prom night '12

I'm finishing up getting ready when he knocks on my door and pops his head in, peering down to the bathroom where I stand primping. "Are you decent?" I hear two more voices, and before I know what's happening, the snap and flash of a camera catch me off guard.

"It's prom," A. says, grinning. "We have to have a prom photographer, right?" My jaw falls open as he steps over to greet me with a hug and kiss and the coyest what? face I've ever seen. More snaps, more flashes. He's brought his best friend (who brought along his girlfriend) to document the scene, to photograph us greeting one another, getting ready, and leaving together. He's been planning this for days, as a fun surprise to start off the night.

I'm still processing this information when I realize he's holding a small wooden planter with three orchid stems. "I didn't think you'd want to be encumbered by a corsage, but I still wanted to give you flowers." He holds up the base, turning it to show me what he's written in marker at the bottom. "See? I inscribed it." I read: Prom Night '12.

I quickly run out of ways to exclaim my surprise and delight, and just keep repeating "You're ridiculous," while shaking my head. We pose for several classic, cheesy prom shots, but his friend keeps snapping even while we properly greet one another, taking in each other's formal wear. It's the first time I've seen him in a suit, and I'm so impressed I'm actually a bit intimidated. I'll spend all night fingering the crisp, smooth fabric of his shirt, which is impeccably tailored and perfectly pressed. His pants and jacket are slim fitting, luxe, well chosen. I'll tell him later that when, in the past, the men in my life have wanted help assembling stylish, polished outfits (and I've faltered, because WTF do I know about men's clothes?), that his ensemble - and the way he wears it - is what they had in mind.

His friend continues to shoot nonstop until we're outside the building, encouraging us to mug and ham for the camera. A., who normally hates to have his photo taken, is fully committed and goofy, kissing my cheek, popping the corner of his glasses into his mouth, kicking up his heels. Out on the street, we say goodbye to his friends and grab a taxi.

The event itself is much smaller and less formal than I'd anticipated, but the DJs are fantastic and we have a great time talking, dancing, and shamelessly flirting with one another. He says things I never expected to hear from anyone, much less him. He says things I hope I never forget. It's easy and comfortable to be with him. The more time we spend together, the more we realize how alike we are, in our personality quirks (read: neuroses); this amuses us greatly (probably because we both are neurotic).

I do have a mini meltdown when a very lovely, very young female friend of his pulls my jealousy trigger. But he's incredibly patient and goes above and beyond to make sure I know how completely I have his heart. I know I'm being stupid, I know he adores me, but I'm human. When my I'm only human moment passes, I actually end up clicking very well with the girl, who's interesting and sweet and fun. We exchange numbers and make tentative plans to go dancing next weekend. Go figure.

Afterwards, we get breakfast at The Pantry, feeding one another bites of pancake, of egg-soaked sourdough and bacon. Back outside, we head towards our street before realizing it's too cold and my legs are too sore to hoof it all the way home. He jumps onto a low wall adjacent to the sidewalk and moons the street while I wave down a cab. I climb inside the car and he comes skipping to join me, tucking in his shirt and zipping up his pants while he runs.

We sleep fitfully, tangled up in our limbs, the sheets, and a half-drunken desire to make love. In the morning, we lounge for hours and talk. I notice that I'm starting to mimic his speaking cadence - even his accent when it comes out after a few drinks. He plays Moxy Fruvous for me and rubs my calves (brutally sore from racing him three blocks home a few nights prior). Without accompaniment, I sing Suzanne Vega's Gypsy in his ear, though I forget the third verse. I'm aware as I sing them how well the lyrics fit him. Distracted by the women with the dimples, and the curls. He shows me two of his favorite short films, and listens thoughtfully, smiling, when I deconstruct Cashback. "It's problematical," I say, and he encourages me to explain. He understands what I mean by "male gaze" (he's used the phrase himself before), and he doesn't get defensive when I criticize the film both from a feminist perspective and my own personal one.

We finally tear ourselves out of bed to walk the dogs and get coffee across the street. When I spill my caramel macchiato down the front of my favorite Free City t-shirt, we both laugh at me.

The sun is strong and it's a pretty day.