Yesterday my husband and I went out on a real date to celebrate our 13th anniversary. It was a beautiful evening and the view over the lake was amazing. My drink, bourbon with other stuff that didn't really matter since the bourbon was so good, felt very chic. We were having a lovely conversation, really connecting, you know, and then.... this nice looking older couple sitting near us turned on a suctioning machine and the mood was pretty well ruined.
Sadly, I really wanted to think it was romantic. Here they were, a couple like us, perhaps even celebrating a special occasion, and calmly dealing with a throat problem which required them to suction, first by machine and then by hand, junk out of his throat through a tube. Sigh. It wasn't romantic... no matter how hard I tried to make it so.
Meanwhile my husband looked like he was ready to vomit up the nice glass of wine he had been drinking. We ended up moving tables and I know it will be one of those moments we laugh about for a long time.... one more example of trying for the Disney version of romance and ending up flat in the middle of messy life.
I should have recognized this sentiment, in fact, since it harkens back to our wedding itself. For our first anniversary I commissioned a painter to recreate a scene, captured in video, from the reception. It appears to be a touching, romantic moment; my husband and I together, outside on the terrace, talking intimately. But what I love most about that moment was that, in fact, he was giving me Tums for my upset stomach. I have always thought it was a wonderful reminder that romance happens in the real moments of life, not the the idealized ones.
I felt really badly for the couple sharing their evening (and bodily functions) with everyone and could imagine my husband and I someday needing to help each other in the same way. Hopefully we would treat each other as kindly and gently as the woman was the man.
Long live romance!