~Thursday, October 22, 2009

Man Jammies

Last night, I trudged over to Christopher's to watch some bad Wednesday TV. I went over there already in my jammies because I had been feeling tired and worn down—a lot of people are work are on the cuff of getting sick.

Christopher opened the door for me and I handed him a paper sack containing my leftover dinner I brought for him and a half of a bottle of red that I brought for me. I flopped down on the couch.

"Do you want a bubble bath?" he asked me.

I sighed. A bath sounded lovely. "Yeah, maybe in a little bit," I nodded.

"I already made you one."

"You didn't!" I stood up in disbelief and checked the bathroom. There was a bubble bath waiting in the tub. I peeked my head out the door, "When did you make this?"

"About 10 minutes ago. It's still warm."

Wordlessly I walked into his New York-style kitchen and poured myself a glass of red wine and headed back to the bathroom. "See ya!" I called out behind me.

Christopher followed me in, lit a candle, and put it by the tub for me. He got me my own fresh towel and left it on the lid of the toilet seat. He flipped off the light. "See ya," he called as he shut the bathroom door.

I never complained to Christopher that I wasn't feeling well; he did that entirely on his own. As I laid in the tub, I tried to figure out his motives for doing something selfless and nice.

I pulled the plug out of the drain and got out of the tub. I looked at my jammies on the floor and wished I had clean clothes. Magically, Christopher opened the bathroom door and handed me a fresh pair of his pajama pants and a white t-shirt.

I snuggled up to Christopher on his cream leather couch. "Why did you do that?" I prodded.

"What?"

"Be nice."

Christopher chuckled. "I can be nice," he said.

"Is it because I was unshowered and you were secretly trying to get me clean?"

"No, I was doing it just to be thoughtful."

I delicately brought up the insensitive comment that brought the tears. I didn't accuse him or make him defensive, but asked why he said it. I said it really hurt my feelings.

He said he misspoke and didn't mean how it sounded. I believed him; I knew that was the explanation all along. And even though it still upset me, I like that I knew him well enough to not blow it out of proportion or strike back accusingly. It didn't turn into one of those epic battles that happened so frequently with the ex. So many of those times I felt like a bad person for contributing to those fights, but when I realized that when I'm handled in a different way, I can respond differently. When I'm not being attacked, I don't attack.

***

Last week and Christopher brought over his laundry to do at my apartment. It was one of the first freezes of the season and we always use the coldness as an excuse to have sleepovers.

"I brought my men's pajamas," he confessed.

"You have man jammies?!" I shrieked. "I love man jammies!"

"Yeah, they are the kind that matches."

I got so excited my voice became a high-pitched whisper. "I LOVE matching man jammies!"

He put them on so he could wash the clothes he was wearing. Sheepishly, he walked back into the living room sporting his blue plaid matching man jammies. His belly poked out slightly and he looked about 54 in them. In my mind I pictured him wearing the blue plaid matching man jammies in our living room in winter as a family with children surrounding us when he was actually 54. In that moment I thought that I loved him. The power of matching man jammies is strong.

***

How do you know when you love someone? I know that seems a silly question to ask at 28, but I think in the past my idea of love has been somewhat skewed and unhealthy. And when I think about it, I've never had healthy love modeled for me. My dad left for another woman when I was little. My memories of their marriage consist of me sitting on the top of the stairs with my brother and listening to them scream at each other. I was too young to know what they were saying. Then my mother married this other man, and we know how that turned out. In my diaries when I was 9, I wrote that mommy married him to give me a daddy and that she was unhappy and getting divorced. I knew that 20 years ago. I've never even lived with a roommate that was in a happy committed relationship. I don't know how healthy things are supposed to be and it makes me question myself a lot.

I know that when I'm with him, I feel almost intoxicated. Days in which I get to see him, he's the highlight of my day. I feel all squishy inside when he looks at me gently. The affection that I once complained that I didn't get enough of is bountiful.

And I realize there is a stage in a relationship in which everything is gooey and rose scented. And I know that's probably when I am. I guess I want to know about real, lasting, we're-fighting-but-we'll-work-it-out, relationship love. My mom says I'm due for another therapy appointment to work some things out. I don't want to spend $45. So I'm asking you, Internets. How do you know when you love someone?

Is it man jammies? Or is it love?

14 comments:

nuttycow said...

Oh God - the worst question ever. How do you know you love someone.

I'm sorry to say it but... you just *do*.

You just...are in love.

Not helpful, I realise.

Ok, try this as a starter. Something happens. Happy, sad, scary, brilliant. Who do you want to see?

Sarah said...

I am too Type A to just accept that as a response! I need a quiz or a detailed diagram or something!

Aritza, Goddess of .. said...

" In that moment I thought that I loved him. The power of matching man jammies is strong. "

Ah, so true. lol
There are certain things that make you swoon .. and some call it infatuation, some call it love. I have been questioning myself as well, on what love is.

I'm not sure what it is really. I keep writing something and then erase it because THAT's how unsure I am. Sorry, I'm no help.

I think love is when you firmly believe that you could commit yourself to ONE single person.. for life.. and not look back.

Arwen said...

I remember loving other guys before I met T, but when I met him it was on a whole different level. Just like nuttycow said, it was different and I just knew it, but it wasn’t apparent right away. I think that’s the thing…true, real love isn’t something that is automatic and isn’t something comes right away. I would bet that you do love Christopher, but there are different levels of love. The love you feel now might be an infatuation type of love, or a love that is based on all the goods that come with a fresh relationship. True love, love that will last, is built upon that first love. Basic love, or whatever you want to call it, is instant and doesn’t take work, but the more intense, higher love, comes when it’s mutual and it’s invested in. Does that make any sense at all?

SuvvyGirl said...

There are so many different kinds of love. I think in the past even though your perception may have been skewed you felt some form of love. I agree with nuttycow that you just *do* know. It's not so much a conscious thing but you feel it. Love isn't something that fits inside of a package or you can explain logically. I think you know the answer to your own question, just allow yourself to feel it instead of think about it. And you can't compare one love to another, it is all different and can make you miss out on great parts of all of them. It's great to read about good squishy inside moments. Reminds me I'll have mine again once all this other crap that's going on in my life is done. I'd rather be having relationship problems than puppy probs. :P

MamaBear said...

On the one hand, you do just know.

On the other hand, there are some things I can say about love from my own experience:

It doesn't mean you're not still sometimes a little scared or insecure; it's not a magic cure for anything. (I was terrified the second time I went to the altar [not that either time involved an actual altar]; I was pretty sure I was making the right decision - I still think I did - but still...)

It does mean you make an effort when you'd probably rather not. It doesn't, in my experience, mean that it's suddenly not an effort, because you're In Lurv. Maybe at first you feel that way, but that wears off after a while. Example: I used to love cooking for z. Now, it's kind of a chore, but it's still important; it makes her happy; and it's really not so bad. A better example might be communication: I am not the world's greatest or most forthcoming, and it usually takes a concerted effort on my part. Yet without it, our marriage will suffer. This one has gotten easier with time, actually.

We still smile and giggle, and sometimes are mistaken for a new couple. I still get warm and fuzzy about her. I still smile when I see her - especially when I get home. We do make a point of hugging - a good hug - at least once a day; when you get busy, you'd be surprised how easy it can be to forget these things.

OK, I've wandered far afield here, but the upshot is that love is not merely a feeling but also a condition in which both people get out of it what both people put in.

MamaBear said...

Oh, and for me, it's not (man) jammies, but jeans and a plain white tee shirt. Gets me every time.

gekkogirl said...

hard! can I pass? No? OK...

er, I guess love is the man jammies and the squishy feelings you are describing but it is also the trusting and choosing of one another. That's what gets you through the "we are fighting but will work it out" you are still CHOOSING to be with each other because no matter what the fight is about what you HAVE TOGETHER is BIGGER and worth fighting to keep and grow.

Crikey I hope that makes sense.

:)

Dawn said...

When the plusses have more weight than the minuses. We all have our shtick, but when you're willing to live with the schtick (in that, I'd rather live with the shtick than without him at all), that's pretty tell-tale. At least it was for me.

AmyB said...

For me, I knew I loved Mark because I couldn't think of one single thing that would be big enough to make me not want to be with him anymore. It's not about perfection, it's about caring enough and having the gumption to make it work through the bad times as much as the good. The flaws aren't necessarily flaws; they are what makes the person worthy of loving them enough to make it work and to communication during the hard and annoying/scary parts. With Mark, I'm willing to make a complete ass out of myself and ask those embarrassing/scary questions, because the alternative is NOT an option. I refuse to have a rug under which to sweep things, because I know if we tend to that, it will eventually trip us up and ruin the great foundation we have. If you feel this way about someone, you realize that it's no longer all about you and what YOU want. It's about what works for you as a couple -- it's the glue that keeps you strong. That's love. Love in the books and the movies are nice in theory, but it's not what lasts. This is why I continually encourage you to talk things out with Christopher, even when it's difficult. If you can't do this, I always take it as a cue to mean he might not be worth it. And something tells me he deserves this as much as you do. :o)

M-Joy said...

As soon as I read this I thought "put the crow bar to your pocketbook and fork out the dough for the appointment." :)

You do know, the moment is exhilirating and its also fleeting. Love, real true I don't like you one bit but love you love takes a LOT of work every single day just when you think you're coasting you realize there's more work to do.

The person you will stay with, that person you're meant to be with will be worth that work.

And THAT is how you know - when you're pissed, sad, bitching, annoyed and you are still glad for every bit of it to have hime by your side.

Sultana said...

I dont know the precise answer to that...apart from eeer, 'you just know' but reading this made me smile. It's beautiful to have someone like that by your side.

Lpeg said...

This post made me laugh out loud - especially when he walked out in his man jammies!

With my ex, I just knew. I was looking at him one night, and it dawned on me, and I couldn't stop smiling. He was looking at me like I'd gone crazy, and then I told him.

I don't know if it happens like that each time, but the one time I knew, knew that I was in love, that's how it happened. The second time, it just overwhelmed me, that I never had that 'aha!' moment.

brookem said...

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