generally, if culture tells me anything, when you're in a new relationship, you're supposed to go ALL OUT for romantic occasions like, say, yesterday. the man's roommate sure did for his girlfriend: there was a whole weekend, complete with gifts and all that. tons of people i know had dates, with everything that entailed.
what did i do? i went to ballet class. after class, the man drove up to the dance school in northwest DC and picked me up. we got takeout and watched TV (including the jeopardy misanthropy bowl - more on this another time), him in jeans and a t-shirt, me in a leotard, tights and cut-off sweatpants. we then went to bed and watched iron chef, arms around each other. i mean, you'd think we'd been married twenty-five years with as "special" and "romantic" as it was.
but see, that's the thing - it worked perfectly for me. the man made me feel like the most beautiful, desirable and precious woman in the world. the words i love you weren't even exchanged between us. they didn't have to be. he just, well, loved me. the feeling between us was palpable all night long, through the way he laid his hand on the back of my neck or patted me on the hip. small, sincere actions speak so much louder than flowery words and expensive gifts. we just basked in each other.
i looked at him last night and said, y'know, the more i learn about other people's relationships, the better i feel about ours. because, let's face it: i picked a man who is completely unmotivated by the "supposed to"s in this world. this is nothing i didn't already know. but the cool part is that, at the end of the day, i'm just the same. i asked him the other night why he finds me so attractive. (god, i know, such a GIRL question.) he said, because you're odd, and it works for you. and that was one of the sweetest things i've ever heard in my life. he relishes my quirks, just as i relish his. we suit each other. it just fits. i know full well that we're different. we're not like the other couples. but who cares? he makes me so damned happy. i make him happy. what the hell else is there?
that's the secret, kids, and it only took me 29 1/2 years to learn it. it's not about the way you look to the outside world. it's about how it feels, just you and him, alone together. and though the beat we follow comes from a distinctly different drum than most people's, it's the perfect beat for us.