Popcorn for Dinner
On Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be nice for you to become more acquainted with the ‘Puter Hub. Since we have been together since we were in braces, figuratively speaking, I know him pretty well. He forgets this sometimes. We met about 10 years ago. Me sporting dark flared L.E.I. jeans, a red Express tee with a matching red North Face borrowed from a friend, Sam & Libby clogs and a red-studded Nine West handbag. My arms were lathered in Victoria Secret glitter lotion, my lips dusted in Stila lip gloss and I smelled as if I had bathed in Ralph Lauren Polo for women. He sported acid-washed Lee jeans hand-frayed and cut at the bottom (that he still owns … and to my remorse, wears), an ABSOLUT Clemson shirt with a long-sleeve tee underneath and running shoes of sorts. His dark bangs were spiked in the front. He was a college boy and he was in a band.
Ok, so he was the sound guy.
Nothing says manly like one who can operate a soundboard and mixer. Did I mention he drove a motorcycle? Plus, our wingman toted on about his upbringing in Atlanta, his passion for an engineering education, his adoration for cleaning products, his Southern charm and he drove a Tahoe. Oh and he had dark hair, dark eyes, really great eyelashes and a nice butt.
So we were set up. For prom. My senior prom. I was dateless. He was an older college man. He looked good in a tux. He liked dancing. He enjoyed music. Problem solved.
Prom was everything a boyfriend-less high schooler could ask for. He opened doors. Pulled out chairs. Danced. I was pretty impressed. I think it was the double Dutch jump roping on the dance floor that had me smitten. Or maybe it was the fact that after Prom, he chit-chatted with my parents while my mom shoveled key lime pie in his face and my dad drilled him, i.e. asked him for help with his broken Internet situation.
Realizing it would be pointless to begin a relationship as I was venturing off to Miami of Ohio, we casually kept in touch via instant message. Because that’s what nerds do. Oh, the emoticons that I could share …
After a year under my bigger Freshman-15 belt at Miami, it was summertime. The ‘Puter Hub was in summer school. I was back in SC. My brother was approaching 21 so my mom was hosting a major blow-out of a party. She invited the entire neighborhood—relatives, long-lost friends, our pool guy, our dentist, our groomer, the mailman, the UPS guy, etc. I invited my A/V engineering Clemson friend, Richard.
And so began our relationship over a drunken make-out session in my parents’ garage while my brother was ponying his empty keg in the pool.
The days of mixed CDs, movie-watching, taking long walks, and restaurant dates commenced. After three months, summer was over. Our options. Make it. Or break it. At the time, I really wasn’t convinced we could make it. The ‘Puter Hub was. I think it’s because my family had a lake house. Or maybe he was hopeful I’d lose that extra 15 pounds that accompanied me post-Freshman year. Or maybe he actually liked me. Who knew?
Thanks to Verizon’s free nights and weekends, Instant Messenger, e-mail, frequent flier mileage, mixed CDs, care packages, supportive family and friends plus loads of Chardonnay … here we are. It really helped that we both liked having a good time with one another. Especially when cowboy hats, Hawaiian leis, inflatables, and dance parties were involved.
It’s kinda fun to remember what brought you to where you are today. When you are dating, you’re not advising him where to park, what to wear, and where to sit in a restaurant. When you are dating, he doesn’t know that you look like Nick Nolte’s mug shot when you’re make-up-less, without a shower and hairbrush-free. He doesn’t know that you have a secret obsession for weeping over and over again at reruns of 90210. When you are dating, you don’t care that he still wears acid-washed jeans and thinks it’s cool. When you are dating, he doesn’t know that you ate popcorn for dinner for days to lose the Freshman-15 to ultimately impress him.
But, I suppose that’s the beauty of having a history together. Being able to ridicule him for the acid-washed jeans that have more holes than Swiss cheese. Tolerating the banter over parking spaces and dinner tables. Listening to talk radio every night and thinking it’s normal. Doing a funky dance to the opening credits of NCIS. IMing each other when we’re in the same room. When I told you we were nerds, it was not a fabrication.
Then there’s the eating of popcorn for dinner without judgment.
Single, married, dating or whatever your status may be, I just wanted to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. I wanted to share a bit of our story in hopes you get to know us better. Thanks for being a part of our lives near, far or virtually. Go get yourself some chocolate, pop in your favorite mixed CD, have a little dance party USA in your living room and enjoy a bowl of this here popcorn for dinner.
And, this is the part where I include the recipe for popcorn. I should also inform you that my Valentine’s Day flowers arrived with specific instructions:
… “I made sure to order a shorter vase so we could see each other at the dinner table.”
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
- Spray butter
- White cheddar popcorn powder
Using a Whirly Pop and a stove, heat one tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat. Add kernels. Rotate the handle. Listen to the kernels. Turn the handle. Keep turning until you hear popping at which point you must keep turning. Just like microwave popcorn, listen to the pops. When the pops are more than three seconds apart, remove the Whirly Pop from the hot burner. Pour popcorn into a nice big bowl.
Immerse in spray butter. Add white cheddar powder. Using your hands, toss popcorn. Add more spray butter and powder. Toss.