That time he spoke my love language
When my college crush proved he understood ‘Quality Time’
I gritted my teeth and looked at the slimmer fraternity guy, leaning back eating grapes from a bowl. There was no way he didn’t know that the platter of food spread out over the coffee table, the bowl of fruit, the incense, and the noticeably clean living room was for me.
He ate those grapes like they were Thanksgiving dinner while his heavier fraternity friend checked me out. Neither of them spoke. They just quietly observed me and the person I came to see.
This was the first time I’d hung out with my college crush at his off-campus apartment. (We’d mainly hung out at my apartment because I didn’t have a roommate.) I made fun of the platter of lunch meat and cheese and bread because half of it was eaten.
Turns out he took it from his mom’s house when he went home a few hours away from our school. College dating = Mom’s leftover party meals, I guess. Still, though, he tried.
But I hadn’t been there more than about 10 minutes or so before someone banged on his door. I knew he’d been getting weirder all semester. Usually a pretty well-dressed man with a perfectly shaped afro or braids, he’d randomly show up to class with his hair all over his head and clothes that looked like he’d been mowing a yard.
Initially, I just assumed he was just over college. But the confident way that the two fraternity men sat down on his furniture, the quicker I realized that he wasn’t randomly raggedy for no reason. He was pledging. And when you pledge into a fraternity, you are not supposed to date — and there are rumors you can’t have sex either. (For the record, we had not done the latter.)
Still, though, these two had to go. I made eye contact with him. He looked at me. My eyes said, “Kick them out.” His eyes said, “I can’t.” My eyes said, “Why not?” His mouth finally said aloud, “I’m not kicking them out.”
I looked from him to those two in their fraternity jackets, somewhere between impressed that he chose the fraternity they were in and annoyed that he would let another man control him. I stood up, grabbed my coat and walked out the door silently. I could feel him looking at me as I left.
I had no intention of coming back.
A friend of mine once asked me to take “The 5 Love Languages” quiz. I had no idea what it was, but she explained that her relationships never worked until she found out how the person she was dating “spoke.”
Without taking the quiz, I was pretty sure that “Quality Time” would be my result. I don’t care about “Receiving Gifts.” “Words of Affirmation” are OK but don’t matter unless the actions follow through.
“Physical Touch” is only welcome if I already feel confident in the relationship. And considering my level of independence, “Acts of Service (Devotion)” would usually result in me sneaking and re-doing it my way. (I never said I was perfect.)
I thought about this quiz on the way home. I pondered on why I’d dated this guy in the first place. While I could run off a list of his favorite things, I seriously doubted that he even knew some basic things I enjoyed. My favorite color has been maroon since ’98. (Everything from my prom dress to my microwave to my first car was maroon.)
I owned all of the Charlie Brown movies and grew to love the Peanuts because my father did. I collected decorative pillows. I love dogs. Y’know, things like that. Things that only people who hang out with me would know.
But this guy did not speak my love language — not if he chose two random, uninvited guests coming to his home when he’d specifically asked me to hang out with him. If he cannot speak “my language,” then there’d be no need to speak to him. I drove him, parked my car and put on my pajamas. I never intended to speak to him again.
That is until my phone rang.
It was him. He wanted to apologize. I wanted to go to sleep. After a bit of back-and-forth, and what was clearly the sound of a get-together going on behind him, he wanted to leave.
He couldn’t have been with whomever this loud group was behind him long. I hadn’t even changed my clothes. I only lived about 15 minutes from his home. I sighed. I told him to give me a while to put on my own pajamas, and I’d come back.
I had no desire to stay long. I just wanted to know why he made the decision that he did. I would keep my coat on over my pajamas, talk briefly and return home. On my drive back, I thought of my love language. I thought of how I would never want to to be with anyone who did not want to spend “Quality Time” with me. To me, the two of us were pretty much a bust.
When I walked in the door, I noticed a set of maroon candles were lit. Maroon is my favorite color. But he doesn’t know that.
Hell, maybe he did. It’s kinda hard to miss it in my place, filled with maroon decor.
Half my closet of clothing, my makeup, and even my comforter was maroon
Whatever. I was going to get my sandwich from the half-eaten platter and leave.
“Are you going to take your coat off?” he asked me.
I shook my head no.
“I don’t know who else is going to knock on your door,” I said. “I’ll wait to see if there are any other surprise visitors.”
He sighed and rolled his eyes. This was not a man who was going to apologize profusely. After he’d apologized once, you could tell he was done. And I knew he was officially done when he picked up the remote control.
How rude could he be? First, it was surprise guests. Now, this fool was about to watch television. I started to button my coat. I started in the direction of the door, with a vine of grapes in my hand. Dammit, I was not going to let the fraternity guy be the only one eating those grapes. They were for me.
We made eye contact, and I could see a smug smile crossing his face. He looked from me to the TV, then I glanced at the TV screen. And I saw the circle head first. Then the yellow shirt. Then the zigzag. On that screen, he’d not only put in a Peanuts movie. He somehow found “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown” — my favorite Peanuts movie of them all. I don’t even remember telling him this. I mumbled it just then. He responded, “I know.”
I unbuttoned my coat and sat down, staring at the TV. Only “Quality Time” could figure out such a way to apologize.