Tagged by the Queen o’Memes.
What are your middle names?
Mine are Jane Louise, his is George. I’ve seen lots of other memes transform these names into an alternative life of the couple, but I really can’t do anything with them, unless it’s to gesture towards the characters of a Barbara Pym novel. It is in any case much more telling that when I mentioned this meme to my husband he said ‘Don’t forget you’re writing about Litlove and Mr Litlove, not about you and me. I want to be my best self; none of that reality stuff.’ I just smiled sweetly. Really, there is such delicious power in being the scribe of the family.
How long have you been together?
We’ve been together since 1987, so 22 years. We’ve reached the tipping point; I’ve been with him longer than I’ve been without him.
How long did you know each other before you began dating?
Not long at all, a few weeks? We met when we went up to university. I needed to wear my glasses but was much too vain back then to do so (in the days before contacts), so I was relieved to find a nice person I could always spot in a crowd because he was blond and 6 foot 4. There is much debate as to whether we were friends first; I say yes, he says no.
Who asked whom out?
It was a case of innocence seduced, dear readers. We were supposed to be going to a Halloween party, but when I arrived at his room I was wearing the requisite black and he was still in jeans and a blue shirt, saying ‘I thought we might open the wine here first.’ I thought, oh aye? The rest is history.
How old are you?
He turned 41 yesterday, I’ll turn 40 in a month’s time. How can we possibly have grown so old? In our heads, we’re still at college.
Whose siblings do you see the most?
Neither’s at the moment! His live scattered across the world, one in Canada, one in Brussels, one in the north of England. Mine lives a few streets away from my parents. But what with my chronic fatigue over the past few years and his commitments to work and rowing, we haven’t seen much of our wider families. We met up with everyone over Christmas, though.
Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?
We’re appalling arguers because we both avoid conflict. We have a tendency to drag things out over days of excessive politeness that could be better resolved with a brief fight. And we need to talk. When life is busy and we don’t get the chance to connect with one another we can quite quickly end up in our separate shells and regretting it.
Did you go to the same school?
I went to a local mixed comprehensive, he went to a select boys only private school. I couldn’t believe that anyone who had reached the age of 19 with two sisters could be quite so utterly clueless about women. And it seems to be a kind of default setting; years of intensive teaching have yet to remedy the lack. Still, I can honestly claim never to have lost my feminine mystique for him.
Are you from the same home town?
Despite meeting at university, we are. It turned out that our parents lived (still live) only ten minutes apart from one another. However, the border between two counties runs between us: he comes from Suffolk (typical local news headline: ‘Jam Triumph for WI at Annual Garden Fete’) whereas I come from Essex (typical local news headline: ‘Gangland Shooting Bodies Dumped Off A12’). He has never let me forget it.
Who is smarter?
Academically, me. My husband is slightly dyslexic (that’s my compassionate diagnosis) with highly creative spelling and an extraordinary memory that transforms as it goes along. Everything comes out having taken a few steps to the left of where it went in (example: Him: I hate that awful band, New Boys On The Street. Me: Would that be New Kids On The Block?). However, when it comes to practical intelligence he beats me hands down. When civilization breaks down, I’m going to be relying on him for our survival.
Who is the most sensitive?
Me, by about a million miles. It must be lovely, I often think, to be as insulated and as unnoticing as my husband. He wafts about in this delightful dream where everything is as he might wish it to be inside his head. Curiously, this means he is the only person in the world to whom I am blunt to the point of rudeness. Not that I feel good about it. ‘You made me say it! You made me!’ I will cry. ‘I’d exhausted every possibility for hinting and you didn’t pay the blindest bit of notice’
Where do you eat out most as a couple?
I’m sorry, eat out? We have a child, you know. There’s a pub in the village that does a nice thai chicken curry, and we’ve been known to go there occasionally. Then in Cambridge there’s an Italian restaurant at the back of my college, and a French one to the other side of it that does a gorgeous magret de canard. But really, it’s a rare treat.
Where is the furthest you have traveled together as a couple?
New York, for a wedding at which my husband was the best man. I discovered on this trip that my calibration with my time zone is extraordinary (see question about sensitivity). I was jet lagged for the entire four days we were there, and hadn’t altered my body clock by a second by the time we set off for home. It was so miserable being given all these nice meals and being unable to eat them, my stomach firmly convinced it was two in the morning and a ludicrous time for food.
Who has the craziest exes?
Ummm, I’m the only one with exes. And they were all rather lovely, actually. My husband does keep a list of people he has called over the years ‘my unsuitable suitors’. I don’t know what he means, but this story may be relevant.
Who has the worst temper?
Me, but then my husband has no temper at all. He has a very narrow bandwidth of emotion and only ever becomes grumpy when his blood sugar is low. I keep an eye on this because he doesn’t notice it himself (see question on sensitivity). He does this strange thing when traveling of shutting down completely, going on standby, almost, and he used to refuse to countenance food and drink. I was too malleable when young and used to go along with this, but suddenly I understood why we ended up wretched and tired at our destinations, and that it was a problem easily solved.
Who does the most cooking?
I do. I’m fussier about what I want to eat and how I want it to be, and I have serious standards of hygiene. My husband is rather blasé about use-by dates and so when he cooks I all too often fear for our lives.
Who is the most stubborn?
Alas, we are both extremely stubborn, and our poor son has received a double dose of pig-headed DNA.
Who hogs the bed most?
He does. Many a morning I will wake, lying on my side, perched on the sliver of the bed’s edge. ‘I came over to keep you warm!’ he will protest.
Who does the laundry?
When we were very first married, I spent an afternoon lovingly ironing his shirts, the perfect image of a devoted housewife. When he returned from work he looked at them with discontent. ‘That’s not the way my mother does it,’ he said. At that point I stepped away from the ironing board and never stepped back. However, the fact that laundry is my husband’s responsibility makes me very wary of what I put out to wash. It’s quite possible the seasons will have changed before I see it again. But I refuse to give in; one little slip and the years of resistance will have all been for naught.
Who’s better with the computer?
Oh him, absolutely. I cling to my technological ignorance and bleat for computer support when it all goes wrong.
Who drives when you are together?
We used to be quite good at sharing, but since chronic fatigue I let him do all the long haulage trips. However, given that I don’t drink, it’s always me who drives us back from social events. If I read this as a metaphorical question, however (which I am inclined to do), then it’s clear that we are neither of us happy to be life’s passengers. He likes to be getting places, and I perform the equivalent of obsessive map reading, and so usually, with a little bit of bickering and the odd wrong turn, we end up where we need to be.
Edited to say: tagged if you want to do this!