Richard is in disgrace. He doesn’t know this yet, but he is.
It started with a bit of reminiscing the other night – how we met, things we used to do, places we’d been etc etc. All very nice. It beats discussing our ongoing ant problem, which is the usual topic of conversation these days. (Ant Watch update for those who have been following the saga: No recent sightings of the little bleeders, but we now have a household slug to add to our menagerie of pestilence)
For the record, we met online - NOT via online dating; he used to read an old incarnation of my blog - shortly after his girlfriend of 6 years had split up with him and moved to London. He was heartbroken and miserable. I had been single (the flighty, man juggling type rather than the crazy cat lady variety) for about 2 years and was happy to provide counselling and advice from my corner of the internet.
“Have fun, sleep with unsuitable women, enjoy the time on your own and whatever you do, don’t get into another relationship for a long, long time,” I typed.
18 months later, I found myself walking down the aisle of my local church to marry him*, entirely convinced that I was doing the right thing, but baffled as to how I got there.
As far as I remembered, we’d met for a drink after a couple of months of emailing, spent the entire time laughing at each other, he forgot his ex immediately and then…he was just there.
A couple of months in, he mentioned that it might be a good idea if he moved in with me so we didn’t spend every weekend travelling between Harrogate and Manchester. Probably a very sensible idea, I agreed, vaguely thinking that this might be something to consider in three or four months time. Two weeks later, I had a flat full of man crap and a live in Richard. A few months later, I had a nice sparkly ring on my finger and my mother was wiping the sweat off her brow after being convinced that I’d never settle down after the messy break-up I’d had with my ex two years previously.
In retrospect, this is all a bit disconcerting, and even though I’ve been with him for 5 years now (and married for 4), I do sometimes wonder if one day he’ll wake up in horror when he realises that he accidentally married his rebound fling and had a child with her.
My mistake was questioning him about this.
“Why exactly did you decide you wanted to marry me when you were in no way ready to have another relationship?” I asked.
“Buying”, was his answer.
To explain, Richard works as a buyer. When I met him, he was a music buyer (very attractive, that. He was always taking me along to see up-and-coming bands, off to award ceremonies and on various VIP guest lists). He then moved on to DVDs (lots of red carpet moments and film premieres) and I’m not allowed to talk about what he does now as it is a Top Secret Project. As most buyers do, he has the gift of the gab and endless charm. He can talk anybody into anything and uses various dirty tricks to get the best deals. He’s devoted to his job, knows his stuff and does it brilliantly. And, apparently, he ‘bought’ me.
He looked at me like I was a bit simple.
“First rule of buying, Lise: Get in there before the competition. You’re funny, you’re pretty, you’re low maintenance, you’re great. If I could see the deal, other men would be able to, and one of them might have been ready to settle down. You don’t leave a good deal on the shelf if it’s not the right time – you snap it up and work out what to do with it later.”
“Interesting analogy, Richard. Are you fond of your balls?”
“I don’t know what you’re bothered about, you were my best buying decision ever!” (wide eyes, palms upwards, wheeler dealer charm in full evidence).
“And my second best buying decision was when I got that great deal on the Lost box set, and you know that set the industry standard for the retail price…”
So, there we have it. Not only am I a prolonged rebound fling, I am also a buying decision, albeit a particularly astute one. Romance is not dead, it’s just interchangeable with media procurement.
*Looking back, I should have taken this as a warning that he was going to ignore everything I advised him to do for the rest of our lives. Bugger.