Yesterday, after some gentle pleading on my part and some not-so-subtle hints, I convinced Dawson to drive with me to Brown County. We walked around a lake and took some pictures of the fall foliage. It was a trip that benefited the soul, as I am from upstate New York and miss the mirage of colors autumn provides. Halfway through our walk, Dawson made a joke. The punch line was something along the lines of, “I’m a bad person, but you made an eternal vow to love me despite me saying dick-headed things.”
My husband likes to remind me of this on a day to day basis. “You married me — you HAVE to love me” he’ll say, or “Aren’t you glad you married me?” At first I thought this idea was, in its purest form, a joke. The first few times were funny, then it got cute, and then it became a sick reminder of something.
My husband thinks he’s a bad person.
He would love for you to see only the snarky, embittered comic. He would love for you to remember him as a sharp-witted social critic whose commentary makes you laugh and cringe at the same time. “I shouldn’t laugh at that — it’s not really funny” you might say. I know I have.
If it were up to my husband, you would give him an unfavorable rating. That’s the way he views the world, and that he wishes the world views him. But I am, as Dawson so naggingly reminds me, his wife. I made an eternal vow to love him. And while many think that might mean I must overlook his dickheadedness to embrace the good, I must tell you something secret about my husband: he is actually an okay, decent guy. There is no dick-headedness about him. But to many, Dawson is a bad person because he says not okay things at a not okay time. But Dawson voices the unspoken facts. He says the thing we’re all thinking but don’t say. He challenges the social norm and standard. He makes you question. At least that’s my interpretation of it. When I first met Dawson, I told him that he was the only honest person I’ve ever met. He thanked me, and I knew then that that was the sincerest compliment I could ever give Dawson. Honest. Not blunt, frank, or overbearing: just honest.
Because my husband does not wish to make you flinch. He wishes to help you notice the absurd incongruities that exist in the world. Satire is his weapon, as is dick-headed compliments. And there are times when I come home and I ask Dawson to critique me. Am I doing a good job? Am I okay? He’ll look me in the eye and say, “I love you so much, but here is the truth.”
I can’t think of anything better than that. I can’t think of a better friend, partner, son, husband, brother, or acquaintance than that.
“I love you so much, but here’s the truth.”
I wish my husband didn’t think of himself as a bad person. I wish people, myself included, would stop making him feel like he’s a dick for not understanding why we accept the lie instead of the truth. It’s easy to dismiss someone as embittered because they see the world differently, this I know and can confess to all too easily. So please, don’t dismiss my husband — or anyone just as similar — as an embittered jerk or dick. In truth, he’s probably just an okay, decent guy who happens to be loved greatly by an equally okay, decent girl. And hopefully, you as well.