How to Win at Love: A Story of Inception
- How to Win at Love: A Story of Inception
This is the story of how Glenn wound up
in love with me married to me. (Updated 1/3/16!)
I fell instantly in love with the young architect, Glenn Laaspere. He stands 6’2″ tall, excels at math and killing spiders on the ceiling, wastes supersonic metabolism by eating fruit for desert, and exudes confident affability, like someone who actually enjoys the company of wise old people. He is everything I’m not, and, together, we are Captain Planet. Or complete, or whatever.
I enjoy the chase, and I have desired Glenn ever since he asked for my number after our Social Science Research class, punched my digits into a 2003 Nokia flip-phone, and then literally ran away. I am his first real girlfriend, and his charming romantic incompetence is immediately problematic.
For our very first date, he takes me out for lunch on a Sunday. I was never told what restaurant we’re eating at, so I strike a seemingly perfect balance between casual and formal, in red jeans and a navy blazer.
Still, I am wildly overdressed for the “Pita Pit.”
No big deal, until the whole thing is cut short after 30-minutes. So we can get back to the frat house for the second half of the Patriots game, Glenn takes the second half of my gyro out of my hands and bags it for me.
Taking food from a Sicilian is how Houdini died. Outrage overshadows my frustration that he is clearly not being seduced by my efforts to eat slow and dainty and without dribbling Tzatziki on my blazer.
I decide to intervene in our relationship on his behalf, before he makes a real shit-show of the absolute best thing that will ever happen to him.
I can’t say that Glenn falls in love with me too, so much as he receives a swift blow to the back of the head and falls into a temporary coma, only to wake-up at the bottom of the love cliff. He just didn’t have the choice NOT to marry me, build us a house with a holodeck, father our litter of wunderkind, grow very old together and eventually die next to me, in his sleep, when a giant meteor crashes into our house and Superwoman emerges, which makes all of our loved ones very sad but hopeful for the future at the same time.
When Glenn awakes at the bottom of the love cliff, he decides that climbing back out looks like more effort than it’s worth. Fortunately for him, because I am fully prepared to Mufasa him, if necessary.
So, he stays in love and soon comes to believe that the whole “Glenn and Corielle forever” thing was his idea all along. Because it is a fucking fantastic idea, and he’s a man, and THAT’S WHAT THEY DO.
He is so very pleased with his decision to bring us here, to the bottom of the love cliff, which actually looks a lot like Paris.
But, first, it begins in Chicago, in December, 2009.
Glenn and I have been dating for three months, and we are spending part of our winter break with my family. One night, several days after Christmas, we square off in an absurdly aggressive ping-pong match. I emerge triumphantly, drenched in sweat. Glenn lies broken and bleeding on the floor.
While I feel that suffering this crushing defeat has taught him an important lesson about going up against a Sicilian when nothing in particular is on the line, I also feel that screaming “VENI, VIDI, VICI!” and chucking my paddle at his head like a ninja star constitutes excessive celebration and unsportsmanlike conduct.
So, as I help him to his feet, I say, “I’m sorry about your face…I love you, Glenn.”
And Glenn says, “… Thank you.”
Then, I grab him by the ears and slam his head into the ping-pong table.
But only in my imagination, because his head is several inches above my reach. More importantly, though unrequite love is WAY more painful than the ping-pong paddle-shaped contusion he’s being such a bitch about, violence is not the answer.
Inception is the answer.
The next night, at dinner, I enter Glenn’s brain.
“Have I told you my plans for spring break?” I ask my parents completely unnecessarily, considering I devised said plans in the shower less than 30 minutes ago. They shake their heads, playing right into my hands.
“A good friend of mine had this brilliant idea,” I begin, referring, again, to myself, in the shower, 30 minutes ago. “She’s a huge Dave Matthews fan, like me,” I hear Glenn choke on a bite of spaghetti, but I am prepared for this and sail through without pause, “so she looked to see if the band’s European tour overlaps with our spring break.”
My Dad is politely interested. “And does it?”
“Oh, it does!” I say dramatically, leaning forward. “And guess where!”
“WHERE?” Glenn demands, so predictably.
“Oh!” I gasp, turning toward him as if I have just now remembered that he is privy to this totally not calculated family dinner discussion. “You’ll be so jealous. My friends and I are going to see Dave Matthews in Amsterdam!”
Until this moment, Glenn had planned to spend spring break partying with his frat brothers in god forsaken Aruba, a trip which, I imagine, would involve many disease infested prostitutes, a hostel bursting with vagrants and probably asbestos, billiard playing, and all other kinds of Trouble with a capital “T“, which rhymes with “P“, and that stands for Pot.
In short, there is absolutely nothing that Aruba can offer which Amsterdam doesn’t offer legally, three fold, PLUS the Dave Matthews Band.
(Over the coming months, Glenn’s frat dweebs went all Rasputin on me because I “stole” Glenn from them. Which is preposterous. Thievery is for amateurs. I mother fucking UPGRADED him.)
But here’s the thing: I need him to want it BAD. He needs to fight for it. I need him to love ME, not Dave Matthews, and the only way to do that is to tell him he absolutely cannot have either of us.
SO, I will be making this epic trip exclusively with my ambiguously defined “friends.” My mother lobs me an underhand pitch when she responds to my announcement with concern for my safety.
“Don’t worry,” I reassure her. “We’ll be traveling with a few of our guy friends, too!”
Glenn is visibly dismayed. I am very pleased.
It takes all of 18 hours for Glenn to invite himself along.
I laugh. “You’re going to Aruba, remember?”
Glenn is not amused. “I haven’t booked my flights or anything, yet.”
“Oh.” I look down at my Cheerios, muster a look of gentle pity, then return his gaze. *sigh* “I don’t think it’s a good idea to make expensive travel plans with a significant other. Don’t take this the wrong way, but…there’s no way to know for sure that we’ll still be dating in March.” I pause to let this suggestion absorb. “We should be mature about this.”
“March is three months away!” he protests, an awesome hint of panic in his voice.
I nod slowly. “Well, I was also kinda looking forward to just, you know, hanging out with my friends.” He is one right hook from incepted. “You’ll probably have way more fun in Aruba with your friends than in Amsterdam with mine, anyway! And you can see Dave Matthews anywhere!”
“BUT I WANT TO SEE HIM IN AMSTERDAM. WITH YOU,” he shouts, fork-stabbing his Eggo.
I bite my lip, as if I am at a loss for words, and not because I am so tickled with exuberant delight that I am struggling to suppress the overwhelming urge to launch into a rousing chorus of “Bear Down, Chicago Bears!”
“Whatever,” Glenn harrumphs before stomping away from the table.
I drag this slow, steady mind-fuck out until, when I finally concede on February 1, 2010, Glenn is so passionately grateful that he professes his love to me.
I say, “…You make me very happy.”
As I explained earlier, once Glenn finds himself at the bottom of the love cliff, he grabs the reigns with a flourish. By March 1, we embark out of JFK on a two-week-long extended spring break, of which Amsterdam is just the kick-off. Glenn has spearheaded an elaborate trip which, unfortunately, my “friends” can no longer afford to accompany us on, and which will take us from the Netherlands to Berlin, Venice, Florence, and, eventually, to Paris, where I will finally admit that I love him, too.
(He has completely forgotten my earlier proclamation of love, because of the inception. Or, maybe because of the whole ping-pong paddle head trauma thing.)
But that’s another several stories, so stay tuned.
(Warning: Future installments of this love drama will include (legal) drug use, (accidental) desecration of the tomb of the unknown Nazi soldier, and (actually) foiling a terrorist’s train robbery.)