Monday Roundtable: The Wildest Things We Did For Love

When you’re utterly head-over-heels for a person, you will do some wild things. Spend money you don’t have, buy lies you absolutely know can’t be true, ignore that little voice in the back of your mind, break your parents’ rules, break the actual law, repercussions be damned. There’s no age limit on throwing yourself against the rocks for a human who makes your heart hammer in your chest, no rhyme or reason to why. Here are some of the wildest things our writers have done in the name of love.

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Kayla, Staff Writer: Pretended To Love The Shit Out Of The Television Show Lost, 2012

Okay, look. I have never done any super over-the-top romantic gestures. I consider myself a romantic person, but my gestures are usually simple and small-scale, and food-oriented. I don’t think cooking my girlfriend a surprise pot pie really counts as doing something crazy for love. BUT, back in high school and college, I had a horrible habit of pretending to really deeply enjoy things that the girls I liked were into. Then I dated a girl whose favorite television show was Lost. Honestly, that should have been the first red flag that we would not last. But she was hot, and I was still mostly in the closet, and I probably would have done anything she asked of me…which includes rewatching Lost constantly. We were long-distance, so her idea of a fun time was watching Lost simultaneously while texting each other. I pretended to love Lost as much as she did, going so far as to call it one of my favorite shows of all time. Listen, there are plenty of people (especially fellow tv critics) who do consider Lost their favorite show of all time, but I hard disagree with all of those people. Evangeline Lily is great; Lost is just fine tbh. But I was in love (or at least thought I was), and enduring hours and hours of a show I had already seen and didn’t love the first time around seemed worth it at the time.

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Erin, Staff Writer: Snuck Out For A Two-Hour Away, 30-Minute Date, 2004

I was sort of a notorious rule follower when I was younger – not because I liked rules necessarily, but because I had pretty strict parents and found that I never got away with anything – and so when I essentially stole my brother’s car and drove it an hour away across state lines to go see my then-girlfriend for only 30 minutes while my parents thought I was at the movies, that felt like a very big deal. Since then I’ve pulled stunts that are objectively much more wild, like going weeks without working in order to hang out every day with a person I wanted to devour, but that night where I just took off in the car because I needed to feels like my most significant moment given my circumstances. We did what you might imagine two people who only have 30 minutes together might do, and then I drove home at a consistent and solid 90 mph.

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Tiara, Staff Writer: Fundraise To Bring Her To My Home Country, 2013

If you’ve been reading Autostraddle in 2013 you would have seen this: I wrote an essay about wanting to bring my American girlfriend over to Malaysia, sharing a culture I’ve had very ambivalent feelings about, fundraising for her ticket over. It was sort of an impulse decision and, me being the sort of person who doesn’t do anything by halves, decided to make a big project out of it. I shared the fundraiser around and got some pretty big names to support it, such as Kate Bornstein and Darren Hayes. We raised enough to get her ticket… and then disaster struck. We had a big argument, she broke up with me before the trip, I cancelled her ticket and gave everyone a refund. I was so humiliated by it that I actually stopped reading Autostraddle for about a year because I felt so ashamed about letting everyone down! Even now I have conniptions about asking for money for anything, even things I’d already done (and thus can legitimately ask money for), because it just reminds me of this trip. I can’t even read that article anymore, and it was my first ever AS piece too.

In retrospect the relationship was already dying and the trip was one of my last-ditch attempts to try and salvage what we had. It was not a very healthy or good relationship, and in some ways the breakup was like dodging a bullet — who knows what would have gone down if we did make the trip. I ended up going on this trip anyway but on my own — though one of my best friends (and ex-boyfriend) actually came up from Australia to visit me, which was very very lovely. I had wanted to introduce my ex-girlfriend to the most important people in my life; she missed out, but I got to make those connections with him and two of my Malaysian best friends, as well as my sister and family that came to visit from the UK, and that helped heal a lot of my pain. It was tough, but also showed me who really cared for me.

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Carrie, Staff Writer: Believed That She Had a Brain Tumor, 2006

(She didn’t.)

Close runner up is driving to LAX to pick up my girlfriend at 2:00 AM, which is Los Angeles’ foremost grand gesture. True to form, we got stuck in a horrifying traffic jam (the “put the car in park for half an hour” kind) on the way back. We are still very much in love.

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Stef, Vapid Fluff Editor: Donated $50 To A Fundraiser For Cancer I Knew Damn Well She Didn’t Have, 2013

Carrie, did we date the same girl?

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Vanessa, Community Editor: Enthusiastically Agreed To Go On A Six Month Road Trip With A Girl I Barely Knew, 2014

I am not a person who likes to say no to Life. When Life beckons at my door and says, “Hey, quit your job in New York and go live on a farm even though you don’t have any experience farming!” I like to say, “Okay!” When Life whispers to me as I lie in my tent on a farm in Southern Oregon, “What if you tried to hike the Pacific Crest Trail?” I whisper back, “Yes, I want to.” So when Life showed up in the form of a pretty girl I barely knew who asked me to join her on a road trip for six months, I dove right in. It seems super crazy now but at the time it felt totally normal – I had left my job and saved up some money and was intending to go on some adventures. This would be an adventure! Why wouldn’t I fly to a state I had never visited to see a girl I had only ever spent five days with in person and accompany her on a six month road trip in her truck? What could possibly go wrong? (Spoiler: Literally everything.)

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Molly, Staff Writer: I Have Spent The Last Decade Pretending To Love Sports, 2006-current

“Oh that Molly, she’s tall,” you say.

“I bet she plays basketball,” you say.

It’s true, I am tall, but I don’t play basketball. That shit stresses me out so bad! The plays! The aggression! I kept my distance from sports once I was out of high school, but then I met this long-limbed lovely who happened to play basketball at the University of Montana. All of a sudden I was saying things like, “yeah that post player was really sticking it to them, huh?” without fully knowing what I meant, just that I loved it when she would look at me. I loved it when she would do anything in my direction. I still do. Married her a couple years ago, and she knows about my fake exuberance for all sports except women’s soccer (thighs), but I like to yell at the TV and make her laugh, so it all works out.

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Rachel, Managing Editor: (Almost) Moved Out of the Country for College, 2006

Does it count if it’s something I came close to doing? I’m very pragmatic, y’all, I’m sorry. It was senior year of high school and my Best Friend I Was In Love With and Would Have Been My Girlfriend If I Hadn’t Been a Fucking Wimp was going to go to college in Canada (we lived and had grown up together on the east coast of the US) because of course she was, she always did things differently than everyone else and that was one of the things I loved about her. Cool, no problem, I would obviously just also apply to colleges in Canada! That was a fine path for my life to take, why not, no reason. I got into the place we were both considering, got offered enough funding that it would be comparable to the amount of loans I would have to take out for the places that had accepted me in the US; she got in too. My parents, understandably, had some questions: would my credits even transfer, or would my degree be equally recognized back in the US? How would we adjust to me living in another country? Why, exactly, was this place that I knew very little about so much more appealing than the places within five hours of us? Did I really want to immigrate for no real reason before I could even change a tire? Eventually they convinced me, and I stayed relatively close to home for college. She did not. We both came out during university anyway. She still lives in Canada, and I still don’t.

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Reneice, Staff Writer: Made Her Chicken Noodle Soup, 2016

Okay, long story short I give too much when I like/love people, ESPECIALLY to the ones who don’t deserve it, even when I know better, and it’s the worst. So I was on round two of a no-contact period with the last girl I fell in love with because she’d said some insanely hurtful things and disrespected and devalued me following months of me doing my best to be understanding and supportive of her. As a result, I set a boundary and asked for distance. A month and change later, she wanted to meet up and in my mind the meeting was basically going to be me saying there was no salvaging anything to allow for a friendship or anything else in the future given her actions.

I was nervous and angry and sad and just wanted the talk to happen and be over with so I could move on. The day we were supposed to meet she texted to say she was sick and asked to push it back. I was partly annoyed because I didn’t want the situation to drag out any further but mostly was still definitely in love with her, despite being severely hurt, and therefore had a hard time not doing something caring. So I spent an hour being angry, assuming she was lying about being sick so she could do something else and disregard me once again, then the next thing I knew I’d decided to make her my chicken noodle soup from scratch so that she could get better, I could feel helpful and close to her, and we could have this fucking talk.

I went to Whole Foods, bought the ingredients, and spent four hours making soup from scratch. This was for a girl I was so rightfully angry with, who I was planning to officially kick her out of my life, and who never would’ve done that for me despite constantly insisting she cared about me as well, cause love. I dropped it on her porch in my favorite ladybug lunchbag and texted saying to feel better and let me know when she was ready to talk. When we finally did talk, we met up at a coffee shop. I ended up agreeing to try being friends despite my conviction to do the opposite because she sincerely seemed to be remorseful and apologized and was really sad about the idea of not being in each other’s lives. So I, an idiot in love but trying not to be, said okay. It wasn’t the right choice and not long after I ended up doing what I should have done on that last coffee date and told her the best thing I could do for myself was not have her in my life any longer. She said she didn’t want it to be forever, I said it had to be. We cried a lot. It sucked for a long time. I don’t love her anymore, and am honestly hoping I won’t fall in love with anyone else for a long time cause I need to spend that energy on loving me.

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Raquel, Staff Writer: Surprised her at the airport wearing a suit, 2012

My first girlfriend and I had been dating for barely a few months when she embarked on a Very Long Family Vacation to Paris. We were limerent af, completely overwhelmed with our feelings about each other and our new conviction that surely we were inventing something completely new. As I was saying goodbye to her at the airport, itching with nerves and upcoming anxious loss, she leaned close and whispered to me our first “I Love You.”

Reader, I died.

So naturally, about a month later, I decided to surprise her at the airport. The tricky part: she was landing in Dallas and going to stay with her family there. I live in Austin, about 2 hours away. And I didn’t have a car at the time. After a mad session of weird tweets, I ended up finagling a ride there with a friend of a friend whom I had never met and spent the two-hour drive talking her ear off about how much I missed my girlfriend. It’s a wonder I wasn’t murdered there.

My new “friend” wished me well and dropped me off at the airport and I never saw her again. I took an alternate outfit, my best, gayest baby-gay outfit: a navy blue little boy’s suit, replete with vest and tie, and got dressed in the DFW airport bathroom. I made up a sign that said, I kid you not, “Love Of My Life And Family.” Oof.

Her poor family, a reminder, had no idea this was happening.

Arriving at the airport, I realized that while I knew the day she was arriving, I had no idea what time, or what airline. DFW airport is huge. It is larger than the state of Manhattan. I obviously…did not think this one through.

Two hours and a lot of fervent googling later, I determined the gate I thought was hers…but no airplane arrived. Another hour passed. I started panicking. It was getting late. I texted her sister, asking, for “no reason,” if she knew when the flight was supposed to land. I waited some more. I started texting her, afraid I’d somehow missed her landing and she was already safely back home in her parent’s house. At first, I tried to be coy about it, but eventually, after no response, I texted her “I am AT DFW I came here to surprise you I hope you are safe and okay!!!!” I started looking on Travelocity for hotel rooms I could book for the night. I was this close to booking one when, finally, the gate announced the landing.

Turns out, the flight had been seriously delayed. It was almost 1a.m. and her sweet exhausted family let me come home with them and stay the night. She seemed amused, but mostly confused and slightly irritated at my presence. We fell asleep immediately once we got to their home and didn’t talk to each other much on our drive back to Austin the next day. Welp.

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Sarah, Business & Design Director: SEXY GIFTS, 2010

Okay, essentially my girlfriend of three months was going away for Christmas to visit her family in New Zealand, and I wouldn’t be seeing her for at least a month. She also happened to be gone during her birthday, and since I wouldn’t be around for either celebration, I wanted to give her something really special. My tits.

I composed an elaborate sequence of events that I filmed and edited, all with the intention of revealing my “gifts” at the end. First I put on every t-shirt I owned, and then removed them one by one. In post I used the magic of iMovie to overlay cute/fun messages over the blank t-shirts. When I remove the last one you think OH, she’s finally going to show me her tits! BUT NO! With some high-end editing skills, the last t-shirt reveals my boobs–but they are PAINTED AS PRESENTS. Suddenly, a paintbrush appears in my hand, as I begin UN-PAINTING my boobs. Savvy reverse footage/editing my friends. Suddenly, the last brush stroke is removed and there they are in all their glory: my nipples.

I also did other dumb and elaborate things for her, like a striptease/dance to Kylie Minogues song “Obsession”. Mid-dance I threw open my closet door, which was covered in my girlfriend’s pictures–think Helga G. Pataki’s closet in Hey Arnold!.

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Heather Hogan, Senior Editor: I Went Back To New York City, 2011

My late 20s and early 30s were full of travel flings. I showed up in a place I’d never been before, invariably met someone who wanted to show me a good time in their city, and spent a heady weekend being wowed by the adventure of a new person in a new place and the heightened freedom of acting without emotional consequences. It was reckless and selfish but I had a single backpack and a plane ticket heading one direction and neither of those things were a secret. In January 2011 I met Stacy in trademark travel fling fashion, a weekend of intoxicating company in New York City. Gay bars and all-night diners and sidewalks covered in snow.

The travel fling enchantment always wore off after a couple of emails, a couple of weeks — but I couldn’t get Stacy out of my head. I watched TV she said she liked, read books she recommended, listened to her music. We texted some times, spent some late nights on G-Chat, talked on the phone once or twice. I never returned to my one-off weekends; they were untouchable memories, encased in space and time. Ten months after I met Stacy, I went back to New York City.

I remember everything: the food we ate, the beers we drank, her head on my shoulder in Central Park, the album she put on the record player in her bedroom when she took me back to her house, the smell of her shampoo fresh out of the shower, the concert ticket she pressed into my hand on the subway platform and the way her face hardened when I showed up at the venue that last night, the dinner afterward where I tested the word “relationship.” Korean Fried Chicken. Sapporo. And another. And one more. A blue and orange plaid shirt with a navy ringer-tee underneath. We got in a cab and she gave the driver her home address and then quickly corrected herself. I was going to the airport.

“You’re drunk,” she said.

I laughed. I said, “Man, you don’t know the half of it.”

It was 15 degrees when she got out of the cab with me at LaGuardia. She stared at me a long time, her face half-fury, half-hope. Full consequences. I kissed her. “Are you coming back?” she asked when she pulled away. I was broke as a freelance writer and broken as a person in ways I’d planned to never address. I nodded. I whispered yes. I said it out loud with my full voice. “I’m coming back.”

She didn’t want to believe me, but she did. And it was true. I’d already come back. I’d do it again. She slipped her hand under the cuff of my coat sleeve, caressed my bare wrist. I wondered if she could feel my pulse.

“You could just stay,” she said.

And I said, “One day I will.”

And that was true too.

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Yvonne, Senior Editor: Hired A Mariachi Band To Serenade Her, 2012

Valentine’s Day was four days away and I had no idea what to give my girlfriend. At that point, we had been together for about a year and a half and I had just come back from a semester abroad, which made me miss her even more. I was super duper in love and wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I wanted to give her something special; jewelry or flowers weren’t going to cut it.

Then, I got an incredible idea in the middle of the night. What if I got the university’s mariachi band to do a serenata for her in front of the UT tower, the main building on campus? I was in my high school’s mariachi band and knew the ultimate romantic gesture was to play love songs for a beautiful girl.

I pulled out my laptop and found the mariachi director’s email and asked him if this idea was possible on such a short notice. To my freaking surprise, he said yes!

Gloria and I ate lunch together on Tuesdays between classes and it was the perfect time to surprise her. I told my friend about my plan and asked her to meet me at the tower to take photos of the occasion. I dressed up nicely that day and did my hair and makeup. When I met Gloria for lunch, she knew something was up because she asked why I looked so nice — she knew I didn’t dress up for class. She had a test that day and several assignments due so she was in sweatpants and didn’t even brush her hair.

After we ate lunch, I told her I had a surprise for her. I led her to the tower which is the heart of campus and where literally thousands of students walk by in all directions to get to class. Gloria hates surprises so the entire time we were walking there she was like “Oh my god, baby, what are you doing? I look like shit today. No.” When we finally got to the tower, the mariachi were there waiting on the steps. Once she saw them, Gloria was in disbelief. I told her Happy Valentine’s Day and they started singing. Gloria cried, I cried. It was a beautiful moment.


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41 Comments

  1. After a lifetime of doing stupid, fruitless things for people who didn’t love and/or respect me as much as I did them, the wildest thing I’ve done for love is choose to build my own life for myself and be happy within it whether or not the right person ever comes along.

  2. I didn’t actually realize this was crazy at the time, but it was winter in the desert, I’d started seeing a girl in a town two hours away, and rode down the I-10 every week on a 250cc Honda Rebel who’s top speed could be affected by the wind. I work morning shifts, too, so sometimes I’d get home after a two hour motorcycle ride in the freezing wind, shiver in bed for an hour, then get back up for work.

  3. Wildest thing I’ve done for love? Go to the dentist!

    For real, for various childhood trauma related reasons, I really hate going to the doctor and/or dentist. When I got together with my partner, I hadn’t seen a dentist in 7 years. But it’s really important to my partner that I take care of myself and he has this amazing dentist and so, I’ve been going annually if not semi-annually to the dentist for 16 years – because I love my partner and that makes me want to take better care of myself.

  4. Heather, you amazing soul of a person. Reneice, that chicken soup is my dream surprise, so hopefully she appreciated it!

    I’m going to take a minute to brag about my partner for a minute here.

    1) My partner and I were long distance for a year (east coast/west coast deal) and I was having a REALLY hard week during the last few months we were apart. I lived with her dad at the time and one day I was sitting outside doing my nails and her dad and brother came over with a HUGE cardboard box and said “Hey, you got this big package!” I was super confused because I didn’t remember ordering anything and I go over to open it up and out pops my partner holding a bouquet of my favorite flowers! It was amazing. What’s even more amazing is that her flight going home got cancelled and pushed back 2 days 🙂

    2) When she moved away initially, she left me with a huge box full of hundreds of wrapped presents that all said “open me when you’re….xyz” and in each of them was a handwritten note, a picture of us or our pets, a coloring book page, and a present related to the reason why I was opening it. An example was “open me when you can’t sleep” and in it was a tin of sleep balm, a URL for a sleepy yoga video, sleepytime tea, crossword puzzles, and a cute picture of us napping.

  5. I close to moving to a small city near Dearborn, Michigan for an ex/bff situation type thing(she kept saying I was dating material without properly dating). Even applied to Law college just in case she wanted to move there(she wanted someone to be there for her). She didn’t move, I didn’t go into the Law profession, and 2 years after that we stopped it was over. What killed was when I came out as trans to her, she denied my feelings, & asked if I want to be with dudes, ignoring the fact trans women can be queer too. I am happier now, partially thanks to wonderful sites like Autostraddle and my local lbtq community.

  6. okay sorry that mine was sort of a bummer rather than an actual cute thing but i just came here to say

    OH MY GOD

    RAQUEL

    and

    OH MY GOD

    SARAH

    OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!!!!!

    i want to gay marry your baby gay selves <3 <3 <3

  7. Y’all the amount of butter, flour, and sugar I have used to create delicious morsels of love for SO many crushes…
    At least around the usual amount in a regular grocery store for sure. Sooo many cookies and cakes and macarons! I love baking for people in general, but does one really need to stay up late baking dozens of cookies to get the attention of a cute girl in class? No. No.

  8. Guys!

    Guys.

    This was so lovely and adorable and heart-lifting. I have been feeling down recently, and am recovering from a burnout (it goes sooo sloooow) and this made my mood so much better. You’re all sweeties, and Heather made my heart grow so much with that beautiful story! And I’m super curious to hear more about Vanessa’s roadtrip!

  9. I was going to say, man, I feel like I’m not romantic at all because I don’t do absurd shit for love. But no, I do do ridiculous things for the love…of kayaking. Forgot my drysuit in December? Sure I’ll still kayak! (spoiler alert: I got hypothermia) It’s 3:30 pm in February and the river is the highest my friends have seen it? Kayaking is AN EXCELLENT IDEA (spoiler alert: we had to hike out of a 500 ft gorge in the dark and only by pure luck didn’t spend the night in the woods). There’s ice chunks the size of cars floating by and the occassional tree? Sure, let’s put on. (Spoiler: where the creek joins the main flow there was an ice dam that broke and we had to hike out a mile with our boats BUT at least it was light out).

  10. Mine is definitely riding a Greyhound bus from Pittsburgh to NYC to meet my first girlfriend, without telling my parents. I had just started my freshman year of college, was just coming out, and had met this wonderful girl online. She lived in Louisiana but was taking a trip to NYC to meet up with some friends, and she asked me if I could come too. I don’t think there is any universe in which I would not have said yes.

    So I rode a bus for over 8 hours by myself, at night, and arrived at Port Authority at 2am. I’d missed the bus I was originally supposed to be on, so at first no one was there to meet me at the bus station like we’d planned. (It was also 1998 and none of us had cell phones.) But then she & her friends showed up, and it was all okay. Our relationship ended not long after that trip, because we were 17/18-year-old baby gays just finding our way, but those 2 days I spent with her made me certain of 2 things: 1) I liked girls, and 2) I wanted to live in New York City.

    Now, almost 20 years later, I live in New York City with my wife and we’re raising our two daughters here and I love it. So even though, in retrospect, 18-year-old me could definitely have been kidnapped or murdered on that insane secret bus trip taken in the name of young love, I think it was the right decision.

  11. Mine is this: at the tender age of 20, the summer before we officially began dating, my ex accidentally gave me a bunch of hickeys on my neck. Both of our parents would have been a, um…issue.. if they’d figured out what happened.
    I wore a scarf at her house (in summer mind you), then went home and convinced my parents that her bird chewed on me and not her, and it actually worked.

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