Do you remember the song “1999” by Prince?
“Say, say two thousand zero zero, party over,
Oops, out of time.
So tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999.”
That song came out when I was fourteen years old. I remember doing the math and realizing I was going to be thirty-one in 1999. I cried. I cried because I was going to miss the biggest party of the century. You don’t dance when your thirty-one. You don’t make out at midnight. At fourteen, I thought that at thirty-one, for all practical purposes, you were dead. I did not die at thirty-one, and now at forty-one, I am more alive and in love than I have ever been…even at fourteen.
At fourteen he introduces you to Jim Morrison’s music and pot and takes you to roller rink where he plays hockey. A girl says, “That’s my boyfriend. Which one’s yours?” You point and blush and say, “The one in The Cure tee shirt with the earring and the bi-level haircut.” And you are so proud because he is the raddest dude in the place. At forty-one, he introduces you to his bald buddy’s punk revival band and pain pills, which he needs from decades of injuries and you need for energy. And he takes you to a skate park filled with boys on boards and bikes. A woman says, “That’s my kid. Which one’s yours” You point and blush and say, “The one in The Cure tee shirt with the beer belly and the beard.” And you are so proud because he is the raddest dude in the place.
At fourteen you know he is your soul mate because you talk on the phone every night, have both read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and love big dogs. At forty-one, you know he is your soul mate because you talk all night when you both have to get up early and go to work. And you’ve read everything and he’s read nothing, but that doesn’t matter--because he can read you better than a book. And your big dogs are your family and have taken the place of the children you both chose not to have.
At fourteen, you know he will be a good lover because he has watched porn and dated a girl two years older and he bites your bottom lip when you kiss. At forty-one, you know he will be a good lover because you are a good lover and will make certain of it, and he knows his way around when he goes down, and there is a mutual acceptance that neither body is what it used to be--but that experience and commitment can make up for a flat stomach if the lighting is just right.
At fourteen, you get jealous because he keeps a picture of his ex-girlfriend in a shoe box in his closet and still hangs out with her brother. At forty-one the ex-girlfriend is an ex-wife who he loved enough to give her his granny’s heirloom ring, offer to adopt her daughter, and wait celibate for months while she served her sentence. You wonder if a man can love that way twice in a lifetime, but you don't care. You’ll take whatever is left, which with him is more than enough.
At fourteen, you dream of a wedding with either him or a pop singer or a European royal. It really doesn’t matter as long as you get to wear a white princess dress and ride through the streets to the flower-filled church in a crystal carriage drawn by white unicorns with all your friend’s watching. You’ll hold your reception in Milan or on the moon. At forty-one, you know how hard marriage is and how often it fails. And yet, when you look in his eyes you know if you could ever spend forever with any man, it’s him. You are way past white. Besides, you know what looks good on you…you’ll wear red. There will be no flower-filled church. Neither of you believes in organized religion. And since he slept with a florist for eight years it would be rude not to employ her, but then she’d have to be at the wedding, which would be weird. You'll be wed in a bar. Instead of a crystal carriage, you’ll employ a fleet of yellow cabs to make certain all your drunken friends get home safe…cause we will party like it’s 1999.
Yes, I am more in love than I have ever been in my life. For better or worse…because at fourteen, you think you may be able to die of a broken heart. At forty-one, you know you actually can.
*This piece was written for the The Sisters Provocateur show, “Love is a Unicorn—Horny at the Start, a Myth in the End.” Frank and I had just become engaged. On this, our 2nd Wedding Anniversary, I am happy to say that I am still more in love than I have ever been in my life.*
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.