I am a grown ass man and I’ve been living on my own for quite some time now. Whenever my mom comes to visit, she always and unfailingly brings me a six-pack of toilet paper. And not that single-ply bullshit, the good stuff. Now, I would like to point out that there is a 24-hour Duane Reade literally built into the ground floor of my apartment building. Under no circumstances at any time in my life in Manhattan have I ever had a toilet paper emergency in my apartment. But, regardless, whenever my mom visits, she always brings me a 6-pack of Charmin double-ply. In my family we don’t say ‘I love you’ very much, or you know, ever. Instead, we show each other in little ways, like buying excessive toilet paper. I know it’s weird, but that’s us.
Once I realized that, I realized that this spilled over to nearly every relationship that I really cared about. This blog is probably the place where I’m most communicative about my feelings. Everywhere else, my emotions are disguised under a mostly blank expression and copious uses of sarcasm. Even my friends who are very effusive about their feelings tend to dial it down when we’re together. But the greatest thing is that there’s a deep understanding between us, and there’s a comfort in simply being with them. I always say that you know that you’re close with someone when the silence between the two of you isn’t uncomfortable.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of female friends, which is apparently a rarity for a guy. It can be a bit maddening when people that see your friendship from the outside always assume that a) you’re dating, or b) you’re going to be dating because there’s ‘chemistry’. I used to think that it was just a dumb assumption, but I began to understand once I looked at it again. It’s just things that we do for each other, the other day my friend bought a cupcake for me, just out of the blue, we go walk dogs together, get ice cream, for all intents and purposes it looks like we’re dating, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Those are our rituals, our ways of expressing that we think about each other, and care about each other, as friends should. It strikes me as a bit sad that nowadays that level of affection is reserved solely for romantic entanglements, because frankly, it’s what gets me through the days sometimes. Like I said, I’m never really one to always tell people how I feel, but these little affirmations remind me that I’m connected to people, which keeps me grounded, and keeps me sane. It’s these rituals that may seem like minutiae, but are absolutely necessary to my continued survival. I’d like to think that I reciprocate in some small way, that my learned behavior from my family has affected me in a real way, and that the affection that I show my family through my actions, are reflected in how I treat my friends.
Which means ladies, if I ever fall for you, the 6-pack of Charmin deluxe you’re getting is the surest sign that I’m in love.