Oct 13, 2016

The Best Relationship Advice I've Ever Received

When I saw the movie Waiting, I felt 2 things: 1) Appalled at the nasty kitchen stuff they showed because our kitchen did none of that but forever after I had to reassure terrified customers that no, they wouldn't get their food spit on if they wanted their burger cooked a little longer and 2) Highly amused by the character cliches, because they were spot on.

We had our cranky, don't-take-no-shit waitresses who had been there way too long, we had the young and innocent new hostesses who hadn't been made cynical by years of restaurant work, we had the cooks who liked to joke and play games.  (Seriously, though, guys.  It was an open kitchen.  Nothing happened back there.  The worst thing they did was throw cheese on the wall and yeah, a customer complained about that even though it was nowhere near their food.)  We did not have a savvy, charming know-it-all server like Ryan Reynolds BUT we did have my favorite character, the eccentric semi-wise-semi-insane cook who dispensed his wisdom.

Cam was a grizzled man in his 50s, with Samuel Jackson-esque eyes, wide and slightly crazy.  He was entertaining, but I didn't pay much attention to him until the night he decided I was in need of his sage advice.  With his restaurant hat on backwards and apron tied around his hips, he ushered me into a booth and asked me how my relationship was doing.  What followed was 45 minutes of an intense, face-to-face lecture, most of which I can no longer recall.  But the bits that stuck with me are these:

  • People tend to choose a partner based on the holes in their own personality
  • You shouldn't be with someone who completes you.  You should be with someone who complements you.  They can make you better, but you can't rely upon them.
And honestly, I have no idea if he came up with this stuff on his own, but as an impressionable 19 year old in a shit relationship, it was some powerful stuff.

But that's not all!  I have also been on the receiving end of wisdom from the crazy, possibly homeless man at the bus stop!  After he (black) reassured me that it was ok, he was actually white because he was born in Australia and all their birth certificates say white, so go ahead and admit that white is better, I started to pointedly ignore him and refuse to make eye contact.  So, deciding that race wasn't a good topic, he decided to move on to relationships.

Still avoiding eye contact and staring down at my book pretending to read, I couldn't help overhearing this gem:
  • Your partner can't come first.  This is the order that it needs to go in: 1) God 2) Yourself 3) Your hand.  Because your hand was around before your partner ever was and your hand will be there when your partner is gone and 4) Then your partner.  They only come after everything else.
So cutting out the religious and masturbation parts of that lesson, yeah I suppose I can agree that you should put yourself first.  And it really was something I needed to hear at that time.  Of course, crazy homeless man really had nothing on Cam, whose potential insanity just added to his charm.  I believe Cam was later fired for stealing steaks, but I've always appreciated that conversation.

Have you ever had wisdom come from an unexpected source?

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  1. Cam is a smart cookie, and I totally agree! My more cynical friends will point to my long-time singleness as an indicator that I'm too picky or never going to be willing to let someone in, but the truth was always just that I wanted to work on me, know myself, be my best self, and not be with someone because I couldn't stand being alone. I met David when I was ready to, I firmly believe. I was living the life I wanted to (for the most part; job stuff beyond my control notwithstanding) and I wasn't attracted to him because he represented what I wanted to or wished I could be. It was in part because he was so different from me, and we each bring our whole selves into this relationship and that's what's been so fun about it. As for the second source of advice, we go by a "me first, us second" mentality that seems to work. (Also, I know I know—been in a relationship for 15 minutes and I'm talking like I know it all. Forgive me?)

  2. I think that's great advice! It's funny how sometimes it comes from unexpected sources...and sometimes might contain a reference to masturbation... Hahaha!

  3. These stories are making me giggle so hard at my desk. I mean, both men have good advice but the masturbation appreciation (rhyme intended) and steak stealing makes those stories even better. Haha.

  4. Haha it is solid advice. I always think of it as, you can't love anyone else if you don't love yourself.

  5. LOL the homeless guy. hilarious. i agree that you should put yourself first, and find someone that betters you but doesn't complete you. good lessons to learn! i never worked in a proper restaurant, but i worked in functions or mcdonalds. definitely no spit or anything super gross because if you got caught, that shit was legit, you could get in real trouble lol. our managers scared the jeepers out of us - not that i would ever have spat in someone's food anyway, that wouldn't have made me feel better lol.

  6. There have been some situations where I put my husband ahead of myself, but looking back, whatever I wanted at the time seems trivial in the long run. On the flip side, he has also done things for me despite what he wanted at the time. I think there are some moments where your partner can see things that you can't see, and vice versa. Part of complimenting each other.


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