(1) In my CTR class is a quiet, serious, black-haired boy named Timmy who has advanced through Primary and junior Sunday school with me since we were both three or four. When my mother takes Ziff and me over to his house to play, Timmy lets me ride his bike with training wheels for as long as I want while our younger brothers entertain themselves doing something in the garage that involves a lot of shrieking laughter.
I am smitten. And none too happy when my on-again, off-again best friend claims that Timmy let her ride the bike as well when she went over to visit. I want Timmy’s kindnesses to be mine alone.
(2) In junior high I follow Ziff’s example and begin sneaking out of my room at 10:40 p.m. every night to surreptitiously watch M*A*S*H over my parents’ shoulders (an activity they ultimately legitimize). On some later episode handsome, sensitive, wry Alan Alda undergoes a feminist conversion! Living as I do in Utah Valley, I am fascinated. Do such men exist?
(3) In Search of the Trojan War, a PBS program from the 80s: Michael Wood investigates the archeological evidence for the existence of Troy and Mycenae to gorgeous music and dazzling exposures of hillsides in the eastern Mediterranean and ancient treasures in the Berlin Museum. In one scene, he sits in bed in a rustic inn somewhere in the backwaters of Greece, longish hair roguishly tousled, reading the Iliad by lamplight and commenting on it in his extremely sexy British accent with his shirt unbuttoned. My thirteen-year-old heart nearly leaps out of my chest.
(4) I spend hours listening to sensitive Sting, who hopes that the Russians love their children too, laments Blake’s dark Satanic mills, and (not in so many words) urges us all to recycle. Eventually, under the influence of my very Mormon high school’s self-styled malcontents, I graduate to U2. My senior year, my two best friends and I gather to watch Rattle and Hum every single weekend.
One of my best friends is a girl. The other is a boy. I have nursed a secret crush on the boy for years.
(5) In college, actual serious dating ensues, at some considerable delay from the already delayed Mormon courtship schedule. I love poety men with their dark turtlenecks, their soulful conversation, their existential angst. I want to be dazzled, plunged into a world of stars and nonalcoholic champagne and the mystery of existence.
This leads, as one might imagine, to some mighty weird dates–not to mention some embarrassing dramatics on my part.
(6) After my mission, I meet a microbiology major two years my junior in my singles’ ward. He is outgoing, relentlessly intellectually curious, completely unpoety, kind. He has little use for literature, likes philosophical questions, loves science, despises wasting time asleep, and is addicted to opera and heavy metal. He is an unruffled but tenacious debater, neither losing his temper nor budging an inch on a deeply held conviction. He considers my existential dramatics with his signature tolerant calm and suggests reasonable, soothing distractions–characteristics which foreshadow his imminent career change to psychology.
Reader, I married him.