Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In praise of the nice guy

As a teenager and later as a young adult, I dated some nice guys and I dated some asshats. I remember dating a Staff Sergeant (USMC) who, after several weeks of turbulent couplehood, actually raised a hand to hit me during an argument. Needless to say, I never saw him again. I also remember dating a very sweet guy who weighed less than I did and drove a nice car, but for whom I could not scrounge up any sort of physical attraction. I learned a couple of things from my dating adventures:
  1. I wanted a guy who wouldn't make me cry. I didn't want a lot of drama.
  2. I wanted a dude who wouldn't be clingy. I didn't want any of that "where are you going? who's going to be there?" kind of stuff.  I have friends whose significant others call/text them constantly. That would drive me bonkers.
On June 6, 1992, I headed to a club in Washington DC called The Dome, affectionately known to many as the Do Me. I was there with my roommate, whose name I have forgotten (she kicked me out when her boyfriend moved in). The club was huge and always had a lot of military guys (my favorite!)  They also allowed people under 21 to enter.  This is an important detail because I met my husband that evening. I was 22 and he was a young lad of 20, a Marine. I asked him to dance (after giving him multiple opportunities to ask me to dance). I loved his brown eyes, his shy smile, and the jagged scar on his cheek. The scar was courtesy of his sister and a snow shovel. When I asked his sister about it years later, she said that he really shouldn't have been in the way when she was shoveling snow.

Recently I asked my husband, "Does it ever sort of surprise you that we've been together this long?"

Without hesitating he responded, "No, I'm easy to get along with."

And he's right. If there is ever any strife or drama in our marriage, it is almost always generated by yours truly. Getting along with him really isn't that hard. I got my wish: a guy who doesn't make me cry and is far from obsessed with my daily goings-on.

Of course, there is a downside to the whole "free to do what you want" thing. When I go out of state to visit my family, he seldom calls to check in and see how I'm doing - no matter how long I'm gone. It's not that he doesn't care. He does. But sometimes I do have pangs of, "Geez, doesn't he miss me at all?"  I know I can't have it both ways - "call me periodically to see how I'm doing but not so frequently that it seems stalkerish."

The stylist who cuts my hair is younger than I am. Early to mid-30s, I believe. Mindy was telling me recently how disappointed she is in a friend of hers. This friend has three small children but is divorcing her husband because she wants to go out and have fun instead of being saddled with a family full time. "It's really a shame," Mindy said. "He's such a nice guy. I would give anything to have a guy like that."  She often laments her life as a single woman. Honestly, I have no idea why she hasn't met the right guy yet. She's friendly, bubbly, pretty - and she can carry on an intelligent conversation to boot. If I was into vaginas, I'd totally date her. 

At my last appointment, we talked about how relationships do settle into a certain level of comfort after a while. It can't be all first dates and exhilaration and giddiness all the time. That's just not practical. But still there has to be, at all times, something there. My husband and I are not the type to wander around naked but if he happens to see me changing into my pajamas, he still says the same thing he's been quietly exclaiming for almost 23 years: "Woo hoo! Boobs!" I have to admit that it's oddly flattering.

There are times, of course, when we are hopelessly out of synch. His ability to take multiple naps a day on weekends rubs me the wrong way at times. I am also irritated that we are paying for a family membership at the gym and he never goes. It drives me crazy that when he puts dishes away, he refuses to nest the frying pans. Instead of putting the biggest one on the bottom and then the next largest one on top of that one and so forth, he puts the biggest one on top, leaving it teetering there precariously.  I also feels like he goes out of his way to eat tortilla chips in an extra-loud sort of way (are his teeth made of something different from everyone else?). I am not sure how he does it, but it's deafening.

He, in turn, finds my refusal to fill the ice cube trays maddening. It bugs him that I don't take naps on the weekends. I'm sure he wishes that I would just let things go sometimes. Oh, and I shouldn't forget about my inability to save money. I mean, I'm thrifty but the savings account is usually almost empty.

Somehow, we make it all work. We have just enough in common that we can always find things to do together. We're looking forward to the Game of Thrones season premiere in April, for example. I've never been the type to demand that we do everything as a couple. I don't really understand couples like that. In fact, I sometimes wish he would go out. I know I should be glad that he's not out at the bars but sometimes, when he's been playing video games for umpteen hours straight, I have been known to make observations like, "I'll bet Peter would love for you to come over. Why don't you call him?"

My guy seldom brings me flowers. He tells me "you look nice today" about twice a year. He rarely asks me how my day was. He doesn't seem to hear anything I say and yet . . . he knows everything about me. He calls me "Babe" and always kisses me good-night. He's a great dad who loves his little girl with all his heart. He goes to work every day and helps to support our family. In fact, he has two jobs so that we can afford the little extras that life has to offer. He eats everything I cook, even if it's charcoal black and/or oddly colored. My guy - he's a keeper.

Please remind me that I wrote this next time my guy gets his hands on a basket of tortilla chips.


1 comment:

The Lovely One said...

Sweet! I love it when a girl appreciates her man! We talk so much crap sometimes, but it's nice to hear the good stuff once in awhile!