Things have been going really well lately with my new boyfriend Ben. It’s crazy, because we actually don’t have that much in common. For example, I grew up on the West Coast, in a pretty progressive household, whereas Ben is a walrus.
So let’s just say that when we first started dating I had my doubts. But boy was I wrong. And really, I guess Ben and I aren’t all that different. We’re both mammals, for one, and pescatarians. We both also love the outdoors and 1960s Italian films.
Not that we don’t have our disagreements. As I mentioned, my family is pretty liberal, and I’ve been an atheist for as long as I can remember. Sometimes that causes tension, because Ben is a Norse pagan.
But we’re making it work, you know? I may think religion is a fiction but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate Ben’s beliefs. In fact, this month I helped him break the Fast of Njörðr by preparing a delicious meal of gazpacho, quinoa salad, and raw sea worms.
After dinner, we stayed up all night, just talking and learning about each other. Ben told me how, growing up, he and his family were the only Norse pagans on their rock. It sounded like a really hard life, and it helped me understand why Ben’s faith is so important to him and why he’s always yelling about Christianized seals.
Which I guess brings me to the one area where we sometimes struggle: Ben has a temper. It can be pretty bad, and not just about the seals. A few Fridays ago we were supposed to meet for drinks after work. I had to stay late at the office, and I texted Ben to tell him. But he didn’t get my texts because he’s “obviously a goddamn walrus,” or whatever.
Anyway, when I got to the bar I could tell Ben was pissed; he was acting totally standoffish. Halfway through my first drink I knew the night wasn’t going to improve, and that I should probably just leave. Ben had been quiet the whole time, but when we got outside he erupted, rearing up right there on the sidewalk and baring his tusks! He apologized later, but I’d never seen him like that before, and it was actually kind of scary.
But Ben’s really a good guy, and 99 percent of the time he’s totally chill. A few weeks ago I was nagging him about getting a job instead of lying in the tub all day, urinating on himself. He looked up at me and was like, “Tracy, rather than worry about my life maybe you should examine your own.” And you know what? He was completely right. I’m always so busy, rushing from one thing to the next, while Ben focuses on just a few things: eating, sleeping, and, from January to March, aggressively mating. He doesn’t let other stuff get in the way of his priorities. I really admire that.
I also admire Ben’s positive body image. He basically eats what he wants (sea worms) when he wants (waking hours). Maybe he doesn’t exactly fit society’s definition of “not morbidly obese,” but he’s totally comfortable in his own skinfolds. I’m trying to be more like that myself.
So, yeah—I guess you could say I’m kind of falling for Ben. Yesterday he asked if I’d like to migrate with him back to the rock and meet his family. I checked Kayak and flights to Svalbard are pretty expensive, but I still might do it, you know? Sometimes you just have to take a risk. Like Ben always says, “Grugh grugh grugh, arrrgh!”