Ask XY: Grand Romantic Gestures

Ask XY

What is the Grandest Romantic Gesture you’ve ever made? Did it work, or did it backfire?

It may not be THE grandest, but it was the first and most important gesture I ever made. In 1st grade, I liked a girl. I didn’t know if she liked me or not. Instead of simply asking her how she felt about me, I saved up my allowance, went to the local jewelry store, and bought a nice necklace for her, gift-wrapped and all. I knew she knew I liked her, so I didn’t put my name in the “From” column. Neglecting the fact that I had no say in what other people think and feel, I wanted her to open it and instinctively know who it was from. She’d look up, her eyes would meet mine…and we’d melt into each other. Like a movie.

I went to school early and put the necklace on her desk. I sat at mine and waited. She was one of the last to arrive at her seat that day, so the anticipation built not just for me, but for every other student that had entered the classroom and seen the mystery gift. She came in two minutes before the bell. She opened the gift with an eager audience. She smiled. There were light “oohs” and “aahs.” She looked up. Her eyes met mine, a curious smile on her face. Then the bell rang. The next hour was one of the longest of my life. What did the “curious” part of that smile mean?
She approached my desk after class ended. I wondered: What shade of red was my face? Was my blood boiling? ‘Cause that’s how hot I felt. She wore the necklace around her neck and placed one hand on my desk as if to slowly slide it toward mine. She smiled, said hello, and proceeded with her follow-up question: “Do you know if Andy gave this to me? I hope so. I really like him. Would you ask him for me?” My heart fell into an abyss inside of me. I squeaked out the word “Sure.”
It was awful, but I learned an important lesson in love: I couldn’t control other people’s feelings (much like my own).
It’s simple. Someone likes you, or they don’t. There’s no convincing, no proving, no game. All you have to do (and can do) is show up.
I cite this as a grand gesture because at the time I had the courage (and naivety) to entrust the world to be perfect. What I didn’t have the courage to do was show up. 😉

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