I flew to Florida to visit my boyfriend this weekend and acknowledged something I’ve probably known for a while. My boyfriend is a French garden and I am an English garden.
Allow me to explain.
French gardens are about harnessing nature and creating order and symmetry, like the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, which are lovely. They are a place to stroll through, hand-in-hand, eating croissants and garlic-soaked snails. English gardens are about letting nature be – a disorganized kind of beauty. They are a place where fairies would totally drink fermented berry tea and trade cigarette butts for acorn hats.
Soon, my boyfriend is moving back to Pittsburgh from Florida and we’re looking for a place together. But how can a French and English garden live together in peace without impeding on each other’s distinct style?
Me vs. Him
1.My toothpaste tube compared to his toothpaste tube (see below). You can use this example and apply it to room cleanliness, dishes in the sink, and work space organization. I like to call my system, “Piles”. He is more of the color-coded variety.
2. When I walk on the beach I’m like, “Yippee! Sand! It’s squishy and feels nice!” and He’s like, “It’s in my eyes! It’s crawling up my legs! Don’t let it near the car!” …Five hours later, “Quick, lock the doors. It followed us home!” … Half an hour later, “How did it get in the bed!?! Why God? Whyyyyy?!” … 20 seconds later, “I’m sleeping on the couch.” …One month later, “There is sand in my shoes from when we went to the beach last month, and thus, I’m going to throw myself off a cliff. Goodbye.”
3. I love Sharknado…he refuses to watch it.
4. If I pay 20 dollars for a pair of jeans, why wouldn’t I make them multi-purpose pant/napkins (panapkins)? I once saw my boyfriend battle a spaghetti sauce stain for 2 straight hours.
5. My books have bent pages, worn-in spines, notes in the margins, and coffee stains. The more bedraggled the book is, the more evidence that I love it. But his books are pristine. You could eat off of them. However, he would murder you if you tried, and after watching him tackle that spaghetti sauce, you better believe that no one would find the body.
6. I prefer the musical, Hamilton. He prefers Jesus Christ Superstar. Insurmountable? Perhaps.
7. If we ever get a dog, it’s for sure allowed on the couch. He disagrees. Plus he wants a classically good looking dog like a German Shepherd or a Lab. I’m looking for more wrinkles than an elephant and a face that only a mother could love.
8. I desperately want him to dress up as Ellen DeGeneres for Halloween because all he would have to do is wear a suit and dance a little. Last year, I wanted him to be the *Spooky Mulder to my Dana Scully. But we haven’t spent many Halloweens together so he has never dressed up with me except for one half-ass **cowboy and Indian costume in Atlantic City, which was problematic for so many reasons.
But just when I think I have us pegged as English and French gardens, as wild vs steady, messy vs Mr. Clean, he proves me wrong. I fall asleep at 9 pm like a Grandma, and he’s having fun till 2 am. Or I’m scared to spend money on little things, but he never skimps on an experience. Or I’m having a panic attack that I don’t even understand and he builds a pillow fort around me and makes me laugh. And while I may always be a wilderness, and he may always shine like the top of the Chrysler building, there are moments when he shows up with a wild abandon that I can only imitate.
On the plane back to Pittsburgh, I sat behind this ***inane couple. They looked alike, talked in the same pitch, and giggled simultaneously at the same stupid jokes. They were the same garden. It was like sitting behind the twins from The Shining. I’m lucky that my boyfriend doesn’t mirror me, or me him.
We aren’t French and English gardens, we’re a Frenglish garden and we’ve got room to grow.
*The wig I bought for him to wear as Mulder from The X-Files never got used but I keep it in the back seat of my parents’ car. It’s fun to bring out when we meet new people.
**We dressed as cowboy and Indian for a Phish show in AC. Phish is my boyfriend’s favorite band and to be fair, they are way more English garden than French. Or Alice in Wonderland garden.
***I also sat beside a woman who said her name was Pudgey Davis. She said, “You won’t ever go hungry when Pudgey is is town.” Zero context. We weren’t even talking first, she just leaned over and told me that.