I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind you wake up excitedly for on a Sunday morning, despite it being Sunday morning. The kind that wakes you from your deepest slumbers like the smell of bacon can. I don’t even like to eat bacon, but I know for damn sure there is no better alarm clock  than the scent of fatty, crispy, greasy bacon. I want the kind of love that lets me know that there’s someone out there who’s taken the time to get to know me– to learn my likes and dislikes, my preferences and exact specifications– the way my dad’s omelette does. No chef on the planet will ever make an omelette as perfect for me as my dad does.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you spend all day looking forward to. The kind that you spend  hours and hours meticulously planning and preparing for. The kind that requires cheese from the nice part of the store. The kind that you break out the nice china and crystal wine glasses for, even though it’s just an average Tuesday night, because being in each other’s company and being in love is as good as any other reason to celebrate. Or the kind that you eat off of paper plates and ripped sheets of paper towels and frisbees that you hastily rinsed off because the food is what matters and you don’t need to dress it up all fancy to know that it’s amazing. In fact, forget about dressing up in general. I want the kind of love where I can be plopped in my chair wearing gym clothes with bits flour dusting my hair and oversized glasses planted on my face and still know you think I’m the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen. Not everything needs to be perfect for it to be perfect.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’re proud to share with your friends. The kind that your friends push into natural light to Instagram and brag all over Facebook with photos that are captioned “Alexha just made me the best meal ever! Am I in heaven? Can I marry her?” The kind that make starving people studying for their final exams shut their laptops. The kind so gorgeous, you don’t even use those tacky filters.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that fosters non-stop laughter that makes you cry and dab your eyes with your shirt sleeve, and incites loud, passionate conversation where people are yelling over each other– about mortgage rates and settling down and having babies and which *NSYNC member you would’ve dated (JC, obviously) and that one Monday night we all went to the Giant’s game and got drunk– the way dinner parties tend to do. It doesn’t matter what we talk about; there will be ab-strengthening laughter and witty banter, and (most likely) 3 glasses of wine involved, and at the end of the night, we’ll feel like we’re that much closer.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that brings silence to a table when the food comes out because it is freakin’ spectacular and we were all starving and engulfing the meal takes precedence over maintaining small talk. In a world overrun with noise– may it be elevator music or the incessant honking during rush hour or the non-stop clamor of Twitter– I just want to the enjoy the silence with someone and not worry about it being awkward. I just want to look up at you between bites of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and see you smiling back at me like we’re sharing a devious secret, and without having to say a single word, know that we are both incandescently content.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’ll pack up in neat, plastic containers and continue to enjoy the rest of the week. The kind you don’t get tired or bored of, because you know what? Spaghetti tastes better as leftovers.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that’s like trying a new recipe. No recipe is ever going to come with a guarantee. The author may have different tastes than yours, or you might have accidentally bought regular paprika instead of the Hungarian smoked paprika, or your oven just cooks at a significantly different rate. The recipe might just suck in general. Likewise, you and your love might not love bouldering as much as you thought you would, or you both might really suck at surfing and never stand up on the board (though not likely, because I stood up on my first attempt, nbd), or underwater basket weaving is a lot easier than you anticipated and you got bored 15 minutes into it. Who cares? At least you tried it, and now you have a funny story to tell our friends next time we throw a dinner party. I want the kind of love where we can laugh at our misfortunes and mistakes; where we can toss our catastrophic attempt at making butter chicken and naan in the trash and just order a pizza instead, happy to have spent a few hours together in the kitchen.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel like I’m part of a team. That I’m making a difference. Like I’m part of some higher power’s plan. Every Thanksgiving, my brother and sister and I spend months trying to “top” the dinner we made the previous year. This takes countless phone conversations and recipe-laden email chains and hand-cramping shopping lists, and sure, it can get really stressful. But come the morning of, we morph together into one, spinning and twirling around the kitchen like a culinary dance… or a well oiled machine. I don’t know how you and your siblings are, but in our family, we compliment each other perfectly. I love that feeling. I want to be someone’s “other half.” I want someone to blast Spice Girls and dance around the kitchen with. Sure, it’s pretty fun doing that with my sister and having our brother exasperatedly ask my parents for two new sisters, but frankly, I’m tired of being sighed at, and moreso, I’m tired of sighing at my sister’s dance moves. And I know my siblings and I are not always going to be able to do this, what with life and growing up and jobs and all those superfluous things getting in the way. I need someone I can be that comfortable with. Zig-a-zig-a-zig-ahh. 

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you can just feel when you walk into the room, like when I would come home from school and the whole house would smell like my mom’s pho. I want the kind of love that makes me nostalgic and crazy and giddy like my mom’s pho. The kind that can never be replicated by restaurants people like to eat at just because they have punny names like “What the Pho” and “Pho King.” If the love that I end up loving turns out to be half as ineffably amazing as my mom’s pho, I will never, ever complain about anything again. This includes: having a case of the Mondays, Twilight, feeling fat after eating 3 donuts, and not dating Joseph Gordon-Levitt even though we’re perfect for each other.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes you take small bites and shuffle your ravioli around on your plate because you don’t want the night to end. The kind that, before you know it, it’s already 11pm and you missed that finale of the Bachelorette that you meant to watch, but it’s ok because the evening was perfect, and everything else can wait until tomorrow. I want a hug or a kiss that lingers the way my family used to linger around the dinner table well after we finished having tea and dessert because we’re too enraptured in discussing things like how my grandparents fell in love at the age of 15 or how my sister did on her AP Chem exam or the places we want to visit on our intracontinental road trip next month. I want the kind of love where family dinners together are the highlight of the day; where TV’s get turned off and cell phones get put away; where we genuinely care to hear about each other’s day.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel the way cooking makes me feel. Nothing makes me happier than cooking for people I care about. Nothing. I feel like a goddess, creating something from nothing. I feel like I can disregard rules and recipes and just trust my gut instinct and improvise. I feel confident in myself and passionate for the first time, every time. I feel tested and successful and squeamish with ideas flooding my mind. An extra pinch here, omit that dash there, and minor substitution here and there. There are no games here: I don’t have to wait 3 days for him to call me back, or pretend I haven’t already stalked his Facebook profile before our first date, or lie and say I’ve only read Harry Potter once in my life because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m lame. No, there are no games here (and to be honest, if you’ve only read Harry Potter once in your life, there’s a 99% chance we’re not going to work out anyway)– it’s just me being me and you being you. I want a love that makes me feel these things. I want a love that makes me unequivocally happy just being me.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind I can pour my heart and soul into (sorry for the cliche; I guess I want a love that makes me write in cliches). The kind of love I can share my family recipes with.

Honestly, I just want a love I can cook for. And when I do, I want you to tell me that that is the best goddamn baked ziti you’ve ever had. Because it will be.

Of fanny packs and cats: an ode to spinsterhood.

When I was in 7th grade, there was this moment in honors English that solidified for me a very important life lesson: everything you ever need to know, you can learn through television.

One day in class, our teacher asked, “does anyone know what the word serendipity means?”

My hand shot up faster than Hermione Granger’s. I looked around, feeling quite smug, and smirked to my classmates. “That’s right, bitches. I know big words.” In hindsight, “serendipity” isn’t really that impressive of a word to know. Also, I’m pretty sure half the class raised their hands. But you know what? IDGAF. I didn’t speak English until I was about 7, so this feat deserved a self-high-five if not more, in my opinion. I was on a John Cusack high, and wavered my arm back and forth until the teacher called on me so that I could spend 10 minutes describing the synapse of the 2001 rom-com, only to discover afterwards that she had actually called on the kid next to me.

Fast forward 11 years and here we are, the glorious year of 2012, still living my life like it’s a TV show.

I recently went through a breakup with now-ex-bf-of-2-years and I feel a bit like Liz Lemon after she and her Matt Damon pilot bf, Carol, broke up. Jarring any feline purchases (maybe I’ll get a dog and name her Emily Dickinson instead), sweatpants-wearing-fanny-pak-sporting-theMentalist-watching Liz Lemon sounds pretty awesome right now. Someone hand me my potato chip bag slash hair clip and snuggie!

But I digress.

Back to the story.

Like a stroke of serendipity, I recently stumbled upon a post entitled “Possible Reactions When Your Parents Ask ‘Are You Dating Anybody?'” while perusing Thought Catalog for literally 5 hours straight.

Having just very gracefully bellyflopping back into the “singles pool,” I can relate. Yeah, break ups suck. A lot. But you know what sucks more? When people ask you about it, and then you’re stuck reliving it over and over again like you’re in a broken time-turner, and there’s no Sirius to save. Luckily, my parents subscribe to notion that “girls are not allowed to date until they’re married” like most typical Asian parents, but in case yours are actually interested in your romantic struggles and conquests with unnecessary zest and alacrity, here are some responses provided by Gaby Dunn:

(I’m going to c&p the article because I know 90% of you are too lazy to click on the link… hope that’s ok, Gaby!)

Screech in horror.

Talk about your career accomplishments and how you’re “too busy” to date.

Make static-y and police siren noises into the phone and tell them you’re going into a tunnel. Then, hang up.

Similarly, throw your phone against the wall and run out of the room. If they ask in person, slowly back into a bush like this:

Send them a “photo” of your new beau but when they open it, it’s a screengrab of a Tumblr dashboard and a picture of a carton of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

Say “yes” and then describe Andrew Garfield until they figure it out. “Well, he’s British and super cute.” to “He was just in the new Spiderman movie. No, not as an extra. …As Spiderman.” (This also works with Emma Stone, Donald Glover, Jon Hamm, Kate Upton etc etc.)

Tell them confidently that you will be dating someone as soon as you get the formula from Weird Science down pat.

Get a tattoo of the words “#ForeverAlone” on your forearm — and when they ask, roll up your sleeves.

Condescendingly tell them you’re continuing to be single as part of living performance art, commenting on the societal pressure to always be in a romantic relationship.

Flip the table. Storm out.

Proclaim you have five boyfriends named Liam, Harry, Louis, Zayn and Niall and you all live in a lovely polygamous house in Utah.

Immediately start talking and acting like it’s 1920 and you need them to make a match for you with your weird cousin like on Downton Abbey.

Transform into a bat and flap away into the night.

Bellow, “I am Loki, God of Mischief. I can not be contained by mere mortals! I must date among the Gods!”

Draw eyes and a mustache on a flask. “Kiss” your partner by drinking his sweet nectar of alcohol.

Create a life-size Japanese body pillow with a silkscreen of Benedict Cumberbatch (or another similarly attractive person) and bring it to the dinner table.

Reverse the guilt. Be like, “You created me. You saw my childhood. You know what’s up over here. What do you think?”

Stare them down and say, “Nope. Just getting boned on the reg.” Maintain uncomfortable eye contact.

Throw glitter in the air and prance away. (Also, a good way to come out of the closet if you’re looking for one.)

Sculpt a boyfriend out of delicious foods in front of their eyes.

Bring home a trucker/ex-con named Gus and say you got hitched. When they freak out, remind them that you being single isn’t so bad.

Spray them with mace.

Promise you will as soon as you find someone with the missing half of this golden amulet.

Put a top hat and monocle on a cat and introduce him as your betrothed, Mr. Darcy.

Crouch down and cover your head with your hands like during an elementary school tornado drill.

Say you’re waiting for the TARDIS, Amy Pond-style. Sing lines from Dr. Dre’s “I Need A Doctor.”

Toss a smoke bomb on the floor to blind them and disappear into a trap door.

Throw yourself through a glass window, because it’ll distract them and probably be less painful than answering that question.

Although these are all very excellent suggestions, I have a few of my own.

  1. Passive-aggressively shove your  50 Shades of Grey hardcover into your mom’s sternum and whisper “I’m already satisfied” with a wink. If you’re mom is at all curious (and she will be!), she’ll begin her Christian-Grey journey that night before bed, and 10 pages into it, will be so horrified that she’ll never act as a romantic inquisitor ever again.
  2. Tell them that you gave some cute guy your number and he’s “taking time with the call,” you’re “taking time with the fall,” but he’ll call you (maybe).
  3. Explain that you’re trying to draw out your own version of “How I Met Your Mother” for as many seasons as possible, because how boring would the story be for your children if you met their mom at the ripe age of 24?!
  4. Scoff. Boyfriend? Try boyfriends, Mom! Here, come meet them! There’s Johnny, Jack, and the one on the far left is Jose.
  5. Feign an asthma attack. This may seem complicated, but it’s not. There was one point in time when my brother lacked health insurance and I somehow faked asthmatic symptoms well enough that my doctor prescribed me an inhaler. To be honest, I’m not very proud of that moment. To be even more honest, I kind of am.
  6. Whip out your wand and scream “Accio, Tom Felton!” Then act surprised when it doesn’t work. Because it usually/always does.
  7. Laugh at how old school the notion of “finding and settling down with a nice boy is.” Obviously, the cool approach to romance is to get knocked up by your best friend on a whim, find a nice couple in the Pennysaver to adopt the fetus growing in your womb, force your best friend to go to Prom with another girl that smells like soup because you’re crazy hormonal and pregnant and then get mad at him for actually going to Prom with soupy girl, and then after a minor mental in the hospital after giving birth, fall in love with aforementioned baby daddy. Could you ask for a better love story?
  8. Explain to them that you’re taking a break from romance because you’re still scarred from your last boyfriend, who would dress up like Gandolf and shout YOU SHALL NOT PASS whenever you tried to get intimate in the bedroom.
  9. Cry hysterically and toss a million covenant brochures in their faces like a strip club promoter on a dark Vegas street corner.
  10. Tell them that Match.com’s server is “currently down,” but you’ll get on it as soon as it’s back up!

If all else fails, just make an impromptu toast and start dancing. This will answer any and all questions anyone has ever wondered about you.

Now where would one go about purchasing one of those Japanese boyfriend pillows…?