Dating is hard. Like, really hard. And then throw in commonly used terms like “talking” or simply “hanging out.” It almost makes me miss middle school “dating” when you were either someone’s girlfriend or not. All of this gray terminology we use in college is extremely confusing. It seems more like an open-ended justification to getting your dating-toes wet while still reserving to the benefits granted when simply single. Not exactly what a girl dreams of when meeting the boy of her dreams.
Go Big or Go Home— that has always been my mantra.
Whether its putting hours into my study sessions or going in for one more drink on a friday night, you can never go wrong with that motivational phrase. Dating, included. Its been over two months now. Two months of random run-ins.Two months of cozy dinner nights. Two months of “dating.” Or at least waiting to figure out if we’re even dating. I hope he thinks we’re dating….
This is all that crosses my mind as we prepare for Homecoming. Homecoming is the
biggest weekend when it comes to school-funded functions. There’s the football game against our rival where the seats are flooded with purple and gold tees. Then there’s the family carnival with the standard ferris wheel and all-you-can eat fried food. There’s also the 5k where poorly-shaped parents run alongside their collegiate trained children, having the best time. But most importantly- at least to me- most importantly, Monte Carlo night. Monte Carlo is our version of a “prom.” Just don’t let any member from Student Government hear you compare it to a prom. It’s true, we hated it. But sadly, the resemblance was, well there. Monte Carlo was a themed cocktail night where students and their dates would dress up, eat fancy cheese and dance under strung lights. And sticking to tradition, there was also a presence of trading cards and playing chips. We had poker and black jack, but the biggest gamble of the night was whether James and I were an item.
I hope we’re an item….
The more we hang out..the more time that passes- the more I wonder if James and I are dating. This is all I can think about as I slip on my LBD. I slide into my heels and color my lips with my favorite maroon stain. I hope James likes it. I step out of the changing room in the venue to meet other Program’s Board members who are also prepping for the night. We have gotten our schedules for the event and it has been determined that all seniors will have the longest break. Mine would be from 8pm-10pm.
It is six o’ clock and students are starting to pour out of their Ubers. I get the first shift of handling tickets and ID’s as students are filling up our rented venue. I secretly enjoyed this job because I would be the first thing James sees when he comes in. He must have entered during my bathroom break because when I came back, my partner told me James was looking good tonight. Of course he was. Either way I also missed out my ex boyfriend’s entrance so that was good.
I count down the minutes to start my break and although James and I are not officially dating, I rush to find him. Instead I bump into my ex and our friends. Our best friends are mutual friends so not running into him often has been awkwardly successful. They convince me to stick around and play a few rounds of poker with them even though I have no idea what is going on. We also take photos to commemorate some of our last moments as seniors in our college bubble. Although I have two hours to enjoy, I can’t help but wish our bonding for the night could end to be with James. I casually slip away as they head over for the snack bar and restart my journey to find James. I had to determine how good he looked for myself.
I squeeze through the tight group that has formed on the dance floor. I looked everywhere and James was nowhere to be found. From the ticket booths to the food tables to the casino area.. nowhere. I was a bit nervous to believe he could be on the dance floor… with another girl. But if he was, I would plan to squeeze myself out of the circle before he could see me, or catch up to me. Luckily, he was dancing along with his group of guy friends who were chugging beers during music pauses. He did look good.
I made my way over to him toask for a dance but before I could say anything we found ourselves already hand in hand as if we had both been ready for this moment. During the next music pause, he took the chance to tell me how much he liked my dress and the pop of color from my maroon lips. He also pointed to his black tie and maroon button down.“I figured you’d be wearing this color.”
Dating or not, he was making an effort. And I was going to treat this as if we were dating, because with every interaction, I fell for him more and more. I owed it to him to stop questioning our status and start cherishing the feelings I had for him. Because they were real. Just as real as the color coordination that he had accomplished without my knowledge. Sometimes terms like “talking” and “dating” are mediocre when actions alone can determine your feelings for someone. Someone like James.