One word: Intimacy.
And by intimacy, I don’t mean S-E-X. Unless of course I’m talking about 50 Shades of Gray.
And I didn’t really read 50 Shades of Gray this weekend. No time for that! I read the first two books last month. But I’ve been trying to figure out a way to work in commentary about it and BINGO! I figured it out today.
Friday night I attended homecoming at my alma mater, Wittenberg University. Saturday I managed to do kid activities from 8am to 4:30 pm. Then I topped it off with heading down to Ohio State’s campus for the Nebraska game.
What was the best part of the weekend?
It’s all about the intimacy.
Buckeye tailgates are a blast. Truly. High energy, lots of camaraderie, drinking, music, a shared interest in the game. Everyone’s friends with everyone for the day. But no one knows each other. Bonding with friends at Ohio State University is, to me, a surface kind of bonding. Superficial. Not fake, though – everyone’s very genuine about their love of the game and the team and the institution. But there aren’t deeper connections. For me, there’s no deep abiding love of the place. No visceral connection because my formative years were spent there. I’m sure other people do have that deep connection.
With an enrollment close to 60,000 there have to be deep connections, right?
I spent my formative years at Wittenberg University, population 2000. So that’s where I spent Friday night. Bonding with friends. Friends I shared strong connections with for years. I don’t think of Wittenberg as a place to watch football or a place to root for one of the best teams in the land. I doubt many people do.
My connection to Wittenberg is mainly because of the people I met there Friday night. The moment we met up on Friday the laughter began and didn’t end until the Big Man and I drove home. The stories we shared are stories that shaped all of us while we were there. There were no big screen TVs with eyes glued to the screen, screaming frantically at touchdowns and high fiving people we’d never met. It was all about each other, not football or the institution itself.
And I left Wittenberg Friday night feeling a little more complete. Fulfilled. Feeling, finally, like I’ve figured out my “Now What” from a few weeks ago.
Everything about this weekend was superb, top notch. But none of it would have been fun had it not been for one man. My man. I didn’t go to Wittenberg to enjoy my college friends without him. I took him with me, because I didn’t want to be there unless he was with me.
And he had just as good a time as I did. Which makes me love him even more. That he could enjoy seeing me bond with a bunch of guys he’s barely met and walk away saying, “I loved seeing that side of you.”
And I’d never go to an OSU tailgate without him. What would the point be in that?
He’s my life partner, my best friend. Everything in life I strive for is because of my love for him and the family we’ve created. Everything else in life is a distant, distant second.
And 50 Shades? It really has nothing to do with any of this. I’ve just been looking for a reason to work it in. It was vapid, a little (lot) gross, poorly written and completely unbelievable. Completely.
And yet. I kept turning the pages. So something in it drew me in. Maybe as one friend said, I read it to know what pop culture is determining as “normal” or “hip.” Though I hope that’s not the case. Ew.
What I do know though? I don’t want my kids to ever read these books and think “this is what a real love story is supposed to be like.”
I want them to look at their Dad and I and say, “THIS is what a real love story’s supposed to be like.”