On Sunday evening, after a long weekend of home improvements, I went to touch up some spots in our just-painted workout room. The purple paint was a total nightmare to work with — I will never buy Olympic brand paint again — and within moments of re-opening the can, I had a lot of wet paint on my fingers and under my fingernails. I realized this as I was bending over the paint can with my hair dangerously close to dipping in it. Crap, I realized. I forgot to put my hair back up. After getting paint in my hair the first week we were painting, and bits of it staying there for weeks, I didn’t want to take any chances.
This was a dilemma. I didn’t want to just pause, wash my hands, and put my hair up because this paint was incredibly messy; I really didn’t trust that I’d be able to get my hands completely clean. But after how much it had migrated during the course of the day — literally dripping off the walls and onto the carpet in spots — I didn’t want to leave my hair down as I finished touching up the paint. It was entirely possible that I’d look like Katy Perry within seconds.
Suddenly, I knew what I needed to do.
I went and found Eric in the bedroom, where he was wrestling with the TV. “I need an unprecedented favor,” I announced. I held up a hair tie. “I need you to put my hair in a ponytail.”
Friends, if there was ever new ground to break in my relationship, this was it. I hate when people touch my hair and I honestly can’t think of the last time I let anyone other than a professional style it for me. The most contact Eric has had with my hair up to this point is dramatically swatting at it/his face when it starts to creep onto his pillow in bed.
He took the ponytail holder, thus accepting the challenge. I turned and faced the mirror; Eric stood behind me and and started gathering my hair in his hands. The look of concentration on his face showed how seriously he was taking it. A new doctor performing open heart surgery for the first time, a teen driver parallel parking for her driving test…these people have nothing on his focus at that moment.
As I looked in the mirror, our new bedroom showed behind us in the reflection and the transformation that had happened over the weekend became really apparent. Suddenly, it seemed, I had the bedroom of my future, and also…something else from my future too. I know Eric and I are a team when it comes to the big things — buying a house, dealing with unemployment, having surgery — but it’s these little moments, like when he cleans up my vomit or puts my hair in a ponytail, that I feel like are when things really fall into place.
My guess is that everyone has different “doing my hair” types of things when it comes to relationships, those little things that you aren’t sure about putting in front of another person, even after he or she has access to your deepest darkest secrets and your bank account. I feel like it’s easy to focus on the big stuff when it comes to building intimacy and only consider the grand gestures when we think about romance, but for me, it’s the unexpected moments in between that make me feel secure and confident and all warm inside. It’s not enough to trust someone with your life; the real question is whether you can trust him or her with your hair.
Have you ever had a moment like this?