Monday, July 25, 2011

Faking it - What we did for love...

ROSEMARY: A week or so ago Hank wrote that she'd gone gliding once with a former boyfriend. Actually she said beau, but I'm not sure I'm cool enough to use the word beau without it being something in French or about Jeff Bridges' brother.
She did it for love.

My husband has frequently described this or that woman as a "pre-nuptial sports fan. "No, honey, I'd really love to see the mixed martial arts championships with you and your friends this Saturday!" Sure you would.

There's a fun scene in an old Bette Midler movie (Outrageous Fortune) in which she and Shelley Long compare notes on what uncharacteristic things they've done to stay connected to the relatively new beau - one baked cookies, the other sewed Halloween costumes for an imaginary class of underprivileged students the man created just to get both women in the sack.

I'm usually pretty good at saying what I like or don't like - those of you who know me well feel free to guffaw here - but I've occasionally sucked it up for the good of the relationship. There were a few operas where I wished I'd brought toothpicks to keep my eyes open. And there was the eight course Paul Bocuse meal I pretended to enjoy because it was so hard to get a reservation and it cost a small fortune.

I'm not looking for any "oh baby, you're a god" moments, but what (else) have you faked for a partner or a friend?

ROBERTA: snort, giggle--we are laughing Ro! Okay, I picked up both tennis and golf for the good of a guy. Luckily, both turned out to be things I enjoyed just fine on my own. In fact, were it not for John and his obsession with golf, I probably wouldn't have started writing!

But skiing, that's a different story. :)."
Vermont skiing: I'm talking ice and whistling winds and fighting kids. In the early days, I went gamely along to be a good sport (you can all laugh here), but it was never my favorite activity. I was always worse than everyone else, by far. And the equipment adds up to more than your body weight. And the boots absolutely kill. And those romantic versions of crackling fires in the ski lodge? Forget about it--jammed with screaming children and loud teenagers. Unfortunately, my birthday usually falls on or about Martin Luther King weekend. So we would head up north with the kids and about 6 million other families. One year it was fifty degrees below zero. Get the picture?

Now when skiing comes up, I say "have a nice time honey

JULIA: I dated a much older man toward the end of my college days. He adored foreign films (old black and white ones, especially) and opera, neither of which I had much exposure to. The movies - oh, my God, I can't tell you how boring they were. But I went. The only takeaway I got from them was the ability to BS with the best of them about Jacques Tati and Michelangelo Antonioni. Hint: sex = capitalist oppression. Or Citroen = capitalist oppression.

HANK: SO funny.

JULIA: Opera was another story. He took me to see Cosi Fan Tutti and Abduction from the Seraglio and I was hooked. Opera has remained one of the great pleasures of my life. I don't get the chance to see a live performance very often (we have no resident or even seasonal opera company in Maine) but I'm on the radio every Saturday, listening to Live From the Metropolitan. Someday - someday! - I'll go there in person.

ROSEMARY: I've grown to love opera..especially the Italian ones. You should let me know the next time you're in NYC.

HANK: Me, too.

HALLIE: Oh, Julia, I'd forgotten about the movies! A guy I dated in college was into martial arts movies. Yawn. Fortunately he was also into Chinese food and knew some of the best places in New York's Chinatown to eat. And then there was the boyfriend with the motorcycle--NOT my preferred method of transport. I had to meet him down the block because my mother would have had a fit if she'd known I was riding around on the back of one. We're talking pre-helmet era. Scary to even think about it.

Fortunately my husband and I have most of the same interests. Art. Birds. Nature. Food. Wine. And of course yard sales. Though he takes everything to extremes.

DEBS: Oh, Hallie, the boyfriend with the motorcycle . . . Maybe it was the same one? I had to meet him around the block because my parents would have KILLED me for getting on it, and just to prove them right, I got a huge burn on the inside of my calf from the exhaust pipe. Still have the scar. Can't remember what story I made up to explain it.

As for my DH, although his idea of fun is generally more outdoorsy than mine, we've liked many of the same things for years. BUT. Isn't there always a BUT? There was the time he convinced me to go on a snorkling boat out of Cozumel. I love swimming but am not a particularly good swimmer. I'd never snorkled. The swell was heavy and I am not comfortable in deep water. They dumped us off the boat and DH swam happily off, saying, "Oh, don't worry. It's salt water. You won't drown." Need I say more?

HANK: Yeah, Roberta. One little word. Skiing. SURE, I LOVE skiing, that's what I told...hmmm..what was his name? (SURE. I love to be freezing cold, and in constant danger, and have wet feet, and attempt to ride on those lift things where there's not only no way to to get on gracefully, but certainly no way to get off without facing certain death.)

One of my favorite photos is me at Alta, standing by a sign pointing to "easiest way" and me getting ready to go the other way. You can imagine what happened.

Yes. I know skiing is great, but I am too clumsy, I fear. I remember one moment of thinking--wow, fun! And then I splatted.

Also, in another life, to prove my worth and devotion I gritted my teeth though many Tai Chi lessons. Although the impetus for that is long gone, as it turned out I eventually..liked it.

ROSEMARY: So...for you Broadway musical fans out there "can't regret, won't forget, what I did for ...loooove..!" What have you done for love? (First to guess what musical that lyric is from wins a signed copy of Dead Head.)


  1. "A Chorus Line."
    One of my favorite musical. And I loved the movie. Watched it (movie) so many times that I was supplying the lines and lyrics when I watched it with my relatives when they decided to watch it with me. Not a good idea.

    Things that i did in love or friendship that I did not like? I am sure there was plenty but right now I do not remember anything. Selective memory perhaps.

  2. Oh, sure, Tigress. NOW you get up at 4:30 to comment first. Today, I could have Rosemary's book by not Writing First.

    Thirty years ago, my pregnant wife rather dramatically announced she wouldn't raise our child in Los Angeles. She was moving back to her hometown in New Jersey. I could come, or I could stay in LA, where I grew up, where my friends and family lived, where I had a career as a financial journalist. Sigh. I moved to NJ and became a (gasp) stockbroker. Barb has been bossing me around ever since.

  3. I forgot to include in the previous comment, "A Chorus Line" used to be my favorite musical; I haven't watched the movie for ages.

    And "Faking it, in the name of friendship", watching the film "Dead Presidents" with my friends. The part of one of the American soldiers taking out from his backpack the head that he had cut off the Vietnamese man. Totally traumatized me. But I did not learn from the experience and watched the movie “Seven” with friends. Traumatized again. My friends (all male incidentally) had told me that I would love the movies, and when I said it was not films I wanted to watch, they said they had forgotten the violent parts. Thanks friends. Now I make sure to know in advance what the movie is about before I go and watch it.

  4. Wow..that was fast! Way to go, Tigress. Send your email addy to

    JJ, I didn't know you were from CA..I would have guessed FLA..more a Margaretville kind of guy! creepy as it is, i LOVE the movie Se7en. I'm a sucker for both Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey.

  5. ..that lyric was way too easy...tmw's contest will be the NYTimes crossword puzzle they will start out easy on Monday and get progressively harder.

  6. Nascar racing (sat in Dover in June 1997 in 97F heat to see "my" driver crash in lap 17 and spend the rest of the race in his air-conditioned RV in the infield), camping (sleeping in at tent this coming weekend in NY), and OLD country/western music. I think that about covers my "give-ins," but that isn't too bad for number of years I've been around the male sex. LOL

  7. Funny stories. I went downhill skiing twice with my sons before they were actually men, but it was for love. The second time we went all the way to the top of the tallest mountain at Bretton Woods. I managed to exit the lift alive, And then stood at the edge of a CLIFF. "We're supposed to go down THAT?" I squeaked. I made it, just. Stuck to cross-country after that.

    Then there's jazz, which for me is should be background music while you do something else, and then only if it isn't the discordant type. I used to go to concerts with Hugh because he loves it. Until I fell asleep in Symphony Hall listening to Herbie Hancock and several other luminaries. After that we agreed it was a waste of our money and my time to accompany him!


  8. Now I know why I'm living alone. with cats.

  9. Oh, Edith - you reminded me of the MUSIC. Once dated a student at Julliard who took me to a 'new' music concert. To me it was bangs, whistles, and toots, and a load of portentous silence.

    Debs, I have that SAME scar! Inside of the leg, above the ankle. Fortunately we didn't both get cracked skulls.

  10. Now I'm singing A Chorus Line in my head. I cant tell you how many times I've listened to that record. Yes, record.

    "I can do that!" Just came at the perfect time in my life. And can't you hear the voice? "For dance, ten. For looks, three."

  11. My husband would be laughing at this post because I'm the one who usually drags his bum somewhere to do something. I know what his answer would be, enduring two days of Irish dancing competitions. The same song is played (with an accordion) for each level and age group and the kids dance the same dance over and over. I'm impressed my husband didn't kill himself on the spot.

    But as for me, my husband (when we were still dating) got me involved in racketball and archery. Both of which I fell in love with.

    As for faking the love of something, that would be watching my husband and son compete in their karate tournaments. Belt tests are even worse.

  12. Orchestra and balcony, what you get is what you see!
    I may have to listen to that today...
    Somehow the 5 hour meal at Paul Bocuse must have seemed to short to my husband who - at my request - sat through a Phillip Glass concert. Maybe two. We left like a couple of moonies, ready to walk straight into oncoming traffic.

  13. My long list of memories proves that I was a pushover to please guys, I fear (I've grown older and wiser). Black and white Swedish movies, freezing rugby games, mountain climbing...during one climb I nearly pushed current bf off a precipice (by accident of course).
    Current husband--IRONING. When he was young and with Qantas I volunteered to iron his uniform shirts. He took one look and said, "This isn't as good as the laundry does them."
    And I have never ironed another shirt since!

  14. I'm lucky. I actually *like* sports. In thinking back, my "what I did for love" moment had more to do with intellectual pursuits. I learned to play cribbage and attempted to learn chess. The BF gave up on teaching me chess, played with his roommate while I watched...enthralled. *looks shifty eyed* I watched, too. At least my eyes were open. The brain? Even back then I was making up stories in my head.

    Lawyer Guy and I are still married after 28 years because we enjoy many of the same things but don't feel threatened when the other wanders off to do his/my own thing.

  15. You all are adorable..oxo

    Melissa, I'm howling at the irish dancing.

    (Keep the best of it, fix the rest of it!)

  16. Julia, there is too opera in Maine -- in fact PORTOpera is doing Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment this very weekend. USM School of Music puts on an opera at least once a year. I've heard good things about the Met and other opera companies streaming (?) opera in local movie theaters, too.

  17. OOh, Hank! I went gliding with a former sweetie, too -- I loved it! (And never need to go again. Like my one trip to the NYC opera.)

    When my parents were dating, they went to a minor league baseball game in St. Paul. At the end of the 9th inning, it was tied at 0 and my mother got up to go, not realizing it wasn't over. At the end of the 13th, she said she wanted to leave. My dad told her she knew where the street car was. The game lasted 17 innings. Thank heavens she stayed. :) (She should have known -- their first date was a blind date to a hockey game.)