So as you may have gathered from my last post, I have a potential, possible, very new, fresh, fragile, name-your-qualifier non-committed-but-obviously-I’m-excited-and-therefore-terrified Thing going on. (Or maybe you didn’t gather; as one friend curtly commented to me in response to that post: “Very vague.”)
I’m keeping it that way. But, baby steps, there is one (more) thing I want to share.
This: on New Years Eve, he and I took the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan wearing matching sunglasses. Why’d we do that? No good reason. Cause we wanted to, and, mostly, cause it made us laugh.
A couple days later, I took an afternoon walk with my brother J and sister-in-law D around Prospect Park. “We wrote a song this morning!” they announced, going onto sing, on 15th Street, in two-person round, made-up lyrics about vegetables (“Winter cabbage, winter cabbage…Only in the winter! Only in the winter!”), to the tune of Frere Jacques.
Before I could even register–much less vocalize–shock at my normally sober-faced brother’s suddenly brazen childish side (did I mention he’s in he’s late thirties?) they burst into another original tune: “This one’s about how Kanye West stole our dreams,” D proclaimed. “We’re going to send it to him!”
By that point, I’d resolved to restrain myself from making one of the roughly eighteen snarky comments that had sprung instantly to mind. After all, I’d just had occasion to sympathize: to remember that, sometimes, the best part of being with someone is letting–in full, childlike force–your silly out.
I know: you’ve patiently read along as I’ve preached, in post after post, that the more I date, the less I know about what I require in a partner; the more people I’m with, I’ve taken to crowing, the more I realize there are all sorts of ways to find happiness with someone: type, shmype.
I’m still standing on that soapbox. Mostly. Maybe I’m slumping a little bit, though (sorry, awkward metaphor) with the realization of how awesome–and, perhaps, essential–is is to be with a guy who brings out my inner goofball.
You see, I have one: an inner goof. But she doesn’t come out all that much. Sure, I joke around; I make variously successful efforts to pepper my conversations with intelligent wit. But it’s not often that I spend an afternoon giggling until my stomach hurts. Or dance around a living room to James Brown before breakfast. Or, you know, wear sunglasses on the subway.
“Why is it so important to be silly with someone?” I asked my best friend friend R over afternoon beers. (In case you missed it, winter break = lots of afternoon drinking. God bless grad school.)
“So funny you bring that up,” she replied, going on to tell me how her serious, live-in boyfriend had recently addressed that very thing: telling how much he valued how he could be more silly and playful with her than just about anyone else in his life.
“But why?” I asked again.
“I’m not sure,” she replied. “I guess we all need to lighten up?”
I think there’s truth in that: there’s a lot of serious shit in the world. And even, in a relationship: we have frequent occasion to be contemplative and thoughtful. We don’t always remember to acknowledge, outside of The Daily Show and Seth Rogen comedies, the necessity of cracking up.
The next day, over a pie of DiFara’s pizza (truly–in case you were waiting for me to weigh in–the best in New York), I asked her boyfriend what he thought. And his answer resonated even more: as he put it, when you can be silly with someone, it shows how comfortable you are with them. How much you can let your guard down. How little you care if they see you look ridiculous. In a way: how much you can be yourself.
I like that. There’s an essential vulnerability in being silly: just the act of laughing (and, especially, giggling), signals a loss of control–your body pulses, your muscles contract, you can’t stop or manage the movements. And there’s something really special about being able to do that, being able (and happy!) to relinquish the control we all cling to–in our lives, with others–in the company of the person with whom we’re intimate.
Did I just squeeze every ounce of funny out of the subject matter of humor? Yep, pretty sure I did. I guess that’s my cue.
And: scene. Happy silliness.