It was March 1996, I was 19, and my Telnet chat-based gay flirtation was a-coming my way from Wales on a Tuesday. What Welsh Guy wanted of me was to talk and talk and talk about ourselves and what we believed in and what our dreams were and “Gosh, they sure do put a lot of ice in drinks here in the States,” and to give me two weeks of wonderful, beautiful first kisses that now feel sepia-toned and underscored with violins.
Also, he wanted to shop for an airbrushed T-shirt and go to a mall food court because he wanted a legitimate American experience. I even introduced him to Oreos. Have you ever done that for someone? [Ed note: They don’t have Oreos in Wales?! Couldn’t they figure out how to mash cream filling between a couple of cookies? This is why Tom Jones came over to the States.]
After two weeks, it was done. I quoted the last scene of Casablanca to him and kissed him goodbye. He took a plane and never came back. [Ed note: Hope he remembered to take back some Oreos.]
We’re friends on Facebook now, but he doesn’t talk to me. It’s not romantic. I think he considers what we had a mistake, and that I took our affair too seriously and wouldn’t go away. In my defense, that’s how I believe flings with hot, accented Europeans should go.
Brief encounters should remain brief. Then you grow up.
But the romance of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset make me wonder what might have been. Although – and I say this as a gay – Julie Delpy always seemed too hot for unkempt, smelly Ethan Hawke. When I watch movies like Sunrise and Sunset, I always end up looking through Telnet transcripts from 1996, idealizing an idea of myself instead of remembering the weird, obsessive kid that I really was.
In Before Midnight, it seems Delpy has finally wised up. Granted, Ethan Hawke now looks like his face has been melted by the Ark of the Covenant. [Ed note: You know what I bet was in the Ark that the Nazis wanted so bad? Oreos.]
This is the movie in the series that makes me glad I didn’t drop out of college, run to Wales and shear sheep for the rest of my life. Not every day can be like every great first date. Time cracks the sweet candy shell of a pretty mystery date. Give your lover enough time and you’ll realize they KEEP DRINKING ALL OF THE MILK FROM THE FRIDGE WITHOUT ASKING FIRST, DAMN IT, AM I RUNNING A HOSTEL?
Most of my relationships last as long as the milk. [Ed note: At least here in the U.S. you’ll always have something to dunk in your milk.]
Thank God I never tried to make true love last. I should de-friend Welsh Guy on Facebook because, if Ethan Hawke is any indication of time’s damage, I should be really scared of what my face must look like nowadays.
Released in theaters May 24, 2013.