There is a man in my life. I like everything about him, except for his freezing cold feet that startle the shit out of me when I accidentally brush against them in bed, before they have thawed out. It’s like the anti hot water bottle experience. But at least they eventually warm up and I can live with it. And, I love him, cold feet and all.
Falling in love is hands down one of the highlights of being human. Getting to know another person, revealing your weirdness to them, coming together to eat too much and not sleep enough for weeks on end, finding out how much of a snob they can be without you really thinking it’s a problem, going couch shopping like it’s an exciting overseas adventure – just because you have so much fun together no matter what you’re doing…these things are not to be missed. Definitely one of my favorite parts of being alive.
Jeff and I have recently gone through this experience and we now refer to each other as “mine”. As in, like he put it: “I’m your boyfriend, you’re my girlfriend”. I really dislike the term “boyfriend” because having dated too many men that weren’t fully grown up, I think we should call them “manfriends”. But it sounds weird, I know, and “partner” is lovely and gender neutral and usually where I land, but my point is that whatever we end up calling it, we do identify the other as being each other’s human.
For spiritual, philosophical, and political reasons, the idea of being “someone’s” person is completely fucked up. It reeks of oppression, abuse, constraint, lack of agency, and general sickness. Yet, it is also the highest aspiration that we have as humans: the desire to be loved and the need to belong are our most basic drives. There is something inherently safe about knowing who your people are, who can help you climb a tree when a tiger is trying to eat you, or recognize the remains if you get eaten after all.
Not just loving, but also belonging, have deep evolutionary functions for the species survival. Belonging, in Spanish, “pertenecer”, has a strong ownership connotation. Pertenecer is not only to belong, but to be owned by – without the creepy overtones. And in a loving relationship, pertencer a otra persona – to belong, or be owned by another person – is actually the most beautiful experience we can strive for. Not to just be with someone, but to be theirs. Having this connection and this knowing that makes us feel safe, protected, appreciated, valued, loved, and also amused, cared for, ecstatic, fulfilled, and challenged. I think this experience is so trascendental and so deep and so exhilarating that the only way to put it into words is to break through the boundaries of where I think I end and the other begins, and to call each other mine.
So yeah, as of now, I am Jeff’s, and he is mine. Knowing full well that there are real boundaries and limits and this is not quite the case, not literally, cause politics, and agency, and feminism, and such. But at the end of the day, when it’s done right – he’s mine and I’m his. And he and I are doing it right.