I did it. I folded. In the epic, 4-year staring contest that was my long-distance relationship, I blinked first.
Now I drink Natty Bohs instead of Stellas. I eat crab cakes instead of Thai. My New York pedestrian rage has segued nicely into Baltimore beltway road rage. And – the biggest difference – I see my boyfriend every day instead of every few weeks.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It hasn’t been all rainbows shooting out of unicorns’ keisters here. I’m not planning a return trip to New York (my memories of bedbugs, Meth-riddled basement dwellers, and ConEd robbing me blind are still too fresh), but there are some things about long distance that I didn’t realize I would miss.
I miss being a Beyonce music video.
I was Miss Independent for 4 years. (For awhile, I was also Bills, Bills, Bills, but that’s another story.) I worked hard to pay for everything – my rent, my food, my life. I was Sasha Fierce with a 401K plan. I love that he’s the Jay to my Bae, but I will always longingly pine for my “who run the world?” days.
I miss being able to hide the crazy.
Hormonally weeping over a chipped, hour-old manicure. Being consumed with a blind rage over a slow Internet connection. Baking 24 funfetti cupcakes, eating 12, then throwing 12 in the trash and subsequently trying to convince myself I can’t eat garbage cupcakes. None of these are attractive behaviors.
He was not drawn to my short temper or my ability to cry on command, and I’m pretty sure the garbage cupcakes are going to be a relationship deal breaker. I’m put together when we’re together – but that’s because I’ve been storing up the normalness for 2 weeks. After Sunday night, it’s back to bat-shit Betty.
I miss taking a relaxed view on body hair removal.
Cutting, trimming, plucking, shaving, waxing – what a girl does just to be well groomed! If you were to look at a pie chart of my life, it’s broken down into a sliver for eating, a fragment for sleeping, and the other overwhelming 85% chunk is dedicated to removing unwanted hair.
With long distance, there was solid 2-3 weeks where it didn’t matter if my eyebrows (or my legs) made me look like a Jack Nicholson body double. But now I need to be vigilant about my eyebrows, my legs, my bikini line…and oh, look at that. I have hair on my big toes. Lovely.
I miss being gross…in secret.
Long distance meant I was a lady. (Ok fine…“lady.”) He didn’t need to see so much as a fingernail clipping when we only saw each other every 2 weeks. But now, the illusion of my femininity has flown out the window (along with some hangnails that were bothering me). Now he gets to see me in all my glory – all my mustache-plucking, zit-popping, explosive-pooping glory. (Did I mention I own a plunger with an ergonomic handle?) Yikes.
I miss watching what I want without being judged.
Yes, I love The Golden Girls. Yes, I’ve dabbled in at least one Real Housewives franchise. And yes, I may have recently gotten interested in that WWE reality show. I generate enough self-loathing on my own so when I grab the remote, I don’t want any side eye.
But what I really miss…
What I really miss is not my low-maintenance stubbly legs or a DVR filled with trashy TV – what I miss is the comfort of limbo. Long distance meant we were the perfect couple. Seeing each other a few days a month meant we were on our best behavior. We had to be – we had to make every second count. We tried new things, ignored stupid fights, made every outing a date. We knew that if we could make it work 200 miles apart, everything else would be a cinch.
You can call that naive, shortsighted, or just plain wrong. Take your pick of adjectives, you’d be right. Learning to live together and love every bit of each other is a new mountain to climb. One we’re not exactly prepared for. It’s the Himalayas and we didn’t even wear hiking shoes. But we’re going to climb it together. And there’s a chance one of us stops climbing, or we both stop climbing, or he falls in love with the Sherpa instead (is this metaphor making any sense?), but at least the climb will take us out of our comfortable, deceitfully perfect limbo, to wherever it is we need to be.