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Final Fantasy Made Me a Bad Boyfriend

Stew Shearer | 14 Feb 2012 09:00
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For years I lived out my romantic ambitions via the adventures of my digital avatars, though sometimes I'd have to stretch my imagination a bit. The Legend of Zelda games have always been fairly subtle in their depiction of Link and Zelda's relationship but in my mind there was no question. They were together and every time I slew Ganon it wasn't to save the world; I killed that pig demon for the express purpose of getting the girl. Every time a game provided me with even a morsel of the lovey-dovey I clung to it, and with time I began to believe in it.

I wouldn't fantasize about the relationship I wanted to have but rather the ways I intended to get it.

I began to imagine the myriad ways I would sweep each new crush off their feet. I wouldn't fantasize about the relationship I wanted to have but rather the ways I intended to get it. I thought about the feats I'd perform and the way she would swoon when I proved myself the man of her dreams, better than all the suitors that came before and all those might come after me. A part of me knew it was just fantasy, but too much of me didn't.

I got my first girlfriend during my freshman year of college. Despite my predisposition toward the grand, our relationship began fairly typically: I asked her out and she said yes. I still don't know how I mustered the courage to do that, but with the impossible part behind me I set to the all-essential task of proving myself to be the bestest boyfriend ever. One afternoon when she told me her day had been lousy, I skipped the rest of my classes and walked six miles in a Vermont snowstorm to get her roses from a nearby flower shop. Our first Valentine's Day together I kicked out my roommate, made chocolate strawberries, got a disco ball and bought a romantic fireplace DVD. I once bought her diamond earrings because she was nervous about a class presentation.

Perhaps the nuttiest of my acts came after our first fight. Knowing I was wrong, but never having dealt with such conflict before, the only way I could see to resolve it was with an act of love so grand that Aphrodite herself would reach down from Olympus and give me a high five. Gathering up my favorite CD (Metallica's Master of Puppets) I ventured over to my lady's dorm room and after letting myself in I tip-toed up behind her at her desk and snapped the CD in two. I could think of no greater sacrifice at the time.

When the CD shattered behind my girlfriend's head, no onscreen indicators popped up telling me that I'd accumulated enough points for our relationship to be safe. The credits didn't roll and we didn't share a starlit smooch before tramping off to live happily ever after. Instead of expressing amazement at how much I cared, her reaction was a shocked, "What the hell are you doing?" as she dodged shards of CD zipping past her head. "I broke this to prove how much I care about you," I stammered.

For a moment she stared in disbelief and then with a sigh, she knelt down and started picking up the pieces. I stooped down to help. When we finished she shook her head. "My friends are going to be here soon. We'll talk about this later." I left certain that I'd messed things up beyond repair. A few hours later she asked me over and handed me a shopping bag with a new copy of my CD in it. "You don't need to break things to say you're sorry, dumbass."

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