in which the "boyfriend" category torch is officially passed

Note: I started this post Sunday night, hence the debate reference. 

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This might be a terrible idea, but a) I'm super stoned, and b) I think I'm ready to tell you about my boyfriend. Like, right now, stoned and everything. Terrible idea, maybe? Probably! But let's go with it.

For context, I am stoned because I just left a debate viewing party, hosted and attended by some new friends. They are pretty awesome. We're maybe going to KBBQ next weekend, hopefully, the four of us. Tonight I brought them donuts, from the famous 24-hour donut place in my neighborhood. So we ate donuts, drank wine, smoked pot, and laughed at The Donald.

Also for context, I am posting about him (the boyfriend, not The Donald) because right now, at this very moment, he's being super adorable and texting about the lingerie he's just ordered me and recording audio clips, in German. Because he is German. And I am telling him how stoned I am, which makes him laugh, because I typically don't ever smoke pot, like ever.

But here I am.

I tell him how stoned I am in warning, essentially, because he is saying something semi-serious about my blog, and I don't know if I can summon the seriousness needed to reply. He is saying that he's just gone back and read my first post, and he hopes I don't feel uncomfortable about him doing that, or about him reading my blog in general and if I do, tell him and he'll stop. And I'm saying, No no, it's okay, read whatever you want. I'm still not sure how to talk about you, though. Or something like that. I'm too high to scroll that far back up.

(The reason he has just gone and read my very first Elliequent post is because I shared two screenshots with him, of two different emails I got, in the past two hours, from two amazing and supportive readers saying "TOTALLY YES, YOU SHOULD WRITE, ABSOLUTELY" or the equivalent, which have me bumping against the ceiling despite the donuts, wine, and weed. And I guess the screenshots have made him curious, because while I know he's dipped into my blog a bit, he also hasn't read a ton and probably is wondering what is so great about it that people are always saying "I've been reading you since Weddingbee." Because I show him all of those emails, too, because they make my fucking day.

I mean, personally, I think nothing is so great about my blog, and these poor long-term readers have been stuck with me since Weddingbee because they've had their library cards revoked for too many late book returns, and don't have that many other options. Sad!)

So where am I supposed to start?

I guess I did start. He's German. And while that might seem like a weird or random place to start, it's not, because that is the reason I started dating him in the first place.

I will explain. Stonedly. It might not be my best writing.

Okay. So. His name is Timo. And I didn't know whether or not to do that whole dumb fake name or clunky first initial thing, but I thought about it and decided there are enough fucking Timos in this world that it'll be okay. Unless he comes to me and says Ummmm, in which case oops! But then we'll just edit that out and collectively wipe our memories. But I think it'll be okay, because I'm not going to follow him on Twitter, even though he really wanted me to be his 1000th follower (I refused to, to mess with him). And I'm not going say his last name, because there is only one of him in the world and poof! his privacy would be gone. And I am not going to follow him on Instagram, because he doesn't have an Instagram account.

He has a regular, full time job. He's not an artist, or an actor, or a musician (though he used to play guitar). He works in an office. A really cool high-tech one, in a high-tech industry. More like a campus. Where he works and what he does is all very young, very hip, and very alien to me, though I did go visit his workplace and get to see it in action. He enjoys what he does, and sometimes even gets super excited about it, especially when he gets the chance to be creative.

He's from Dusseldorf, studied in The Netherlands (and Turkey, unless I'm fucking that up; he's also traveled tons and I forget all the wheres and whens and whats), and has been working in LA, at his current job, for about a couple of years. Longer than he intended. Coming to the US was supposed to be a temporary, short-term thing. He has a work visa with a few years left on it--but he plans to go back, probably next year. No date has been set, but he definitely plans on leaving the States. And yes, that has been a topic of conversation between us. Whole 'nother post, that.

He lives in West Hollywood, in a huge and beautiful house, with three roommates, all of whom are lovely. He has friends and coworkers over often, because he loves to entertain, and particularly to cook. Just last night he hosted a BBQ. A small group of us sat around in the backyard, talking and drinking and playing Cards Against Humanity. I usually get socially awkward and shy around people I don't know. In fact I typically eschew house parties - but his friends are cool and kind, and have been very welcoming of me. After everyone else left he put on music and we danced by ourselves on the patio. At one point he took my face in his hands and said, "You're amazing. I love sharing my life with you."

So yes, I think it's time to tell you about him.

We met at a club. I'd gone alone, having been going stir crazy trapped at home on a Friday night. This was at the very beginning of July. He said something clever to me, there on the dance floor, which made me laugh, and his dimples were definitely intriguing -- but I was deep into the music, doing my own thing, and I didn't really engage. Maybe an hour later we ended up near one another again, and he spoke to me once more. This time I heard his accent, and it brought me up short. "Where are you from?" I asked sharply, and when he said "Germany," it was all over. It was so all over.

Here's a thing you do not know about me, because you'd have no reason to, and I've only ever told Cameron, because unfortunately for him, he is the repository of all my sexual fantasy confessions: I have a huge thing for German guys. Colossal. I always have. Dunno why. But I have always found them unbearably sexy, and the German language just kills me. I know for most people, Italian sounds the sexiest, or Spanish, or even French. But not me. I'll take German, please and thank you.

And yet, I had never had any significant interaction with any German guys. Until Timo.

So there I am, my ridiculous old self alone on the dance floor at 2am, with a really cute guy hitting on me, who has just told me that he's German. And now I'm paying attention. Now I'm sitting up very straight in my seat, so to speak. I pull back to get a better look at him and assess this developing situation.

The first thing I notice are his glasses. Rectangular, black wire frames. They give his face a seriousness which is undermined by dimples. (I now know that he has many different smiles, but the one he's wearing this first night is my favorite. It's the one where he looks like he's suppressing a laugh. I now know that the suppressed-laugh smile brings out his dimples more than any other. Often I am purposefully ridiculous, just so I can see this smile.)

Behind the glasses are eyes that I can see are light, but it won't be until a few days later that I decide they are the color of ice water. In fact, that's the first thing I ever write about him, in a note on my phone. Ice water eyes. Only, that's not right. There's too much variation in them. They're oceanic. Blue, except when they're green, which is only when they're not grey. (He laughed at me when I tried to tell him that they change. He laughed all my compliments away at first, though now he listens quietly, smiling.)

A few days later, on our first date, I'd notice his jaw and his shoulders, and how perfectly my head fits between the two. But that first night, in the chaos of light and sound, it was dimples and glasses and a smile that promised mischief.

---

It's been a little over four months. After Malibu, we also spent a night together in San Bernardino, after a festival. He's invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him, in Northern California, with his high school host mom. I've met most of his LA friends, and he's met two of my best out-of-town friends (they love him). We see one another three or four nights a week, basically as much as we can. Last month he officially asked if he could call me his girlfriend. He brought a bunch of sunflowers that night.

None of this says very much about him, though. So let me start again.

He listens. He never interrupts me when I'm talking, when I'm telling him about my day, or my worries, or the funny thing one of my friends said, or about the beautiful subway busker whose guitar case I left a note in last week. You sing like an angel, I wrote. Never stop. I told him how she'd inspired me, one morning after I'd had a really terrible night. I like to tell him about little moments like this, where life stops me and makes me notice how lovely it can be. When I told him about this one, he kissed me and said "That's what good people do."

One night when we lay in bed together, face to face on our pillows, I told him I'd been thinking about my mom. I'd been on the train, on my way to his house, and the thought of her came to me, because I felt elegant and pretty. Whenever I feel pretty, I think of my mom. I don't know why. She was so beautiful to me, when I was a kid. I feel connected to her sometimes, randomly, when I put on lipstick, or a pencil skirt. 

He listened while I spoke. My eyes were closed as I said all of this, because I still didn't know him all that well, and I was shy. I wasn't sure if my voice would break, talking about my mother to him for the first time. So I kept my eyes shut. And he listened without saying anything, and when I opened my eyes, he was looking at me. He just hugged me then. But a little bit later, when I was standing in the next room, he walked up to me and put his arms around me and whispered, "You should feel beautiful. You are beautiful." He said this close to my ear, in the way that he does. When he wants to tell me something loving, that is how he does it. Close and quiet, so I hear it very clearly, with him right up against me as if to back it up with solid proof.

One time we were standing on the beach at sunset. It was cold and windy, and the sun was slipping away on a Sunday night, filling me with fear and dread and that unfinished-homework feeling that Sunday nights always give me. He stood behind me at first, holding me, until he laughingly realized I was blocking the wind for him. I barely noticed, because I was locked onto another memory of my mother, namely that when she died I'd asked my husband to bring me to the beach. I sat on the beach that day and just stared at the ocean for an hour. I told Timo this story as he moved to shield me from the whipping wind.

This time my voice did more than break, though, and when the tears hit my gelid cheeks he put his hand under my chin and tipped my head back so my eyes would meet his. I don't know why I told you that, I said apologetically, embarrassed. But he didn't look away, or let me. You can tell me anything, he said. I'm here for you.

When I tell him serious things, he listens very intently. Sometimes that's all he does, like when I talk about a memory from growing up, or about some problem that really can't be solved. He just listens, and he doesn't change the subject to himself, or try to relate to me when he can't. He just listens and pulls me to him, and holds my head and makes me feel less alone. Because of this, I slowly grew to trust him, and let him see the more vulnerable and broken parts of me. Once after we had sex I started crying because it was all so overwhelming and terrifying, the feelings I could feel starting up inside of me, and the gratitude I felt to have something beautiful to turn to during this difficult time.

And when I did he stroked my cheek and said, "I love how true to your emotions you are."

We are big cheek strokers. It is kind of our thing.

Unrelated, but not: that day at the beach, as we were coming down the concrete stairs that bridge the street to the sand, he noticed a woman struggling to carry up a stroller. There were dozens of people rushing by, I didn't even see her, but suddenly I realized Timo was no longer beside me and I looked up to see him carrying a stroller up the stairs. He teased me when he saw my face, jogging back down to catch up with me. "I just do these things to impress you." He said "these things" because he is always noticing what people need and helping them, and I am always pointing out how exceptional this is. He is far and away the most considerate man I have ever known.

---

We've had two mild disagreements, which weren't even really disagreements. Just dumb miscommunications. The first one, which happened within days of us starting to date, was mostly his fault, though, and the second one was mostly mine.

When during the first one, I rather harshly called him out, he didn't get defensive or escalate things in any way. "You're right," he said, and I could hear actual, real contrition in his voice. It was a revelation, in terms of my relationship history, to experience this with a partner. "I'm sorry," he said, simply, and sincerely. And the next morning I woke up to a surprise delivery of treats for me--and for Chaucer.

The second disagreement happened just a few days ago, and after a heated phone call I jumped in an Uber to go straight to his house and apologize in person. I didn't tell him I was coming. I didn't even know if he'd still be home, or if he'd have gone out to blow off steam. But he'd been at home before, eating pizza, so I had the Uber driver stop at a pizza place on Hollywood Boulevard, and I ran in to get a packet of red pepper flakes. Then I texted him from his front door and asked if he had a moment, and if so, could he come outside because I had something for him.

I will never forget the sight of him silhouetted in the light from the living room, as he stood in the doorway and smiled at me. "Hi," I said. "I don't know about you, but I can't eat pizza without red pepper flakes. And I didn't know if you had any, so I brought you some."

He walked out and pulled me into a hug. I said I was sorry, and he said he was sorry, too, and that I'd beaten him by five minutes. "I was about to call and ask if I could come over." I tried to tell him all the reasons I was sorry, all that I'd realized, but he wouldn't let me. He just held me. And we didn't have to talk it to death, even though I did insist on telling him the ways I'd been unfair.

"I'm sorry I hung up on you," he said in return.

"It's okay," I said, excusing him, because while I hated being hung up on, I'd rather he did that than say something regrettable. "It's really just like walking out of the room, if you think about it."

And do you know what he said then? He said, "Well that wouldn't be right, either."

---

I told him about the "love languages" thing, not because I am some devotee, though I do think there's a lot of truth in it. I told him because it is comical how identically we match up in this regard. We are both "acts of service" people (touch and quality time being tied for next). Though the fact is that I can barely keep up with him, and feel that I'm lagging sorely behind. Not that we keep score. But good grief. He hits it out of the park.

A few days ago he was on his way over, and I was rushing around to get ready, to tidy up, and get Chaucer squared away. I was flustered and didn't respond to his texts asking what I wanted to do about dinner. Finally I said I was fine, and that I'd eaten.

But he knows me now, and knows that even if I have eaten, I am always hungry again. So he brought me food anyway.

He knows how inactive Chaucer is makes me nervous, and since Chaucer is madly in love with him and totally bored of me, he is the only one who can convince Chaucer to go for a full walk. So he suggests it, whenever Chaucer seems up for it.

Since I told him that I love sleeping with one of his shirts, he always makes sure I have one. Every time he sleeps over, when I wake up after he's left for work, there's a shirt folded neatly next to my pillow.

Unsolicited massages are a thing. Like, professional grade ones, that last fifteen minutes or more, and are as good as any I've paid for at Burke Williams.

I guess this is getting a little silly. I'm just trying to catch you up, in broad strokes.

But really, even still, none of this is what really matters. Because I haven't even gotten into what's different, how differently I feel in this relationship compared to others before it. How I respond to him. What he brings out in me -- and what he doesn't.

In four months, I have yet to find a single thing annoying about him. Or worrying. I have never once been actually angry at him. Even the two times we had a miscommunication and my emotions were running high, I felt complete optimism about us. I've never felt jealous or insecure about other women with him, which for me is often a thing. But no. In fact I don't know if I'm imagining it or willing it to be for my own needs of self-delusion but it's almost as if other women don't even ping his radar. At least not in front of me. And in LA, that is...no easy feat to pull off.

I feel unbelievably calm around him. He's playful and extremely fun-loving, but not manic or childish or clownish. He's mature. He doesn't need to be the center of attention. And all of his little quirks, all his physical mannerisms and verbal tics just absolutely charm me. I don't know. It's crazy. I can't find things to complain about, even to myself. I just can't. I don't get (as) defensive when he questions me about things I normally get defensive about. I try harder with him, for him and sometimes because of him, at the things that challenge me. He inspires me immensely. He is extremely responsible and pragmatic and direct. He's unfailingly honest, even when he knows he's saying something I don't want to hear. And because of that I trust him completely.

Christ, where am I here? Is this enough? Is this enough of a start? It's two am and I'm rifling through the past third of a year trying to think of more anecdotes that will illustrate who he is. Who we are.

He tells me how thrilled he is by what we have. He said he's happier now than he's been since he came to the U.S. Last night he surprised me with a mock guest blog post. It's addressed to you guys. It's his version of how we met, and why he likes me. I can't publish it of course. It's way too personal and also more than a little graphic. But holy shit. Can you imagine? Can you imagine getting that as a gesture, if you're me? I read it five times today.

We have a motto. It's "Always something new." It originated as a cheeky nod to our bedroom adventures which, fucking GOD, but has since become a comically accurate catch phrase for us in general. New people, new places, new foods, new whatever. We say it, and then we high five, like teammates.

Like two people on the actual same team, with the same goal. Amazing.