Getting it right, finally

MY FIRST TWO marriages failed, and maybe it was because of how I proposed to those wives. I don’t recall how I did it the first time though I do remember why. That was over half a century ago. But I do remember how I did it the second time.

We were in a restaurant on Westheimer Boulevard in Houston. I did not get down on one knee. I did not have a ring lurking in a champagne flute. There was no music. The waiters did not sing ‘O Sole Mio. I told her we should get married so she could get on my employer-provided medical insurance. She had no coverage.

She swooned. I was such a romantic guy.

We had been living together at that point for seven years.

Perhaps if ObamaCare had existed, we never would have wed, and I would have been spared lots of pain, grief and expense.

By the third time, I had learned, matured, wised up and sobered up.

I did get down on my knee, and I did have a ring. And where did I do it? Where these two pre-Hispanic pyramids join, right there at their base. You see it early in the video, the V between the two structures. That’s where it happened about 18 years ago.

And medical insurance had nothing to do with it.

The Valentine Meatloaf

Leo

THE SEX MOTEL next door is offering a Valentine’s discount this week, two hours of heavy breathing and howls for 100 pesos (about $5.50 U.S.), the price of a sleazy hooker in West Virginia. But here it’s BYOP, bring your own partner.

Valentine’s Day has additional meaning for the two of us at the Hacienda. It was on Valentine’s Day in 2002 that I first overnighted with my future child bride in her condo in Mexico City. We consider it an additional anniversary, the other being the official one when we legally married here in April of that same year.

That first Valentine’s was a night I’ll never forget in large part due to the godawful supper she served up. Not knowing my culinary preferences at that point, she figured she couldn’t go wrong with meat. Men want meat! What she plopped on my plate that night resembled a Meatloaf from Hell. And I ate it.

It was dreadful, but we laugh about it now.

My stomach was churning the rest of the night, which rather put a damper on the other activities I had preferred to focus on. Oh, well. It was worth it.

The winning hand

THIS MORNING WAS cold, so I stayed beneath the goose-down comforter even though I was awake, and it was almost 7 a.m., time to begin the day.

My child bride had not said a word, usually an indicator that she’s asleep because if she’s awake, she’s talking. No matter. I reached over and held her hand.

She has sleek, soft, beautiful hands. It’s one of her finest features, and she has lots of lovely features. Her skin is like silk. I made a mental comparison right then and there between the hand I was holding and the hand of my previous wife.

55438_hand_lgThough, oddly, I do not recall the first time I held my child bride’s hand, I do remember the first time I held the hand of my last wife, the second ex, over 40 years ago. We were walking down Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.

It’s a big step the first time you hold the hand of a person you’re “seeing.” I remember thinking that faraway afternoon on Esplanade Avenue that her hand was a bit pudgy, which was unusual because she was not pudgy at all. Quite the contrary.

It was not unpleasant, but it was slightly pudgy. I’m guessing it’s a European genetic carryover she brings from St. Louis, Missouri, and, even further back, rural ancestors in Alsace-Lorraine. She was a pretty woman, and she had a spectacular butt, which is likely what caught my attention in the first place.

Men are like that.

But my child bride wins, hands down, in the hands department. She also has beautiful legs. I always wanted to be married to a woman with gorgeous gams, and now I am, even though she’s 59 years old. Legs are the last thing to go, she’s told me.

She has slightly Oriental eyes too, which is not rare in Mexico. Probably has to do with those long-ago Chinamen who crossed the Bering Strait, heading south to better beaches.

But I could not see her slanty eyes this morning in the chill, near-dawn darkness under the goose-down comforter. I could only feel that hand, sleek and smooth.

It was so nice.

Is marriage hard work?

A FRIEND RECENTLY wrote that marriage is hard work. He has only been married once, and still is. I have been married three times, which gives me a better, I think, perspective on this matter.

Is marriage really hard work?

It’s not necessarily hard work, but it surely can be, depending on who you are and to whom you’re married. Your age has lots to do with it, especially the age you were when you tied the knot. Marriage is easier when you start late. That’s not always the case, but it is most of the time, I believe.

Let’s look at my three marriages and the level of work they entailed.

Number One was a self-inflicted shotgun marriage. That means we got married because “we” were pregnant. I say the shotgun marriage was self-inflicted because getting married was my idea, not that of my child’s mother.

She was prepared to go down another route.

I could have left the shotgun in the closet and gone about my business, as many would have done. I didn’t. Not sure why. But it led into a difficult marriage, one that was hard work indeed. I worked at it five years.

Then I hightailed it and began a six-year vacation.

Number Two. I’m not sure whether this was hard work or not because I was into the sauce by this time. I was stone sober at work, often not when off work. Wife Number Two eventually decided it was hard work, at least for her, because she called it quits after about 19 years. Maybe it wasn’t hard work for her at first.

I was cast out into yet another six-year vacation.

Number Three. Here’s where other factors kick in, mainly cultural differences, ones that make matrimony much less work, at least for men. The stereotype of fiery, in-your-face, Latina women aside, the reality is that Latinas are far more accommodating than Gringa gals.

Militant feminism, which has resulted in many American women ending up alone,* is not a significant force in Latino Land. Latinas do not subscribe to the phrase, incorrectly attributed to Gloria Steinem, that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.**

In Latino culture, marriage can be hard work for women, but it’s rarely so for us guys. For us, it’s usually a cake walk, so much so that we can have one family on one side of town and another on the other side. Literally.

Since one wife at a time is enough for me, and I do not think my child bride considers our matrimony to be hard work, I declare my current situation to be a stroll in the park. It’s not hard work at all.

So, is marriage hard work? It can be. It’s far less likely to be hard work if you move out of the United States in a southerly direction. For men, at least.

* * * *

* My second ex-wife is an example of this. A child of the ’60s, she has dumped two bicycles husbands. I was the second.

** An Australian woman, Irina Dunn, said it.