why expend the energy on that?) There’s no real pressure to look good for him, or to domesticate yourself, because hell, he probably cooks better than you do. you don’t get disappointed when he doesn’t open the door for you, or perform any of the perfunctory genteel mannerisms frequently assigned to a “gentleman” (ergo, a prospect). if he sees you as a buddy, then you really don’t quite see him as a “man”… much more the “gentle” kind.
But that doesn’t mean these signs of breeding are alien to him (it’s just that around you, he can slip up and live to see the next day). More often than not, he’s one of those dudes on top of the food chain. Why else wouldn’t you mind having him confused as a boyfriend? And the mere fact that he doesn’t mind (well, not really) being seen with you says he sees you being in that level too - especially if he has to contend with the are-you-guys-together interrogation as well.
And admit it, the pestering questions from well-meaning people are well-founded. You’ve both acquired the mannerisms of an old couple - there are no awkward silences, no trite comments, no hesitations. Physical intimacy can stretch from holding hands to cross the street to a prolonged embrace when one of you feels bad. It’s true, you’re around each other when life’s vicissitudes erupt. He’ll be the first person at your doorstep, maybe even getting there before you do, because you told him you were just fine (wonderful, could’t be better) - and he recognized the devastation in your voice . And you, you don’t even need to say how proud you are of him (how awkward can that be!)- you knew, you believed in him way before he did.
Where your relationship is is where other couple’s relationships should be - given fifteen years or so. Only you’ve had this chemistry too soon, way before either one of you will ever recognize just how irreplaceable it is. It was never the result of time, negotiation or compromise. It’s just one of those things that came too easily, so naturally it’s laughable to call it precious (it’s so many other things - just NOT that word). It’s like telling a piano prodigy to practice when he can play Mozart’s Symphony in E Minor after one listening. Just plain absurd.
But admit it, being around this Meantime Boy has given you an inkling of what it would feel like to be with The One. What you feel when you’re with him - how secure, how profound or how silly you both can be - these are the stuff you need in lifelong commitments! Think about it. He’s probably seen you sweat it out on the track (thus disproving the myth that girls don’t sweat), just as much as you’ve seen him develop one too many love handles. Not even for charity will you ever HAVE TO take it easy on him in the court. He’s had one too many fashion faux pas for his own good, mispronounced so many words you’ve lost count and he probably farts in front of you. On the other hand, he’s seen you have bed head, trip on your feet, and cry like a baby when John Kofi gets the chair. Almost perfect, isn’t it? Just add mad, incredible passion (the one missing ingredient) to this comfortable stew and you’ve got someth! ing so rare it will leave you breathless.
So the truth is Meantime Girl, there is a reason for this meantime-ness… and you better have the good sense to know it’s not to wait for him to snap out of his immaturity (or for you to make the first move-neva!). He’s your Meantime Boy because you need to learn from him what truly ennabling relationships are - and not to confuse that with those that are disguisingly constricting. He’s around because you need to recognize the primacy of friendship (that’s why FRIEND is the bigger word in GIRLFRIEND). He’s there because you need to believe that you can be seen as a thinking human being - and not the commodity so closely associated with your gender.
The Meantime Boy grants you the liberty to love - because while he is an accomodating recipient of your affections, he silently gives way when someone else steps into your life. He gives you THAT look, the don’t-you-dare-fall-in-love-with-me Care Bear Stare whenever your get your ends all mixed up. Don’t despair and take heed: his very indifference is his gift to you.
By being oblivious to your adoration, he sets you free to be someone else’s forever. And when this man, this god, finally arrives to sweep you off your feet, he’ll marvel at the perfect jewel you are: how you never begrudge Sunday Night Football, how you confidently possess your own mind and project the very essence of graciousness. And why wouldn’t you be? You’ve had years of practice.
(via email, 2001)
Goodbye, meantime girl. :)