twenty months

that’s a lot of me in a row

last night, on futon:

[scripty]
PAMIE
So, I put in my journal that funny thing you said yesterday.

ERIC
What funny thing?

PAMIE
You know, where you were talking about wishing Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks could be in every movie?

ERIC
Oh, yeah.

PAMIE
Damn, that cracked me up. You’re funny.

ERIC
Yeah, well miffa-humma-hunna-muma.

PAMIE
Excuse me?

ERIC
Janeane Garofalo.

PAMIE
What about her?

ERIC
She wrote it. It’s hers.

PAMIE
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks?

ERIC
Yeah, remember that show where she’s talking about–

PAMIE
You didn’t make that up?

ERIC
No. We saw it together on Comedy Central on–

PAMIE
I can’t believe you didn’t make that up.

ERIC
As many times as we’ve watched that stand-up I’d think you’d remember it.

PAMIE
How is this my fault?

ERIC
Well, you should know.

PAMIE
Why didn’t you tell me last night when I was laughing so hard?

ERIC
Because you were laughing so hard.

PAMIE
Oh, man! Man! I’m gonna get caught.

ERIC
What do you mean?

PAMIE
My readers are smart. Remember the whole 88 lines about 44 women fiasco?

ERIC
Yeah, but I was the one who knew the song.

PAMIE
So?

ERIC
I was the one who told you what the song was.

PAMIE
I’m not blaming you for that, I’m just saying I’ll have thirty e-mails tomorrow telling me you steal other people’s material.

ERIC
Well, that 88 lines thing was not my fault.

PAMIE
I can’t believe you didn’t make that up. I even said how much I loved you because you make me laugh.

ERIC*
Well, that’s sweet. I love you, too. Terribly. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met another woman quite like you. I mean, you’re funny, charming, sexy, you know a whole lot about John Travolta… I mean, these are things that I look for in a woman. I love it when you trip and fall.

PAMIE*
I trip and fall all the time.

ERIC*
I find it more graceful than Baryshnikov. I’ve always wanted a woman who could bounce like Tigger and talk like Bobby on “King of the Hill.” I’ve always wanted to spend my life with a woman who smokes a pack a day, drinks like a fish, never makes the bed, changes the kitty litter only when she’s gagging, and nags me constantly about leaving lights on in the house and the mustard on the counter.

PAMIE*
Your mustard will go bad.

ERIC*
I know it will. And that’s why I love you so much. Because you truly care about my well-being. You look out for me. You want me to succeed. I don’t care about fame or fortune. I just want to be by your side forever. I love you.

PAMIE
You stole material from Janeane Garofalo.

ERIC*
And somehow, in this crazy, twisted world that we call love, it all makes sense, doesn’t it?

(* writer’s interpretation)
[/scripty]

Anyway, that’s how I like to remember the conversation. You got a problem with that? It’s our twenty month anniversary today. Isn’t that just so sweet you want to stick yourself in the hand with a fork? We still count by months. We do. You treat the relationship’s age like a baby’s age. You count by months until they are two, and then you start using the fractions (2 and a half, three and three-quarters) until you reach ten, and then you just do it by the years until I guess you reach that “Quarter of a Century” boast and then probably after that it’s everyone else’s job to remind you how long you’ve been together.

And it’s just so easy to break down the first two years of a relationship:

Month One.

You have met the new person and you are smitten. You blush when you think about him/her. You spend hours upon hours on the phone. You are never hungry. You make plans for the two of you to go out, but you both never seem to leave the house, but instead Christen every section of the apartment with displays of your new-found passion. You lose ten pounds. You look terrific. Other people comment on how great you look. You wear matching bras and panties. Sometimes you wear no panties. If you are a guy you are willing to wear matching bras and panties if that’s the kind of thing she’s into. You pay extra attention to your hair and makeup. You get up early to brush your teeth, and then you go back to bed.

Month Three.

People tease you two about being joined at the hip. You marvel that you have found something that no one else in the world has found. You never fight, only have disagreements that are quickly resolved (and you usually get your way). Somehow you just don’t spend as much time kissing and petting as you did last month. You feel like maybe now that you have sex, rubbing and romancing have tended to slip away a little. You start wearing more cologne or perfume. Your Significant Other asks what that smell is. You shower, change, change again, and decide that none of your clothes are right and you are just a big fat fatty cow. You wonder what your SO sees in you. You push those thoughts aside and go out to eat. You notice that you and your SO are spending much more money than you used to, because now you are eating out almost every night, where you used to just stay in and have sex. Your ten pounds are back, and they seem to have brought some friends.

Month Six.

There’s a funny smell in the mornings. You realize it’s the two of you. No one is trying to impress anyone in bed in the mornings anymore. You are now infused with several couple friends who want to just hang out and do couple things. You don’t ever want to go to the movies ever, ever again. You start to wonder if this is the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, since you just spent half of the last year with him or her. Your panic button is hit, and suddenly you two are arguing. “Why do you have to be right all the time?” your SO asks you.

“I can’t help it!” You shout back, “I’m just usually right!”

You meet SO’s parents, who seem to think that you’re okay, but they can’t help but wonder where you came from. Your SO’s lease is running out, so you invite him or her to move in. Besides, it would just save the two of you so much money. You are truly in love, and you are willing to work on the little things because the big thing is so much fun. Your SO meets your parents, and seems a little frightened. You figure it out– they think that’s what you are going to be like in thirty years. You panic slightly, too.

Month Nine.

You two are sitting over the dining room table arguing about who is going to go out and pay the cable bill. One of you does all the work around here. I’m not pointing fingers, I’m just saying that someone isn’t holding up their fair share of the bill. One of you is curious as to why the other one suddenly wants to spend time with “friends.” The other one says, “Because I need some time away from you.”

“Well, you can get all the way away from me on that couch over there.”

Sex has dwindled down to once or twice a week. You think about getting away together, planning a vacation, but unfortunately you two are broke, because you spent all your money moving the other one in. New furniture and such had to be bought to make the place look like “Ours” and not “Yours.” One of your couple friends breaks up. You both feel so vulnerable and lonely at the thought of you going through that. You hold each other and pledge your love.

“Thank God I have you,” you both say.

One Year.

Bells and whistles on anniversary night. You go to a friend’s wedding. You only hear one question all night long, from close friends and perfect strangers: “So, when are you two getting married?” Your SO looks like a deer in headlights, and begins knocking back Jack and Cokes from the free bar. Your SO gets up on a table at one point and says, “I love this person here right next to me. And I don’t have to get married to prove it. I don’t have to sign no papers or squirt out kids. I don’t have to get all my friends and family in a room to prove it. I don’t have to listen to the constant nagging and live through the lack of sex. I got all I want right here.” You’re pretty sure that you aren’t flattered, and you spend the next month asking your SO what it is he or she wants from you in this relationship. Ever since the wedding your SO has wanted to make love every single evening. You have no complaints. You decide to get a cat.

Sixteen Months.

“Happy Anniversary!” You shout as your SO walks in from a long day of work.
“What? Oh, Jesus. Didn’t we just have one?”
“It’s sixteen months! Sixteen months of me!”
“I think you’re obsessing. I didn’t get you a present.”
“That’s okay.”

But it’s not. You begin to obsess that your SO isn’t as interested in you as you thought they were. Is his or her interest starting to fade? You start doing things for your SO all the time. Presents, little notes, meals. Your SO starts to move further and further away from you on the couch.

“What’s wrong with you?” he/she asks. “Why are you so clingy?”
“Because I love you,” you say.
“I love you too, but I don’t need to wear you.”

You realize that you are trying the wrong tactic, and start playing it cool. Your SO wants space? You can give space. You don’t ask to go out, don’t invite him or her out, and stop calling him or her at work.

you are terribly, terribly lonely.

“Are you not happy with me?” Your SO asks. “I just feel like we aren’t getting along lately.”

You jump back into your SO’s arms and say, “I just didn’t know what you wanted!” And you think to yourself, “It worked! It worked! Mine forever!”

You don’t ever want to see your couple friends anymore. You feel like you are dating eight people. The cat scratches you whenever you go near him.

Eighteen Months.

You finally go on that vacation you had been planning. You have a terrific time together, and rekindle all sorts of love. You buy souvenirs for all of your couple friends and plan a huge party with them when you get back. Everything is beautiful and you love each other and everything feels right and good and the world is a wonderful place and you are so happy that you are together. You don’t even mind when the cat pukes on your bed. Oh, yeah, it’s that kind of happy.

Twenty Months.

You find out that your SO steals material from top comedians. You suddenly realize that he probably didn’t come up with that Puffy Shirt or the seven words you can’t say on television. You are going to go home and ask him if he really came up with that bit about smashing watermelons on your couple friends when they are over.

Happy twenty months, shmoopie.

Okay, okay, you can all puke in unison together now.

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