don't forgetta mezzetta!

Terence and I experienced a miracle today, in the holy aisles of BevMo. We were stocking up on liquor and mixers ahead of the coming weekend: friends visiting from out of town. Heavy drinkers. (Us, that is, in their company.) There we were, meandering along with our respectably bountiful shopping cart, when Terence followed my glance to the drink garnishes. I was staring at a jar of cocktail onions, wondering how many years it had been since I'd bought some when, to my amazement, Terence picked it up and said, "I love these. Have you ever had them? I eat them right out of the jar." Astonished, I gaped at my boyfriend, my jaw wide enough to easily catch a stuffed olive or four, should the customer nearby holding a bottle have been so inclined.

Let me explain: When it comes to food preferences, Terence and I could not be any more opposite. If he loves it, chances are I hate it - and while one of Terence's best qualities is an absolute inability to hate anything, chances are if I love it...he'd prefer something else. This isn't the case for everything, obviously, or we'd be fucked every time we prepared a meal or went out to eat. But it's definitely a dominant feature of our relationship. One that can be funny or frustrating, moods and appetites depending.

I'll just say it: Terence eats a lot of what I consider weird shit, but only because underneath my recently acquired LA gloss (what do you mean that's just shampoo residue) I'm still a Midwestern bumpkin whose palate is suspicious of anything that couldn't have been found on the shelves of Kroger, circa 1983. Coconut water. Cacao seeds. Stuff from the "sprouted" section of Whole Foods. And that's not even touching the crazy combinations of flavors he likes. I once watched in horror as he dipped ____ in some ____ (redacted; I can't even type it without feeling traumatized all over again).

I'm getting away from the point, which is how exciting it was to discover that we both like something a little out of the ordinary. No, cocktail onions aren't that out of the ordinary. But I don't know how many people will cop to an ability to consume an entire bottle of them and drink the vinegar afterward. You're cringing in disgust right now, and that's understandable. But this afternoon at a big box alcohol depot, my boyfriend and I rejoiced in this victory. For once, we'll have a treat to enjoy together. "Baby!" he teased, grabbing me around the waist and laughing. "See? We're perfect for one another!" We actually stood there canoodling like teenagers for a moment before moving on to cider and wine. (Did I mention this was all happening five minutes before closing? The staff was utterly delighted with us.)

Would this be a big deal for most couples? Probably not. But it was for us, because it's not just in food preferences that we differ - it's in a lot of things.

Every so often when I'm stuck for material, or the ideas that I do have don't compel me enough to actually do anything with them, Terence looks at me and smiles and says, "Write about us." And I wait a beat for what he usually says next, which is "Write about our fights." And then I say what I always say, which is "I can't. I can't do it honestly without making myself sound like a monster." And then he bats this away, because to him I'm never a monster (even when I'm a monster), and we volley a few more familiar lines that come down to: Ellie, you have a personal blog. Isn't the purpose to get personal?

Indeed.

So here's me getting personal, because I've been rightfully challenged to do so and because what else is the point, if not to level up my life: my boyfriend and I are fantastically, terrifyingly different, and not in insignificant ways. We're different in ways that discourage me, often. We're different in ways that thwart our efforts towards emotional intimacy. We're different in ways that result in fights - fights which he encourages me blog about, because he trusts me enough to be truthful and fair, and because he's confident enough in us to believe that despite our differences, we won't give up. Love is two imperfect people refusing to give up on one another, as they say, and even though I've never heard him put it that way, such is his relationship philosophy in a nutshell. (It's a fucking macadamia nut by the way, but whatever, not the point.)

Terence and I are so different that at times those differences are all I can see...except for how much I hate myself for fixating on them. See the good, I tell myself. Screw the good; see the amazing. Have some gratitude! But despite the harshest self-admonishments I dole out in the secrecy of my mind, the differences between us rear back up, commanding my attention. And he knows that, private inner monologues notwithstanding. And he doesn't care, because, being Terence - being relentlessly optimistic and positive and so very different than me - he is always finding us cocktail onions, just when we need them most.

So there you have it. A sip of it, anyway, for the moment. Cheers.