Tonight, Hanna and I are getting out (pre) wedding photos taken by a colleague of mine who does free-lance photography on the side. Hanna doesn’t want photographs taken at the wedding, since having her picture taken makes her uncomfortable, and I’m 100% behind this decision. Instead, we’ve decided to have some pictures made of our hands, together, wearing our custom-made wedding rings, out along the Charles River Esplanade.
In honor of the day, I thought I’d make a list of ten everyday things I like about Hanna, and the way our lives fit together. And then I thought, why not make it a celebration of our friends, partners, and relations more generally: pick a person (doesn’t have to be a significant other) and share up to ten everyday things that you like about them, and your life with them, in comments.
See my list below the fold.
1. We have a similar taste in clothes. Comfort comes first, and we share a similar palette of colors. That, along with the fact that we’re roughly the same shape and size, mean that we can share a majority of clothes: instant doubling of wardrobe, with no additional closet space needed!
2. We’re both public broadcasting babies. Our childhood media memories involve “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Car Talk,” and Masterpiece Theatre programming. We have conversations in which we wax nostalgic about past hosts of “Weekend Edition” and miss the re-runs of “The Music Man” they used to show during pledge breaks in the Eighties.
3. We’re both young fogies. We go to bed at 9pm with cups of tea more nights than not, and our idea of weekend entertaining involves having friends over to watch Tales of the City (see #2). We complain about how loud restaurants are, and
4. We walk to work together most mornings. And walk home together when we can. And both prioritize being together. It’s not like I think that’s the only way to be in a healthy relationship — for some couples, more alone time is key! — but I like our mutual intensity, I’m glad that together-time doesn’t feel smothering for either of us, and that we both grew up in households where we learned how to do our own things side-by-side in companionable togetherness.
5. We agree that “walking coffee” is important. We like food, but neither of us are really “foodies.” We’ve found an easy balance between cooking in and dining out (more often takeaway – thank you Foodler!) and pauses on our walks to and from work for coffee or iced tea. For a household of two women, I’m proud every day for the way we manage not to turn food into a marker of moral worth. Most of the time, our home is a judgment-free zone for food choices and a place where body hate is not encouraged. Having a partner who works with me on this, rather than buying into cultural obsessiveness, is golden.
6. We share unironic enthusiasm for things. (see also: Fandom and John Green) I’m into irony as much as the next cynical thirtysomething. Irony is a useful and enjoyable tool. But ironic distance from life is not something I could live with day in and day out, so I’m really glad I go home at the end of the day with someone who isn’t ashamed of curling up on the couch and watching the Clangers.
7. Sometimes, we have different tastes. While being unable to assume common knowledge in certain area (vintage science fiction films; feminist politics), I’m actually grateful that Hanna and I have separate-yet-overlapping worlds of intellectual expertise and fandom. It means exponential expansion of the creative work, ideas, experience, etc., I’m exposed to — kind of like sharing a wardrobe, only even better! And it’s actually kind of restful (and keeps me honest) to go home at the end of the day to someone whose not thinking in quite the same language as me all the time. I can’t get lazy about articulating why I think the way I think and do what I do.
8. We’re equal-opportunity slobs. Well, perhaps “slob” is harsh. We do the basics. We wipe down the bathroom and keep the litter box fresh and wash the dishes every day (mostly). But we are not centerfolds for Better Homes & Garden’s Housewife of the Month or whateverthefuck award they give out for that shit. Our cleaning products make neither of us orgasmic. And I’m totally down with a partner to whom I can say, “Dishes aren’t happening tonight, just so you know,” and get the response, “Since I’m not in the mood to wash dishes, I can hardly demand that you do so!”
9. Close friends are good, group social events are not-so-good. We both care about being good friends, and close friends, with a select group of people outside of our family/household. But at the same time, we get twitchy around crowds. Or really, any group of people too large to meaningfully track the emotional weather of all present. Rooms with more than three-to-five people I’m meant to interact with make me almost immediately strung-out and ready to go home. Happily, Hanna’s the same way so we don’t have to argue over what sort of socializing we’re going to do on the weekends. A couple of friends at the coffee shop and we’re good to go!
10. Cuddles! I think I’ve said this before, but I’ve always been an intensely tactile person. So it’s really very convenient that my partner is also someone who gets a lot out of cuddling and snuggling. And who isn’t afraid to say when she wants or needs physical contact. One of the hardest things for me, when I was single, is that our culture has very few spaces in which adults without immediate family relationships (partners, children) can experience skin-to-skin contact. Three years in, I still can’t get over that I can simply reach out and touch when I need or want to, and she’s nearly always there beneath my hands.