Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Big Mean Straight American Husband

My husband is the first man I've ever been with who wasn't a "progressive." I've traditionally dated Democrat-voting men who believe that women's empowerment comes from college degrees and non-traditional gender roles and abortions and all that wonderful shit.

Most of the guys I have dated, short or long-term, grew up in the suburbs or a city. They were artists and comedians and IT help desk dudes and musicians and wanna-be filmmakers.

Then I married a Soldier. From Mississippi.

It happened really fast. We met online, and sort of by accident. We weren't expecting our relationship to blossom into a Taylor Swift video, but it did. And it was magical and fun and surprising and great.

We've been married for almost eight months, and so far, though we've had our bumps in the road, married life is badass. We didn't engage in any baby-making activities before we got married, and we didn't cohabitate, either. We did shit more or less right. Well, righter than most.

My husband is not the type to affiliate strongly with a particular party, but he - like I - tends to vote Republican, and leans conservative to libertarian on every issue I know of. He grew up kind of a punk-rocker, but the old-school-Johnny-Ramone-America-loving hard-liquor-swilling kind. He comes from a long line of Soldiers and Confederate hell-raisers and grew up in a small town in South Mississippi where there was nothing to do but get falling-down drunk and shoot things.

He is virtually the anti-every-guy-I-ever-dated-before-him.

He is the guy feminists tell you is your worst nightmare. He is a man's man. He fixes cars and drives a pick-up truck and is obsessed with anything that has a trigger and goes "bang!" He's a self-taught expert in firearms and military history. He's strongly against turning the military into a place where more attention is paid to people's soft little feelings than national defense. He has a pull-up bar in the kitchen. He likes war movies and blowing shit up and bewbs.

And he's the best man I've ever known.

He opens the door and shuts it for me every time we get in the truck. He opens doors for me wherever we go, in fact. He lets me watch whatever I want on TV, whenever I want, and never complains. (Don't worry, I don't abuse this power... often.) He is patient with me when I'm impatient with everything. He is loving when I'm batshit crazy. He provides for me in my current underemployed state. He tells me I'm beautiful and brilliant. He reads the stuff I write. He never looks at other women. He thinks the gross things about me are "cute."

When we go to the mall (which is rare because we both hate shopping) he goes into the Bath & Bodyworks with me and obliges when I insist he smell every. single. candle.

He does the dishes when I cook without complaining. He takes out the trash and buys me Jack Reacher paperbacks and watches "Battlestar Galactica" with me and just generally treats me like I never thought I deserved to be treated, and honestly I really don't.

I try not to take advantage of this. I never, ever want to take him for granted, because I know how fortunate I am. So I do stuff for him I admittedly rarely did for any other guy: I cook for him. I do his laundry when I remember. (I'm used to doing laundry twice a month, sorry.) I bring him a beer. I take off his shoes when he's so tired that he's forgotten he's still wearing them. I give him super-awesome coconut oil back massages when he has headaches so he can go to sleep. I encourage him to do the stuff he's passionate about.

I also do other stuff I won't go into. And I enjoy it very much.

It doesn't end with me. He's fair and polite with everyone, as far as I've seen. In fact, he's usually dadgum pleasant. I'm continually amazed by how positive and jovial he is, pretty much all the time. He's only grumpy when he's hungry, and that's easy to fix.

I'm not saying every guy I've ever dated was 100% dick. I'm just saying he is by far the best for me, and by far, on paper, the man your friendly neighborhood feminist would warn you to flee from before he impregnated you against your will with a mean, gun-toting Christian baby.

Here's the truth: I was probably a shitty girlfriend to some of the dudes I dated. I could be opinionated and demanding and cold. I admit it. I even punched my boyfriend in the face once. (Tequila.) But I grew up. And a lot of the assholes I went out with probably grew up, too. I am still friends with a few of them. Hell, one of them is even a very good friend.

But I was destined for someone else. And I have found the man I would have once called a misogynist to be, well, a prince. He is funny, loving, patient, intelligent, ridiculously well-read, chivalrous, and brave. He's a wonderful husband, father, son, friend, and Soldier.

I've never wondered what I did to deserve him. I didn't do anything. He is a gift. A big, mean, straight, American gift.

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