Tag Archives: marriage

Once upon a time, a man proposed to a woman…

Behind every married couple is an engagement story. The story that they will be asked to tell and re-tell for the rest of their lives. The story that is the opening chapter of a little tale called “Till Death (Or That Hottie From Work) Do Us Part.” The story that pretty much defines them as a couple as long as they don’t go on some epic crime spree later on down the road in their relationship.

(Does anyone know Bonnie and Clyde’s engagement story? Point. Proven. Granted, they weren’t ACTUALLY ever married but I think we can all agree the theory still holds.)

So naturally, you want your story to be a good one. And this pressure to make it a good story is only exacerbated by Hollywood and all your stupid, story-topping friends.

Exhibit A: Every single rom-com on the market features a proposal that falls into one of the following categories.

1. The over-the-top, probably on a rooftop, fireworks and violins, roses and mandolins (sorry…not a whole lot rhymes with “violins”) perfect proposal.

2. The over-the-top probably on a rooftop perfect proposal that goes horribly awry but makes it all the more special BECAUSE it does go horribly awry (including but not limited to a sudden downpour).

3. The surprise engagement/argument engagement where the proposal comes out of nowhere but is preceded by such lovely words (albeit potentially said in a gruff voice) that you have no choice but to say yes (also usually involving rain).

4. The non-proposal proposal in which a couple decides not to get married but just BE together because I mean it’s just a piece of paper and we want to stay together because we want to stay together and so they make quirky yet heartfelt vows to each other in some random location where it is raining and/or snowing.

5. The post-break up proposal, which always involves a guy running 22 blocks in the (you guessed it) rain to get back to the love of his life, who he finds about to leave her house and stands there all out of breath and wet while wooing her back.

Exhibit B: All your friends who have engagement stories that begin with…

1. An exotic locale

2. A rock the size of a small-to-medium baby’s fist

3. A slide show of the couple’s life together

4. Getting a large crowd involved

These are the things the modern-day proposer is up against. But usually, no matter the circumstances, an engagement story, by its very nature of being a momentous occasion, is always a wonderful and emotional moment.

Except when it’s not.

Which brings me to MY engagement story. Now, keep in mind, the story I’m about to tell isn’t even the worse proposal I’ve ever had. That distinct honor goes to a former boyfriend who tried to break up with me, then decided to get out of the uncomfortable break-up scene by proposing, which was followed by “almost broke up but then got engaged” sex, which was immediately followed by a “No…yeah…we really should break up” reversal.

Best. Christmas Eve. Ever.

So, the bar was set pretty low for my now husband. But, in all fairness to my little Schnookum Bear, he had a LOT of circumstances working against him. Namely:

1. We were piss poor broke.

2. He was proposing to a (lovely if slightly neurotic) woman who was more than a little antsy for a commitment considering she had up and left all her family and friends and quit her job to move over 1,000 miles away with him because he got a job offer he couldn’t refuse all before they had even had their first date and now it was three years later and the (lovely yet still slightly neurotic) woman was starting to worry she was going to end up as a cautionary tale to women everywhere about exactly why you DON’T do that.

But enough beating around the bush (heh). Let’s get on with the actual story and what this story actually says about us in the grand scheme of things. This, ladies and gentlemen, is our engagement story. The story we will eventually have to tell our children. And our children’s children. And those children’s children’s annoying friends, who are always hanging around our house because we’re the old people who always have the good candy hidden away in our cob-webby cabinets.

It all started

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Jackette of all Trades…ish

This may seem an odd pronouncement, but the thing is, I’m proud of the fact that my husband and I have never had a typical cookiecutter married relationship. Gender roles? Pffft. Schmender roles.

Every nice, artsy, semi-classy thing we own, for example, was picked out by my husband. And every time we move it is he who jumps into the role of interior decorator (which is an incredibly good thing considering that if I were in charge, our house would still have bean bag chairs and a coffee table composed of pizza boxes, beer cans and duct tape). He’s also the one that remembers we have a dog who likes to be fed fairly regularly and ensures that our fridge contains more than possibly expired ketchup and definitely expired brie.

Meanwhile, I am the one in charge of the finances and various important papers, the heavy duty meat cookin’ (steak, ribs, and on one adventurous yet ill-advised holiday, turducken), most of the in-house alcohol consumption as well as master and commander of the remote control.

But no matter how hard you try to fight it, there will always be times when you slide into those traditional wife/husband roles. For instance, due to my schedule (or lack thereof) I do the bulk of the housecleaning (or at least my version of housecleaning, which is “wipe the crumbs on the floor and let the dog and/or stealthier rodents take care of the rest”). I also make sure we occasionally eat something green in-between our steady diet of cheeseburgers and Twix.  Meanwhile, my husband is the mighty bug hunter in the family, the IT technician and the “Go Check Out That Weird Noise Somewhere In The House At 4 a.m.” person.

And that’s why this past Monday was such a triumphant day for me. Not just because I did not one, not two, but three stereotypical things my husband usually takes of, but also because they were things I never, EVER thought I could accomplish on my own.

ACCOMPLISHMENT #1: I put together a piece of equipment.

For as far back as I can remember this week, it has been my heart’s desire to own a record player. This is despite the fact we have a CD/radio/iPod player in pretty much every room of our house already (two, in fact, currently in the kitchen). But for some reason, I fell in love with the idea of coming home, making a martini (mixed with a splash of something fruity since my taste buds associate the straight up version with what I imagine liquid from your pancreas tastes like) and putting on a record while my husband spontaneously grabs me for an impromptu slow-dance.*

So, we finally broke down and bought one (mainly because the two records we had already bought prematurely reminded us how pathetically faux hipster we were). And then with him off at his real job, it fell to me to set it up.

Now, mind you, this thing is technologically obsolete. I have a key ring that makes fart sounds that is more advanced than this thing. And yet, the five-step instruction manual baffled me (especially the one that said to gently slide off the white thingermajig from the needle but upon closer inspection, the white thingermajig looked to be a vital part of the entire machine’s structural integrity).

After 45 minutes, I was about to call it a day and just let my husband deal with it when he got home. But then I thought “No! I can do this! I will do this! My grandma could operate one of these things and she was confused by modern soup cans with the easy-open lid! I AM NOT PATHETIC!”

And then BOOM. I finally had it working. For the most part. I’m sure the fact that everything sounds off-key is how it’s supposed to sound.

ACCOMPLISHMENT #2: I took down a wasp.

It’s a well-known fact that I am the world’s biggest arach– you know what? I have such a phobia that I can’t even type out the word (due to the totally-definitely-absolutely not irrational fear the very word itself will sprout eight legs and jump straight off the page onto my face where it will proceed to eat my eyeballs off). And due to this totally-definitely-absolutely not irrational fear, Ryan has turned into a master bug warrior, tracking and killing them with a Sparta-like ferocity (most likely to avoid the whole embarrassing “chasing my wife down the street screaming ‘It’s OK, babe! I killed it! Come back!'” scenario that has happened repeatedly during our courtship).

So it was with great surprise (and no shortage of amusement) to discover that my husband has a similar fear of bees. And wasps. And hornets. And bumblebees. If it buzzes, he suddenly turns into a white ninja, moving faster than the naked eye can see (occasionally accompanied by what can only be described as a “girly-man scream”). So when I noticed that one of the wasps who stalks Ryan out on our back porch had somehow weaseled his way into the house, I knew I had to step up.

Thirty minutes later, I had finally managed to trap him between the back door and the screen door and then using an ingenious tactic I came up with myself, I opened the door a crack with one arm and used a Swiffer in the other to coax him back out into the wild.

Fifteen minutes after that, it finally worked. And our world was once again safe.

ACCOMPLISHMENT #3: I fixed the Internet.

OK, technically all I did was unplug the thing-y on the wireless thing-y, wait 30 seconds and plug it back in, but still, it worked and I thought of it myself before resorting to calling Ryan at work, who would have inevitably told me “Did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in?” anyway.

So, tonight, when he comes home, I think I’m going to put on a record, hand him a martini, his slippers and a pipe (wait…do we have a pipe?) whilst wearing an apron and cooking meat. 1. Because he probably deserves it, what with all the actually working as opposed to sitting around pretending to write for eight hours like some people. And 2. Because deep down, I know that I am a mighty Wasp Conqueror/Putter-Together-er of Outdated Technology/Troubleshooter.

Hear me roar!

*This has yet to actually happen.

A writer by any other name

When I was in college, I once got into a fight with a boyfriend because I said if we ever got married, I was keeping my maiden name. To him, apparently this statement meant I was some sort of scary nutjob closeted hippie feminist that ate pieces of the Constitution for breakfast.

But my reasoning was much more simple. My decision was merely motivated by the fact that I’m the last one in my large extended family that still has my biological grandfather’s surname. I just wanted to keep that name going for as long as I could.

Luckily, the man I did marry understood this desire and since he was the last in his family carrying his grandfather’s surname, we ended up coming to a nice compromise, where I would keep my family’s name going in long-forgotten articles and blogs and our future unholy spawn would take his name.

Boom. Done deal.

Except it wasn’t. Not really. When my stepdad bought me a plane ticket out of the goodness of his heart, he put Aprill Huddle, leading to a rather intimate patdown by a TSA agent when they discovered it didn’t jive with my license. When I was maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding, in the program I was listed as Aprill Huddle. The majority of our mail says “Mr. and Mrs. Huddle” and I’m often called Mrs. Huddle in public.

Which, to be honest, I don’t really mind. I’ve been called worse (including some painful years in high school and college where my nickname was “Chunky Bob”).

However, I was surprised a married couple having two different last names, no hyphen within sight, is not quite as common as I would have thought. So it should have come as no surprise to me when I saw that a recent survey found that 50 percent of Americans would support a law requiring a woman to take her husband’s last name.

But it still was.

Fifty percent? Really? I mean, I understand the tradition of taking your husband’s last name and I think it’s a lovely way to symbolize that you are now a family. But making a law requiring it?

Come on, this is America. A country where celebrities can name their children Audio Science (actress Shannyn Sossamon), Pilot Inspektor (actor Jason Lee) and Moroccan (Mariah Carey’s demon seed). Where celebrities themselves can decide to go by one word, like Cher or Madonna, or in the most extreme cases, simply change their name to an unpronounceable symbol, and then change it to The Artist, and then change it back again to the original one word name of Prince. Where a normal kid named Sean Combs can be Puff Daddy and then later P. Diddy and then later still Puff the Magic Diddly or whatever he’s going by now.

On the same note, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave reality TV stars who actually choose to go by ridiculous monikers such as Snooki, The Situation and J-Woww.

This is a nation where spelling is a fluid concept and Paige can be spelled Payj, Rachel can be Raychelle, Max can be Mhaxx, and Kimberly can be Kymberleigh. Where apostrophes know no bounds: De’Shawn’a, Se’Heira, Ce’Qwoia.

This is the melting pot of the world, where little kids with Polish surnames featuring four Z’s, three Y’s and 12 vowels can play alongside little Asian children with the hard-to-pronounce-for-white-people last name of Nguyen in peace and harmony. Where girls named Christi and Sammi and Mari can dot their i’s with stupid, little hearts on legal documents.

Where a fourth-grader from Ohio can decide one day to add an extra L to her name on a whim because there were three other girls with her same name and she was tired of being referred to as “April B.”. Not to mention, I could go right now and for a reasonable fee, legally change my name to Scrappy McDoo if I really wanted to.

Like Shakespeare said, what’s in a name?

Well, in America, it’s anything you want.

And in my opinion, we should keep it that way.

Signed,

Aprylll Br’and’on