Food for thought
There are so many great pearls of wisdom out there for couples, whether married or committed to each other for however long, on how to keep the spice going in their relationships. How to spark it up. Keep the spark flaming. Relight the fire. Burn your loins.
Now before you grab your coat, feign a phone call and excuse yourself from my company, please don’t. I am not going to do that to you. I am not going to talk about the heat between my sheets, because I am certain I would lose my 13 followers, including and especially Madame Ovary. I have however, pondered over the observation of becoming accustomed to living with my boyfriend and letting him see the real me. The golden rule that you’ll read almost anywhere on how to get to know someone. Let them see the real you. But is that really sound advice?
The silver lining in learning about someone who you’ve fallen in love with, through the practise of long-distance, is the image you get to create of that person. The element of intrigue. The little mysteries that exist through lack of day to day living. The romance, heightened by the idea of each other, in dismissal to the dirty laundry piled up in skeleton closet refusing to be aired.
In the build up to our first few reunions, which occurred once every 3 months or so, I’d undergo crash starvation, suntans, hair-did, nails-did, wax jobs, and daily lunging. The moments of embrace, fresh off the plane, were transportive; banishing any doubt, enrapturing every feeling. Like a kite in the wind, explosive with exhilaration, anchored to the ground. Naturally, at some point he would comment on my hair and my nails and I’d just toss the compliment to the side as if I looked this good everyday. Every day, I tell you. And then came the celebration, the beer, the carbs, the lack of lunging, eat all the shit you want, you look like this no matter what, he’s only here for 2 weeks, who cares, just keep your legs shaved. And always, always, do your best to be cool about everything. Not overly emotional. Not dead set on plans. Because I’m so spontaneous and laid-back. So open-minded. I’m going with the flow. My hair’s blowing in the wind, with the top down, as we drive the coast, it’s so easy, you see, this is life, you’re the best, no you’re the best, love you, see you in a few months.
Sadly, neither of us could maintain this for the tiresome duration of 3 years. Jan was pretty good at being the real deal from the get go. I, however started to slowly but surely introduce him to my other two sides as the cupboard doors swung open in the vicious Cape winds, revealing all. At least it was organised and categorised in chronological order, for easy referencing.
He was very encouraging and surprisingly still willing to love. Including the other two. He even named them for me.
It’s been about 17 months of Jan and I living under one, little roof together. Discovering our routines or lack thereof. Losing the shampoo a little and embracing self conditioning. Leaving the bathroom door open at times because it’s just too much hard work to close. I said, at times. Slipping into a saucy pair of tracksuit pants for the 3rd consecutive day. Letting my song be heard, my opinions received, my woes consoled, my warts exposed as if like rose quartz beaming freckles on my skin. No matter how hard I have tried to maintain some element of grace, discretion or intrigue about myself, it does not exist anymore. There is no longer one single aspect of my 3 personalities that resembles the Audrey Hepburns of the World, in any way.
After years of trying to achieve this, I have finally resigned to the fact that that’s just not the real me. Unfortunately for Jan, he too has realised that. And yet, still has the ability to fly our kite.
So, when there’s no groove, no swing, no magic happening in our home, mainly because my hair’s not did, my nails are gone, beers everyday, lunges are so last century, and my plans are not working out as I’d planned and pre-planned for post-production, he comes up with this corker of an idea:
Me: It’s meant to be summer and it’s raining outside again.
Jan: I know, my love. I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I did this. I made the weather.
Me: Well, fix it then.
Jan: Let’s go to the rindermarkthalle, buy 3 ingredients each for a pizza topping, and not tell each other what. Ok? Then we make pizza and then we see who makes the better pizza.
Me: You’re going down, sunshine! My pizza is going to kick your pizza’s doughy ass.
So off we went to the supermarket on a mission, separately darting down the aisles, no sneaky peeks, that’s your queue, this is my queue, don’t look. We rushed home in Jan’s pouring rain, hoarding our ingredients in our jackets, put on the aprons and divisively dished up exactly the same spice. For Fig’s sake, we’d copied each other. The pinnacle of the great reveal came when we realised that neither of us really liked this particular topping selection. It was considered to be the last type of pizza either one of us would serve. Well, there you have it. The polished mirror of hidden intent.
It didn’t quite work out exactly the same when once again, the rain was pouring and the old man was snoring, and I wanted to do something fun. Jan suggested we do some art. So we put together some make-shift easels. Found some chalk pastels and crayons, and a low B pencil that Jan liked. And put on Bob Ross. Again, neither us were permitted to view each other’s pictures until Bob Ross had said all of his swishes, swooshes, whispering his brushes over the canvas, and completed his tutorial with wishing us happy painting and god bless my friend.
And so, while there is no intent on submitting these pieces to the Tate Modern, or opening up a pizza restaurant, I can be grateful that the spontaneous man I met is pretty much the person I pretended to be. To teach me how to Grace Kelly myself with caution, so as not to offend the other two.
Whatever the spice, the spice is right.