As I write this today I am celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary. My wife coincidentally shares an anniversary this same day, and I don’t know if she would use the word “celebrating” as much as say, “abiding.” Thirty years is a long time to spend with someone who doesn’t eat bananas, coconuts, seafood, cucumbers, mushrooms or anything purple. Did I mention bananas? This disgusting little beast turns black if you leave it on your desk for 20 minutes. If you are foolish enough to unpeel it, you are left with this mealy fruit that has the consistency of an arm injury. BUT, banana lovers always brag, it is full of plutonium or some other useless item in the Periodic Table of the Elements that should only be eaten periodically.
Anyway, 30 years is a long time—if you do the math, it’s over 29-and-a-half years. It caused me to reflect on what makes a great relationship, and what it means to have longevity. They say that opposites attract, which is true. For instance, most women want a guy with a great sense of humor. Mine is just the opposite. Women are attracted to men with ambition. I’m just the opposite—I’ve been working at the same place for 36 years. Women want a guy who tries new things. I am just the opposite. At the mention of the words “new things,” I start to sneeze. So if opposites really do attract, I am as close to a “dream man” as you could possibly get.
Sure, women want a great-looking guy with a great physique and a great personality. But what I’m saying is that there are other traits that, in time, you might grow to see as much more important than those ethereal qualities mentioned above that will only be ravaged by time. Personality disorders that separate men like me from the rest of the pack. I meant to say personality attributes.
When you are looking for a mate, consider how useful it would be to find someone who knows the words and melody to every single television show or commercial jingle of the ’60s and ’70s. What if you are being tortured, and your captives will only release you if you know the words to the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme from the FIRST season (hint: she does not “turn the world on with her smile” until the second season)? What if the person who knows every commercial from the ’60s and ’70s is the one torturing you?
It’s important that you and your mate agree on important decisions early in the relationship. When we first started dating, my future wife, who did not want to start a family, asked me if I wanted children. I said maybe one day, but not now. She thought it might be an immediate deal-breaker, until she realized that I meant that I wanted children just for that one day, and then they should go home. I have an aversion to screeching, and I don’t like brightly colored objects, unless I can eat them. Plus, my wife would have to child-proof the home, and then I wouldn’t be able to get into any of the cabinets.
Over the years, you and your spouse should mold each other into ideal mates. My wife has fostered in me a love for “The First 48,” a television show about murderers, and I have instilled in her a deep affection for “Forensic Files,” a program that investigates homicides. We have truly kept our love alive through dead people.
You should know how to compliment a woman. If she gets her hair cut, don’t just say, “WHOA! What did you do?!” Turn it into a positive, like this: “Honey, you have such GREAT hair—it’s a shame to leave it on the hairstylist’s floor.” Or if she drags you out shopping for a new dress, and wants your opinion (she doesn’t really), and says it’s the latest fashion, don’t say, “Well, it’s kind of ugly.” Just say, “Honey, let’s wait around for 20 minutes, maybe a later fashion will come out.”
People say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I disagree. I believe that disharmony is caused when expectation is out of line with reality, and when you stay with someone who does the same annoying things for 30 years, you will never be surprised by that person doing something out of the blue that is not annoying. Because of that, I always strive to make the other person happy, even if she remains totally unaware that she is being made happy.
Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org. And join Rick and the Trashcan Poets on Friday night, Sept. 23, at Mohansic Grill in Yorktown.