“What’s the sexiest thing you’ve ever done?” My friend Steven asks my boyfriend Harry at one of our little BBQ’s recently, out of the blue. Harry turns to look at me like a deer in headlights and I cackle like a hyena. Harry responds, “Huh, huh, I’m not sure.” The funniest part is that the question is so out of left field, my favorite kind of comedy (but not my favorite position to play in baseball.)
At the next BBQ a month later, I bring this up again to Steven, Harry and our friends because it was just so random and because I love making Harry the brunt of my jokes…and he always lets me. “Steven, remember you asked Harry what the sexiest thing he’s ever done? I’d like to answer that.” I begin to tell my friends a tale, God and Baby Jesus bless my friends for letting me tell my tales, that doesn’t involve Harry punching another guy in the eye, bringing me red roses or shaking his butt on a catwalk, none of those sexy things that we so often see in the movies.
Early on in our relationship, when Harry was more in love with Guy Fieri than he was with me and before I started having a one of a kind love affair with Paleo and clean eating, we would make a list of every Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives joint we saw in a fifty mile radius of my house and put it on a list. One place was less than thirty minutes away and touted one of the best hot dogs ever. This was also when we all still ate hotdogs before we re-watched the classic film “The Great Outdoors” and were reminded by the subtitled raccoons that hotdogs are made of lips and assholes. The place where Guy Fieri munched a gnarly hot dog was none other than Rutt’s Hut, along the shores of the beautiful Passaic River.
I think Rutt’s Hut was famous for fried hotdogs or something of that nature. I must have blocked it out of my mind or been on the toilet at the point in the episode of Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives when Guy warns the viewer to never order a hot dog from Rutt’s Hut with chili on it. That was something along the lines of a cardinal sin. Because, supposedly, the hot dogs are so good you don’t need to mask them with chili. (Personally, I think the whole point of eating something made from lips and assholes is the condiments on top but, hey, potato, potato.) Well, one Sunday Funday, Harry and I along with our chaperone, my momma Anne who was still leery of Harry at the time all head west to Rutt’s Hut.
My mom and Harry order hot dogs with ketchup and mustard and I order a hot dog…with chili on top. The man behind the counter snarls at me like he’s doing his best audition for scary roadside establishment owner man in an epic road trip movie and says, “WE. DON’T. DO. THAT. HERE.” I retract, go sit by the window (look at that beautiful Passaic River!) and get super quiet. When my loud-mouthed opinionated big haired self gets quiet, you know I’m shit scared. I can’t even complete my order and I’ve lost my appetite.
Harry has to order for me. How archaic! Scary roadside establishment owner man says to Harry, “Well, is she gonna have something to eat or what?” Harry calmly responds, “One plain hot dog please…with a side of chili.” A few minutes later, the man barks out, “321!” (Which may or may not have really been our order number. Aside from that, this whole story is true.) My momma says that she’ll go up to get it and Harry says, “No thanks, Anne. I’ve got it.” Harry, calm, docile, peaceful Harry walks up to the counter, lifts up the Styrofoam cup holding the side of chili, looks at the scary roadside establishment owner man and pours it on top of my plain hot dog with such a flair and production that would rival David Copperfield. We are all silent while scary roadside establishment owner man stares at my boyfriend, who looks like a preppy J.Crew version of Ghandi. Scary roadside establishment man is now the one who is rendered speechless and he retracts to the back corner of his kitchen.
I can’t remember the taste of that hot dog. It clearly wasn’t that great because I stopped eating hot dogs shortly thereafter. But, I can remember feeling like Harry had my back. And, that was also the first big chip in the iceberg that was my overprotective Momma.
Back at the BBQ, wiping some sweat from my swamp ass, I say to Steven and our friends, “THAT, to me, is the sexiest thing Harry’s ever done.” Steven loves this answer. Harry just smiles, blushes as much as a caramel color skinned man can and goes back to grilling corn on the cob.
Later that night, I ask Harry what he thinks the sexiest thing he’s ever done. He says, without a pause, “When I was in the room with you and Anne when we said goodbye to Kibbles.” See, a few years prior, our beloved senior rescue dog Kibbles got elevated liver levels suddenly and was having stomach issues out of the blue and our vet said it would be best, that medicine or any of my hippie remedies wouldn’t help. While I thought it was great that Harry was in the room along with momma and our vet and vet tech and Kibbles, I didn’t consider it sexy. I just considered it sad.
Then, I told Harry, “Actually wait. Maybe the sexiest thing you’ve ever did is when Momma had that horrible asthma attack and we had to rush her to the hospital and she wasn’t able to take a breath and you pushed past all these other people who clearly were acting like the ER was a fun place to hang on the eve of Christmas eve instead of a place to save lives and you screamed, ‘Get out of the way. This woman’s having a heart attack!’ just so we could get Momma back into the ER ASAP.”
In retrospect, we did get Momma back there incredibly quickly, the same Momma who was still unsure of this bald Indian man but making him red beans and rice over the weekend anyways cause that’s what good Cajun Mommas do. Had Momma sat out in the waiting room with all the other Christmas carolers, she might not be here today. And that is all thanks to Harry.
Nearly seven years have gone by since the Rutt’s Hut and ER incidents. It’s been just over two years since Kibbles crossed the Rainbow Bridge. And, a lot of other crazy stuff and just normal every day boring stuff in between. In the eight years and three months we have been together, Harry has not punched a guy in the face for me. He hasn’t had to, I do my own stunts. Harry has gotten me flowers…only after I remind him that even though I once told him as a floral designer’s daughter I would always horrible judge every flower arrangement he ever got me that a girl still loves so damn yellow roses from Trader Joe’s every so often. Harry has not shaken his butt on the catwalk. But, he has shaken (shook?) his butt on other walks usually because he’s impersonating a Corgi. But, the sexy things, to me, aren’t the cliché ones, the expected ones or the ones that first attract people in a one of a kind love affair. (Much like the Paleo diet and its Pinterest boards of zucchini brownies.)
To me, sexy is being there for someone. Going outside of your comfort zone to make someone else feel comfortable. Putting yourself on the line. And, while I joke that Harry and I aren’t a conventionally sexy duo, perhaps we should all judge sexy from our own standards and not someone else’s. And, perhaps, just perhaps, the simplest sexiest thing Harry does is allowing himself to be the brunt of my jokes…and the subject of my blogs.