I'd wager my wardrobe that the moment Dean fell irrevocably in love with me was the moment I told him to his face that he was an asshole--with no anger or agenda, just a simple statement of fact. Ten years of marriage later, I'm sure he continues to appreciate my tits and my ability to make him yummy midnight snacks--but I believe what keeps him in love with me, year after year, is that:
I make it my mission to beat him at least 50% of the time in card or board games (except Monopoly, at which I continue to royally suck; and Boggle/Word Factory, at which no one but my best friend Jen can beat me, ha!).
I eat when I want to eat, smoke if I want to smoke, wear what I want to wear, and only do what he says when it was pretty much what I was planning to do in the first place.
I'm practically the only person who can tell the difference anymore between Brilliant and Merely Mediocre writing on his part; and I don't hesitate to tell him.
I laugh at him frequently, and dish it out right back at him when he laughs at me.
I'm at least as lustful as he is, and likely to know more about pornographic terminology and depraved sexual practices than he does.
I am the proud owner of a Certified Potty Mouth, and I'll talk about pretty much anything and everything, including, yes, the precise size and shape of his penis.
I flirt indiscriminately with everyone: male, female, and in-between. I'd flirt with rocks and trees if I thought they might respond once in a while. I am given to hugging male friends without warning, leaning on their shoulders, and mussing their hair (or rubbing their bald heads, as the case may be).
And it's just not every guy who thinks that these qualities are good things. I'm sorry--it probably looks wonderful and enviable when you're watching us together from across the room--but it takes work and a strong sense of self and balls of tempered steel to love me in the long term.
In my not-so-humble opinion, most males don't really want an equal who will challenge them, but an inferior who will obey them. Something like a puppy--a cute little thing you can stroke and cuddle when you feel like it, and ignore when you don't. Every single guy who once said he wanted a "Nikki" and now has a girlfriend/spouse has ended up choosing a Meek Miss who happily plays second--or third--fiddle in her guy's shadow. (Ugh, how's that for a mixed metaphor?) Either they discovered that they didn't really want someone like me, or I've been seriously dissed.
The sad truth is, there are "Nikkis" running around all over the place--several of them are listed among my links, just over there to the left of this post. We are not puppies--rather, we are a curious breed that is perfectly capable of treating a man like a silly little thing and a god on earth at one and the same time. We can respect and adore a man--but not unconditionally; and we don't think that loving them has to mean worshipping them, and certainly not fearing them. And there will always be boys who think they want a woman Just Like Us.
Which is silly, because any kid can tell you that boys belong with girls. It takes a man to love a woman.
Check out the rest of the posse!
Andre Mischa Cleofe
Cathy delos Santos