“I love you,” he said. He meant it.

She answered warmly, “I love you, too!”

He noted the subtle enthusiasm in her tone of voice and calculatingly pointed it out. “With an exclamation mark, I see.”

She pouted. “Stop flattering yourself.”

“That isn’t flattering myself–see,” he paused to collect his thoughts, “–if you can love me with an exclamation mark, the only person that it highlights is you.”

Cheesy, she thought. “Translation?”

“It means that….” He wasn’t sure himself.

“Say it,” she ordered.

He’d better come up with something quick. “It says a lot about you, nothing about me, flattering or not,” he stumbled.

“Yes?”

An idea hit him. “It says that you are tender and bold. Enthusiastic and passionate. –A lot of things really, but it doesn’t flatter me.”

She was amused. “I’m not so bold,” she stated flatly. “I’m super shy and I hate talking to people.” No room for discussion.

“Maybe you can be coaxed out someday.” He would do his fair share of coaxing.

“I don’t have any talents. And I don’t like being seen.”

That was sad, but he was unconvinced. “Either way, I think you have the potential, and tons of it.”

“Why thank you,” she brightened. “But what if I grow hair under my chin?”

“So?” he said. “I have that.”

“Yes, you also have a penis that explains your gender and difference in hormones.”

She had a point.

“I SHOULDN’T have hair under my chin. AND I have hair on the palms of my hands,” she pressed.

“Let’s break that down a bit,” he said. His mind was racing as he tapped his fingers on the bedpost. Some cheering up was in order. His mind reached the finished line, first place. He would take a page from Cyrano de Bergerac and take her on.

“Reality: tons of women have that,” he said. “Supermodels, cashiers, goddesses. If they pluck it, they stay supermodels. If they let it grow, they join circuses.

“Fantasy: I love you anyway.

“Spiritually: your spirit is beautiful.”

“Really?” she gasped. “So you’ve met my spirit?”

He would ignore that. “Mentally: your mind takes all the attention off your chin.”

She laughed.

“Sexually: you’re far too young and foolish for me.”

“Yes, I am reminded each time I talk to you,” she spat playfully.

He shushed her. “Quiet, we’re thinking of other ways to approach the situation. How about phenomenally: wow, that is some freaky stuff!”

She laughed with him.

“Scientifically:” he said, “laser hair removal. Culinarily: flavor saver.”

She giggled and began to play along, “Genetically: it must have come from your father.”

“Good!” he encouraged her.

“Wow, this is really optimistic.”

“The Hair Stylist’s point of view: building blocks to create a masterpiece. Photographically: novel. Musically: …hmm,” he faltered. Musically what could it be? Something like… “A coldplay song.”

“Hey,” she poked him. “I would have liked something like, musically: You’re Beautiful.”

“You’re right,” he said. “The squeezing and breaking of a less than perfect soul, to produce the truly beautiful masterpieces that only she can produce. That too.”

“Maybe I really SHOULD try getting some hair on my chin,” she stroked it. “You give me so much more attention when I say I do.”

“Well, you stimulate me, putting me into ‘corner’ situations. Thank you.”

They explored optimism late into the night.