The other night I sat on my couch and listened to the most eligible bachelor I know talk very pragmatically about breaking up with his girlfriend. I told him that I wished I could provide better advice, but that I hadn’t been in a relationship since 2008, and that my myriad romantic exploits had led me to only one sad piece of wisdom, which is this: most people are lying liars. He was all “I wasn’t actually asking for advice.” I continued, “How can I ever trust anyone when text messaging is a thing which exists in the world? Every time a phone buzzes it reminds me that we all have a secret life, one which is carried on electronically, and privately, and is password protected and free of the mannered restrictions of face-to-face contact. It is the Id communicating with another Id. It is an easy and false intimacy. Who can stand up confidently in the face of that?” He said, “Hold on, my pocket just buzzed.”
Later on he brought up a relationship philosophy that was called something I forget now, but was essentially five indicators/signs/generic nouns of Love, these being affirmations (compliments and encouragement), gifts, physical interaction, quality time (sitting and not talking doesn’t count, I guess) and selfless acts (doing favors and enjoying it). I mused that perhaps part of my problem is that I include all five of these things in my expectations of all relationships, friendly, romantic or otherwise. Perhaps this is why I do not date successfully. I can’t tell the difference? I mix my own messages? I wanted to relay this information to my handsome and eligible bachelor friend sitting a foot away from me on the couch in my moodily lit apartment, but I decided it might come across a little fishy.
After this very rewarding personal interaction, I attended a gathering of former employees from a now-defunct local business I once worked for. I suggested re-launching the business in a smaller form, but nobody seemed very interested, so instead I spent like an hour talking to my ex-coworker’s ex-boyfriend about serialized fantasy novels and mopeds while wondering internally if this is the sort of person I’m supposed to be dating.
I don’t know much about five indicators of love. All I know is that I married someone who is not my “type,” and it was the smartest choice I ever made. Of course, as with all smart choices, I didn’t JUST MAKE IT. We met six years ago, we fell in love, I broke up with him. I think I thought I had wild oats to sow. After three years of not exactly sowing wild oats, some pining, some pining while claiming I was not pining, more pining, and the one time I have EVER seen my husband cry, we got back together. It was long and tumultuous and I don’t know if I would recommend it, but it’s what I did. I CAN tell you that when I finally pulled myself together, it felt great. He wasn’t my type, and it worked (eventually).
Surely you are thinking, How is Jason not your type? Well, for example, Jason thinks I’m pretty. Like, really pretty. He thinks I’m funny, basically, all the time. (HE thinks I’m as funny as I think I am. And as you know, I secretly think that I am super, super funny.) He thinks I’m smart and creative and talented. He’s impressed by things I do. He’s interested in what I have to say, and what I think, and he doesn’t undermine or condescend me. He doesn’t make me feel guilty if I’m not in the mood to do it. He’s little and has no fashion sense of his own, but he lets me dress him. When his phone buzzes, I know that it’s either Twitter or Rich or an update from the baby app he downloaded.
My “type” was more the type where the phone buzzing was a source of worry. More importantly, as the previous paragraph would imply, my type was people who didn’t think that I was that pretty or that smart or that funny. People who might question if I was really going to wear that. People who were emotionally aloof and self-involved.
My husband is sweet-hearted and kind. He leaves me little doodles and notes. He gets things he knows I like when he goes grocery shopping. (And he does just about all the grocery shopping, because he knows I hate it.) He surprises me. He is clever and funny. He is a natural with kids.
At night, if he’s not working, we eat dinner together and talk about our days. We lay around in bed. We watch movies, and we usually take turns falling asleep about halfway through. Lately, we giggle a lot and feel the baby move. It happens to me all day, but I still haven’t lost my sense of wonder about it. Jason is continually delighted by it. He’s helpful and nice. He’s involved. He’s a great partner, and he’s going to be a great dad. It’s been a pretty special time in our relationship.
I guess I don’t really have any advice for you, Annie, except to maybe try shying away from your type. My life went in a direction I never expected. I don’t think there’s a right way and a wrong way. We all put one foot in front of the other and end up somewhere.
Hmm. The last time I dated someone who wasn’t my type I spent a lot of time judging his shoe choices and cringing at his jokes, jokes which were oftentimes delivered in a faux British accent. His car was weird (not that I give a shit about cars, it’s just that a car kind of says a lot about a person and this one screamed “I HAVE NO TASTE ALSO I AM POSSIBLY A GRANDMA”) and within that car he listened to terrible, terrible music. Ultimately I couldn’t muster up enough respect for him to find him enduringly attractive, even though he was really nice to me.
The last time I dated someone who WAS my type (brooding, bearded, badass) he experienced some sort of metaphysical crisis and cheated on me with a girl who had f-holes tattooed on her lower back. (GOOGLE IT). The guy I fell in love with six years ago was, much like your husband, an endearingly dorky neurotic with an artistic streak. Unlike your husband, he was not very nice and is currently tracing an alcoholic downward spiral somewhere in the bars of the midwestern United States.
If there is any meaning to be found in this, it is that I am going to be alone forever, because I am a judgmental shoe Nazi with poor taste in men.