My wife and I have been together for ten years now, which isn’t that impressive when you consider it’s two years less than the Germans stuck with Hitler. Still, that was their third reich and this is only our first marriage, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Today was actually the day of our ten-year anniversary, and as I keep telling her she doesn’t look a day older than she did this morning.
When I woke up she was making me breakfast in bed – eggs, beans, toast, the works.
“Darling, wouldn’t it be easier to make it in the kitchen?” I asked. “I’m not sure how comfortable I feel with you balancing a camp stove on the pillow.”
“Nonsense,” she said, julienning a tomato on our bedside table. “Now sit up, I need you to hold the microwave.”
It’s these small gestures of affection that are most important to us, and we try to schedule three or four a week to remind ourselves that even though we’re older and more responsible we haven’t lost our sense of fun. We’re both very similar people and we really do speak the same language, which is wonderful because otherwise it would be hard to watch the same television programmes without subtitles.
The first time we met was on St Valentine’s day. It’s a terribly romantic story: our fingers touched as we both reached for the last discounted Meal for Two in the local Waitrose. “I was hoping to get two dinners out of it over the next two days,” she said.
“So was I”
“Why don’t we split it,” she suggested.
“Fine, you eat your half tonight and I’ll come pick mine up in the morning.” After that I didn’t see her again until August.
The next time our paths crossed was at a fancy dress party in Putney. She was six foot seven and I was four foot three, which was odd because we were the only two dressed as Imperial units of measurement. Our eyes met across a crowded room, and it took us nearly twenty minutes to elbow our way over to each other. Looking back on it now, I think that room may well have been too crowded.
The French term for love at first sight is coup de foudre, which though not applicable in this situation is nonetheless a useful bit of trivia you may want to file away for future use. We gradually began to see more of each other, encouraged by Our Mutual Friend which we both felt had been sadly neglected among Dickens’ later work. Our romance blossomed slowly and we didn’t hold hands for the first year we were together, which made the sex rather uncomfortable. After a while we started having sex like rabbits, which obviated the need for handholding altogether but cost us a fortune in lettuce. We once tried having sex like hamsters instead but I kept falling off the wheel.
We still lead very active sex lives, knock on wood whenever we get a moment to ourselves, and are always willing to try new things. Only the other week, for instance, my wife hinted that she’d like me to talk dirty to her while we’re making love. When my online dictionary crashed after a couple of nights, I began to get bored and asked her if we couldn’t try something that I liked as well. “Compromise isn’t a dirty word,” she said disappointed, and rolled over in a huff.
Not everyone feels as comfortable being open about their wants and desires. There are two very good friends of ours who nearly split up while discussing how they should divide up the orgasms between them. Eventually she got them Monday to Friday while he agreed to have them bank holidays and alternate weekends. It was an unusual arrangement, but as he told me over the phone they didn’t want the orgasms to suffer.
I’ve always found that the mot important element of any relationship is to be considerate. The more considerate you are, the greater the chances that you’ll get what you want. This holds doubly true for sleeping around, which is a big no-no unless you can plead temporary insanity or get a note from your mother. Society is unanimous on this: cheating on a loved one is the single worst thing a person can do, short of murder and trying to swipe through the turnstiles with an empty Oystercard.
I speak from painful experience on this subject – back when I was younger I once cheated on a girlfriend with a married woman. We had a torrid, passionate affair that lasted for months until I discovered she was cheating on me with her husband. The betrayal drove me mad with grief and I tried to drown myself several times in a conical flask.
When the doctors brought me round I remember having a moment of epiphany. “Why do they call it cheating?” I asked in a daze, “Surely the point of cheating is to help you win, and I’m not sure what sort of victory the philanderer thinks they’re speeding towards. It’s like Nietzche always said: the moustache is the measure of the man while the beard is merely an invitation to breadcrumbs.” Soon I was back on my feet again, and within the year would be making that fateful February shopping expedition to Waitrose.
I must now bring these reminiscences to an end – my wife has just opened her presents and she seems absolutely thrilled with the tin jewellery etiquette dictated was appropriate for this occasion. I know this one’s going to be hard to beat so I’m already making plans for the next three anniversaries, which the internet tells me will be styrofoam followed by rust and asbestos. I can’t wait!