Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day: the beauty of love

One day, Beau handed our phones to his boys and told them to take photos. They were getting pretty rowdy and he thought it would entertain them. These are the photos.
I was single for twelve years before I met Beau. I’m very picky. So Beau must be pretty great, right? But how do I explain?

I am generally a person of many words. I can easily articulate my feelings and I have trouble understanding why anyone would have difficulty doing so. But every time I’ve thought about this post for Valentine’s Day, I’ve been at a loss for words. I want to write about Beau, and why I love him, but I find myself speechless. 

Besides, why would I write a kind of love song in a style blog anyway? Isn’t that way off topic, even for me with my constant digressions and rambles?

Well, no.

Beau wanted to help me show off my cape for the blog. 
Cape: London Fog; Jeans and gloves: Reitmans; Boots: Ecco; Brooch and earrings: vintage. Beau's jeans, shirt, and T-shirt: thrift; Jacket and scarf: thrift, gifts from Sal; Hat: Jaxon; Shoes: Ecco; Glasses: Geek Eyewear; Backpack: MEC

First of all, this blog was Beau’s idea. 

I think it was on our second or third date that Beau told me that my feminism is one of the most appealing things about me. Feminism in a mate, he told me, is a requirement for him. I actually had to bite my tongue to keep myself from assuring him that I’m not one of those “scary” feminists, whatever that means. I’ve found most straight men to be extremely threatened by my power and my distaste for gender roles (aka heteronormativity), so Beau’s attraction to my feminism, just as it is, was attractive to me.

Beau was raised in an extremely conservative, right-wing, Christian church… well, cult actually. As he matured, he came to realize that he is, by nature, hugely left-leaning, and he left conservatism behind for a liberalism that makes more sense to him. 

Of course, in his cult/church, there were very strict, heteronormative roles for men and women. He came to feminism in his twenties but his brand of feminism was the kind that rejects much of femininity. Women shouldn’t have to wear heels or makeup, or pretty clothes and heels. Pink, he once told me, is evil. He’d been so supportive of women rejecting that which had been forced upon them that he had come to believe that women who do appear very feminine are not feminist. He even thought they might not be terribly bright.

This pose was for the boys. My cape is a big hit with them. Naturally. It makes me look like a superhero.
I, on the other hand, came from an extremely left-wing, liberal background which had long ago adopted feminism. I’d therefore had to fight to reject my counter-culture’s condemnation of femininity and embrace my love of my femme-ness.

I began talking to Beau about my femininity, my love of style, my passion for jewelry. I explained to him what the term “femme” means to me. He got it. He gets it. And he loves it. He loves my mannerisms. He loves how I dress and the obvious joy it brings me. He now loves that I’m femme.

The boys were disappointed that they didn't get the kiss on camera so they asked us to kiss again. The kisses were G-rated, of course.
I met Beau after I’d already been crippled for a long time. I’d gained weight and lost muscle-tone. I’d been used to being the hard-body in the room, the thin hottie in a size 6 dress. I’d lost all that and my self-esteem was very low. But Beau thinks I’m beautiful and really encouraged me to indulge in my love of style – as I am now.

As I began buying a new wardrobe and dressing well again, after years of having given up on myself, Beau was really impressed with my style and told me I should start a style blog. I thought that would be ridiculous and narcissistic but he eventually convinced me to give it a try, and he’s helped a lot with the technical end of things. I didn’t even know I needed a creative outlet until I had one. Beau’s like that; he’s helping me become who I didn’t even know I wanted to be. He says I’m helping him become who he wants to be too.

If one is in a relationship, one's partner is going to affect how one feels about one's body and one's appearance. Beau makes me feel beautiful and cherished. I’ve become proud of my curves instead of ashamed of them (or, I'm trying anyway). And I know that I’ve helped Beau accept and love his own body and appearance too. He really didn’t know he is handsome! He didn’t know what it was to have someone love his body and lavish him with affection.

Indeed, like so many others in our culture, Beau’s conservative Christian upbringing had created in him the classic mind/body or soul/body split, with the body being something to be ignored and devalued. But romantic love must include the body. The body, his body, is worthy of care and adornment, and deserves his love -- and my love too.

So Beau and I each think the other is beautiful and we each make the other feel beautiful. And it shows. All his friends and family say he’s made a complete style transformation since he met me and that he looks great. All my friends tell me that I look amazing since I met him.

Love is relevant to a style blog.

Beau also helped me with my body image on a deeper level. When I was a child, my body was badly used and desecrated by many of the adults around me. As is so common in cases like mine, I had come to feel dirty, and somehow unworthy (and afraid) of romantic love. Beau tells me, in his words and his touch, that my body is pure and sacred, and being invited to touch me is an honour never to be taken for granted. 

He’s patient with and accepting of the emotional aftermathof my rough childhood too. As a man finishing a PhD in the Psychology of religion, he gets that side of things. (We have some very interesting conversations about theology, religion, and spirituality, and that’s important to me too.)

Beau is the gentlest, kindest person I know. His gentleness is very evident in how he raises his children, and it’s evident in how he treats me. Until I met him, I had not even realized that I had let previous partners treat me rather poorly. If I were a different kind of woman, I’d explain it by saying that “he treats me like a princess,” but I don’t want to be a princess and he knows it. He’s tender with me and it’s lovely.

I feel safe with him. As a woman alone in the world, my smallness has made me feel vulnerable and I was always on guard. When I’m with Beau, I feel like it’s okay to let down my guard and simply be small. He says I make him feel safe too and I’m glad. Being kind to him is no longer something I have to think about. It comes naturally. He makes it easy.

And he’s smart. There was a time when I would put up with a lot just to be with someone smart. I said I'd choose intelligence over gentleness in a mate. The great thing about Beau is that I don't have to choose between the two. I get to have all sorts of interesting conversations, exchange reading lists, and share ideas, without having to put up with what I’ve endured in the past. He's interesting and he's nice!

I admit that I got this cape in this colour because I knew it would look good with my hair. And, yes, that is a gorgeous view of the mountains. I adore my chosen city and I adore my Beau.
Beau is also incredibly silly and playful. He can be a Tigger, for sure. That used to drive me crazy, but now, I’m getting kind of silly myself. I laugh a lot when I'm with Beau.

Beau makes me look forward to my future. He makes my present happier, even with all my back pain. He makes me feel beautiful and he honours the joy style brings me. 

And this blog was his idea.

So I wrote this little Valentine’s Day ditty. I hope he likes it and I hope you do too.



  1. This was the best Valentine's Day gift ever. Love you!

  2. Fantastic! Thank you for posting this.

  3. You don't understand how happy I was reading this after I read a post about your past. I am truly so happy for you two. You deserve all the love and happiness. I am so happy you've found someone who makes you feel loved. I wish you two all the best. :)

    1. Thanks, Shannon. This is an old post. Beau and I got married a year ago. So our love story continues.

  4. I am truly so happy for you two. You deserve all the love and happiness. :)