I know there’s a quiz out there that tells you what your “love language” is, and I think the quiz settled on five definitive types, but I’m here to tell you there are more than that. One of the languages Simon and I speak fluently, for instance, is Giving Each Other Shit.
Now, I’m not talking about actually making fun of each other such that feelings are hurt and elaborate multinational revenge plots are set in motion. I’m just talking about a gentle poke here and there (and not the Physical Affection love language type of poke, you).
We do this kind of straight-faced teasing so regularly and naturally that sometimes it happens in front of people, and dozens of time I’ve seen someone take in these exchanges and start to squirm, thinking he or she is witnessing an actual argument. Usually the joke becomes clear soon enough, but every once in a while, when it seems the person is not catching on that it’s just a right good ribbing, not public verbal abuse, I have to hold up “T hands” at Simon, turn to the person, and explain that we’re just messing with each other. It’s a bit. It’s a linguistic dance. It’s our LOVE LANGUAGE, DAMMIT. He’s telling me I’m ugly and disgusting because he loooooves me.
I bring this up because a few days ago I saw him licking every last drop of cough syrup out of the emasculating little plastic cup–
SIDEBAR!: Have you looked at a picture of an anteater lately? Mother Nature is on drugs.
–and as I caught him practically wringing the medicine from the cup into his mouth, I called him something along the lines of a pathetic drug whore. In a loving way.
Without missing a beat, his response was to sing in a shaky, high-pitched voice “I’m so excited!” while performing a jerky, wide-eyed shimmy.
I couldn’t stop laughing. The guy has never even seen a full episode of Saved By the Bell (or so he has crowed on many occasions), but he knows that Jessie Spano’s name is Jessie Spano and he has some very strong opinions about Mario Lopez (I think he’s jus jellus), and listen, I’m not saying you should go out and marry the first guy you find who knows Jessie Spano’s first and last name and what happened on her Very Special Episode–even if it’s just because of an Internet meme–but speaking as someone who almost married a guy who never knew that sort of thing and couldn’t quote long passages from Romeo and Juliet off the top of his head and would look at me like I was insane were I to march around the room singing “Every Sperm Is Sacred,” it’s really wonderful to be with someone who’s not only entertaining in the ways I enjoy being entertained but who also gets me. (The way to this girl’s heart is apparently through Cultural References, which I hearby declare to be another of our love languages.) He gets me, and not just in a way that means he understands what I’m talking about but that means he has the chops to talk back.
We’ve said over and over again that our relationship makes no sense on paper. He’s outgoing and adventurous, a genuine lover of connecting with people face to face and in real time, and he’s a good sport to try just about anything once. I’m a…over here on the opposite side of all that. The only way we’ve been able to make sense of our attraction is with the vague term “chemistry,” but I think a huge part of what draws us together and keeps us interested is the way we fulfill each other’s need to be understood, whether it’s about the grand, cosmic meaning-of-life stuff or the timelessly inane Meaning of Life stuff. Jessie Spano is not important, but she’s not unimportant either.
For us, love is to get and to be gotten. To receive what we need. To find what we seek.
I sought and am besotted and am beside myself when I realize what a catch I caught.