Most couples have little things that they say to each other that got started at the beginning of their relationship. These little phrases come up regularly and are so meaningful that you don’t even think about them, you just enjoy the feeling you get. If you’re lucky enough to be with the same person for a many, many years, sometimes neither of you can even remember why you say those silly little things, other than knowing it’s a code for your love.
I met Steven by answering an ad in a newspaper for a part-time job as receptionist. (Thought you were going to get a juicy tidbit there, huh?) As I like to tell it, by the next year I was president of the company. Of course he and I both know I that’s just part of my schtick, because on my second day of work I came in a little early and discovered Steven tidying up the office. Henceforth I referred to him as the “Vacuuming President” and I had no designs on that position.
We were both in our early forties and neither of us was interested in marrying again. We were both very happy, secure and comfortable living without mates. Neither of us was “looking” for anything more than a job and/or a receptionist. Note to singles – I think that’s when it finally happens. You find love when you stop looking for it!
We were both considered a “good catch” so I knew that our union was totally based on our connection and was not at all like that “LAST CHANCE-GAS” sign posted right before the long desert road to Vegas. But I still liked to joke that it might be just that. My cocktail party chatter had a bit where I used to tell people that I was so lucky that he saved me because at 42 and single, I was only months away from becoming a spinster who had to get a dozen cats…and I’m allergic to cats! At which point I would look at Steven and say, “Hey, thanks for marrying me”. And his reply has always been, “Hey, thanks for asking”.
Our first date wasn’t supposed to be a date at all. It was a business thing. Our accountants were having a Christmas party and he thought he should go, but didn’t like and wasn’t good at cocktail parties. He recognized that my comedy club background made me a pro at those kinds of parties. At the office, I handled the books. I had a lot of dealings with the accountants, so he asked me if I wanted to go…as a business thing. Free drinks? Hell yes! Besides, I was starting to wonder if there was more to us than just business, so Merry Christmas and thanks for the gift horse!
We met at the office because it wasn’t a date. It was the first time I’d seen him all dressed up in a suit, looking quite handsome, and I knew this was going to be an adventure, because it wasn’t a date. It was the first time he’d seen me really coiffed and douched and girly-girled up. (Sorry-Comedy Club background requires some references to be questionably tasteful) He told me I looked “stunning” and then seemed a little uncomfortable because THIS WASN’T A DATE, but our worlds were changing.
We did the party thing. We drank lightly and ate nothing and made the rounds shaking hands and making small talk. He shook the hands, I made the small talk. We were good together. Our appearance was a success. As we were leaving Steven asked me if I wanted to go grab a bite of real food. We both let ourselves think food was a nice gesture from a boss as a thank-you for helping him out with this social/business obligation that wasn’t a date.
When it comes to getting married, I don’t really remember if I asked him. I certainly don’t remember him asking me. One day we were just picking a time to get married. But I do remember that first non-date. We were leaving Conchy Joe’s restaurant, and as he was opening the car door for me and seeming a little unsettled I said, “Do you want to kiss me?”. There it is! It just became a date and another one of our love code phrases that has been around since the beginning was born. Because he did kiss me. And whenever I ask him that now, before he kisses me he says, “The answer is always ‘YES'”.
We’ve been through closing the business, teenagers, starting new careers, getting puppies, losing parents, kids getting engaged, unengaged, married and unmarried. We’ve been through lymphoma, menopause, fabulous vacations, lymphoma again, after dinner visits to the beach to drink our coffee and a zillion other great and crappy things.
After 15 years that has gone by in a flash, all I can say is “Hey, thanks for marrying me”. I’m glad I asked, and I am so happy that the answer is always, “Yes”. Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m loving you.