Friday, November 07, 2008
How I found my very own Domestic God! by Robin Kaye
When I was almost twenty-four, my Italian mother informed me that it was about time I thought about getting married. I wasn’t surprised. In our family and neighborhood, that’s the way things were done.
“Robin,” she said, “I bought something for you today.”
“Really?” I thought that was odd, because at the time, I wasn’t on her most beloved daughter list. To tell you the truth, I rarely am.
She gave me her much-practiced and highly perfected ‘what-have-I-ever-done-to-deserve-your-distrust?’ look. I can attest that’s a hard look to come by. As a mother of three almost-teenagers, I’m still trying to perfect mine.
I pasted on a feigned apologetic smile and went to see what she’d bought me. It was a book, so I was thrilled. After I read the title, How To Marry The Man of Your Choice, the thrill diminished considerably.
Mom shot me her I-know-what’s-best-for-you glare and said the six words I’ll never forget. “Twenty-four, wed or dead. Your choice.”
I laughed, because after all, she had to be joking. Right? So, being the good daughter I was, I thanked her skulked away.
I wasn’t looking to get married. Ever. And while I won’t get into the reasons for this decision, let’s just say they were, and still are, valid. But even though I wasn’t looking to get married, that didn’t mean I wasn’t looking for a more serious relationship. Since my taste in men up to that point had sucked—I apologize to all my exes—I decided to use the book to try to date the man of my choice.
The main theme of the first few chapters, if I remember correctly—and that’s questionable, considering it’s been almost 20 years—was for the reader to figure out what she wanted in a man. Specific things. Short, tall, build, income, religion, nationality, etc.
I knew I wanted someone who was easy going; someone who wasn’t a big drinker or partier; someone who got along well with his family and wouldn’t mind my slightly dysfunctional one. I wanted him to be intelligent and kind, employed in a job/career he enjoyed. I wanted someone with a goal in life and the guts to work toward it. I wasn’t looking for a rich man, just one with potential. But my deal breaker, that one thing I just couldn’t tolerate, was a man who was looking for a caretaker. I wanted a man who could cook, clean, do laundry, and take care of himself. If he ended up cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry for me, all the better.
The book said that on the first meeting—you know, the coffee, drink, or lunch to see if you like each other enough to commit to dinner —you should interview the man. Now, it did say to not make it sound like an interview. Since most people like to talk about themselves and love it when someone of the opposite sex takes an interest in them, it wouldn’t be difficult to get the information I needed.
The gist of the method was to expedite the dating process. If you find out the man isn’t what you’re looking for, don’t date him. Don’t waste your time and take the chance of falling for someone wrong for you. That made sense to me.
Within a week, I met someone I was interested in. He worked as a construction manager and was in charge remodeling my office building, a million dollar job. Now remember, this was almost 20 years ago, so a million bucks wasn’t chump change. Not only that, but he was good-looking. He used the phone in my office, so I had the opportunity to watch him conduct business. He was well-spoken, calm, efficient, and like I said, yummy.
I asked him out to lunch. He accepted and answered all my questions. The only problem I saw was his age. He was very young, two years younger than me. I never dated anyone my own age, much less younger, but I decided not to hold it against him and asked him out on a proper date.
When he came to pick me up, he met my mother. Usually my mother didn’t approve of my boyfriends, but she met Stephen and immediately asked if we’d like to come back for dinner. I was tempted to see if she had a high fever—inviting my date over for dinner was unheard of. Stephen looked at me. Unfortunately, I was too shocked to say no, so he accepted. We went off to spend the afternoon together and returned to have a nice five-course Italian dinner. After he helped me with the dishes, mom suggested we rent a movie.
I explained to my mother that it was late and the poor guy lived 60 miles away, but she was unphased and answered, “That’s okay, he can sleep on the couch.”
Stephen did, and spent every weekend thereafter sleeping on my couch. Every Saturday I would clean my house, and Stephen jumped right in to help. The day my mother and I walked out of her room to find Stephen holding the couch up with one hand while he vacuumed underneath, she said, “Marry him.”
For once, my mother really did know what was best for me. Stephen and I were engaged four months after our first date, and married four months after that.
I know, I said I’d never marry. I honestly never wanted to until I met Stephen. He was exactly the man I was looking for. He was my very own domestic god, and he still is. We’ll celebrate our 19th anniversary on the 25th of this month, and the 20th anniversary of our first date on April Fool’s Day. Fitting, isn’t it?
How did you find your domestic, or not so domestic god? Leave a comment and email addy and have a chance to win a book. I will give away one book at the end of the day to one lucky commentor.