This is a repost from a Tumblr series that I called “My perfect dad.” I’m preserving these older stories and continuing to write new ones available on this site first.
My boyfriend Nick and I never agreed on how to answer the “So how did you guys meet?” question. I preferred to give half truths or vague retellings without detail. I usually went with the simple “We worked together.” It was just enough to answer the question without inviting follow ups. Nick, on the other hand, never shied away from telling the whole truth. “Brock and I were actors together in an adult film.”
I’m a little embarrassed about my former life making the kinds of films they show in the backs of gay bars. I did it when I was in college to make some extra cash, and it was a great gig, but I never intended to make a career out of it. I certainly never expected I’d fall in love with one of my costars. But fall in love I did. Nick and I have been together for seven years, and in that time, I’ve settled into a comfortable and well-paying tech job, happy to leave my past in the past. Nick always used to say that the next film would be his last. Even after I started earning more than enough money to support us both, he kept signing on for “just one more film.”
So many years and so many films put pressure on our relationship. I never doubted his love for me, but our lives were on completely different trajectories. I looked forward to evenings and weekends to try a new restaurant or get out of the city, but Nick was unflinching in his commitment to his diet and exercise. We were the same age, but I’d put on some cubicle weight in my sedentary early 30s, while my boyfriend was still the hard-bodied “Nick Thrust” of the last decade.
“I don’t want him to be unhappy. I just wish he was willing to move into a different line of work.”
I was embarrassed to be talking to a life coach on my boyfriend’s behalf and guilty that Nick had no idea I was doing it. Even considering what I was considering felt like a betrayal.
Jay, the life coach behind Realize Your Potential, LLC, leaned forward and rested his elbows on his desk.
“It’s a lot to ask. From what you’ve told me, your boyfriend doesn’t really have any other skills to fall back on.”
I shook my head. “No, not really. But I don’t mind being the bread winner in our relationship.”
Jay cocked an eyebrow. “Are you sure? You wouldn’t resent him at all? Not even a little bit?”
I considered the question. To be honest, my income far exceeded Nick’s, and he only worked a couple days a week. There were times when I’d come home to a messy house and wondered what he got up to all day while I was earning our living.
“I guess,” I said reluctantly. “Maybe just a little.”
“It sounds like you both need to redefine the parameters of your relationship a little. It won’t do either of you any good if Nick is unhappy and you’re resentful.”
Jay leaned back in his chair and rubbed his chin. “I think I can help. Can you bring Nick along next week?”
“Son! Get in here! You gotta see this!”
I chuckled, set down My book, and got up from My chair. My dad always got a bit excited when he was trying a new recipe for the first time. He interrupted a lot—occasionally woke Me up from a dead sleep to show Me something—but I never minded it. I loved giving My dad My attention.
“What’s cooking, dad?” I asked, leaning against the doorframe and folding My arms across My chest.
My dad looked up from the flour-covered countertop and smiled. His beefy, hairy upper body was on display and a bit sweaty. He knew I liked gawking at him while he worked hard kneading dough and chopping vegetables.
“Look at this.” He held up a ball of dough in his rough hands. “Perfectly proofed! These are going to be so good with dinner tonight.”
“Sounds good, dad.” He immediately went back to his recipe, the activity consuming his full concentration. I stayed in the doorway to watch him work for a bit. I loved the way My dad looked when he was engrossed in something. He was handsome but unpredictable. He needed a strong Son to keep him busy and on a short leash. Owning My dad was a lot of responsibility, but I never resented him for a second. My dad was exactly the one I wanted.
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