Thursday, August 21, 2014

How I Met My Boyfriend (And Kissed Him In Front Of 50,000 People)

One of the reasons I chose to study journalism is that I love telling stories about everything and anything. I created my blog to share my own story about a small-town girl navigating her way through college with the dreams of becoming a magazine journalist. Today I'm going to write about an interesting and somewhat personal chapter to my story: how I started dating my boyfriend.

I met Jake on the second day of school during our freshman year at Syracuse University. He lived right across the hall from me, literally two feet away. I was instantly intimidated: he was six-foot-four with the broad stature of a football player (I wasn't surprised to learn that he played center and defensive tackle on his high school football team). We were also complete opposites. I was a shy girly-girly who loved anything creative, and he was a friendly, outgoing, sports-obsessed man.
Nonetheless, we had an instant connection. We were attached at the hip for all of the "new student" orientation activities, like ice skating and parties on the quad. When school started, we did homework together, ate meals together, watched TV together, went to a concert together. He was my best friend, but nothing more since I had a boyfriend back home. I realize now how completely cruel the situation was – I friend-zoned him so badly that I'm surprised he stuck around. But he did stick around, and he was persistent without being pushy. I knew he liked me, and eventually I realized that I liked him, too.

Here's the tricky thing: I wasn't sure how to handle this unwelcome romantic drama. I had a couple of boyfriends in high school, but I certainly didn't expect to be involved in a love triangle merely weeks after coming to college. College is full of new and exciting guys – ones who didn't watch you go through puberty – and the situation was honestly quite confusing. Should I stick with a guy I'm comfortable with, or take a chance with this extremely social, super friendly football player? I even surprised myself, because I never, ever thought I'd consider dating someone who liked sports so much. Jake was even planning to study sport management!
After an excruciating weekend when my boyfriend came to visit and I had to decide between him and Jake, I followed my heart and wound up choosing Jake. Of course, dating him would be floorcest (dating someone on the same dorm floor, which usually ends in disaster and awkward encounters for the rest of the school year). That, combined with the fact that I had just broken up with my boyfriend back home, meant that Jake kept our relationship secret for a while. My dorm floor was extremely close, and everyone was friends with everyone, so keeping the secret was awfully hard. We still hung out like usual in public, but we started transitioning from best friends into a couple in private.

Our hush-hush relationship was finally exposed a couple of weeks later, and not by a conscious choice. Jake and I tagged along with a group of friends to a Syracuse Orange football game, painting our faces orange and navy blue. Everything was going smoothly at the game until the dreaded Kiss Cam. For those who don't know, the Kiss Cam is when the cameraman shines his camera on two people (a boy and a girl), who appear on the big screen at the game in front of the entire crowd. The two people are supposed to kiss, amid cheers and screams from the stadium. Well, there were 50,000 people at the football game that night, but Jake and I were the ones chosen for the Kiss Cam. What are the odds?!

The weirdest thing is, I knew we would be chosen. As soon as the Kiss Cam was introduced, I had this feeling that the camera would turn to us, and I was even preparing for the moment it did. But my intuition didn't stop my heart from jumping out of my chest when I saw the side of my head appear on the big screen over the orange-clad football fans in the Carrier Dome. Wide-eyed, I turned to Jake, who also looked like a deer in the headlights. And then we kissed. In front of 50,000 people. I remember looking back at our friends when the kiss was done and laughing – half of them were screaming and cheering, the other half just stared with their mouths open in shock. We were definitely popular on campus that night, considering we were stopped a dozen times by people who recognized us from the Kiss Cam.

And now here we are, almost two years later. I'm headed to Germany for a semester and Jake is staying back at 'Cuse, but I know we'll be ok. I guess the moral of the story is that when things are meant to happen, they happen. Or maybe it's that floorcest isn't always bad, or that the "unbreakable" friendzone can, in fact, be broken? Either way, my story is one I love to tell.