Before I tell you about my new relationship, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate. Pardon me while I freak out for a second with pure joy.
Let me just.
I can’t even.
Initial and totally dweeby/dorky/goofy freak-out over.
Thank you for putting up with me.
And now, the boyfriend.
Meet: Tony, the cutest boy I’ve ever met.
Tony is … He’s … Jeez. How do I describe him to someone who’s never met him?
My initial thought is to launch into every single detail about what makes him amazing, but having done this several times already with both girlfriends and family, it’s like: ouch, my throat hurts from walking so many people through how we met, how we got to know one another, why we get along, and how he asked me to be his girlfriend.
I guess I could start with how insanely physically attracted I am to him, but that should be obvious by the photo above. Of course we can’t keep our hands off of each other. I mean, duh. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As my CEO at work puts it, “Ahhh, new love.”
Or, as one of my best friends says, “I love new love!”
Not that we’re in love, or anything!
*super awkward laughter*
… But seriously, he’s the tits.
I write about him constantly. You haven’t seen any of this elusive writing because I haven’t posted any of it online (it’s pretty embarrassing, actually), but it remains the case that when I really like someone, I can’t help myself; I have to create things about them. And Tony is … Well. He’s my muse. He inspires me. He inspires me so much that the first time I laid eyes on him, I went home and wrote a song about him on my ukulele.
Are you ready for story time, kids?
Because here goes.
* * *
I first met Tony on January 17, 2015, in a crowded bar in San Francisco called Lightning Tavern.
I was supposed to be there meeting someone for a second date (he was planning on introducing me to his friends), but when Tony said hello, I was just …
Let’s back it up.
Let me tell this story the way I tell all my stories.
* * *
It’s Saturday night in San Francisco, and I’m dressed to the nines, ready to kill it on this date. I’m wearing my favorite black stilettos, a hot dress, red lipstick, and my go-to perfume; this guy won’t know what hit him.
Taking a deep breath, I run my fingers through my hair, and put my game-face on. Then, I approach the entrance to Lightning Tavern.
“Wow,” I hear someone say.
I turn to the source where a pair of boys smoking cigarettes just outside are smiling at me. I smile back to be polite.
“Good luck in there,” one says, gesturing toward me. “You definitely don’t need it.”
I laugh a little, flattered. “Thank you.”
It’s always sort of nerve-wracking arriving at bars alone as a woman. If you’ve never done it before, it’s sort of like stepping into a den of starving wolves where you’re the juicy little baby lamb who’s wandered away from the flock. Eyes rape you, necks break, men nod at each other in your direction indicating you as a target, and, well …
This bar is crowded.
I am an extremely extroverted person in that I love making new friends, meeting new people, and inserting myself into new social situations, but as I step inside Lightning Tavern, I immediately realize I’m going to have an incredibly difficult time locating my date.
First of all, it’s totally packed in here. Secondly, I’m an incredibly tiny person (5’1), and everyone is a gajillion feet tall, so it’s not like I can see anything besides random chests and arms and elbows. Couple this with the fact that I’m blind as a bat and can’t make out fine details past 10 feet, and well, I’ve got myself a situation.
I worm my way through the crowd with soft “excuse me”s and “sorry”s and “pardon me”s, inching through the throngs of drunken rabble-rousers. It should be easy to find my date, right? He’s 6’3 with distinct features — I’m bound to run into him sooner or later. But after a lap around and no luck, I get a little worried. Is he even here?
I hate pulling out my phone in bars. I don’t like how anti-social it makes me feel. But I do it anyway, because jeez, how else am I going to get ahold of this guy?
Nervous, alone, and surrounded by total strangers, I tug the thing out of my clutch, bury my nose in its glow, and begin texting, “Where are you?”
“Hi,” I hear someone say.
I look up from my phone, turn to my left, and the first thing I see is the whitest, prettiest, friendliest, most disarming smile I have ever seen. Just above it are these gorgeous bright blue/green eyes, all under a mop of curly brown hair.
Oh my god.
The smile I return is not polite. It’s reflex. Whatever instincts mother nature programmed into me to react to pure attraction are instantly engaged.
“H-hi,” I stammer.
* I wish I could remember exactly how this conversation went, but seriously, my brain completely short-circuited the moment I laid eyes on him, and my mouth ceased to form words that made any sense. What I’m transcribing past this point are only pieces of our conversation with much of it missing. Forgive me.
God. He’s so gorgeous. I can’t even. Wow.
Nervously, I glance around me, wondering where Jim is and feeling guilty that this total babe is talking to me. But I can’t find him at all, and he hasn’t responded to my text, so … I should just … I mean, he’s so cute, I can’t help myself.
I join this brunette babe against the wall, pulling away from the crowd so I can hear him better.
“Where are you from?” He asks, still smiling that perfect smile. Oh god, that smile.
“I’m from…” Stockton. Say Stockton. Wait, no. Don’t say Stockton. Stockton has such a bad reputation. Say something cooler. Fuck. Work, mouth! Work! “S-San Francisco. I-I live in San Francisco,” I say, stuttering like a fucking moron.
“Nice,” he says, leaning towards me, stepping closer. “Me too. Do you live near here?”
“N-no, I…” Where do I live again? Crap. C’mon, brain! Form sentences! “N-near the beach,” I manage, unable to peel my eyes away from his. God, he’s so cute. Why is he talking to me?!
“I love the beach,” he says, stepping even closer, ducking in a little, his shoulders leaning in toward me. “Barbecues, sunshine, picnics — I go down there all the time with friends to drink and hang out. I live pretty close to the beach, too.”
I’m staring at him. I’m staring at him with a dumb-founded smile on my face. I have zero idea what to say. Jesus, he is cute. Have I mentioned how cute he is?!
When I finally snap out of my hypnotized trance, I look away from him and around the bar, once again remembering I’m supposed to be here on a date with someone else and feeling really nervous that Jim might stumble onto this situation and be totally upset by it. Ugh! I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but this guy is just so …
“Everything okay?” He asks.
“Y-yes,” I say. “I’m just …” Looking for the date I’m supposed to be on. Totally enamored with you. Instantly crushing on you. Feeling completely intimidated by you. You make me feel so nervous. Scared. Anxious. “–S-shy,” I say aloud, the word slipping from my mouth. The second it does, I feel like a total idiot. Who fucking says that?! I’m SHY?! WHO SAYS THAT?! I look down at my feet, wanting to facepalm so hard. WHYYYYYYYYYYY.
“Yeah, I can tell,” he says, and when I look up at him, he’s still smiling, moving in closer. “You definitely seem shy,” he says. God, that smile. I can’t. He’s so close. I’m just! AHH! I suck my lips into my mouth and chew on them a little, holding my breath. “What’s your name?” He asks.
“Cheri,” I breathe out. “What’s yours?”
“Tony,” he says, his eyes wandering my face. “It’s nice to meet you, Cheri.”
God damn it.
You’re beautiful, Tony.
You are literally the cutest boy I’ve ever met.
But I’m here on a date with someone else, and I can’t just ditch him.
This is so screwed up.
Guilt overwhelms me.
“I’m so sorry, Tony,” I say, pulling my wits together. “I’m supposed to be here meeting someone. I really have to go.”
“Fine,” he says, grinning. Playfully, he wiggles his shoulders at me and says, “Get out of here.”
“It was nice meeting you,” I say. Then …
I run away and hide.
The bar is so crowded that it doesn’t take long to lose him and wedge myself behind extremely tall people in a corner. My heart is pounding, but now that I’ve managed to pull away from that magnetic motherfucker, I can actually function again.
I tug out my phone and text Jim again, “Rescue me, pronto.”
But when Jim finally comes to my rescue, I’m just … So underwhelmed. He’s dressed impeccably, sure — tailored suit, great dress shoes, etc — but my mind is reeling from having met Tony, and when I look at Jim, all I can think is: I wish I was here with Tony instead of you.
He introduces me to his friends, and I’m my usual self: friendly, hugging, smiling, laughing, telling everyone I had such a hard time finding them, admitting I’m blind, answering their questions, whatever. All of that. And it’s fun for a while. But eventually, they leave me with Jim to give us “alone time”, and it is so awkward because I do not want to be there with him at all.
“Would you like a drink?” He asks.
“Uhm, sure,” I say. “A gin and tonic, I guess.”
“Great, I’ll be right back,” he says, smiling at me before getting up to order a round at the bar.
When he leaves, my eyes immediately shoot toward the spot where Tony and I met. Fuck! I am so blind! I can’t see anything! Where is he? Please don’t look over here and see me on a date with someone else and think I’m unavailable. I’m not unavailable! I’m single! I’m so freaking single, Tony!
Why did I have to meet Tony while on a date?! God damn it!
My date returns, and I can’t focus at all.
“What’s wrong?” He asks.
“Nothing, nothing. I’m just tired. A little overwhelmed, that’s all,” I say, making up excuses, lying my ass off and just wanting to get the hell out of there.
A wise man who recently ended his marriage once uttered this valuable piece of advice to me: “All of my decisions from now on are either going to be ‘F*ck yeah’ or ‘not at all’. If my life were a movie, I’d base every decision on whether or not I saw my next steps in the script.”
Is being on this terrible date while thinking about Tony the whole time in the script of my life?
… No way.
I really need to get out of here.
Eventually, I find myself making excuses for why I’d like to leave. Jim reacts poorly, aggressively, and tries to guilt me into staying. This, of course, does not help his case, and the second a taxi approaches, I wave it down and hop inside, feeling guilty, but knowing it’s the right decision.
The entire cab ride home, I’m thinking about Tony. His smile, his eyes, his hair, everything he said to me, the way he danced up to me with his shoulders, his tan skin, his sweater, his posture — everything. I burn him into my mind, smiling to myself, wanting him.
The second I’m back in my own apartment, I snatch up my ukulele, pop open my laptop, begin filming, and start singing the first things that come to mind about Tony.
Behold, the most embarrassing thing I have ever filmed in my entire life.
It’s called: Freestyle Ode to Tony – the Cutest Boy I’ve Ever Met.
* * *
Just watching that video again and reliving that night is like … I’m sitting here laughing because I look so love-struck, and I can barely form words. Like, I look like a crazy person. I was. I am. Crazy about Tony, that is.
* * *
When I wake up the next morning, I’m still thinking about him.
Who is he?
Will I ever see him again?
I need to see him again.
I have to.
So, I do the only thing I can do.
I go on Facebook, and I literally search for every single person named Tony in San Francisco, determined to find him. When I finally do, I recognize him from his smile, and my heart leaps in my chest.
It’s him!! It’s totally him!!
… Or at least, I think it’s him? Oh man. What if it’s not him? What if it’s a total stranger? AHHHH.
Only one way to find out.
In what is probably the ballsiest and most courageous move I’ve ever made, I decide to reach out, and share the video I made with him, fully aware that it might make me look like a crazy person.
But I don’t care!
I don’t care, damn it!
If my life were a movie, this right here, this would totally be in the script.
I did it!
Three hours later, he says:
* It says “Facebook User” because he deactivated his Facebook ages ago.
* * *
I am so grateful.
Fast forward to today, and he’s mine, and he’s the most amazing person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And a big part of that, I think, is that I’m a very different person today than I was last year.
I spent the last seven months very purposely getting to know myself, being fearless, single, and exploring the world around me. I’ve thrown myself into new adventures, nourished the shit out of my friendships, formed new ones along the way, and poured endless effort into reminding my family how grateful I am to have them in my life. I’ve embraced new experiences with open arms, and throughout it all, I’ve been grateful, kind, and passionate. I’ve been around the world and back, met and dated new and interesting people, and have taken the time to get to know me. I am more well-rounded today than I ever have been before, and I am absolutely reaping the rewards from it.
A wise person once told me that I should enter a relationship when my cup is full and I have more to give, rather than when my cup is only half-filled and in need.
Tony and I are both entering this relationship with cups overflowing with life, love, and happiness.
His friends are amazing. He is such a good person with so many people in his life that he loves, and who love him just as much. He treats the people around him with so much tenderness, it’s unbelievable. He always has something amazing happening in his life. He’s constantly going on adventures, visiting friends, meeting and befriending new people, embracing new experiences, and strengthening the bonds of his close relationships. He adores his family, and he’s an amazing uncle. And he’s kind. So kind. He’s this warm, loving person. And he’s just the right touch of bad boy — enough that the sex is fucking amazing, and enough that I know he’d be down to say yes to crazy, dangerous situations with me with the same “fuck it” attitude that I have.
When Tony and I finally began dating, the realization that we fit perfectly together was immediate. The sexual attraction and pure chemistry was there from the beginning, but the rest of it, how our lives just meshed like puzzle pieces, all of that was serendipitous and unbelievable.
I didn’t think there existed a person who reflected me so well in every way. The amount of love both he and I have in our individual lives is so much that together, we are this unstoppable storm of non-stop fun and adventure.
I just … I feel so lucky.
And the fact that it’s mutual — that we both look at each other in disbelief, like, “Why the hell are you dating me of all people” all the time is like — this is just so unreal.
I wrote the following on July 21st after spending an amazing weekend with him and all of his closest friends in the Sierra Nevada mountains at a music festival.
* * *
“You are such a babe,” he says, kissing me. In front of all of his closest friends in the world, he kisses me. “You are the babe of all babes.”
Flattered, I look down at my feet, shy. Is this really happening?
He ducks into my gaze, dancing up against me with wiggling shoulders to the sound of distant festival beats, smiling his smile, the same one that had me stuttering for words when he first said hello to me in that crowded bar.
I can’t help it. I touch his chest through his grey tee-shirt, rake my nails over his pecs, and look up at his perfect face. Fuuuuuck. Those pretty eyes. That tan skin. That soft hair. I can’t.
“You are so cute,” I say, shaking my head in disbelief. “It’s crazy how attracted I am to you.”
“Trust me, it’s mutual,” he says, his big hands around my waist. “Whatever page you’re on, I’m on it. However much you like me, I like you that much, too. Whatever you want, I’ll give it to you. Me and you — we’re going to have amazing times together.” He presses me gently against the side of the truck where we’re all tailgating in the summer air, kissing my lips, my chin, my neck.
I whisper his name, and he eats it, mouth on mine, breathing me in.
We hear his friends laughing, in their own world as they clink bottles, their cheerful conversation the backdrop to our intimacy.
He pulls back a little to look at me and says, “You make me want to be a better man. It’s crazy. You inspire me. I’ll work out more for you. You like my body now — you’re gonna love it even more. I’m already applying for a new job. I’m going to make you so happy. I’ll make you the happiest woman in the world. I mean it.”
“You already do,” I say, feeling the lines of muscle beneath his tee. “I can’t believe I get to have you.”
“I’m yours,” he says, tucking my hair back behind my ear, kissing my skin. He whispers, “You can have all of me. You don’t have to share me with anyone. I want to call you ‘Babe’. Can I call you Babe? Can I call you Baby?”
“You can call me anything you want,” I say, grabbing him and kissing the fucking shit out of him.
“Baby…” He whispers, kissing me back. “I am all. Yours.”
“I’m so happy you said hello to me,” I say, remembering the night we first met.
“I’m so happy you found me,” he replies, kissing me for the millionth time.
Sherilynn “Cheri” Macale