I recently experienced an “Aha!” moment with my Swirl Man. Not that I had any doubt, but I know he loves me.
See, when I was in college I had a wonderful friend-guy named *Harry. I’d graduated from high school at 16 and went to a university in Florida on a full scholarship. I didn’t know a soul, and I purposed that I would meet at least three people every day – even if I had to walk up to the person and introduce myself. I met Harry on my first day, and he was the first person I met. Harry had beautiful hazel eyes, a very high IQ, and a horrible potty mouth – and I liked him on sight. Harry hailed from the South Side of Chicago and introduced me to his male and female buds. I fell right in and we all became fast friends.
(What does this have to do with my Swirl Man, you ask? No need to call Elmo – I’m getting there; really I am).
Fast forward to the summer after freshman year. I had learned the ancient art of embroidery and grew fascinated with putting designs on denim button-down chambray shirts (remember those?). I decided to do a special shirt for Harry (if you hadn’t guessed it already, yes, I had a major crush on him for the longest. We never really moved past the “good friends” stage – he had a girl back home who had been his sweetheart since junior high; she was so nice and sweet I just couldn’t hate her – but that was all right with me. He was the first guy I’d ever met that I instantly liked, had the most beautiful eyes, was beyond smart, and he never ceased to fascinate me).
E.L.M.O. . . . . .
Anyway, I spent at least a month embroidering this shirt, and looked forward to returning to school in the fall just so I could give it to him. I decided to go with a Southwestern theme just so I could use a new embroidery pattern I had: sombreros, cacti, donkeys . . . it was colorful and SO beautiful! Sure, I thought about mailing it to him, but decided to keep it till August just so I could see his face when he opened it.
Sidebar: [To this day, I still like to give gifts in person so I can see facial expressions. My Swirl Man and I have a long-distance relationship, and we specialize in celebrating Valentine’s Day after the fact for this same reason].
Anyway, Harry seemed genuinely surprised and appreciative when I gave him the shirt, and he actually wore it even though it was a size too small. I beamed with pride – Harry wore the shirt that I embroidered for him, and he wore it often. One day after class we walked across the yard to join some of our other friends for lunch. As I was walking around greeting everyone, I happened to turn around in time to see *Jack (also from the South Side of Chicago) doubled over in laughter. His back was to me so he didn’t realize I was looking.
Jack (bursting with laughter): “What up, Dawg? I see you wore your (more laughter) . . . shirt.”
Harry (trying not to grin): “&*^% you, &^#$%^-*&^*@#!” (I did tell you he had a potty mouth, right??)
They both jumped guiltily when I walked up.
Me (confused): “Something wrong with the shirt?”
Jack (really laughing hard now): “Well, it does have two donkeys on the front . . .”
Harry (flushed and wanting Jack to shut up): “Be quiet, &^#$@%-&%+*&^! This is my &%$-*&+#@% shirt!”
Jack (snickering): “All right, Man . . . all right!”
I stood there, noticing that the other guys were also trying to not laugh. Comprehension slowly began to set in . . . . the shirt had two donkeys on the front.
[You know how you can think a shoe is really cute until your BFF says it’s hideous – and then once she says it, you notice that the buckles really are too big and the heel really is too clunky, and the shoe is . . . really not cute?]
We went in the cafeteria and not another word was said about the shirt, but I couldn’t wait to corner Harry.
Me (quietly): “Jack and ‘nem have been teasing you about the shirt, haven’t they?”
Harry (just as quietly): “Yeah. But don’t worry about those &^%#$*-&^%&#@*. You made me that shirt, and I appreciate it. I don’t care what they say; I’m going to wear it. &$%^ them.”
Me (BEYOND mortified): “Harry, thanks, but you don’t have to do that. Really, you don’t.”
Harry: “Naw, now . . . .”
Me: “No, REALLY. PLEASE don’t wear it anymore. It’s too small, anyway.”
Even though I was dying with shame on the inside, I burst out laughing so Harry would think I was ok.
Harry (somewhat relieved): “You sure? &%$* those &^%#$*-&^%&#@*’s.”
Harry wore the shirt a couple more times after that just to show Jack that he wasn’t running anything, but put it away soon after.
When I went back to the dorm and thought about it, I realized that though I’d never be Harry’s girlfriend, he genuinely cared about me. That shirt was beyond hideous, and he wore it. At least once a week. To class.
I’ve since moved beyond embroidery (and beyond Harry), but this past Christmas I made my Swirl Man a Christmas stocking: Deep blue velvet, with light blue faux fur trim three inches wide around the rim (blue is his favorite color). I put his initials on the rim and then hand-sewed rhinestones in various colors, shapes, and sizes all over the stocking. That wasn’t enough: I hot glued faux gemstones and sparkly snowflakes to mix with the rhinestones, then filled it with lots of interesting goodies (did I mention that the stocking was . . . uh . . . fairly big?).
My Swirl Man oooed and aahed over it; flattered that I’d taken the time to sew it by hand for him. He proudly displayed it for everyone to see and kept telling me how amazing I was. I was inspired:
Me (excitedly): “This will be one of our Christmas traditions! I’ll make you a stocking every year!”
SM (slowly): “Um . . . great. Um . . . . Darling?
SM (slowly): “The stocking is great, but . . . um . . . when you make it, don’t make it with all that . . . um . . . bling on it, ok?”
Me (shocked): “Bling???!!!”
SM: “Yeah . . . bling.”
When he saw my shocked expression, he said, “Well, you had . . . glitter on it. And . . . stones . . . and . . . stuff. Don’t get me wrong – I love it – but from now on, you don’t have to . . . decorate it as much. I’m. . Uh . . . conservative, you know?”
Needless to say, I experienced déjà vu in addition to my “Aha!” moment. My fiancé had displayed that stocking so everyone could see it – all the while inwardly cringing at the “bling” in pretty much the same way Harry had cringed at the donkeys. Never mind his personal taste (and my lack of it); the fact that it was made in love caused him to not care about who saw it or what anyone thought. When a man (Harry) likes a woman, and when a man (my fiancé) loves a woman, it’s amazing how many donkeys – and how much bling – he’ll endure.
Lucky me: I have the rest of my life to show him how very much I love him and appreciate him.
*Names have been changed to protect the guilty
Join in the fray:
What have you “endured” in the name of love? Leave a comment and tell me about it!
A Swirl Girl says
Marie, what’s especially funny to me is that I always seem to mess up when I do what I deem “custom” gifts! It just never fails! I’m glad to know also that I’m not the only one!
this story is fantastic! reminds me of my mishaps with gifts and just thinking something is cool and isn’t far from it…lol it’s cute though that you make gifts…i like to get gifts too. so it’s nice to know that i’m not the only girl that messes that up cause you only really hear of guys doing it…..
A Swirl Girl says
Brie, I have NO idea!!! For some reason I thought they were cute! They actually had blankets for saddles, and the blankets were very colorful and intricate. It was a challenging embroidery pattern and I thought it was beautiful. SMH @ me!!!!
The story was too adorable…but one question…what was up with the donkeys? lol!
A Swirl Girl says
It’s very humbling to realize that I was being endured. LOL
What a delightful story! It warmed my pea pickin’ heart.
We should all be fortunate to be loved that much.