When I watched This is 40 a couple of years ago, there was this uncomfortable scene where the husband is spread eagle on the bed, a hand held mirror pointed at his rectum, and his wife walks in their bedroom. He asks her for help with some growth or painful sore he has found on his nether regions. I remember thinking “Nope, never me. Even if by some act of God I do live to be 40, I will never ask my spouse to do that.” It didn’t even take turning 40 for me to become the person who uses hand held mirrors to investigate their rectum.
At some point we all have to ask someone we love to do a very uncomfortable thing and hope that they will love us anyway. Or we maim ourselves in the process of keeping our pride. My brother’s girlfriend sent me this text last week after a run in with a Costco sports bra.
“A month ago I bought these sports bras from Costco, thinking they were the right size. I was so excited to try them on when I got home. So I put it on and it’s really tight, but I think “Hell, I’ll lose weight and they will fit just right.” Wrong. I go to take it off and it won’t budge. I’m thinking “Oh fuck, I’m going to have to ask my boyfriend to help me out of this thing.” So after bouncing around like a crazy person, pulling and tugging, I was finally free. I thought I was going to need a chainsaw to get it off. Then your sister texted me and said she was pretty sure she had the same bra and that it was similar to a straight jacket. If you want to feel tied down and never free again, you should go buy one.”
Thanks, but I’m already married. And Costco isn’t where I buy intimate apparel. Costco is where I buy 6 pounds of butter and a cake the size of New Jersey. However, the shame of needing someone you love to free you from clothing, I do understand. The hubs once cut our first born out of a onesie after she shit herself so profusely that he was unable to see any other options. I came home to a naked baby and brown onesie in the trash can that looked like a kindergartner had given up on a Pinterest project. These things happen.
When I needed to ask for the unaskable help, my husband had found me splayed across our queen size bed with only a tank top on, the look of fear in my eyes. I was spread eagle, legs in the air, but instead of a hand held mirror I was using my make up mirror, the one with 1000 times magnification. Because looking at your rectum isn’t vomit inducing enough with a regular mirror. With tears in my eyes I said to my hubs “I can’t even sit down. I either have a really progressive STD or an ingrown hair that is larger than my butt cheek. Please, please. I’ve tried everything. Will you just look at it? That’s all…just look and tell me what it is.”
If you have ever met me, you know that wasn’t it. How could it be? My husband hunkered down like a professional ass doctor and began examining me with such precision and gentle hands, I wondered if he had any open appointments for my yearly pap smear.
“You have a really infected ingrown hair. There is no head on it, but I can try to pop it if you want me to.”
This was a profound moment in our relationship. This was the moment I realized that I could never get a divorce. Ever. There would be no judge on the planet who would grant me a divorce after my hubs went in and explained the kind of horrors he was subjected to in our marriage. I imagine the judge taking me aside and saying “Listen lady, the fact that your husband lacerated an ingrown hair on your ass is really more than any person on this planet will ever do for you. Do you understand that? Then he continued to have sexual intercourse with you? You can’t divorce this man. You will be perpetually lonely and be forced to pop your own ingrown ass hair. Is that what you want?”
And he would be right. I’m obligated to this man forever. He carefully took a disinfected needle and did the kind of surgery that most people get reimbursed for through insurances companies. He even checked in on my ass boil two days later to make sure i was healing properly and to apply some Neosporin.
One day the hubs may need to cut me out of a Costco sports bra and in a couple decades I may have to cut him out of an adult diaper. I think that’s what love looks like.