All About Him and Me

It probably comes as no surprise to many of you that I am married, although I am rarely allowed to mention any details about this alliance because my husband thinks it’s weird for me to write about him.  He’s not really into the whole web-revelation thing.  In fact, he had a Facebook account for about thirty seconds, but then people like his ex-girlfriend and those he went to high school with began to ask him to be friends and he couldn’t keep up with the whole dizzying whirl that those four friend requests seemed to him to represent, so he shut the whole thing down.  (I am still on Facebook:  and yes, I would LOVE to be your friend.)  

But I asked him nicely if I could tell people his middle name is John because I would like to participate in the “about our marriagething that has swept through the blogworld, and which requires that you reveal your middle name, for starters.  He said yes, which means he can’t say no to anything else I ask him for the next half hour as he heats up the black bean soup I made earlier today.  Me?   My middle name is Fay.  Through much of my childhood I was referred to as Lily Fay, but only by members of my family, and not now, ever, so don’t even think about trying it or I’ll un-Friend you.  

How long have you been together?

Oh god.  Forever, basically.  Since 1986.  

How long did you know each other before you began dating?

We met in 1984 when he jump started my car, which is one reason why I married him.  (That I married him seven years after we met is another story altogether.)  For two years, every time I saw him, I thought he was very attractive and quite interesting, but not at all my type because he was, well… nice.  At the time, I liked men who were dark, and mean to me.  My husband is honest, smart, tall, blond, handsome, nordic, sporty and a former Eagle scout.  He is a truly fine man.  At some point, he declared his interest — my memory is that he did it in a letter he wrote to me while I was living in New Orleans and about to leave the country for a trip to Spain.  At the time my brother was living with him and I think maybe he wanted to let me know that, when I came back (if I ever did), it would be more fun if I spent time at his house instead of my brother.  (He likes my brother.  But he likes me more.)  

Who asked whom out?

I’m thinking he did, via the aforementioned letter.  I mean, we had lots of dinners and outings as friends, but our first romantic moment was his idea. And then he broke up with me immediately afterwards, because he thought the whole thing was too serious.  That lasted for about four months and then he stopped worrying about whether things were too serious.  As it turned out, we lived together for a very long time and it wasn’t until 1991 that we got married.  

How old are you?

Oh, pretty old.  You can probably work that out.  He is two years older than I am.  That gave him time to acquire the jumper cables that led me to love him.    

Whose siblings do you see the most?

His.  They live closer than mine.  But my siblings like him a lot.  They view him as a total miracle and all of them, including my parents, are even now — years and years later — relieved as hell I did not marry any of the many unreliable men I dated before him.

Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?

Because we are utterly opposite in most ways, most situations were hard for us in the beginning of our marriage.  But we have discovered what matters most to each of us and even though we think the other person is a lunatic for caring so much about that particular thing, we tend to respect these areas (which means, basically, give in on them) — the net result being that we don’t argue as much as you’d think.  

Did you go to the same school?

No.  We did both go to very bad public high schools (his was in Lake Tahoe, mine a suburb of Tacoma, Washington).  And then we went to ivy league colleges — he to Dartmouth, where all the nordic, blond skiers go.  And I went to Yale, where they seemed to be interested in badly educated girls from the Pacific Northwest.    

Are you from the same home town?

He grew up in California.  I grew up in Europe and in the wet, dreary Pacific Northwest.  We met here, in the Bay Area.  We both love living in Berkeley, something we have never, ever argued about.  

Who is smarter?

His answer:  “I know what you think, but I disagree.  I have more of an aptitude for science and math.  You’re good at everything else.”  In other words, I am smarter and he knows his times tables. He can also make the car start just by giving it a stern look and mouthing the words “I own jumper cables and I know how to use them.”  

Who is the most sensitive?

I appear to be but, in fact, he feels things quite deeply.  You’d just never know it, under that nordic calm.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Please.  We don’t eat out.  Unless you count Gordo Tacqueria, the burrito place where the guys glare at you when you get to the front of the line to order five totally distinct burritos, because no one in our family ever eats the same thing.  

Where is the furthest you have traveled together as a couple?

Nice.  A lovely trip.    Wait!  We went to Italy on our honeymoon.  Rome is further from California than Nice, I’m pretty sure.  My husband would probably know.  We once went on a bike trip through the Dordogne, before we were married, and every night he would take out our map and measure carefully, using dental floss (perfectly clean, unused floss I would like to add) to trace the lines of our routes, so he could announce, with admirable precision, the number of miles we had covered that day on our bicycles.  I could always guess it was far.  He could always tell you just how far.  

Who has the craziest exes?

Neither one of us.  We’ve been together so long that the exes have basically disappeared from memory, except for the vaguest of impressions (dark, not always nice to me: my exes.  little, cute: his exes).  Facebook saw a small resurgence of exes, but they weren’t crazy.  Just friendly. 

Who has the worst temper?

According to him, I do.  According to me, I do.  He has no temper at all.  When he gets mad it’s just funny because it’s so lame.

Who does the most cooking?

We both cook.  He was out front early in this area of competence because he knew how to grill really well, but then I discovered that if you read enough cookbooks and follow the directions, you can leave a competent griller in the dust of the lovely sprinkling of powdered sugar with which you are annointing the madeleines you learned how to make from reading Patricia Wells’ book on Paris food, which contains an incredibly delicious recipe for madeleines.  

Who is the most stubborn?

That would be both of us.  Fortunately, we are stubborn about different things.  

Who hogs the bed most?

He does.  He takes all the pillows and pulls the covers over himself and, basically, is a rude, rude bed partner.

Who does the laundry?

One of the triumphs of our marriage is our joint decision to hire someone to do our laundry.  How do you think I manage to write novels, work as a lawyer, raise my children and answer questions about my still-intact marriage while wearing clean clothes?  

Who’s better with the computer?

I am.  In fact, my computer expertise is legendary — mystical, even.  This comes from the simple fact that I — and I alone — read the directions before I plug anything in.  Thus, almost everything I try to fix or install computer-wise works beautifully.  For the rest of them, things work about half the time, maybe a little bit more if they sacrifice a small goat and pray really hard.  

Who drives when you are together?

50-50.  Well, now that I have glasses that let me drive at night, totally 50-50.  And this is a good question to end on because that’s what our marriage is:  a partnership of people who are equal, most of the time, except when it comes to jump starting the car (him), grilling (him), installing software (me) and yelling about basically inconsequential things (me).


31 thoughts on “All About Him and Me

  1. Dear Lily, I loved reading about your marriage. Thank you (and the Nordic man) for sharing it. I’m not prepared to put anything as personal on my blog, mainly because people who read it know who I am.

  2. I will pass on your thanks to N.Man. His identity is shrouded in mystery, I’m pretty sure, because he refuses to let me say his first name out loud. (On the blog, I mean. In the grocery store, when I’m trying to remember if he wants blueberries or strawberries, I’m allowed to shout his name across the aisle.) Anyway, I can see why you might want to be circumspect about this sort of thing. I did ask permission, though!!

  3. Delightful, and so much fun to learn about the good man behind Bloglily. I must say that expertise with jumper cables is a very attractive quality.

    And the yelling about inconsequential things? I know about that.

  4. Lily in times where everybody seems to split up or be in bad marriages or being cheated upon it is refreshing and nice to read about someone who is actually in a happy marriage! Hurrah! It was an inspiring and uplifting read 🙂

  5. Revelation can be a sort of gift–it often makes you see how much experience we humans share and feel a little less isolated.

    I’m the cover hog in our marriage, though I swear it’s unconscious and always try to remedy my crimes when I wake up in the middle of the night.

    Thanks for sharing–

  6. My wife (middle name Marie) isn’t on facebook either. She says that anyone with time for facebook has time to clean her house.

    I am on facebook and I have pruny hands from doing the dishes.

  7. Reading this definitely made me smile 🙂
    BTW, my husband has the same proficiency with jumper cables. It does come in rather handy. I might also wish he could grill – that would be a wonderful perk!

  8. I love reading these. You guys are all so witty, I get the biggest kick out of reading everyone’s answers. Nice–it’s such a kiss of death description. However, your husband does sound nice and I’m glad you guys clicked. And do all husbands steal the blankets and take over most of the bed??

  9. So glad you decided to do this one. I’m loving this little peek into everyone’s partnered lives (have you noticed, though, that it’s almost all women doing it?). Oh, and next time we leave the light on in the car, I’ll know who to call instead of AAA (that guy is getting quite annoyed with us).

  10. Emily — me too! It was fun. I just wish we did live in the same neighborhood — we could have tea after the snafu with the light on.

    Danielle — I suspected as much (the experience with the blanket thing, I mean.) He is nice, and I’m going to tell him that tonight.

    Hey Dorothy — it was a really wonderful trip. We used to do that kind of thing a lot, but now we just ride our bikes around Berkeley (I mean, he does, and the boys do — I seem to have gotten out of the habit).

    Becca, They do come in handy, these life partner people, don’t they?

    Okay Ben-of-the-pruny-hands, I will have to go over there and add you.

    Hello DMarshall and welcome. I think you are right about revelation, or at least about the kind of revelation that’s well-intended. As for the cover theft, it does seem a little unfair to blame someone for a crime they commit while they’re totally unconscious. I think he gets off with a very light sentence.

    Hi Ingrid, I’m glad you thought so. He is a remarkable man and I’m very lucky I married him.

    Dear litlove, Yes, and along with the goat sacrifice, they could also probably think up a chant or two and use some body paint.

    Charlotte, I am happy to hear I am not the only person who does that ridiculous yelling thing!

  11. I love this! I am completely obsessed with other people’s marriages, particularly the good ones. It’s easy to see how a marriage can be bad; much more interesting and complicated to see how they can be good.

    My own (very good) husband also rejected Facebook after about 30 seconds, for the same reasons. But I’m on there and would love to friend you.

    Maybe I’ll do a marriage post, too…

  12. I love this post. My husband is not handy at anything but dishes and helping out with the kids, and that’s plenty!! He also lets me cheer (loudly) for Arsenal, even though he supports another team. And he lets me buy books. 😀 Hmm, maybe we should tell our husbands these things too!! lol

  13. Oh Lily, I loved everything about this post! I, too, have this unexpected reputation as some sort of computer whiz, but I’m the only one who reads owner’s manuals & directions. But that’s fine, b/c when it comes to automobiles I’d rather look clueless. “Look” being the operative word — in shop class in junior high I took apart a car engine & put it back to together again, and I’ve changed my own flat tire. I’m capable — I read directions! But why get dirty & oily if you don’t have to? Thank you for sharing your story in your own inimitable way! xo

  14. I am just loving these glimpses into the married lives of my blogging friends…I’ll definitely be participating in this meme after my exile, as S. calls it, or time in the vortex, as my friend Elaine does. I am very interested in hearing more about the whole courtship, by the way. 🙂

  15. BL, thanks for this post. Funny, wise, honest and familiar. I’ve been offline for a while (doesn’t that sound computer science-y?) but am now inspired to play at this little How’s Yer Marriage game on my own quiet little Interweb corner.


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  17. Oh, Lily, this was absolutely beautiful! How in the world did you EVER get permission from Nordic Guy? I wrote a family life column in our newspaper for TEN WHOLE YEARS and I was never permitted to even mention that I HAD a husband…unless I was on deadline, had nothing else to write, and was also crying, and then he would let me write that he’s a Cubs fan or something. (He also thinks the whole Facebook thing is unfathomable. Why would ANYONE want to be friends with everyone?) Oh, well, they’re the spice of life, right?

  18. Sandi, I think Nordic Guy was unaware of just how much I said. His permission was vague and general and I went with it. They are indeed the spice of life.

    E — I’ve missed you and am glad to know you’re back. I also loved your description of your marriage. xo

    Hey Courtney, The courtship was so long ago I’m not sure I can remember the details. What I do remember is how surprised I was to discover that someone you love so much is absolutely not interested in planning your wedding and that you, in fact, will believe so strongly that they should be.

    Dear Marie, I love knowing that you have changed your own flat tire. That, and my picture of you in rain boots, splashing through big, big puddles completes my picture of the Intrepid Poet.

    Hello Ms. Jellie — I am a big fan of powdered sugar. I use it to simulate snow, and to make burned things look not so burned. And then it is very useful in hard sauce (that lovely combo of butter, powdered sugar and booze) and in drizzly frostings….

    Dear Susan, if he lets you cheer for the other team, then he really, truly, really loves you. What a gem.

    You’re welcome Ms. SofaMusings — I feel lucky to be married to him.

    OP — May it indeed.

    Rihann — I’m thrilled to be your friend! And I love your pancake photos.

    Dear Lisa, I believe the good guys usually win, don’t they?

    Ms. HMH, Yes, meeting over jumper cables is a promising beginning.

    Dear Alice, How did that switch happen from the not so nice men to nice men? I think, honestly, that I had a string of only meeting nice guys when I was in my mid-twenties. The not-so-nice ones were out of the country or otherwise occupied making tons of money and doing cocaine, so I was available for goodness and never looked back.

  19. Hello,

    I love absolutely everything about this post! You’re so funny, and it’s all so touching as well. I especially love the idea of your husband mouthing threats at the car… surely such command over the inanimate kingdom should make him a genius with computers?


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