There I was, standing in the grocery aisle, trying to choose between Twizzlers and Flaming Hot Cheetos for the party my boyfriend and I were throwing later that night.
“Just get both, dude,” said my boyfriend of over two years, as he placed both snacks into the cart.
Wait. Did my passionate lover, who not more than two hours ago kissed me hard in bed while we listened to “Clair de Lune” and got teary-eyed over it, just refer to me as “dude”? The same name he calls his buddies who fart on each others faces, while the other one is sleeping? Images began flashing through my head of Romeo and Juliet, or Jack and Rose from Titanic, referring to each other as “dude.” Just imagining the scene made me laugh. It just wasn’t right. Something about the word made m e feel as though all the nights of fireworks, butterflies, and moments of blazing chemistry between us had disintegrated into nothing more than two dudes hanging out.
This surely wasn’t the first time we reached a left turn from the dew drops and rainbows created by the honeymoon phase. In fact, there had been several nights of my boyfriend being extremely gassy as he laughed at my embarrassment from not knowing how to address the situation. Not to mention the countless times we’ve joked around during sex or held burping contests over date night at a fancy restaurant.
After dating for so long, I guess it’s just fair to say that the relationship is no longer ruled by an air of electric allure, or blushing over being called “beautiful” through a late night text conversation. Hell, our last text convo was an argument over whether or not at least five of his friends could sing all the lyrics to “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. (They all could, so IN YOUR FACE, SAM!)
The truth is, I’m glad that we’ve made it out of the honeymoon phase. The mystical nature we shared with each other before officially becoming boyfriend and girlfriend, where we’d get nervous over whether or not we were wearing too much cologne or if our texts sounded too desperate because we added too many heart emojis, has now morphed into something even better. The comfort we shared over getting to be our truest, most naked selves has become far more interesting than the flirtatious obscurities we once invested in.
It is because we don’t have to try so hard anymore that I can wake up with bad breath and last night’s makeup and still get a morning kiss from him, knowing without question how loved I am. It is because we escaped the honeymoon phase that he has seen the ugliest side of me, and loves me just the same. It is because we’ve been together for so long that when the sparks and chemistry do come flying back it is more passionate and rewarding than ever before. It is because we no longer have to hide ourselves that I can call him at two in the morning with a full on panic attack, without feeling the need to apologize to him later out of embarrassment for being “too dramatic.”
I get to cry, make love, scream, and laugh with my best friend in the world. A rainy day inside spent in silence with him while I read a book and he takes a nap with his head resting on my lap is just as entertaining as a night out with our other couple friends, catching a concert at the same venue we fell in love at.
So back to the grocery store. I say, “Dude, huh?” turning around to lay a harsh kiss on his lips that causes him to drop our grocery cart of party food. Suddenly, I want nothing in the world more than to be his “dude,” if it means getting to be his best friend where something as mundane as buying groceries becomes an adventure where he can push me around in the cart, as we sing on the top of our lungs.
Simone Torn is a 20-year-old college student studying in Boston who loves rap, cartoons, and dresses that are way too fancy for the events she attends.