Valentine’s day massacred: in sickness and for poorer

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By Henry Shires

 

 

I have done many things for love in my life. Like jetting to Brazil only to be told, on arrival “Ze love (and the holiday of a lifetime) has gone!”

 

Finding love took time. . . and a battleship load of money, spent on RSVP “Australia’s Number 1 dating site”.

 

In the course of ten years, starting in 2002, I contacted approximately 1,822 women (and a couple of men). I interviewed, or more often was interviewed by, about 187 of them. At most of these interviews, I was knocked out in the first round by the three most popular questions:

 

Q: What sports do you follow?

A: British TV Wrestling 1974 – 1976.

 

Q: What kind of car do you own?

 A: My mum’s.

 

Q: How much are you worth? You know your income, property, assets, life insurance, all up?

 A: Now THAT is a very philosophical question.

 

And then I met Louise.

 

“You’ve brought me to my knees. I love you even more than cheese” Louise.

 

Louise was a real “real” person. She was intelligent, caring, facilitating. And beautiful and stylish, to a fault. That fault being shopaholism that could make Imelda Marcos look like Scrooge.

 

But then I share exactly the same addiction. As well as the probably more dangerous one of red wine and cheese in all their glorious incarnations (including cake). And almost every form of cake, particularly the latest “crossover” confectionaries like “cruffins” and the even more latest trend, “duffcruffins” which are croissant muffins stuffed with Mars Bars. And THEN re-deepfried!

 

Henry, Louise and Basho mid-kiss

 

All these, really only added to our love and compatibility. But also to our waistlines.

 

So we tied the knot (the Buddhist prayer beads kind) and had an extremely lovely and loving new age wedding on good ol’ St Kilda Beach. Luckily not too many people had been doing a number two upstream that particular day.

 

And then I had my “emergency, life-saving” heart procedure (not quite on the day of the wedding but close). Followed in quick succession by a major ol’ skool mental breakdown into Extreme Panic Disorder and Severe Depression (For once it is ok by me if you are not laughing too loudly, at this point).

 

After which, as they say in all the best clichéd pieces of writing, “things were never quite the same”.

 

For Louise, our story was about searching for a nice, artistic, not too materialistic man and then finding him. Only for him to be revealed, almost overnight, to be an intrinsically flawed, potential “bull goose looney”. That made Louise change.

 

The thing is you always desperately want your partner to change. At least a little. And they inevitably do. But usually, they don’t change in the ways you wanted them to, or even at the time you wanted them to.

 

So, before my very eyes, Louise the Zen yogini transformed herself, remarkably into Louise the increasingly successful, hard-nosed, no-nonsense, social media marketing and communications guru. She lost her previously angelic ability to bear with “fools” gladly. She even road raged sometimes.

 

But, don’t get me wrong. I still love Louise. With all my life. And most of my money, what little there is of it. And my still good-for-a-lifetime guarantee to “Never, ever, even on my birthday, forget to put the bins out on the ‘right’ day. So long as we both shall live”.

 

The engaged couple

 

It’s just that I no longer know who the Louise I now love is.

 

And I do, desperately sometimes, miss the, in-all-senses-of-the-word lighter Louise I first met. And then married. Only four very short, but terribly tumultuous, years ago.

 

The unfrowning, always-up-for-a-dance, more frequently up for some love making, perhaps more keen on me in particular, or perhaps more keen on men in general, longer-haired Louise.

 

Though Louise still has absolutely, and you don’t need to Google to verify this, the most beautiful hair in the world. And the most flexible Yoga-ed legs. And the shapeliest hands, even if they are tiny like Donald Trump’s.

 

If I can love a woman with Trump’s hands, then this must be the ultimate accolade to the enduring beauty of her person. And her pretty modest, yet at the same time highly altruistic, dreams for herself and this turbulent and combustible world.

 

Anyway, when I look in our greasy, not-cleaned-often-enough-on-financial-grounds-bathroom mirror, the man I see looks remarkably different too. A man ‘older’ than the one who met the ‘lighter’ Louise, together in sickness and for poorer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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