From Flirtation to Frission, Part I (34a):
Gratiana’s Misadventures in Dating
Since I am a very happily married woman who sometimes shares that fact with my gal pals over in Armitage World Chat, they asked me for some advice on making that first contact for dating and they also suggested that I write about flirting and dating. Frankly, I’m astonished that they want advice from me–given my limited dating experiences before my wonderful hubby! I am no expert. [(1) Mistakes I’ve made graphic] Ha! I freely acknowledge that I got lucky in love when I met my husband to be 23 years ago. But, if you find my dating and relationship insights at all helpful, then I’m happy to share them–in this three part post over three days. By the way, here is the online Urban Dictionary definition of frission [(2) frission definition):
“a sizzling, sparkling synergy borne of mutual intent, talent, and vision”
Well now. Frission sounds like it refers to passion. Or at least, that is the context within which I am using it.
I’ve also sprinkled a few example references from Richard Armitage’s varied roles throughout these three posts. Because a day without Richard Armitage in it, is like a day without sunshine. Ha! So, I’m game and I will share my experiences in case anyone finds they are useful. Oh dear! Here goes–with the names changed to protect others’ privacy. That includes changing my own name, since Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume and not my real name. Ha!
Gratiana’s Limited Dating Experiences Prior to Meeting her Husband
Let me reemphasize as a caveat for what you are about to read, my dating experience was so limited until I met my hubby that I am no expert. I mean I had one “kind of” boyfriend in college–whom I’ll refer to as Tom–for only about three dates, mostly because he lived out of town and we couldn’t get together that often. We had met at a university speech tournament where we were competing for our respective colleges. He was a nice fellow who took an interest in me–I think after we performed our original persuasive speeches in the same round. I was wearing a high neck to below the knee brown stretch polyester dress that had a neck ruffle for its only ornamentation. I looked like a nun in training I was dressed so conservatively–mostly because I was a shy chubby girl. But, I had nice over the shoulder softly curled brunette hair that people always admired and a complementarily made up face–meaning I didn’t apply my make up liberally as if it were spackle. So, maybe that’s what he liked about me–the hair probably. Ha! Anyway, we got to chatting after a round while sitting on a bench outside and suddenly he clasped my hand and sparks flew–or at least static electricity. So, we saw each other at the next weekend’s tournament.
Then a few weeks later I went up to his parents’ home and visited with him. That evening, we went out to a party at his friends’ home and we kissed each other with abandon. He was my first kiss–kisses, I should say. This was a new experience for me–two new experiences actually–having a guy interested in me “dating wise” and him actually following through and kissing me. I was young and inexperienced with dating–let alone in being in a relationship–so we kind of jumped the gun and had our 2nd date kissing with tongues. This was unlike Harry and Geraldine in “The Vicar of Dibley” tv show who waited until their third date to kiss with tongues. Well, I wasn’t a vicar like Geraldine [(3) Geraldine Granger]–but remember that I still dressed like a nun (a la Geraldine in this photo).
My overnight stay in Tom’s parents’ home where he still lived while at school was a bit awkward since I was given Tom’s room and bed to sleep in while he slept on the couch. Until that moment, my mind had not gone “there”. You know what I mean. I had a hard time getting to sleep thinking that I was sleeping in the bed that Tom normally slept in–and how I felt about that. And then in the middle of the night when I got up to visit the bathroom, Tom and I inadvertently–although I wonder about that now–ran into each other in the bedroom hallway. Each of us were wearing our robes over our nightclothes, thank goodness. But there was a lot of eye glancing going on, blushing, and eyes nervously and demurely being cast downward–on my part, of course. Well, after all that kissing we had done earlier, let’s just say, he had “primed the pump”. It was just that my pump had never been used and I’d never read the instruction manual. Ha! So, we chastely went back to our respective sleeping locations.
Tom wanted to take our relationship to the “next level” when he visited me one weekend a few weeks later. And my college roommate had absented herself from our townhouse apartment for the evening to give Tom and I our “privacy” since she knew I was a virgin. Although I had not indicated in any way to her that Tom and my relationship had progressed to such a point–she thought we were going to have sex. I think she was just projecting her own dating perspectives onto me. I was a virgin and I fully intended to stay that way until I married. I wanted to shoot her for leaving me “unchaperoned” with Tom. Ha! And as my “boyfriend” Tom and I were kissing lying together on the floor in the family room downstairs–his hands respectfully not straying fortunately–it occurred to me that my liking our kissing had very little do with him. I know that’s a low blow to the male ego, but there it is. He wasn’t “the one”. So, when he looked me in my eyes and he asked me eagerly if I wanted to take our kissing upstairs to my bedroom, I said “no”–but nicely, mind you. I’m always polite. Then Tom kissed me again and then he looked into my eyes once more and said saucily, “I don’t know. I see a twinkle in your eyes.” To which I replied, “It’s just my contacts.” Pithy me, I wasn’t even wearing my contacts that night. Ha! And, he had had a bit too much to drink during our dinner earlier which happily made him pliable–because he was a big man and could have easily over powered me if he wanted to. Not that he would have forced himself on me, since he was a nice fellow. So I just guided his increasingly sleepy self onto the couch to sleep it off for the night–whilst I went to bed upstairs alone, keeping his car keys in concern that he might try to drive and he wasn’t fit to drive. Hey, he might not have scored with me that night–or ever–but at least he lived to do so with someone else another day. That was my rationalization anyway for letting our relationship end naturally because we weren’t a good fit. Though Tom was a very nice fellow, I hasten to add. I’m just not the kind of girl to “settle”–nor make love with someone just because he was handy and willing. I was a “good girl”. I wanted true love, hearts and flowers, and “the thunderbolt” [(4) Four Weddings and a Funeral] as James’ Fleet’s character said in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.
Well, my thunderbolt came the following year in the person of a man I’ll call Brad, who was four years older than I. [(5) lightening graphic] We met at college–he was returning to school to finish his bachelor’s degree. We were partners in a student job and then speech team acting partners for a scene from Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” that we performed in competition–I was Kate to his Petruchio. Ours was the stool scene, Act II, scene I. Anyway, at one point in our acting scene rehearsals at his apartment he dipped me back a bit further than usual and his face ended up in my breasts–they were covered, of course by plenty of fabric due to my still conservative dressing habits–when he said one of his lines and then he gave an impromptu “moan”. It was a funny unscripted moment that we kept in for future performances. We actually won first place with that acting scene at one tournament–his face in my breasts and his moan clinched it, I think. Ha!
Brad and I were best friends, we were with each other every day–and he would often drive me home rather than letting me take the bus since I was on his way home. We laughed and had so much fun together. How could I not fall in love with Brad? But, there was a “little” problem. Brad was a gay man and I knew that. He was very open about it. In fact, we had met initially because he had a short term relationship with a friend of mine. Though as a very naïve college student I didn’t fully understand what Brad’s being gay meant–for us. I had a few gay friends, but they did not talk about their relationships in detail until much later. And when my mother succumbed to her two year battle with cancer in my final year in college, I needed Brad more than ever as my main emotional support–since as the eldest sibling, I had to support everyone else.
I don’t know if Brad had feelings for me, or if he was just curious, but one night a few months after my mother had died Brad and I actually had an hour long kiss fest parked in my family home’s driveway very late at night after he drove me home after we were out with mutual friends. I don’t remember how our making out began. I just know that we began to kiss–quite passionately, tongues and all. And he was a great kisser–though he was only the second man I had ever kissed, I knew a good thing when I kissed it. Ha! We even talked a little bit about the direction of our relationship–perhaps taking us to beyond best friends. Though Brad acknowledged again to me that he was gay and that he would always be gay. And were he and I to be in a relationship together, he asked me if I would be able to let him continue to be gay? I said yes, not knowing what that would mean–because I loved him so deeply and I was very naive. Again, though I possibly had the beginnings of sensual feelings for Brad, I was a virgin. And with Brad being only my fourth “date” ever–and only the second man I had ever kissed–I had no reference point with which to navigate to the loving relationship I thought that I wanted with him. Because frankly, I still didn’t know what sexual relations entailed. Nor did I really understand that Brad being gay meant that he had sexual relations with men. I had a very sheltered upbringing.
But, our relationship did not progress beyond that one kiss fest–mostly due to Brad’s realization that my “sharing” him wouldn’t be right for me. See? That’s why I loved him–he was and is a wonderful, honorable man. So, he let me down easily by finding a nice man for himself to date–to emphasize to me that he was gay. And I also became friends with his partner–since Brad and I were still in each others’ lives on a nearly daily basis. And I gradually realized that Brad and I were not meant to be romantically–though in my heart of hearts I pined away for him for quite some time. However, I give Brad great credit for not just dumping me like a hot potato because I needed his support so much when my mother died–since it took me a while before I could reign in my outward loving gazes in his direction. And he stayed my best friend and supporter through that awful time. Brad was my rock–and I will love him forever for that. I eventually turned inward regarding my love for Brad and wrote some very nice poetry about my unrequited love for him–very appropriate since Brad and I were taking a 17th century poetry class that was all about “courtly love”, wherein the love is never consummated. I even wrote a villanelle poem (a type of sonnet)–English Ed Minor geekette that I was–that I never shared with him. My poem is in the bottom drawer of my dresser, and there it shall remain–a poignant reminder of my “lost” love for Brad that was never meant to be.
In closing, Brad and I both graduated from college and went our separate ways. I was a 22 year old virgin with no prospects and still too naïve to know how to become someone who dated. I went on to graduate school and I had male friends, but they were just friends. None of these guys rose to the level of the deep and loving friendship that I had with Brad–whom I was in regular contact with for many years. In hind sight, I was probably comparing other men I met to Brad–and they came up wanting. Besides, these other guys usually had designs on other women in the graduate student group, the skinnier girls. So, I just resigned myself to being alone and I forged ahead. After graduate school, I moved to another state and taught at a university for two years. I made good friends in my department there, and we were often in each others’ home for parties. And though everyone was married, no one thought to try to fix me up with anyone. Was I really that troll like? Ha! Yes, I was chubby–a size 20 which put me merely in zaftig territory when I think about it now [(6) pix of Grati in undergrad years]. But I dressed nicely, I had a nice face and good hair, and a pleasant personality. Think of me as a female John Standring–the character portrayed by Richard Armitage in Sparkhouse, 2002 [(7) John Standring]–but with a better wardrobe and better grooming habits. Ha! I was a nice girl whom no one took any notice of romantically. What I think was really at work is that my colleagues weren’t paying attention to their “friend duties” in matchmaking. Ha! Since they were all married and hooked up, they were “complacent” about anyone else’s situation. And, again, I was too naïve to think about that I should be “trying” to date. And I was too busy teaching my six classes with 210 students and advising 30 students more every 10 week quarter–three times a year. Yikes! As a non-tenure track university instructor, they work you like a dog. Ha! But in the end, my seeming to be adrift from the dating world might just have been fate keeping me tucked away until I could meet my one true love and soul mate–a man who gives me hearts and flowers, a man who is the real “thunderbolt” who rocks my world. And, I had to return “home” to find him.
For part 2 of this tale–my love story–you will have to visit my blog tomorrow for Post #34b.
(1) Mistakes I’ve Made graphic found at
(2) Definition of frission from the online Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=frission
(3) Image of Geraldine Granger–from The Vicar of Dibley: Handsome Stranger episode in 2006–in vicar garb before she realizes that Harry is proposing to her:
(4) Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994.
(5) Thunderbolt graphic found at http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110607221252/callofduty/images/0/03/Lightning_bolt.gif
(6) Image of Gratiana during my later undergraduate years–from a speech team picture.
(7) John Standring was the character portrayed by Richard Armitage in Sparkhouse, 2002