Before Erica, if my love life were to have a tagline, it would have read, "Perpetually Suffers from Nice Guy Syndrome." It's as if the male/female relationship is analogous to a group of baskets, the most significant being The Friend Basket and the Boyfriend Basket. Most importantly, these two baskets are mutually exclusive for that segment of the male population that suffers from Nice Guy Syndrome (NGS); we NGS sufferers could not be moved to the Boyfriend Basket once we had been placed in (banished to?) the Friend Basket. This predicament usually included symptoms of the girl in question saying something similar to, "Oh, [insert NGS sufferer name here], you're such a Nice Guy, and such a good friend, that I could never think of risking our friendship by dating you" or, "Oh, [insert NGS sufferer name here], you're such a Nice Guy, but I just don't think of you in *that* way."
Now, the NGS guy *can* be placed in other baskets, such as the Dear Abby Basket ("Oh, [insert NGS guy name here], why can't I date a Nice Guy like you?"), or the Surrogate Girlfriend Basket ("Oh, [insert NGS guy name here], I'm stressed about my date with Asshole Guy, so I'm calling you," etc.). But, these baskets also are mutually exclusive from the Boyfriend Basket. I often found myself in all three baskets. And to be fair, many of these baskets belonged to girls whom I consider to be some of my best friends now.
Fast-forward to now: for the first time in my life, I find myself in a Boyfriend Basket, having first been in the Friend Basket. Why the change? Maybe Erica is just different from all the other girls (she is, and to her credit). Maybe Erica and I "were meant to be" or "have something special" (I think we do have something special; I don't know if we "were meant to be" yet, or even if I believe that people are "meant to be" for someone.) Maybe I changed.
I have; I've grown up a LOT, socially, in the past 10 years, especially the last five, spent in college. In high school, I really had no clue how to date. I had no "game;" I had no skills. During my five years in college, I matured a lot socially. I set a new personal record, by dating a girl for three whole weeks. I learned to recognize when I got relegated to the Friend Basket, and when I was in the Not-Datable Basket or the Potentially Datable Basket (and that these baskets even existed).
So, what happened with Erica? I don't really know for certain, and I really don't want to over-analyze it. I happened, it's working, and that's really enough for me.
The other part of that is, I've now discovered another basket: the Why Can't You Be Single Basket. Now that I'm happily involved in a relationship, I find that I'm now occasionally placed in this basket ("Oh,[insert name of former NGS guy who is now finally happily involved in a relationship], if you were single, I'd be the first girl to go after you."), and sometimes, the girls who put me in this basket have moved me from the combination Friend and Not-Datable (i.e. NGS guy) Baskets.
Now, I realize that part of this change has to do with a person's Datable status (the Not-Datable Basket or the Potentially Datable Basket) changing from not-datable to potentially datable, just by moving into *someone's* Boyfriend Basket. For whatever reason, the former NGS guy suddenly changes in the eyes of many of the Friend Basket girls.
Do any of these ramblings have any significance whatsoever? I don't know. Honestly, I hope all this rambling is moot; I hope that I've found the one girl whose Boyfriend Basket I'll never leave. I've never been one for the Dating Game. Typical of an NGS guy, all I've ever really wanted was a relationship. I'm not naive, though; I know that only time will tell where things will go with Erica and I.
I suppose, if doing so would not be construed as too trite, that I'll just end by saying that, for all the NGS guys out in the world, there is hope. If someone as wonderful as Erica would choose me to be in a relationship with, then I suppose anything is possible.