Partner Lesson #5: Body Comfort

My partner has these little hands.  She touches everything–clothes, bedspreads, sheets, my hair, my face, my feet, food, walls, plants.  She learns the world through her fingertips and palms, exclaiming over anything soft–worn cotton, fleece.  She’ll burrow into it, wrap herself in it, in winter so only the top of the fleece cap she wears around the house is visible.

My partner loves to be comfortable.  And she has this strange sense of comfort with her body–its smells, its needs, the way it moves. (Mind you, she also kvetches constantly now about hot flashes, aches, pains, physical changes…but kvetching is part of the package with her…I have signed on for the kvetching, though I still secretly roll my eyes when she’s not looking).

Anyhow, remember, my mother is German.  As her daughter, obsessive hygiene and grooming are my legacy.  Back in 1987, my partner would come home from her restaurant job and throw her cords in a pile in the bedroom.  The next day she’s put them back on and go to work again. I can’t tell you how this horrified me.  I mean, you sweat at restaurant jobs.  How could she stand to even touch those pants?  The way I grew up, they’d probably have to be washed three or four times before they’d be allowed out of the basement.

But here we are, 25 years later, and while she no longer throws pants in the corner of the room, she does use health food deodorant.  You know, the stuff that doesn’t work?  And the funny thing is, I like her smell.


After 25 years with my partner, I occasionally skip washing my hair for a day.  And I stay in my pajamas when I’m home working on my computer.

It is anti-American.  To have bodily smells, to not be perfectly hygiened, to burrow down into a blanket, to touch and enjoy touching everything, to like the body, the animal life of it…well, it’s probably a good thing I’ve been corrupted.

Though I still bring a toothbrush to restaurants to brush after I eat.  And I do use regular deodorant.   One must draw the line somewhere.  Otherwise the world will come to an end.  I mean, my pits just can’t stink that much.  It is absolutely not allowed.


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