I knew a couple once, in what was like another lifetime, that seemed like this absolutely RomCom reality. They were like perpetual honeymooners. It wasn’t just that they never fought, it was that they clearly, outwardly (and in every way) adored each other all the time. All.The.Time. It was as if they had somehow managed to capture that first week/month/(or so) thrill of infatuation and live within it.
It reminded me of a Disney movie.
Umm. She was asleep. Yeah, I know…
I spent quite a bit of time with this couple, and I will not say when or in what capacity because in this case confidentiality is really important, but the more important thing is to know how much I idealized these two. He was older and she was his second (younger) wife. And they fawned over each other, and they were ever considerate, he in the way the foppish guy in the RomCom always is, eliciting groans from the male audience, and ‘awwwww,’ from the girls. Even tough girls do it so don’t front. She was sometimes silly in that reborn nerd girl kind of way, and he always played the straight man, ever patient, never getting ruffled. They seemed to be a Perfect Couple.
The person I was with when I first met them had no time for them. He was not impressed at all. My next partner during this time – not always the sharpest tool in the shed – always said he thought something was off. [Sometimes those well-used tools shine bright.] My mom said the same thing of them, not that it was an act exactly , but that it certainly seemed to exact effort. Eventually, I knew their secrets. All of them. Well, all of hers, and the ones he had shared with her. I imagine with the number of secrets she had that he would never know, he must have had some doozies that she did not know. They were the kind of secrets that, even in a soap opera, would elicit incredulity. It was clichéd dirty laundry of the worst sort. And even when she told all my secrets, I never told hers because I knew that he would leave her if he found them out. Absolutely. As far as I know they are still together, but she must go to bed every night knowing the secrets she cannot tell. I think now that this is what contributes to her manic adoration. But I don’t really know. Anyhow, that was the Perfect Couple I knew.
I found myself thinking of this perfect couple not too long ago. The Neo-Honeymooners. I was living in that heady, intense, early onset adoration that develops – if you are lucky – in the initial stages of a relationship. While I was giddily (is that a word?) soaking it all up, I was amazed that it appeared I had stumbled upon that magic elixir of perpetual infatuation. This would never end! Huzzah! I win!
I forgot for a minute that every magic elixir I know of knocks you out and leaves you with a whopping hangover at best, or maybe just puts you into some comatose state of delusion [see exhibit Sleeping Beauty, above.]
And so when the moment came when I had to see this person as a real human and not some Disney character, I had to pause. Had I failed? Was I doomed to a perpetual cycle of up and down romance always culminating in some sort of dramatic downward spiral? Those were my first thoughts. Definitely. But then, I sat with myself and looked at those ideas more closely. It dawned on me that as reality emerged through the foggy illusion of [let’s face it, one-dimensional] perfection, it was probably happening for him too in regard to me. And he did not seem all that troubled by it. When I fretted about my own reality poking through the rainbow haze, he didn’t do anything, he just stayed right there.
And that is something.
This whole living in reality thing seems very adult. And there are parts of it that also seem really uninspired. But, I do not go to bed harboring secrets. And I know that he is not bothered by the fact that I did not put away the clean laundry, or that everyday is not like a RomCom holiday. We are humans and [mostly] doing the best we can for each other all the time. I guess that means we really like each other. A lot.
Then I though about another “Perfect Couple” I know. And another. And another. What has made them all perfect is how they embrace the imperfections. [Or, at least manage them and deal with them…] I know this is not always easy. Or fun. But that is the magic of the real Honeymooners: One of these days, POW! Right in the kisser…!
The Kramden’s knew what a real honeymoon was.
I have – I’ve got an explanation. A perfect one. I’m a dope. Not a run-of-the-mill dope, the world’s champ. For years I’ve been taking for granted the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me – you. I’ve never shown you the appreciation you deserve, Alice. You could walk outta that door right now and I wouldn’t blame you. You deserve something better than me. There are a million guys who’d give you anything if they could have a girl like you.
Ralph, I don’t want a million. There’s just one guy I want: you.
Baby, you’re the greatest.