Sunday, February 08, 2015

A Lovely Partnership (or, How To Get Married and Mean It)

A few weeks ago, in the Washington Post (motto: “Newspapers--not just for lining the bottoms of bird cages!”) I read this fascinating wedding announcement.
  “Woah, woah, woah, Josh,” You’re no doubt saying out loud to yourself like a crazy person. “Why, in the name of Zeus, are you reading wedding announcements in newspapers?” And the answer is simple: I am too weird to even understand myself sometimes. Also, I had finished with the comics but my compulsion to laugh was not yet satiated. And what better way to enjoy a hearty guffaw than by reading about voluntary imprisonment in the name of love?
And then I encountered a story that not only shocked the eyebrows right off of my forehead, it also gave me renewed hope in love, marriage and the knowledge that there are people out there who get it!
I discovered Ann Belkov, 75 and Jerry Lewis, 81. You see, Ann and Jerry met ten years ago, at the young virile ages of 65 and 71 respectively. And after ten years of “dating”* they decided to get hitched. It’s not Jerry’s first time. He’s been shackled to a broad before and got kids and grandkids for his troubles. But I guess Good ‘Ol Jer is a masochist, because he felt the need to marry again.
It’s interesting that Ann has never married before. But much as women these days, in their 20s and 30s, can sometimes feel the internal call for success overpower the call to settle down and focus on family, Ann decided to put her career and desire to enjoy and experience life before her need to get married. For decades she dedicated herself to breaking glass ceilings and manhandling the scrota of her male colleagues. In short, while her lady friends were all busy teaching their children not to eat glue or shit themselves, Ann was off taming lions and doing body shots off of Ernest Hemingway or whatever.
While that alone is intriguing and refreshing, it’s not what caught my attention. To me, what really stood out is the fact that these two fossils have no intention of living together. Think about that for a moment. Let it roll around your simple brain like a fine wine caressing your palette. Open your mind to that concept and let it move in for a spell. Marvel in the simplicity of such a novel, (yet devastatingly brilliant) idea.
We’ve all seen tv shows and movies from the 1950s and 60s where the chaste married couple sleep in separate but equal twin beds (Plessy v. Ferguson v. Serta**). And I once had a girlfriend with whom I had more than one conversation about marriage, and we always talked about having separate bedrooms. Good times. But this couple! Man, they just get it.  They went the next step of separate beds, separate rooms and separate houses.
What’s even better is that they’re only going to hang out and do stuff together on the weekends. On week days, they’ll each do their own thing in their own homes. Though, to be honest, I really have to wonder what things they’re getting into at such advanced ages. Alone. I’m guessing Tinder is involved.
That all sounds so fabulous and smart to me. Far too often I’ve seen relationships destroyed because couples are forced to interact with each other. Sometimes daily. That can be a real strain. But when couples only spend a couple days together a week, they get to keep things fresh and interesting. “Gee, I wonder if Jerry is still alive to come over this weekend,” is probably something that goes through Ann’s thoughts. Now that’s exciting and spontaneous!
Of course, the couple realizes that they’re getting up there in age and won’t be able to commute to love forever. But it’s okay, they have a backup plan for that. When the day comes that Ann needs to live with her part-time husband, she will take up residence in his house.
In the basement.
Yeah. She’s going to move into this guy’s basement (no word in the article on how many floors his house is, but I’m going to guess conservatively and say at least four) and they will maintain the schedule of only seeing each other on weekends. Do you hear me? They will live together in the same building and continue to only see each other on weekends. That’s heavenly. Short of one’s hubby being incarcerated or in a coma, this is the best possible situation for a married person to be in!

Man, I can’t wait to be old so I can shed the time-wasting games and stupidity that overcome people in love and instead focus on being pragmatic and sensible. It doesn’t make love less romantic; it makes the lovers smarter and more in tune with each other and our severely limited time on this planet. More people should consider this vista. I think these two wacky kids have a real future together. And if they don’t, I’m sure I’ll read about it. Because I cruise the obituary section too.

*Seriously though? Dating? That’s got to be an incredibly loose definition of what a date entails. I’m sure there were a lot of oxygen tanks and long rests on park benches involved in whatever they did together.

**This joke brought to you by Black History Month. “Black History Month: it’s that thing that teachers and old people guilt you into caring about.”

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