Pirategirl is a long time friend of Jess and Becky, dating back to nursery school. She lives with her guy, her cat and enough romance novels to build a good sized fort.
When I was 13 years old, I fell in love. It was the summer of 1997, and I was just days from turning 14. My family was on vacation in Maine, at a campsite with a bunch of random families, and a tall, handsome boy approached me and my (annoying) little brother and asked if we wanted to play ping-pong with him and his cousin.
Naturally, I agreed – and thus began a post-dating love story of epic (and extremely drawn-out) proportions.
In the two weeks that we spent on that island, my future love and I became very close. He taught me to sail, convinced me to hike, and sat by my side as we sketched the glorious views around the lake. A joke that we were playing on his cousin required quite a bit of alone time. And so it was during that vacation that we started confiding in each other and became the best of friends.
Fast forward fifteen years, and we are deeply in love. We never “dated.” We didn’t get to know each other over casual coffees, carefully selected drinks or trendy dinner tables. We had never even used labels or tried to define our relationship until recently. But here we are, unsurprisingly in love.
How did that all happen? And what advice would I offer to those of you out there who are wondering if, just maybe, that best friend of yours might someday turn into something more?
1. You have to keep in touch – and you both have to be equally invested in making your friendship work. This is definitely a two-way street.
Upon our departure from Maine, we exchanged addresses (home, as email didn’t exist) and promised to keep in touch. My heart-thumping crush had mellowed, but to me, he was awesomeness personified.
And keep in touch we did. Every week, a sloppily addressed letter arrived in my mailbox, with pages of rambling thoughts about everything under the sun. In turn, I dutifully wrote of my life as well. No topic was off-limits, which meant that even my first kiss, my first boyfriend, and all my surrounding emotions were poured out onto pages and sent off to a small coastal town where a teenage boy was having similar experiences.
In addition to those letters, we saw each other a few times each year. He would visit my hometown for school performances and my birthday, and I would venture out to his hometown in the summer or whenever I happened to be driving the I-95 corridor.
The letters continued until the end of high school, when we went off to college, once again in different geographical areas. But naturally, this didn’t stop our friendship. The visits and letters continued, but simply switched forms. E-mails replaced paper, and visits were scheduled around war protests and exam periods. Over the years, we both changed – but he always remained my confidant.
2. Don’t wait for him! Get involved with other people. Have other relationships.
I had plenty of (real and ambiguous) relationships throughout this time, while my feelings for him simmered beneath the surface. I even became close with his high school girlfriend, and he with my boyfriend. No one was waiting for anybody, or had any idea that this really would turn into something more.
But still, throughout it all, we kept in touch.
Then things started to change.
3. Allow guys to move around your dah.
I think the only dah member that this guy will never be is The Ex-Boyfriend Who is Still Around.
Eventually, he moved to New York City, where I lived. For the first time, my Accessory was local. This had never happened before in the (at this point) eight years of our friendship.
We started to hang out more often, and suddenly, he turned into a dah ping-pong ball. He Blew Me Off…he was Unavailable…I wasn’t even sure that I was quite thinking of him as a Prospect at all…
But during one night filled with art, good food, close friends and a screening of Clueless, he finally turned into a real Prospect.
4. Take chances.
I can’t quite describe when it hit me. But I know that we were sitting on a couch together, nearly cuddling (as we often did over the years), when my heart started thumping the way it had a little more than a decade earlier, when I first laid eyes on him. All of a sudden, I looked at this man sitting beside me, and I realized that he was really, truly a Prospect in my dah.
He couldn’t really be a Hot Sex Prospect, since there was too much history and I could see myself falling hard and fast if anything were to happen. Yet there was something in the air that random, unexpected night, something electric, that made me think that this was the night that my banked affection was going to burst into scalding hot flames. This was the night that my dearest old friend would become my serious Boyfriend Prospect.
And I was right. We kissed, and then, from that night on, we were exclusive. We both tied up any loose dah ends that were around, and we settled into a dizzying love affair that continues today. Our post-dating world evaporated into one of monogamy.
But first, we had to take a chance and actually go in for the kiss. Had we worried that finally kissing each other – after a decade of sexual tension – would ruin our friendship, I wouldn’t now be living with the hottest Ego Boosting Accessory that a girl could ask for.
And you know what’s funny – in retrospect, we both claim to have made that first move.
5. Listen to your friends!
As far as we’re concerned, the timing worked out as it should have. But we might have let ourselves fall in love a little sooner if we’d listened to everyone around us!
We’ll both never forget the reactions of our family and friends (and even previous significant others) when we told them that we were finally together. I remember Jess proclaiming that it was about time, and as it turns out, both of our high school exes were surprised that it didn’t happen earlier. Apparently, we were the last to know how in love we could be.
Overall, I remain glad that we focused on our friendship for all those years, and didn’t get too caught up in whether we were “dating” and what exactly we were “doing.” Instead, we let our connection grow organically and, once it all came together, found ourselves moving to that small coastal town from which I had once received so many letters. The rest is a post-dating love story.
It started as a joke. A few of my dearest best friends thought it would be funny to get me some novels for my fifteenth birthday. I was presented with a selection of four extremely hot historical pirate romance novels (Sabrina Jefferies’ The Pirate Lord, Gaelen Foley’s The Pirate Prince, Johanna Lindsey’s A Pirate’s Love,-though I prefer Gentle Rogue- and Virginia Henley’s The Pirate and the Pagan) complete with the giggles and jokes that naturally accompany explicit sex scenes. I had already been a huge fan of Young Adult historical love stories (and even Becky read my favorite trilogy – Jean Ferris’ American Dreams) but this, THIS was amazing. My collection quickly expanded from those four to the over five hundred or so historical romance novels that I have today. My four or five book a week habit can get expensive, but it is nearly as vital to my existence as food. Thank goodness I like to re-read.
Naturally, you think I must be a lonely, sex starved woman with only my cats for company. You. Are. Wrong.
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