Life Lessons and Detergent Threats

When a gay is backed into a corner by his anal-retentive boyfriend–who’s harping about his putatively superior decorating abilities–he’ll say what he must to shut down the borderline argument:

“If you’re not nicer to me, I’ll wash this repeatedly with industrial detergent!”

Andy postures in the kitchen corner, holding a mid-century modern chair as ransom. He wins.

But, for good measure, he adds, “And my gargoyle is not kitsch!”

Well played, sir. Well played.

Having a live-in boyfriend is fun. We can agree, argue, subject one another to our respective cold shoulders, throw temper-tantrums, emphatically assert we’re superior decorators (fine, that’s all me), and have stress-induced crying fits. But then we have sex, and all potential slights or work day traumas are resolved. Sex is sort of like The Price is Right‘s Plinko game: Regardless of what chips you bring to the table, you almost always have a happy ending.

With this foray into genuine boyfriendom, I’ve realized that being a late-bloomer works to my advantage. Sure, I’ve been like a camel for a while–minus the hump (ba da bah!); meaning, I’ve been able to go without a lot of things for protracted periods of time, all the while cobbling together some semblance of selfhood and self-esteem. That’s not to say camels don’t have low self-esteem, but you get my point.

Bringing a more robust sense of self to a relationship facilitates more in-depth, personally meaningful conversations, as well as the development of a maturity toolkit to deal with the rigors of relationships: mending slighted feelings; admitting you’re wrong; clearly communicating your thoughts; and owning up to the fact that, sometimes, you’re being an asshole (this is not the same thing as admitting you’re wrong). It’s been a learning process, but an important one. It’s made me more human and less machine-like.

It’s made me cherish the quiet, important moments of sitting there and staring at Andy, each of us expecting or needing nothing more.

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