Suburban Snapshots

Marry Me and My Mom
Will Feel You Up

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I've written before that my husband is a thin guy. Strong and thin. And in the course of our relationship I've never weighed less than he does; right now I'm about fifteen pounds up on him, but it's gotten as high as thirty during some long, chowder-filled, New England winters.

In the fourteen years we've been together, I've fed him. I've developed my cooking skills with him as my subject — and sometimes victim (oh, the great caponata debacle of 2002, before the Internet had ratings on recipes and every Excite search was potentially lethal). My family literally shoves food down his throat, "Eat! You're so skinny!" and acquaintances think nothing of commenting on his lean physique.

Early on, I remember being amazed by the landscape of his toned stomach. My previous boyfriends had all been average-to-sedentary, with workout routines consisting mostly of lackluster sex. Steve took care of his body, and he still does. But lately, I've noticed something changing.



Lately when I hug him, his torso feels noticeably thicker. The defined bumps there have faded, and I can tell even with a beard that his cheeks have filled in. He gets self-conscious when I point out his new weight though I do it with sincere excitement, "I love your new belly," I say, rubbing circles around it with the palm of my hand. This softness on him is foreign to me. I proudly show it to my family like some beaming father-to-be, "Ma! Feel it, look at this, Steve has a gut! I'm serious, touch it -- Honey, stick it out." And because my family is comprised of butt-pinching cheek-squeezers, she does.

Although I know this new bulk can be attributed squarely to his upcoming 40th birthday and afternoons eating lunches from home supplemented by dollar-menu sandwiches and the occasional fountain Coke, I guess I take some of the credit. I tell myself he's finally gained some weight because he's happy, because I've helped him find contentment, because after almost killing him ten years ago with an inedible eggplant appetizer, I did finally learn to cook, because I could spend my life loving people and feeding them.

Steve is fond of the patch of grays that's started to sprout from my crown and infiltrate my bangs. He says they're a story of how we've changed since we met, and how we're slowly growing as old as dirt together (he didn't actually say "as old as dirt.") I'm equally sentimental about what his newly-acquired girth represents to me: that the man I know who's never stopped trying to improve himself might finally be getting comfortable in (more of) his own skin.

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