Place: State college dorm
Players: Two college students, one sophomore girl, one freshman boy.
We were SO in love. He was older, though I was further along academically. He was as worldly as an 18-year old artist from Connecticut could be. He said he wanted to make our first Valentine's Day together really special and would cook a delicious, unique meal for me. Fabulous!
He went shopping on his own and rented out the communal dorm kitchen for the night. He wouldn't tell me anything about it except that it was unusual and delicious. I was so excited! I was finally summoned to the kitchen and he served his miraculous meal: A ramen-noodle "pancake" covered with chopped Birdseye mixed vegetables. "Oh, how wonderful!" I exclaimed. Yeah, it was kind of gross, the noodles rubbery and the veggies mushy beyond comprehension, but it was made with love. I loved him even more for doing that! Such effort! Such dedication! What an amazing guy! I flew high on that love for another year and a half until we broke up.
Fast forward several years later:
Place: A Washington Heights apartment
Players: A first-year grad student and an actor/waiter in his 30s
We had just started dating. He was about 10 years older than me, so in my eyes he was BEYOND worldly. He had appeared in actual films with famous people! Heck, he was even RELATED to famous people! He had been on Canadian TV! He had an apartment in NYC! Wow, what a cool guy!
He said he wanted to make dinner for me at his apartment. He had a "special" recipe that was so original, I wouldn't believe it. How exciting! I took the train from my assistantship in Washington Square and got to his apartment before he did (really kind of gross and dingy, but he was broke, so that was okay). He was late getting there and held his grocery bag close to his chest. Wow, what kind of culinary masterpiece was he planning? "May I come into the kitchen?" "NO!" "Can't you give me a hint?" "NO!" "Okay, Okay." I waited patiently for an hour alone in his living room.
Finally, he was ready. He carried the plate into the living room (no dining table) and presented it to me. Wow, it was...exactly the same noodle pancake and Birdseye mixed vegetable dish my old boyfriend made for me. "Oh, how...nice!" "See, I told you it was special! You've never seen anything like that before, have you?" "No, no, of course not!"
One more date and I was done. Sorry, Ross, wherever you are.
Of course, I never told you about the time my husband made me some Thai fried chicken with deep-fried plastic wrap. At least that was genuinely unique! Inedible, but unique!