Monday 5/21 marks a year to the day I met this pretty terrific guy thanks to OKCupid.com and a lazy editor's eye (read about it here). This year has been remarkable in terms of happiness in this aspect of my life, and while I'd like to say it's all his fault, well... I want some credit, too. And so, I present to you five reasons why Team Tigerlily is positioned for world domination.
SIDEBAR: Year of the Tiger (his Chinese zodiac and part of his tattoo work) + Lily (my favorite flower) = Tigerlily. Shut up. We like it.
1. There is no "I" in T-E-A-M: Cooperation keeps Camp Tigerlily at full operation. We both cook, we both clean, we both handle chores, we both care for the dog... In short, we help each other out. All the time, at first request, with no balking. And if one of us needs something and the other can't accommodate, an alternative is always offered.
One of my favorite teamwork moments came pretty early on when I discovered something horrifying in my kitchen. We were eating breakfast on a Saturday morning when I dropped something on the floor. I bent down to pick it up and discover that my kitchen floor was littered with what appeared to be maggots. He actually tried to lie to me about what they were (I believe the word was "mealworm"), and quickly sprung into action to help me clean up the mess. He prevented me from destroying the vacuum cleaner out of frustration. While I bleached my floor and ranted incessantly about how I could not understand where they came from, he indulged me with "it's ok" and "it happens sometimes." We got the issue resolved and I can honestly say I would not have handled it so gracefully if he hadn't been there.
Why this is important: To be perfectly blunt, sometimes bad shit happens. And there's nothing more comforting than knowing that you can be there to help each other out, physically and emotionally. It's easy to love someone when things are good. But when the shit hits the fan, it's nice to know that someone will get down on his hands and knees and bleach your maggoty floors with you. And not throw it in your face sometime down the road.
2. Laughter is the best medicine: We laugh every day. This is not an exaggeration. From the first email exchange until this very morning, we have laughed every single day. Even on days when we've had a fight, either before that fight or after, there was a chuckle, a guffaw, or a side-splitting, tear inducing belly laugh. We also experience a phenomenon called Sunday Night Giggles. For some reason, every Sunday night, when the house is quiet and we are starting to doze off, one of us will burst into uncontrollable giggles.
Why this is important: Humor is a very personal, very subjective thing. If you aren't on the same page when it comes to senses of humor, a lot of miscommunication can happen. He is a ball-buster. I am sarcastic. And if we didn't love and understand that about one another, we'd never have gotten this far. Because we can laugh. And we absolutely do laugh AT each other. Because we can both be ridiculous. And witty. And gross.
Also, laughing is really, really fun.
3. I and Me come before You and Us: Most people view this idea as a selfish one, that you aren't supposed to put yourself first, but let me clarify. We both agree that you cannot make another person happy if you aren't happy with yourself, if you aren't a happy individual. There are many things that go into being a happy, well-rounded person, and they cannot possibly all come from your romantic relationship. We understand the need for and absolutely give one another "alone" time. If I want to go out with my girlfriends, I go. If he wants to go play with the boys, he goes. Sometimes, he doesn't want to talk. Or I feel like reading, while he does something else. In plain language, we are not up each other's butts all the time.
Why this is important: The afore-mentioned individual is important, but also... its really nice to miss each other sometimes. Even if it's just for a few hours, it's important to us to not grow complacent. Plus, it gives you stuff to talk about when you do get home and see each other.
4. Honesty is the best policy: At the inception of TT, we made a deal. The truth: ALWAYS. No matter how ugly, no matter how big or small. NEVER lie. And it has not steered us wrong. Not even when the truth was the reason for the biggest fight we've had...of the two fights we've had. In a year.
Why this is important: The truth will NEVER EVER EVER lead you in the wrong direction. It's that simple. If you are lying about something, you are already admitting guilt. Even if you have done something wrong or stupid, chances are telling the truth is going to resolve that issue long before lying will. And you're going to learn something about each other, even when the truth is ugly. Learning who you are as opposed to pretending who you aren't is our preference. We've already been married to pretend people.
5.Try a little tenderness: I'm not going to get detailed here. My mom reads this stuff. So, I'll say this. We're affectionate. And not when one of us wants something, not when we're trying to get out of trouble, not for any other reason than he's the bees knees and I'm the cat's pajamas. We are drawn to each other. And while no one will ever tell us to "get a room" (because we're not 17 and we know how to behave in public) no one will ever mistake us for "just friends."
Why this is important: Everyone loves to say that it's so important to be friends. And that a lot of great relationships start out as friendships. True, true, true. But here's the thing... Physical contact is what separates lovers from friends, and it's a really important distinction. Is he my friend? YES. Is he a great friend? YES. Is he my best friend? No. Someone already has that role. But when I'm hanging out with her, I don't have an urge to bite her hiney. Well, there was that once, but...
My point: The physical aspect of the relationship is critical to reminding each other of why your particular union is special. Why you are together. Why you aren't just pals.
And so, today, I honor the other half of Team Tigerlily. Virtual high five for us, Babe. WE. Are. Awesome. Every single day of this past year has been a joy. Even in the Dutch oven. Even driving to Manhattan at 4am. Even at the ugliest, most embarrassing, most vulnerable times. You stink sometimes. You're an annoying boy sometimes. But I love you all times.