The other morning around 5 am, I was about to get under the covers after getting up to pee (without shutting the door). As I began to crawl into the comfortably warm bed, my husband let out a long, drawn-out, high-pitched fart.
Now maybe the more refined among you would have scolded your spouse for such a disgusting and inconsiderately-timed dispersal of human CO2. Others may have run screaming from the room before the methane bomb reached them. But I did not. I laughed, dealt a verbal jab at my partner-in-marital-crime, climbed under the covers, and dealt with it. Why? Because marriage gets far more disgusting, and that’s a good thing.
Maybe marriage doesn’t have to be disgusting — if you have a non-disgusting marriage, three cheers for you. I don’t know how you’ve managed to hide all of your bodily fluids, gasses, boils, smells, and whatnot from each other, but clearly you’ve figured out a system in which neither of you ever has to hear, smell, or watch the other one maintain his/her body. Either that or you never, EVER piss, shit, fart, sneeze, land facefirst on the pavement, fall assbackwards down the stairs, cut off part of your finger and bleed all over the countertop, projectile vomit out of a car window, or emit strange sounds from every orifice of your body (none of these have happened to me in front of my spouse, of course) (just kidding, all of them have). Maybe I’m just disgusting, which is why my marriage is disgusting.
But for the disgustingtons among you (which I’m sure includes most of you), you totally know what I’m talking about. From the moment you first peed in front of your now-partner-in-life, your relationship became disgusting in an awesome way. Maybe you still have boundaries, or maybe the entirety of your body’s disgustingness has been revealed to your significantly disgusted other; regardless, you likely have the other person’s bodily functions memorized. Now, allow me to tell you why that’s awesome.
Because You Have a Human Body
Yep, there’s no denying it, you’ve got one. And it’s a beautiful, ugly, terrible, wonderful thing that performs magical feats like running marathons, making progeny, erupting in goosebumps, and collapsing into other bodies that make you feel safe and warm and loved.
It gets zits and it feels uncomfortable and it breaks and bends and, yes, it makes noises and smells, too. Western culture has worked very hard to de-gross-ify the body — to shrink it into nothingness (literally), to cover its smell with perfumes and soap, to silence and hide its dysfunctionality. But we all have dysfunctional bodies, and marriage (along with all the shit, metaphorical and literal, that comes with it) forces the glaring obviousness of this upon all of us, and makes us deal with it.
Because They Love You Anyway
Once on our way home from a very, very nice dinner (seriously, we plunked some cizzash in downtown Chicago), I rolled down the window and lost a good chunk of the change we had just spent onto I-290 and the side of my mother-in-law’s car. I’m not sure if it was the fatty foie gras, the overly intense chocolate dessert, the two mezcal margaritas, or the lovely marriage of all three sloshing around in my stomach, but they looked great smeared across the side of the car. While my husband gave me a bit of grief for my expensive projectile vomit, the incident came and went without much fanfare, much to my grateful and humiliated relief.
Because You’re Slowly Falling Apart
I’ll be 30 next week, and I’m in better shape now than I was when I was 20 (thanks to a lot of effort and lifestyle changes for future Papa and I over the past decade). But young though I may be (and feel), I know youth is fleeting. I know that when we have kids, I’ll need Papa’s help with various bodily issues, and I know that as we get older, we will rely on one another more than ever. Our bodies only get more gross as they fall apart, not less; marriage is practically designed to break you into this disgustingness slowly.
Because There Is Nothing More Beautiful Than Knowing Someone Entirely
I could pick my husband out of a crowd of thousands, just from the way he walks. I can hear him coming from a mile away, because his footsteps sound distinctive to me. I know his voice, his smell, his laugh, and most of the moles on his body. I know what it sounds like when he clears his sinuses, I know which foods make his gut twist, I know the first thing he does when he wakes up is crack his toes, and he knows all the same things about me.
Sometimes knowing someone this well can be counter-productive to romance, making it easy to slip into routines and expectations that take away some of the mystery, but there’s something truly beautiful about knowing someone’s body and soul so completely — and having someone know you that completely, potentially more completely than you know yourself.
So there you have it, everyone — an honest confession of just a few of the ways in which my marriage is disgusting. I hope yours is disgusting, too.