“There’s nothing better once you’ve had the best.”
I’ve always loved old country songs. Ranging from Randy Travis (whom I can’t fathom being in the genre of old) to George Jones and Merle Haggard.
My boyfriend knows this too, as he thought it was important that I own a vintage Randy Travis Fan Club pin, which for the record just about undid me. And the other day kidded about hiring musicians to serenade me.
“I’m going to get you Travis Tritt and Miley Cyrus,” he said with chest-swelling pomp.
“You know those two aren’t a combo, right? It’s Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus.”
I say all this, really as an aside—though it’s an important aside, so remember it—because that song lyric has always given me dreamy pause. Sure I’ve thought each past boyfriend ought to be the best, because he did this or that: took me up in a plane, sent me flowers for no reason, did the big grand gestures.
And while the big grand gestures never hurt a girl, those other men were missing a key component. They didn’t truly know me. They couldn’t have because I was only allowing myself to be a cultivated version of myself to please them.
I tried to be the kind of girl who went to country clubs and showed up to affairs 30 minutes early.
I’m not that kind of girl.
I tried to be the kind of girl who would keep my mouth shut and be less of a flaming hippy, the kind who wants to chain herself to trees to save the rainforest and join protesters for Native American rights.
Yeah… not that kind of girl either.
I even tried to be the kind of girl who was less interested in sugar.
And sadly, I will never be that kind of girl.
So, naturally, as God would see fit, none of those relationships worked out. I was of course surprised and dismayed and threw seven dozen tantrums.
Then I met him. So the story usually goes.
And this is how our story goes:
One night late after work, when I was lazy and tired, I suggested takeout: cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries. We walked in the door, only for me to immediately rip off my bra and start changing into my comfies, my usual, M.O. I was elated over not having to cook and to have a cheeseburger sans ketchup with extra pickles in my mouth in 2.5 seconds.
My sir started getting handsy and pulling me in for a kiss. Fine, a kiss, but when he started pulling me toward the bed, I halted, absolutely appalled.
“No way. There are cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries in there,” I pointed to the kitchen.
He laughed and kept trying to pull me back.
“No, I am not kidding. I want the cheeseburger much more than you right now. There is no getting in my way of that.”
I walked away to the kitchen. He laughed again and followed, while I unabashedly sunk my teeth into my cheeseburger in happy glee. And he knows. Because he knows me. The real me.
He knows I eat faster than he does, I could generally outeat him and certainly love food inexplicably more than he does.
He also knows the me who does weird faces and imitations at him in line in Starbucks while he stands stock still seemingly perusing the menu. I persist, rubbing my nose against his face and doing loony jigs around his body. He looks sideways at me and raises his eyebrows and I giggle. He later points out that he loves when I am exuberant like that.
“You mean when I’m a weirdsmobile?”
“No, you just seem really happy.”
“I am happy being a weirdsmobile.”
Also I am happy with him. But being a weirdsmobile? Yeah that’s an enormous part of my personality too. I have never really hid that with men, however, I have never had one who dishes it right back.
Like today while shopping he asked if he could buy a WWE comforter set. I pretended to be horrified but secretly thought it was hysterical and wonderful. Not that I like WWE, but I could be on board liking it ironically.
I led him by the hand back to the WWE sheets where he hemmed and hawed.
“Nah, I mean these are all the new guys. Maybe if the bedspread had Steve Austin.”
Then we looked at wrestling belts in the toy aisle and I suggested that he buy one as consolation, but only if he did WWE moves with it on.
“Maybe we should build a wrestling ring,” he mused.
I think to myself as I often do when I am with him, one of two thoughts:
He truly is the best.
He is the best human I know.
I literally find myself wanting to ask strangers, “can I tell you about the best human I know?” and it’s him.
I don’t do it, of course, but I oftentimes think it.
Which brings me back to the beginning, almost.
There was this woman I once knew whose fiance was a firefighter and died in the September 11th attacks before they could marry. She never wanted another love, because she said she’d already had the best one and wasn’t interested. At the time I thought it was a sweet sentiment, but she had been young when it happened and had time for perhaps another love. As long as I had known her, her best love had been her only love.
But now I see, there’s nothing better once you’ve had the best.
And that is how I feel about him.
He isn’t the could be best, or should be best, he is simply the best.
Besides, I think it’s pretty obvious if a guy gives you a Randy Travis Fan Club pin, you’re his for life. At least, that’s what works on this girl.