“I appreciate you.”
When I heard those words as a gratitude virgin, I was beyond titillated. In fact, the resultant orgasm carried me all the way to the bank – with a bonus check for the successful completion of a project that paid for my first European vacation. Oh, how I appreciated being appreciated.
Imagine my confusion, three years later, as I heard them again – but this time at the end of a peck-on-the-cheek dinner date. Granted, we’d only been seeing each other for a couple of months and, while fireworks exploding from the perfectly pedicured toes that wiggled at the tips of my purchased-just-for-this-occasion, peep-toe, sling-back pumps would have been very much appreciated, a spin on his little friend truly wasn’t an expectation. In all honesty, it was too soon. But I hadn’t written into my script for the final scene of the evening a tongue-free, slobberless “I appreciate you” either.
In fact, precisely what does an “I appreciate you” mean? It reminds me of an “I respect you” — are they related? Is it a synonym for “keep your thong on, honey?” Does it mean I don’t get the $200 for passing go or the prize hidden behind Door #3?
And is that your final answer?
Faster than that caped man from the planet Krypton, I raced to consult my friend, the Urban Dictionary.
“’I appreciate you’ is a polite of way of expressing your disgust with a particular object, situation or person. When utilized in this format, you leave the subject of your statement wondering why you were so polite when in reality you were simply telling them to fu*k off.”
No, our frequent evenings out and his near daily (often multiple times in a day) texts and phone calls lead me to believe, in this case, it’s the Urban Dictionary that should, indeed, fuck off. I poured a glass of white zinfandel to assist in my further research as I visited other sources.
“It means he is glad to have you in his life and thankful you can support him.”
This is s-o-o-o not looking good. Glad to have me in his life? Okay, that’s — uh — nice. But I’m already supporting my ex-husband; in fact, I’m late mailing this month’s check. However, he did, at least, tell me he loved me. Of course, he also told me he’d go out and get a job. While Mr Appreciation and I did split the tab tonight, this one hasn’t yet found his own slot among the compartments of my wallet. And he has something woefully foreign to Mr-Wrong-Formerly-Known-As-My-Bloodsucking-Leech — a job. No, this one is a real man; I’m thinking support is not an issue and I can discard this definition as well.
“It means you’re his bookmark. You’re not the one, but you’ll do until the right one comes along. You’ve been sentenced to life in…the Friend Zone.”
Oy vey! This definition has settled into my mental Barcalounger, shoved its hands into its pants and farted – an eternity as friends with only-in-my-dreams benefits. The thought that I have nothing more than my own permanent space in his platonic parking lot is not exactly what I want to believe, but as I review the video of our relationship, sadly, this shoe is beginning to fit. On the other hand, maybe I’ll grow on him. The last one who declared us to be just friends did the whole down-on-one-knee thing a year later. Hope is still breathing and it has a faint — but nonetheless perceptible — heartbeat…
“It means that he was thinking of you in a way that made him smile and he wanted to let you know. It might not mean he’s in love with you, but it definitely points to him liking you a lot.”
Okay, this one not only works, it actually feels good — kindasorta. I like him a lot, too. But as much as I want to be appreciated and respected, I want to be loved. So perhaps I’ll just bide my time and appreciate him and his appreciation of me until we grow on each other…
…or until the one who’ll give me that trifecta enters this race and crosses my finish line.