Thursday, April 28, 2011

Contrasting Romance

I remember spending one Friday morning with my boy before his internship. That day, we could not have looked more different. He was in his suit, had shaved and had a recent haircut. With his glasses, he looked very much like either a young professor or soon to be politician. I, on the other hand, was wearing jeans, Birkenstocks, and my Carpe Diem punker mens' sized T-shirt, complete with French braids, a black bandanna, a huge Ethiopian cross necklace, and assorted jewelry brought to you by Kenya's artists. To me, that seemed to classify some differences. A clean cut conservative boy and an adventurous hippie girl fall in love.

Our differences stand out in other ways as well. I'm more of a foodie, he's very much into comfort foods. I'm high strung, he's very easygoing. He emphasizes his Gaelic, I emphasize my garlic (though we each have both). I'm more liberal in my faith interpretation, he's more conservative. He's into anime and gaming, I'm into music and languages. He's interned at Congress and think tanks, I've interned at non-profit policy and grassroots organizations. I'm a morning person, he's a night owl. Our family backgrounds are different in a variety of ways.

Yet we also have much in common. We both are converts to Catholicism and take our faith very seriously. We both are concerned with issues of social justice and are conscious of privilege. We both like living in cities and don't want to have to deal with mortgage + home maintenance. We love to laugh A LOT and hold a deep, abiding love for Weird Al, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. We enjoy musical theater and take pride in having grown up in(for him)/around (for me) NYC. We grew up around classic rock. We are the eldest children in our respective families. We both enjoy intellectual debate. Our dreams coincide with each other and he's supportive of my wanderlust (though I'm sure we'll miss each other this fall, provided we're still together).

In addition, our differences balance out. I find he stabilizes me, he tells me I bring out his adventurous side. He encourages me to be more open-minded, my stubbornness encourages him to stick to his guns. When talking about justice issues, I hear from him about the policy angle, he hears from me about the grassroots angle. I now ask questions about anime, he's started using Swahili in sentences. We also learned to appreciate differences, to see them as the spice of life, as part of the person we've come to deeply care about.

I guess we confirmed that in our conversation from that Friday. I told him how I felt so underdressed next to him. He just said, "Nah. You look gorgeous."

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