My husband was delivered to my door like a pizza. I’d love to say it was love at first sight, but it would be more accurate to say lust at first Google. Here’s how it happened.
My producer kindly let me stay in his flat while he was away. I received an email to say that Dan, an American he knew from LA, was travelling to London on business and needed a place to stay and would it be OK if he stayed in the spare room? “Boo-hoo, can’t he get a hotel?” I huffed as I Googled him. “He’s probably some lonely old man and I’m going to have to have awkward conversations with him outside the bathroom. What if he’s creepy?”
I scrolled through an image search and soon began to realise that if anything, I was the creepy one. He was hot. Curly dark hair. Dimples. Great arms. “He can stay,” I emailed back far too quickly and continued to search. It was then that I struck gold. The hotty coming to stay in my flat was a world champion competitive air guitarist.
A bit of background. My 20s had been, I think it’s fair to say, romantically experimental. I came out of a six-year relationship at the age of 25 and went on to date a string of useless, depressed, egotistical boy-men, predominantly quasi-employed actors and comedians. I really knew how to pick them. I then fell in love with a scientist, only to discover he was having an affair and I was the other woman. On the rebound from that, I had strung along some poor sod for months just because I really liked his choice of restaurants. I even convinced myself that I might be able to marry him.
Then things calmed down. It went quiet. Silent, almost. At this point I became certain I was gay. Tried being gay. Was not gay. Then became convinced I must have overlooked someone, so doubled back on myself and rekindled with an ex. Had not overlooked someone. Had been right the first time.
When I first saw my husband in real life, my first thought was: “Bit short.” My second thought was: “I would like to eat your face.” And my third thought was: “What’s the other guy doing here?” My producer-landlord was back in town, which meant he was staying in a hotel while I stayed in his flat with his fit friend Dan. The three of us went for dinner and I subtly attempted to gather intel about Dan’s relationship status. He was divorced. Intriguing. I had to bite my tongue. It is not polite to ask a man you barely know why he got divorced. I ascertained that he was single but I still had so many questions. “So many questions!” I blurted in a high-pitched squeal as I flicked my hair off my shoulders, something the congregation at our wedding were told was the moment it became fairly apparent I was attracted to him.
The two of us walked back to the flat. “Your place or mine?” I joked on the way home. If we weren’t married, it’s the sort of thing that I would cringe myself to sleep about every night. Dan went to bed in the spare room and I lay awake next door plotting ways to hang out with him socially without seeming desperate. I casually invited him to a comedy gig I was going to with my sister-in-law. I texted her.
With this, she sent me a picture of the two of them when they had worked together five years ago on a commercial shoot in South Africa. My new in-laws have a Yiddish word for this romantic coincidence – they call it bashert, which I think roughly translates in Yorkshire to “a reet small world”.
At the gig, I noticed that Dan was a big laugher and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. We all got drunk and he wanted to go somewhere to dance. His air-guitar moves were very much my jam. The stranger who came to stay in my spare room did not stay in the spare room for long.
It was a whirlwind few days and I thought it might just be a fling but a few weeks later, I thought I’d play it cool and … fly across the Atlantic for a second date. This is the problem with initiating a relationship with a man who lives 5,000 miles away. At some point, one of you will have to disembark from a 10-hour flight with matted hair and the whiff of plane farts still on your skin and wheel an enormous suitcase towards a near-stranger, which doesn’t exactly scream: “I can take it or leave it.”
We leapt straight into a long-distance relationship and miraculously, we managed to stay together despite time-zone differences, mounting air fares and extreme carbon footprint remorse. Eighteen months later, we were engaged and lots of people liked to nod earnestly at the news and tell me that of course when you meet the man you want to marry, “you just know”.
What I would like to say about that is: it is absolute bullshit. I didn’t know at all, and neither did he. Marriage is basically a dare. We hope. It is an adventure. It was an insane act of blind faith when I got on that plane. As our entire relationship has proved, anything can happen. You just never know what’s going to show up on your doorstep.