Since I came out of the closet recently, the world now knows that I am 34 years old and my husband is 45 years old (feel free to call him “Old Balls” — I sure do!). How in the heck do two people born 11 years apart meet and get married?
Sit back, grab a drink, and I’ll tell ya.
It’s June of 2006 and I’m a single, miserable girl living alone in a two-bedroom condo (which I owned, and did not rent, a fact I was very proud of) with my two cats.
A woman I thought of as my second mother had died a few weeks earlier from a very aggressive form of ovarian cancer. I’d recently broken up with a boyfriend of four months, Jay. He was angry (though I doubt he gives two shits now; I hear he’s happily married with kiddos of his own) and berated me for half an hour when I broke it to him. I was shamelessly pursuing a guy I met in Minneapolis named Craig, and we’d been exchanging texts, contemplating meeting up again, but his responses were shorter and fewer, and I was giving up hope. Things were pretty bleak.
Then it got worse.
I was part of a circle of friends that all met playing volleyball. I didn’t get along well with one girl in the group who had a very large personality to make up for small stature (zing!). She declared one day, for reasons I still don’t understand, that she no longer could stand me and all of our mutual friends needed to make a choice: it was her or me.
Based on the number of people who stopped hanging out with me, it was clear that all but one friend had chosen her. Suddenly I had nowhere to go on weekends, and just one friend to spend time with. I was heartbroken and carried around a pretty deep depression like Linus’s skanky blanket.
Luckily, that one remaining friend was a good one. One Saturday night in June, when the Evil Girl and her posse were having a party, I convinced my friend to go to a comedy show with me. She reluctantly agreed. (See? Good friend.)
When we arrived, the room was nearly empty. At showtime, only 12 of us sat in the audience. After the host went through his paces, a very handsome fella stepped onto the stage. Nathan. I immediately thought he was cute (I’ll be honest here… I whispered to my friend that he looked like the guy from Minneapolis). But then he launched into his act. Within a few minutes, I was smitten.
He described his own ineptitude at relationships, where he was too open and honest too quickly, and was constantly dumped. (“Hmm… that sounds exactly like me!” I thought. Because despite having just dumped Jay, I was always, always the dumpee.) He explained that he was an accident pregnancy, and how his parents guilted him with being the impetus for a contentious and miserable marriage. (“Hmm…,” I thought. “I was an accident baby too!”) He also admitted to being 36 years old, and my jaw dropped. He did NOT look that old (I was just 26 at the time, so 36 seemed super old).
Dumped constantly, and accident babies. The stuff that good relationships are made of. It was fate! Or so I thought. I vowed to talk to him after the show.
(Sidenote: for any girl who’s ever crushed on a performer, there is something about a guy on a stage, in his element, that is so incredibly attractive. Yum.)
Shortly after he bade us goodbye to allow our headliner to start her act, I watched in horror as he walked briskly out the door of the club.
“Noooooooooo!” I shouted. (Just kidding. I didn’t do that. More like I silently said, “Damn. There goes that one.”)
That was Saturday. The next day, Sunday, I was farting around online and decided to look up the cute comedian. I found his website and sent him a short email through the Contact form. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but the gist of it was: You were really funny, I enjoyed the show very much, and you don’t look 36.
I was afraid to reveal too much, but I wanted to give him an open door to start a conversation. I cringed and hit SEND, and waited.
Nothing happened. Days, then weeks, then years went by. Okay, just a couple of days. But it felt longer. I was bummed. What an asshole. Just like all the others.
On Thursday, I was moping around the condo, sad because Minneapolis Guy had ignored another of my texts. (I was really lacking self-respect. It’s embarrassing.) I decided to try Cute Comedian again. (I repeat, total lack of self-respect.)
I went to the newfangled and trendy social network of the day, Myspace. (Yes, I am that old.)
At this time, Facebook was only open to people with .edu email addresses, and I had an awesome AOL.com one (omg I’m dying from my own lameness here).
I searched and found him immediately. Relationship status: SINGLE.
Boo-yah. But I was too embarrassed to send him another message. This time I sent him a little ping: a friend request.
Just a few hours later, I got a message from him. “Hi there,” he said. “Were you at my show last weekend? It wasn’t too far from where you live,” he inquired.
I told him yes, I was at the show, and reiterated that he was very funny and didn’t look 36. Didn’t he get my email through his website?
He chuckled, as much as someone can chuckle in a Myspace message. “I never check that mailbox,” he said.
That kicked off a series of messages that went back and forth for a week. Each message was longer than the last. By the following Thursday, we were composing 3-page novels to each other, revealing more in each message… all the little things you tell someone when you are dancing cautiously around them in a timid little mating dance.
One week after the friend request, I went to a concert and had 4 beers, arriving home decidedly drunk (I did that a lot back then). I had a lovely message from Cute Comedian in my inbox, and did something stupid. I shot back a quick message.
“I’ve had a couple of drinks, which is the only reason I am brave enough to do this. 712-887-7090”
I hit send and sat nervously on my bed. I didn’t have to wait long. The phone rang. It was 11pm.
At roughly 3am, I hung up the phone, my ears burning and my cellphone about to burst into flames. (Back then, phones got really hot when you talked on them. I was also using a Motorola flip phone with a super-cutting-edge color screen that was 1.5 inches wide! Wow!) I arrived at work a few hours late with a stupid grin on my face that I couldn’t remove. My coworkers knew something was up. I was all too happy to gush about my new love.
A week later Cute Comedian drove to my house from Wisconsin, where he was staying while working a series of comedy clubs in the midwest (he was living in Los Angeles at the time). We had our first date. When he arrived at my building, I met him downstairs. He walked toward me and I thought, “Oh my god he has a ton of gray hair.”
My second thought: “His nose kind of turns up at the end…like a little pig nose.”
My third thought: “I am so nervous… I need a beer.”
When I arrived at work really, really late the next morning, and with that same stupid grin plastered on my face from a few weeks earlier, my coworkers knew I was head over heels for this new fella.
That was June 2006. In April 2007, Cute Comedian (okay, Nathan) moved from L.A. to Iowa and in with me and my two kitties. It was the oddest thing ever. I, the girl who was always dumped within 3 weeks, had a long-term boyfriend that lived with me! omg! Domestic life took some getting used to, but he was a good roommate and things were good. Great, in fact.
In March of 2008, he proposed to me at 2am by waking me up from a dead sleep. He led my sleepy self into the living room, where my dream ring sat on the counter surrounded by tea lights in the shape of a heart.
I stood there, still half asleep, staring at the ring, while he got down on his knees and wrapped his arms around my legs, his chin on my hip.
“This is the marry me moment,” he said in a hopeful little-boy voice. He was nothing if not unorthodox, but I loved him for it.
We got married 18 months later in front of 225 of our friends and family, and more than a few comedians. You know it’s going to be a fun wedding with eight comedians in attendance, including the groom.
There were green testicles, some heckling during the ceremony (Nathan’s dad), lots of beer and wine, and some ridiculous dancing. It was the best day.
There you have it. The events that led to Peanut, Squeak, and me. That total lack of self-respect I mentioned earlier? Meeting my husband changed that in a big way. Learning that I was worthy of love was a hard lesson, and those first few months were full of me attempting to sabotage the relationship and chase him off (I thought I was just speeding up the inevitable… everyone left me, so why would this guy stay?).
With guidance from my amazing therapist, I settled in to the best kind of love a girl can have: the kind that allows you to be yourself, and never hide who you are.
Except for farting. I still don’t toot in front of my husband (at least not on purpose). Even the best love has limits. 😉