Tag Archives: love

How To Choose a Husband

I met Alistair when I was 18. We fought all the time and broke up when he went overseas, but we just couldn’t leave each other alone. Over the years we’ve survived more crap than most people do in a lifetime, but I never doubted I wanted to marry him.

Here’s how I knew:

  • Biceps: Al was wearing this fitted 3rd Base T-shirt the first time we met and I thought, “Wow! My tutor is hot.”
  • Adoration: Marry a man who loves you a tiny bit more than you love him. People are horrified when I say this, but women are more prone to the romanticism of uncertainty. It’s exciting. (Why do you think Carrie kept going back to Big?) In the long run however, you’ll always wonder if he loves you as much you love him. Marry a man who adores you and you’re far more likely to be happy.
  • XXX: Skills are essential if you plan on sleeping with this person for 40+ years.
  • Manners: Al insisted on opening the car door for me on our first date (still does).
  • Brains: Marry a man who’s potentially more intelligent than you. This is far more important than biceps. People call my husband “The Walking Encyclopaedia”. I voraciously consume and re-appropriate information. He’s knowledgeable, I’m smart. We complement each other and we never get bored.
  • Eyes: I’ve got a weakness for blue eyes. After his biceps it was the next thing I noticed. Some women love puppy-dog brown or sea-green irises. You’ll be staring into them for years so make sure they melt you.
  • Kindness: Silly bravado and Neanderthal male bonding rituals aside, the guy who gets groceries for an elderly neighbour is a keeper.
  • Proximity: Occasional separations are good for a relationship, everybody needs space, but more than five days and I start to feel like Lyra separated from her daemon in His Dark Materials. I physically ache. A cousin and her husband (now divorced) spent months apart in different cities, quite content, even though it wasn’t completely necessary. Why bother being married if you live separate lives?
  • Humour: It’s such a cliché, but life can be rough – share it with someone you find amusing. My husband makes me giggle like Marge Simpson.

Everything I just said aside, a wise friend once told me that you can’t really define love – it just is. He was right.

The dog that ate Vaseline Intensive Care Cream

I wrote this a year ago on my old blog. I think it’s worth sharing again in the lead up to a new blog feature I’ll be introducing...

When my best friend and I were 13, we dreamed of sharing a big house with a menagerie of mutts. Toy poms and huskies for her, golden retrievers and ridgebacks for me.

Last night we watched Marley & Me … Two of the most unsentimental 27 year-old women on the planet sniffling away in the cinema, our hearts aching for the dogs we’ve loved.

I desperately scratched in my bag for the one tissue I had. I held it up and carefully tore it in half, handing the other piece to Leanne. We looked at each other and laughed at ourselves through snotty tears. Leanne said to me afterwards, “The movie must’ve been sadder for you. Marley looks like Prince.”

Prince – the canine vacuum cleaner

Prince (aka The Dog Formerly Known As Slobber Chops) was my childhood dog, a gorgeous golden retriever with soft fur and the patience of a mother.

I was eight and my brother five when we brought Prince home. Dad grumbled about paying R300 for a dog, but Mom insisted retrievers were good with children. As always, my mother was right.

Why all kids (& moms) should have a dog like Prince:

  • We would sit on a dinner tray, hold Prince’s tail and throw a piece of food down the corridor for him to chase. Hours of fun during school holidays.
  • Being a retriever, Prince needed to carry something whenever you arrived home. My mother gave him her keys and he would drop these somewhere in the house. Hours of playing ‘find Mommy’s keys’ while mommy relaxed.
  • When we got a pool, we would watch Prince dive spread-eagled into the water to retrieve various items – including us. Hours of lifeguard duty.
  • Prince would eat anything (except veggies); we called him the vacuum cleaner. Vaseline Intensive Care Cream was one of his favourite foods, squeezed straight from the bottle into his mouth. Hours of hysterical childhood laughter.
  • When we got a dishwashing machine, it was just the right height for Prince to lick all the juicy tidbits off the plates. My mother called this “the pre-wash cycle”. Hours of dish-rinsing time saved.
  • Whenever we got home, Prince ran around wagging his tail with delirious delight. One day the garage door slammed and nicked the tip of his tail off. Prince carried on wagging obliviously… Hours of telling school friends how our house looked like a horror movie.
  • When I was a depressed teenager, I kept my sanity by going for long walks at night with Prince by my side. Hours of free therapy.
  • Before leaving for work, my mother often left a frozen chicken or margarine tub to defrost in the sink. Often, it disappeared. Eventually the garden service called to ask why there were frozen chickens and margarine tubs decomposing in our hydrangea bush. Hours of amusement when retelling this story.

Prince died just before my 21st birthday. That’s 13 years of unconditional love and memories that inform my childhood. How many people can you say that about?

A few guidelines

  • Love is an investment – what you get out depends on what you put in.
  • Don’t be a cynic – don’t masquerade as a romantic either.
  • Be kind – don’t be too selfish, try to focus on the good stuff.
  • Remember that everyone else has felt like this – if they’re lucky.
  • Know when to move on – you can still love someone without being with them.
  • Love is what you make it – so go ahead.

Things that made me smile this week

•    Writing a short story, even though it was for a client.

•    Seeing the new Hospital Bend freeway take shape.

•    Seeing Cape Town Stadium all the way from De Waal Drive.

•    A smiling old lady with a floral umbrella and matching raincoat.

•    My mother chatting to me on facebook (she couldn’t even turn on a computer a year ago).

•    The Aussie army dog found in Afghanistan after being MIA for 14 months.

•    Planning our 3-month trip to America in 2010.

•    My crystal necklace sparkling reflections on the dashboard.

•    Waking up with the Boo cat at my feet.

•    Goldfish, live.

•    Sticky mango chicken.

•    The opera singer who performs in our street.

•    Hugs from Annabel.

•    Red wine with Kate.

•    The sound of my husband making coffee in the morning.

•    ‘Prominent Author’ by Philip K. Dick

•    Finding out it’s going to be warm in Joburg this weekend.

•    Being told “I love you. X.” when most needed.