I Love You, but Not Like That . . .
Besides, "honey, we need to talk . . ."
"I love you, but not like that," has to rate as the number two hardest phrase for guys to digest. I know. I have lived this story so many times that I grow bored when I mentally-count them.
This phrase, "I love you, but not like that," is the most-polite way a girl can tell a clingy guy that she in fact, "does," love him, but not as in "love between a man and a woman."
The poor sap-of-a-guy can only stand and hope that the shock of her words will swiftly wear off. He feels all of his blood pour to the soles of his feet as his sad eyes are glued to her pretty red lips as they spew out these words of poison that means "the end of the line," for him and her as a couple.
Am I right, ladies?
In the defense of my female followers and all women everywhere, it's not that the girl is cruel or mean-spirited, it's just she doesn't feel "that" kind of love or attraction that he, the now-dejected, rejected, fool-of-a-guy feels toward her.
I believe that this poor guy's mom who is obviously wiser than he is, should have taken his aside and said to him, "Frank, now let me tell you. Do not put all of your heart into one girl when you start dating. I know. Girls do not like that at your age."
"Frank," nods in agreement as if he understands. But confidentially, he is as lost as a blind bat at midnight.
Really. I wouldn't lie (or joke about) such a delicate manner as love among teenagers and those about to become teenagers.
Men, and I admit this freely, DO NOT grasp love and the emotions that accompany this all-powerful force of the universe. Quite simply, we are dumb as Oak trees when it comes to early love. And sometimes, adult love.
I know. I got caught up in my emotions too many times only to have the "girl of my dreams," say this awful phrase, "Kenny, I do love you, but . . .not like that." I knew this much. When she said "but," I could see "the axe in the air" about to fall on my fool neck that was laying atop the chopping block. "Sorry for the cruel analogy, but that is honestly how I felt when I was being rejected.
Well, not rejected. But replaced in the priorities of the girl who said she "loved me but not like that." If she had only told me what the "that" meant. Then I might have lived a happier life. But sadly, I still carry baggage of many girls who were so nice to me that they didn't have the backbone to say, "Kenny, get lost!"
I guess I should be happy. But I am not.
Let me take you back into the mid-70's and the time in my life I thought that childishness was not a part of my life. I thought I understood my heart completely.
What an idiot I was.
There would be this girl I would sit next to in study hall, or smile at in the hallway at break time, and my heart would start sending my mind signals, "Kenny! Hey, idiot! Did you see that chick?" Well, by the time I turned by head all I could see was her sexy way of walking down the hall.
Case closed. Store closed. She was the one I was asking out.
I give myself a little credit for I was methodical about how I asked this brunette beauty, a junior in high school just like me, out on a date. I mean I couldn't just barge up to her like an ape who had escaped from the zoo and say, "Uhhh, gee, 'Rita,' (her real name), I want you to, uhhh, go with me to the, uhhhh, movies tonight," because she would have laughed until she fainted.
No. I had to work up to asking her out. Such as asking her what music she liked or what was her favorite television show. Something simple, but on so lethal.
Let's say that she responded favorably. Then with the timing of a cobra striking a jaybird, I would casually say, "Rita, if you aren't busy Saturday night, I'd love to take you somewhere to eat. If you aren't busy."
'Rita,' would first look shocked. Then excited. Then agree for me to take her to eat that next night. Saturday night.
Oh how I was like James Cagney in his hit movie, "White Heat," as he proclaimed, "I'm on top of the world, ma!" when she said yes. I had it made. I was a ladies man. 'Rita,' this buxom redhead of a girl with an hourglass figure and pouty lips just agreed for me to take her on a date.
That Friday night, I was awake all night thinking of how I could impress her. I rehearsed numerous complimentary lines to say to her about her dress, her hair, her skin. I had all of my bases covered.
Now to skip ahead a few dates with 'Rita." I thought that by her talk and giggling at every joke I told that we were a couple. Exclusive. Loving each minute we were on the phone with each other or together on a date. I was the happiest guy in all of my school. People began to notice how I had changed from a pimple-filled, slumped-over face in the crowd to a real "operator," just by dating 'Rita."
Then I made the huge mistake of starting to buy her affordable jewelry that looked expensive. And it did. I bought from a jewelry wholesale house whose ad I clipped from a daily newspaper. I would send them the check that my mother gave me, added the tax, and they would ship my purchase to my mailbox. Who could have it any easier?
This went on for a long time. I was happy. 'Rita' was happy. I thought.
Until that certain Friday night in mid-June when the moon was full, just the right song was playing on my radio, and the air was full of the scent of honeysuckle, a romantic flower in the southern part of the country where I lived and without as much of a warning, 'Rita,' would wait until I was at mid-point of the funniest joke I had learned to make her laugh, to interrupt me and say . . ."Kenny, we need to talk."
Here is how I knew that something was wrong. 'Rita's' voice had "that" tone to it. Her cadence was changed from having a feminine lilt to an undetectable frustration tone of voice. My hands suddenly gripped the steering wheel. And although we were parking, I was not one to take chances. if I were to going to die of a heart attack, I wanted to die sitting up.
Then 'Rita,' gently put her left hand on my right hand and stared into my face. I could sense her doing this since it was dark where we were parked. I could her gently breathing before she "cut into me."
After she "let me have it," she said nothing. I said nothing until my shattered imagination could regroup enough to have some kind of reasoning of why she wanted to not go steady with me.
"But 'Rita,' sweetheart, I love you. Don't you love me?" I asked walking right in front of an oncoming freight train.
Then 'Rita' looked into my eyes as if she were going to agree with me, and then she replied, "Kenny, I do love you, but not like that."
"Like what?" I clamored to ask sweating profusely.
"Ohhh, like we are a couple," she gently replied looking out the window.
"But we are a couple," I said hoping she would make sense.
"No, Kenny, we aren't a couple. You love me and adore me, but I do not love you like that," 'Rita' reasoned as I saw my entire dating life "go up in smoke."
"Okay, 'Rita,' if you don't love me 'that way,' then how do you love me?" I asked and this time with a firmer tone.
"Ohhh, like a close friend that I will never forget and can talk to about anything in the world," she replied as "happy as a lark."
I wished to myself that she WAS a lark at that moment for my heart wouldn't have broken into 574 pieces.
"But isn't that what you are supposed to do with your next boyfriend, the guy who you might 'love like that?" I said and this time, 'Rita,' looked confused. She was "on the ropes," as they say in boxing circles.
After a hour of talking back and forth, I knew I was beaten. No use in me trying to "fix this tear" up in our relationship. I was time to "call it quits" and take 'Rita' home for the last time for as she was cutting me into with her lofty thinking as to why we shouldn't date anymore, I was already devising my revenge. A polite revenge.
As we rode, we just rode. We didn't chat. We didn't talk. We just rode.
When I made the final turn to her house, I thought well I have over fifty yards for her to change her mind.
'Rita' didn't. She held onto her break-up speech like a seasoned veteran.
I gave myself some more credit for not crying like a whipped puppy.
I turned off the car engine. We sat for about ten minutes. Just sat. No talking.
Finally 'Rita' leaned over to kiss me goodbye. I just couldn't help myself.
"Save that for your REAL boyfriend, 'Rita," I said with manly-dignity.
She looked stunned. And slowly got out of my car. Which was good payback for I had been accustomed to opening the door for her, but since I was only going to be a common friend from now on, why not let her be independent, self-reliant, I thought.
She walked to the front door of her house and in the moonlight I could still see her as I started up my car.
She was wiping something out of her eyes.
Mosquitoes were always bad that time of year.