by: Nico Lang
You can’t stop bringing them up in casual conversation, even to people who don’t know them or don’t know you, like random people on the train and the bus or the person at the stall next to you in the bathroom. They pop up in random conversations that didn’t even initially have anything to do with them, like a discussion on finally finding a two-diva solution to the Britney-Christina Crisis or exploring the existential gauntlet thrown in Dude, Where’s My Car?. You can picture this person’s face with your eyes closed and could draw it, sketch it or fingerpaint it without looking, and when you close your eyes and feel their face, you can tell that they look exactly how they feel. They ask you if you would still like them or date them if they murdered someone, started worshiping Satan, were incurably stricken with Bieber Fever or converted to Scientology, and you don’t hesitate to answer, although you mention you might initially have a hard time with that Bieber thing.
You know what size dress, suit or gender-neutral dashiki they are without looking and know what their favorite movie, ice cream flavor and Beatle are without asking, although the latter is known to fluctuate depending on mood and menstrual cycle. They know that John is always a good default answer in any situation and are okay that you’re okay with Yoko and don’t blame her for everything. You can have different opinions and interests without arguing about them or feeling like the fact that you love football, Proust and underwater basket weaving and they love posting pictures of cats on Tumblr makes you mortal enemies. They do something seen as embarrassing to other people in public—like insist that Katy Perry is actually Rick Perry’s daughter—and you aren’t embarrassed, although you think secretly think that would make sense if it were true. You just can’t wait to look it up on Wikipedia when you get home and prove them wrong, because you love those cute little moments where they are proven wrong and make “that face.” They say they’re mad at you for doing the “I told you so” dance, but you know they won’t stay mad. You trust them never to go to bed angry. They trust you to always turn out the light when you finally join them.
You know when they are happy or sad or lonely, even when they won’t own up to their feelings, because you somehow just sense it. They get you in all of those weird unspeakable ways and people tell the two of you all the time that you are just like an old, married couple, except that you’re both still wear slap bracelets and watch Spongebob. You’re fine with cleaning up after them, doing the dishes or making them that extra pot of coffee when they have a term paper due in the morning that they have barely started or are on deadline. They might not be able to have sex with you that night or the next night because they are really tired, but you are fine with cuddling or just being next to them. You watch them in their sleep and they say they aren’t even that creeped out by it. They might actually be a little creeped out by it and are totally lying, because they know you’re just being sweet and not being John Wayne Gacy.
You can go without having sex for a week or two weeks and not care all that much, because you know that you are doing other things that are sexy and affirming, like curling up close and listening to the new Jack White album. They suggest that you have a fun night in, where you play board games or the Showgirls drinking game, and you aren’t mad about not going out with your friends that night. You know you’ll catch them later. They talk to you and you actually listen, not because you know you’ll get some sex out of the deal but because you are genuinely interested in learning about this human being. You can’t remember having felt this way about anyone. They give you the “tingles” and you don’t know what that is because you haven’t had those in a long time and you think your stomach might be going to sleep.
You find yourself accidentally talking about the future, even when you don’t mean to, and it just happens to slide into conversation. They’ll be discussing their views on Obamacare or the War on Women’s Reproductive Health, and you’ll interject with, “Speaking of planned parenthood, how many children do you think you want?” You find yourself wondering if they’ll be a good parent and searching for clues as to how they would perform in such a role and have considered randomly babysitting your friends’ kids for the night and taking notes. They mention they aren’t that interested in marriage or children and you don’t get all judgmental and yell-y like one of those women in the He’s Just Not That Into You book and know that just being together is pretty awesome. You know that you don’t always have to put a ring on it or a stroller on it to like it. They know they like it and tell you they love you. You don’t hesitate.
Note: Also up over at Thought Catalog. You just read it here, but you should go there anyway.
Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a columnist for HEAVEMedia. At HEAVE, Nico writes a column on film called Found Footage and talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Elsewhere in podcasting, Lang hosts Broad Shoulders, a monthly podcast for Chicago’s Live Lit community. Nico is also a contributor at Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, the New Gay and on their mother’s refrigerator. Follow Nico on Twitter @Nico_Lang or on the Facebook.