Love and Lists (Chocoholics)
Author:Tara Sivec

“Fine. But it’s not going as number one.”

Tyler smiles in victory and crosses out what he wrote, moving further down the page and rewriting it with a number five in front of it.

“There. Not at the top, not at the bottom. It will give you plenty of time to work up to the showing of the penis and then plenty of time to recover after you show it to her and she starts rocking back and forth in the corner, weeping silently.”

Reaching across the counter, I punch him as hard as I can in the arm.

“Fucker! I bruise easily! What would Claire say if I told her you were abusing me?” Tyler questions as he rubs the spot on his arm where my fist connected.

“Shut up about my mother.”

“No can do. She’s going to be mine one day. You should just start calling me dad now,” he says nonchalantly.

Ever since the day he met my mother—naked—he’s been in love with her. For seven years I’ve had to endure him leering at her, making inappropriate comments, and imagining all the different ways my dad could die so he could console the grieving widow.

“I’m going to punch you right in the ball sack if you don’t shut up,” I warn him.

“Don’t take that tone with me, young man.”

I decide against beating the shit out of Tyler at this time. The faster he makes this stupid list, the faster he’ll go home—to his parents’ basement where he currently lives. No, I’m not kidding. He’s a walking, talking epitome of a guy that refuses to grow up. He has a bachelor’s degree in Japanese studies (a surefire way that he will never get a real job), works part-time at The Gap, and has never had a serious relationship.

Remind me again why I’m even thinking of taking advice from him?

“Okay, I’ve got a better idea for number one. Go shopping with her.”

He writes out his new number one while I stare at him questioningly. When he looks up after writing it down, he stares at me like I’m an idiot.

“Bro, chicks love shopping. If you go and ooh and ahh over every pair of shoes she picks up, you’ll be in her pants by the time you get to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels,” he informs me.

I don’t even bother explaining to him, yet again, that my main purpose in life isn’t to get in Charlotte’s pants. Sure, it’s something I dream about. Well, wet dream about. And the reason for my earlier Google search, but it’s not the ultimate goal. I want her to love me. I want her to see me as something other than a friend. I want her to realize that we’re soul mates.

Fuck. Maybe I am getting my period.

“Alright, item number two. Take her to The Cheesecake Factory,” he states as he continues to write.

“Why The Cheesecake Factory?”

Tyler shrugs as he taps the pen against the counter. “Chicks dig The Cheesecake Factory. It will show her that you can be all fancy and shit. Oooooh, oooooh, oooooh! Tell her she can order whatever she wants. That’s a total cool-guy move,” he tells me excitedly.

Alright, so this isn’t too bad. I can handle a day of shopping as long as I’m with Charlotte. And The Cheesecake Factory is delicious.

“What else?” I ask as I go around the counter and stand next to him as he writes furiously.

“Dude, this is going to be epic. I am such a fucking genius. You better name your first born after me or something,” he tells me as he continues making the list, quickly coming up with ten things that he swears will have Charlotte in love with me by the time I finish all of them. We work together, crossing things out and moving them around until we have a pretty good list of things for me to do to win Charlotte over.

I know I’m going to regret this. Somehow, some way, this is all going to come back and bite me in the ass, but I’m desperate. I know I’m a chickenshit and should just come right out and tell her, but that’s not happening. This needs to be handled delicately. Tyler is the only person who knows how I feel about Charlotte. If anyone finds out about this before I’m ready … Well, let’s just say having my mom tell my eighth grade English teacher at conferences that when I was little I used to walk around telling strangers my dad had a huge wiener will seem like the best day of my life.

Yep, totally going to regret this.

Charlotte graduated from college a few weeks ago. She had a few make-up classes to do during the summer session, but she’s finally finished. She majored in Communications at Ohio State University, my alma mater. Today, her parents are throwing her a small graduation party at their home, and I can’t deny the fact that I’m a little bit excited to get started on The List. After several six-packs of beer last night, this idea became more and more awesome. I mean seriously, what woman wouldn’t love it if a guy started doing a shit ton of awesome things to prove to her how much he cares? And these aren’t just everyday, common sense things like buying her flowers. These are the things women want men to do, but never come right out and ask for. I’m going to be a God among men when this is all said and done.

“Alright, bro. Are you ready for phase one? I mean, it will probably take a little while since it’s early in the day, but you got this,” Tyler reassures me as we get out of my car. I cock my head from side to side to crack my neck and shake out my hands.

“I can do this. I can TOTALLY do this. Phase one to commence by 9 pm,” I reply.

Tyler gives me a high five and we make our way around to the backyard of Aunt Liz and Uncle Jim’s house. My ears are immediately assaulted with the sounds of very bad, very off-pitch singing. Glancing under the tent they have set up, I see my Uncle Drew and Aunt Jenny doing karaoke. They’re singing Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe,” but they’ve changed up the lyrics just a bit.