newsletter #22: interviewing my lover on valentine’s day
happy day of <3
Hello, reader. Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you are well – thriving, even. For this week’s newsletter, in the spirit of the (admittedly unimportant, but sort-of-fun) holiday, I decided to interview my boyfriend, Ale. In our conversation, we talked about a myriad of topics, including but not limited to: love, living with your partner, long-term dating, reading, public service, and more. I hope you enjoy this festive treat starring the human I’m obsessed with.
Follow Ale on Twitter, here.
Maddie: Happy Valentine’s Day! What’s your opinion on this “holiday”?
Ale: I’m pretty neutral about it. I think it’s whatever makes you or the person you’re with happiest. Whatever you choose to do on Valentine’s Day is okay. I am personally neutral.
What does love mean to you? We’ve been together awhile now, how has our love changed over time?
I feel like we are each other’s true balance and other half, in some ways. I don’t think we’re the same, and I think that’s helpful. When it comes to changing, for me, I’m learning to communicate and be more open with you and express my needs. I’m very much a people-pleaser sometimes, and so I don’t take what I need into consideration. So you’re helping me advocate for myself while also still being the best I can for you.
We’ve talked about this a lot, but tell the readers what it’s like to live with their significant other. Do you have any advice for people thinking of doing so?
It’s pretty great, to be honest. It’s also a lot. I say this with love, but it’s not romantic or anything. We have our romantic moments, though. It’s just like living with your best friend and living with the person you love the most. We get to hang out all the time, we get to eat together, cook together. It’s also nice because when I go and hangout with my friends, I don’t have to think about balancing our relationship as much. Now, I can do everything I want without worrying about how to carve out time for all the people I care about.
Tell people what it’s like to date someone who is open online about love and sex.
I don’t really mind. I value what you do and I think what you do is amazing. Whatever you want to write and put out in the world is useful for other people. I think you’re just trying to make other people feel seen, or at least make yourself feel less alone in the things that you experience.
You never get embarrassed? Shy?
Not really, no. What is there to get embarrassed about? And it can’t be worse than what your parents feel, hah.
What’s challenging about being with someone long-term that you didn’t expect initially?
It’s always net-fun. But, when you’re with someone for a long time, you’re not necessarily infatuated with them like you were when you first met. That’s not to say I’m not infatuated with you, but it’s easier to get annoyed with someone when you’re dating them long-term. The same goes for friendships, too. You’re inevitably going to get annoyed with friends if you’re with them for a long time, too.
So you’re saying as time goes on, people’s true colors show?
I think so. And especially with living together, I know that you don’t do the dishes. Or that I don’t put my clothes away. And that’s okay.
Good job answering the love-related questions. Now, I want to ask you about your ~life~. What’s it like working in the local New York City government?
Working in public service is really fun to me. I get to do the things that I believe in, and it makes me feel good to be out and meeting people and talking to people. It’s pretty awesome.
What’s something you wish people knew about activism and community involvement?
I wish people did more, and said less. I know that would make the world a far better place.
‘Say less’ in what context? Social media?
Yes. I think instead of people signaling what they feel, there are lots of other ways to get involved. There’s mutual aid groups, there’s food pantries. There are very basic things that you can do toward making the world a better place in ways you feel passionate about. Not enough people necessarily do those things.
What was the best book you read in 2021 and why? What do you appreciate about reading in general?
I like that reading takes you to a different world, if it’s fiction. Or, if it’s non-fiction, to a different time in our world. I think you can learn a ton about other people by reading, even if it’s fiction. Reading can expose how our world is. I also like long books, especially long fiction, because I like the feeling of being with characters for a long time. I would say my favorite books from last year were the first two books in the My Brilliant Friend Elena Ferrante series. They are pretty long books, and there are four in total, so you can really sit with those characters for a while. And the story is really good.
You love to run. What does running do for you on a spiritual level and what are your athletic goals for this year?
I like to run because it’s my time to think. You say that I don’t spend a lot of time alone, but I think my running is my time alone with my thoughts. Sometimes they’re happy thoughts, sometimes they’re not, but it’s usually where I can work through whatever I need to get done that day. That’s why I like to run. For my athletic goals, I’m running a half marathon in April, and my goal is just to run well. (And to beat my friend Dillan.) I’m doing a half Iron Man in June, and my goal is to just not die.
What’s your biggest insecurity?
Staying relevant to the people who are important to me is something that I fear. I don’t know if that’s an insecurity.
What do you mean ‘staying relevant?’
Like, I want the people who I personally care for to always love me. And even if I don’t talk to them, I hope that they still do.
Last question. Do you love me? :)
I do love you.
Also this week…
I enjoyed this essay by Lisa Taddeo in the NYT about how she and her husband don’t have the same love language and that’s fine.
I’m almost done with It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, which TikTok recommended. It’s not what I expected it to be at all, and it isn’t something I’d normally read. Thoughts?
For work, I updated an older story I wrote about digital blackface, an issue that’s pretty important but not talked about enough. Give it a read.