My husband and I are a match made in hell. You read that correctly. It wasn’t a typo. Here it is again for those with short-term memory loss: My husband and I are a match made in hell, but if you’re anything at all like I am, you already know that hell is way more fun than heaven anyway.
You know how we met. You know the story. Los Angeles. NBC studios. The game show. The Weakest Link. The final two. Against each other. The final question, and the ultimate win… for him, that is, since even though he lost, he walked away with me. He likes to call me the consolation prize. I like to remind him that I’m the one who got the money. He likes to remind me that I spent it all on him anyway, so what did it ultimately matter? And I like to remind him how much of a big fat prick he is. See? Hell. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
On May 16, 2004, I married a 6’2” light brown-haired, Anglo-Saxon, Orlando-born, Southern gentleman by the name of Stanley in the fine, fine city of Asheville, North Carolina. Oh, I haven’t told you about Stanley? Oh, yeah, he came before Todd. He was my fou…no, no, fifth husband. Yes. Stanley. OH, I'll STOP. Stanley Todd is my husband’s full name, which, duh, I laughed at tremendously when it was first leaked to me and still giggle at once a week (at least.) Obviously he goes by Todd because he would be an idiot not to and because this isn’t 1963 no matter how much “Mad Men” you watch. So, eight years ago today I married Todd at an antebellum mansion overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had grown up a lot since my first marriage – or, my “trial” marriage as I like to refer to it – and while I thought I knew it all as I stood there in my eggshell-colored Belgian lace gown with matching flower in my hair, I look back on that day today and realize just how much I’ve learned, and continue to learn from him, and from us, and from life. Every. Goddamned. Day.
Here is a short list of eight awesome things that my husband has taught me over our eight years of marriage:
- How to set a table, properly. I came from a house where if you were right-handed, everything went on the right side of the plate. Where napkins were paper towels. Where you only had ONE fork. ONE spoon, and ONE plate, and if you didn’t like to eat your salad after your meal on your dirty macaroni gravy plate, then you better be prepared to wash all of the dishes, because your mother was not your maid, miss snottie-pants. “What are you, better than us or something?”
- I don’t ever have to open my own door, or pull out my own chair, ever. Granted, it took me years to learn both of these things, and after I finally got used to it, I figured out just how much of a feminist I am not. Viva la Chivalry!
- Never say “SoandSo and I at the Brittany concert” as a caption to a picture on any social network. It’s poor grammar, and not in the usual “your welcome” sort of way, either. You would say “This is SoandSo at the concert” and you would also say “This is me at the concert,” but you would never say “This is I at the concert” because you would sound like a dick. So, just add SoandSo and me together, and, viola!! English language saved!
- Debates do not equal vase-throwing contests. I’m Italian. I’m loud. We’re all loud. That’s what we’re used to. But apparently, these proper Southern folk use things like “words” and “discussions” to get their points across. I was not familiar with these terms. I did not speak in this foreign tongue. But after eight years, six vases, two remote controls and a fairly expensive painting by a local artist, I now proudly say that I speak the language about as fluently as high-school Spanish. Meaning, I can recite my days of the week, but, I’m probably still struggling with the correct way to ask for change of a twenty. Good enough, eh? Thanks again, babe.
- If I don’t change the oil in my car, it will eventually be fucked up. It will run shittily, start to smoke, make weird noises, slow to a stop and eventually, commit suicide. Come to think about it, my tenth-grade boyfriend died the same way, although I didn’t ride him nearly as hard (insert rim shot here) (I said SHOT!!) Thanks to my guy, I haven’t had to worry about my car in ever. The rule is, he never cooks, and I never do car stuff, and we like it that way and will never try to change it.
- Vacations do exist outside of the Caribbean and wine does exist outside of a box. Oh, man, have I learned a thing or two about travel, history, culture, language, food, wine and the truly finer things in life from this man. Mexico, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland and just about every cool-ass city in the grand old U.S. of A has welcomed us with opened arms as we tasted its flavors, sampled its wine and basked in its surroundings and all that it had to offer. We are pilot and co-pilot. Skipper and Gilligan. We have sailed the open seas and toured the open roads and I would never trade a single solitary second of any of those moments, ever, for each one has built me, and helps to make me the person I’m becoming.
- No matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, he will never stop loving me. He knows what this means. I know what this means. Cryptic? Yes. But this is for him, so you’ll have to deal with it for a second. I am not an easy person. Who just passed out from shock? Message me when you wake, please, so I can punch you in your face for being dramatic. I am vain, I am demanding, and I need to feel appreciated. I want to be treated as an equal, but also want to be put on a pedestal. I want to be wined, dined and… SQUIRREL! I need attention. OKAY WITH THE FAKE PASSING OUT! I need coddling. I want to be told, every day, that I’m beautiful. I like gifts, of the expensive kind, wine, of the any kind, and husbands, who are always kind. I need to feel smart, but never want to stop learning. I want to feel like I’m the only one who ever existed - ever - which is a hell of a lot to ask of anyone. I like diamonds, leather boots, a good arguer and a better listener. Like I said… demanding, and through all of those things and so much more, he has stayed the course of husbandry and he’s worn that badge proudly and bravely, because let me tell you all right now… Barbara Palumbo is NOT and never will be, for the weak at heart.
- Lastly, he taught me that anything is possible. ‘Nuff said. Never believed it before, but I totally do now. Anything is possible, if you want it, and fight for it hard enough.
So today, and I speak to you now, my husband... my Todd... my Toddly. Today I want to thank you for all that you have taught me, and shown me, and been to me, and are to me. And I want to tell you just how much I know you love me; that you have proved it more recently than ever, and that I promise you I will never turn my back on that fact, or on you. Ever. Yes, you didn’t get “Wyoming,” and yes, that fact is bittersweet to you now for reasons that belong to all of us, but you know what you did get? You got Susan Lucci, Rumpelstiltskin, Bob Guccione, and me. And we’re all one big happy family. I hope that’s enough.
Happy anniversary, Mas el dude. I love you. H.