THE BE-SIDES: LOVE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY I’M SORRY…FOR BEING DISGUSTING
My sister, who has been married for many years, once told me a story about how she knew she and her betrothed were really in it for the long haul the first time she had a stomach ailment and he was there to care for her. I suspect she felt this way because it was perhaps the first time he had seen her weak, vulnerable and utterly disgusting.
As women, we are conditioned to believe we must be beautiful and sexy and desirable to our partners all the time. We are expected to cook dinner, make the bed, and do the dishes all the while in stilettos and pasties. I am not going to pretend that I put on that front for any of my paramours, as I usually answer the door after 8pm in oversized sweats, with a face devoid of makeup and my hair haphazardly tied on top of my head. Of course, not being polished does not mean I aim for dirty or gross. There are, however, times when icky is nearly unavoidable, namely when one is sick.
This past week I came down with some pretty severe illness and was quarantined to the confines of my 1 bedroom apartment, a space that grows smaller as the week goes on. The extra large sweats were present, as was the makeup-less face and the haphazard hair, only this time they were coupled with night sweats, a guttural cough and a seemingly endless need to blow my nose. This laundry list of turn-ons would have had any number of suitors at my door I am certain, but lucky for me, there was one in particular who did not only come to the door, but stayed, and helped to take care of me.
Not one to ask for help ever or allow help often, I will admit that it was nice to have someone willing to ignore the beads of sweat on my forehead, or the peeling skin of my overblown nose and offer to get me soup or grab an extra blanket from the linen closet.
Love shows itself in many colors and textures, arriving at inopportune moments and occasionally not revealing itself until it is too late. Over the past week I have shown all of my sniffling, wheezing and mouth breathing cards, shattering any illusion of invincibility or any ounce of sexiness and yet, I felt loved. Perhaps the beauty of the incarceration caused by illness is that I learned one more lesson of love. Love means never having to say I am sorry, for being disgusting.
B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.
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