Photo: Emily Long
Dearly beloved, I am here to talk to you about love. Not the big showy kind that Barbie and Ken have, all plastic and perfect in their dream house with a myriad of careers. My boyfriend and I are far from plastic; we could even be criticized for being too honest. But if life is love and love is life, my second grade teacher was right: honesty is the best policy.
Somewhere around two years ago, two truly prolific self-saboteurs met through a mutual friend. He’s tall and good-looking, and apparently quiet when you first meet him. I would have been convinced he doubted my literacy had said mutual friend not told me that every time I saw him he would come up to her the next day in the office and refer to me as his ‘soon-to-be-girlfriend’. It was laughable the lengths he went to, always telling her that anything would be okay as long as I stopped by the office. In fact, I credit many of her three-hour lunches to this exchange rate.
After a summer of casual run-ins, his birthday party approached in mid October. His best friend got in touch with me and requested some help on his present: me. Ladies, as a feminist I must say there is something oddly sweet about being a gift. I went to the bar and he pulled quite the move, asking me to take a picture of the last time he would be that age…and text it to him. Tada…the boy gets the number. I’m told he did a triumphant lap around the office, but let’s chalk that up to hearsay. We began casually texting, which turned into casually grabbing a bite to eat until three in the morning, which also included him walking me home to the Lower East from the Upper West in uncomfortable dress shoes. (Ladies in stilettos, please roll eyes now)
Everything was going cautiously well until I had to leave the week of Halloween for a film shoot. The chatting upped the ante and I sent him a picture of myself in my character’s costume: a wedding dress. Prior to this point, I’d considered him the nicest person I had ever remotely dated and therefore the most likely for me to utterly destroy and leave muttering my name in therapy. His response was the game changer: ‘I know you think you look silly, but you look beautiful.’ Simple and direct, and I was left feeling more flattered than I ever had.
I came back from the shoot that week and we planned our first date: drinks at my apartment and a movie. I remember getting ready, intentionally wearing casual clothes because some part of me was still stubbornly refusing to believe this was something. I opened the door to a very tall gentleman holding a very sharable bottle of Southern Comfort, and the movie became a thought of the past. One or five drinks deep, we made our way to the kitchen for refills. While standing against the refrigerator, he kissed me. I will always remember the kiss, and the fact that not even me saying, ‘Well that changes everything!’ immediately after was able to ruin it.
We’ve been together for something like two years and we’ll both be the first to admit we’re not perfect. We screw up, we overstep, we expect just as much from each other as we expect from ourselves. But the biggest thing is honesty. Cliché? Sure. But we each own every ounce of our behaviors, and expect the other to do the same. And I must admit, we have pretty wonderful time doing it. A relationship isn’t a posed picture all the time. It’s a crash course in learning about yourself with a person you care about, and it’s worth every minute.