There is a lot to tell about my journey with this boy. But let's not give away too much too soon. Let’s just focus first on how I “met” Catholic boy.
So here I am. A college freshman. Being all liberated about now accepting the gays and maybe being able to finally admit I don’t really like Chris Tomlin. I’m really coming into my own.
And then…a capella.
All men's a capella group. In my residence hall. T’was a Christmas special just for us because my RA was totally banging one of them. The Beartones they were called. In hindsight this might have been the most influential night of my college career. That’s not true. Probably that night I took too many shots after a fishbowl and threw up blue in a cardboard box next to my bed was (how to not be a good roommate). Anyway.
There they were. Singing to me so sweetly. The one with the best voice/most solos was so poorly dressed. He had this pseudo-bowl cut and wore an Aeropostale shirt.
AEROPOSTALE. I was very confused when I later learned he was gay. I was even more confused when I learned he was in his like 7th year of school. He would remain there until I graduated. And yet himself did not graduate. A Capella 4 Eva.
But once you looked past Aeropostale, there were two guys in the group singing harmonies that were simply…divine. One looked like Tom Cruise. So like, as hot as he was, there was no chance I was getting with him. Even though I did recognize him from my religion class so I probs could strike up a convo about Jesus. I was really good at that. Even without religion class. But seriously, guys who are that attractive KNOW they’re attractive. Nah. I’m more into to finding super low key dudes who just haven’t reached their full potential. But a few Polo button-ups for every Christmas, anniversary, birthday, Pearl Harbor Day and a beard later. Total hotties. That was the other guy. Yeah. I bet a lot of people reading this are surprised to know Catholic wasn’t the only Beartone I was at least considering. I would later find out Catholic and Tom Cruise were the best of friends. We all got very drunk together at fraternity formals. That’s not true. I got drunk, Tom Cruise and his gf got drunk, but Catholic was saving his alcohol intake for church.
I had to leave the little private Wells Hall concert early for my very first callback.
Then Christmas Break happened. And what followed is what we call obsession.
These Are My Obsessions
I’ve always kind of had this thing for obsessing romantically over men that are out of my reach. All of 5th grade my room was covered in Lil Bow Wow posters. I even woke up early to VHS tape him on Regis and Kelly or Good Morning America. I wrote a nice little love letter on the white labels that came with the tapes.
By junior high I had graduated to Robert Carmine-Schwartzman, the lead singer of Rooney* and star of the Princess Diaries as the most perfect man ever, Michael Moscovitz. I made a five page list of non-negotiable boyfriend qualities that mostly consisted of Michael’s (A FICTIONAL CHARACTER) attributes. Down to his smell. He needed to smell like Ivory Soap.
*2017, I met and interviewed Robert Schwartzman on Iheart Radio because I have cool friends. Also, manifestation IS REAL. Watch here.
So anyways I’ve learned his name from some of his fraternity brothers with whom I’m good friends. And he has a Facebook (at this point). HE HAS A FACEBOOK. This means I won’t have to go a whole month without seeing his beautiful face?! And I didn’t. I fucking STUDIED his facebook profile. I would say things to my best friends like “No he’s totally smart look at this eloquent picture caption.” I knew he was close with his family because of all the father, son, brother hiking albums. I knew he did theatre in high school because of the Damn Yankees album. And played soccer because “I dyed my hair bleach blonde with all my teammates for State” album. And he had the ability to grow a beard. I knew that from his clearly-had-been-locked-up-studying-for-a-few-days photos. Did I mention he was also pre-med?
DID THIS GUY HAVE A FLAW?
Did I mention he was also pre-med? DID THIS GUY HAVE A FLAW?
Oh. OH. One of my friends points out “Uh. It says he’s Roman Catholic. Don’t you think that’s an issue?” Because see here’s the thing about Christians in the Midwest, they’re all very partial to their version of Jesus worshipping and think it’s superior to your version of Jesus worshipping. The Catholics think communion is actually the body of Christ? That is SO not as ridiculous as us thinking God impregnated a virgin with his transcendent semen. Or that Power Points and coffee in church are somehow helping the Kingdom. I’m not sure what my response to her was. Probably something like "but his beard". Realistically I think I told her I didn’t care. I was going to marry this Catholic.
Mattie Jo’s Multiple Failed Stalker Attempts
Fast forward to the beginning of second semester. I had done a commendable (terrifying) amount of stalking. Now all I needed to do was see him again. Which shouldn’t be hard because we had mutual friends AND he was in the Backstreet Boys of MSU. #celebritysighting. So I’m eating lunch and sit down next to my cousin. Blissfully sipping on my Diet Mt. Dew (Midwesterners love their aspartame) and shit. SHIT.
HE’S AT MY TABLE.
But of course I didn’t say anything then. What could I have said? “Oh hey guy a few seats down sitting next to Tom Cruise boy minding your own beeswax. I know you don’t know me but I am planning our (not Catholic) wedding.”
I remember abruptly leaving a hangout with my brother to maybe catch him at the fraternity house once I became privy to his presence there. Missed him.
Another time I was trying to find my way around the earth science building for a science class I was so very interested in taking and got lost. I tapped these guys on the shoulder to ask where this damn classroom was. AND IT WAS HIM AND HIS FRIEND. I think that’s the first and only time I have ever been speechless. I actually don’t remember if I even found the room. I think I blacked out when he was talking. Oh and then there was the Super Bowl Party at the fraternity house. He was there, but on the other side of the room. So there was zero chance of conversing. I left to watch the Lil' Wayne Behind the Music for the fourth time.
If I’m Pure Enough, God Will Give Me a Boyfriend
You would think that due to my focus and diligence, Catholic was the only man on my mind. But remember. Boy crazy. So I was still gettin down with the best i.e. the football players. Who by the way were not the best. They were actually really bad at football. But they were very hot.
I guess I started feeling pretty bad about that. So I met with my Bible Study leader and asked if she thought me stopping this whole aggressive-makeout-sessions-with-college-athletes-impurity was possible. She said of course! Why don’t I make a list of all of my regrettable sexual experiences. We’ll tear them up, pray over them, and throw them away. Then I’ll be purified in my makeout virginity and start anew! Phew. That was good news. I was starting to feel mondo guilty about my very real PG attraction to college athletes. So we did the whole purity séance and I was on my way. On my way to my very first professional summerstock theatre audition. TENT THEATRE.
St. Valentine’s Day
First of all, let’s all remember I LIVE ON CAMPUS. Approximately 2 minutes from the TENT Theatre auditions. And yet, somehow, I still manage to wake up barely on time AND forget my headshot/resume in my dorm. Also it’s Valentine's Day. And not only have a re-vowed my makeout purity, I still don’t have my Catholic. I am a damn (frustrated) mess. I finally get checked in and I’m all ready to do my first of countless terrible auditions when I see him. GAHHHHH. What is a Cell and Molecular Biology major (which I obviously know from his facebook) doing at a professional theatre audition?!?!?!?! And then I remembered my friend (with whom he went to high school) telling me he wanted to “get into theatre again”. Bless my soul.
Okay Mattie Jo. You can do this. You’re in the same room with him. We are doing the same things. There are lots of potential conversation starters. But naturally I just acted like an obnoxious theatre doof begging for his attention while he sits alone feeling like a Dan Humphry outsider. UNTIL. The auditor comes out and announces, “We are running really behind so if you could all keep your cuts to 16 bars, that would be great. Happy auditioning!” I look at him. He has a look of terror on his face. This is your chance Mattie Jo. SAVE HIM. SAVE THAT CATHOLIC IN DISTRESS.
Silence. Except my heart that I am certain he can hear.
“Is your song not the proper cut?”
“I honestly don’t even know what that means.”
“Mind if I take a look? I might be able to cut it for you.”
I DID IT!!!!!!!! We got to talking a bit more. The entire conversation consisted of him telling me things I had to pretend I didn’t already know:
Cell and Molecular Biology huh? Oh you went to Notre Dame? My friend went to Notre Dame! You’re in Theta Chi?! Do you know (insert a million names)? The Beartones? So you’re like a celebrity on campus. Wow you’re so interesting I didn’t know any of this.
Then I invited him to breakfast at the dining hall cuz #freshman. But he couldn’t go. He had mass. Mass? WTF is Mass? Oh Church. Right. It’s Sunday.
Proper Courting and Ivory Soap
Then two weeks later, he was my boyfriend. Of course this was after a first and second date of sharing our testimonies and me learning about the Catechism. Ah yes. Over a milkshake and fries I learned the Catholic teaching is to not even ejaculate without intention of procreation.
I kindly informed him I thought that was pretty impractical. If we’re applying the no release rule to men and women. “A wise woman whom I was raised by but wishes to remain anonymous had been very clear about masturbation being a healthy tool for not only preventing acts of fornication, but overall stress relief (But that’s another entry). I asked him does he really think Jesus wants him embarrassed over having wet dreams at age 20? I also informed him that women have increased risk of cervical cancer if they don’t masturbate. That might have been a lie. I think I made that up...
After our second date (which, BTW was a Beartones performance. Always leaving me with a capella female blue balls) he tried to kiss me. OH YAY. This is the part where I get to really impress him with how chaste I am. Because ya know, since that séance thing I did with my Bible study leader, I am the real deal. No kissing unless you’re my boyfriend. So I told him, with pride, I only kiss boyfriends.
He seemed rather confused. Oh no. Do Catholics not make up stupid rules about kissing to make themselves feel superior to everyone? Shit.
But he said okay. And he’d see me tomorrow. Probably between organic chemistry and Beartones tutoring. That would of course be my break between releasing rainbows from my pelvis and reading Meisner. So. See ya then, buddy!
I was taking off for my first trip to New York in a couple of days. I guess he could feel there was going to be some steep competition between my love for him and my love for the city. That and he definitely wanted to makeout. So he put on his big boy pant and two weeks into even knowing I existed - it would be long before he found out the extent of my creeper status - he asked me to be his girlfriend.
I said yes. Then we kissed for like probably 3 hours because what the hell else were we going to do? At some point in those 3 hours I stopped him. “This is going to sound weird, but what soap do you use?” His response, “Oh I just use Ivory soap. It’s the cheapest.”
Dead. I found my Michael Moscovitz. Only Catholic. Not Jewish. Jewish probably would have been easier.
Then I went to New York.