Thursday, October 09, 2008

Nine Years of Togetherness

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my first date with Ant, and an excuse (as if we needed one) to drink Champagne (well, Prosecco actually) and reminisce about our courtship. It all began back at Waterstone's in Brighton, where we were both working in the summer of '99 - me on the ground floor in Biography and he right up the top in Computing. It's no secret that I thought he was gay when we first met - the bleached hair, loud shirts and obsession with shoes seemed to suggest as much. But after he returned from walking down to Cornwall for the eclipse, newly shorn, tanned and buff, I was eager to find one way or the other, and initiated some flirty chats over cups of tea in the staff room.

It took him a few weeks to ask me out, and even then it was a casual 'I've got a couple of passes to this magazine launch with free gin, fancy coming along?' I was living in Eastbourne at the time, so arranged to stay with some old friends in Hove, and agreed to meet him at the Ha Ha Bar, opposite the Pavilion. It was the one and only time he arrived before me for a date, and I can still picture him sitting casually on the back of a bench, wearing a green Komodo shirt and his pea jacket, grinning as I walked up to greet him. Bombay Sapphire was flowing (literally) freely inside - I don't even like gin, but on a bookseller salary you couldn't afford to turn down free booze, and I think we were both in need of some Dutch courage. There were no seats available, so we found ourselves a cosy windowsill to sit on, and stayed there chatting until closing time.

Mobile phones were still a novelty back then, and we used that as an excuse to exchange numbers. I seem to remember he had a shiny silver one and mine was a burgundy housebrick with big rubber buttons - I still have it in a drawer somewhere. The only conversation I remember distinctly was a debate over what sort of dog the Littlest Hobo was (it's a German Shepherd, in case you're wondering) - which resulted in a bet being waged by which the loser had to treat the other to dinner at Al Fresco. Clearly this was some sort of cunning plan on his part to ensure that we went on another date - though I don't think we ever did resolve the dispute, so one of us must still owe the other a meal.



Not wanting the night to end, we took advantage of guest list places on offer at the Honey Club, and wandered down to the seafront via the Lanes. Our first kiss was whilst dancing on a podium together; my stomach still flutters to remember it (too much gin perhaps). After the club we sat on the beach until we really couldn't put off going home any longer (we both had work the next day), and I floated off back to Hove, while he headed for his place on Whippingham Road.

A few more dates ensued before it became 'official' - around the same time that he left Waterstone's to start a job working in New Media in London. We moved to London together the following February and spent a year living in Streatham before the lure of the sea brought us back to Brighton, where we have remained ever since. Like any long-term couple, we've had our ups and downs, but when I look back over our relationship it's mostly laughter and adventure I recall. So many fun holidays - India, New Zealand, Sweden, France and Belgium (to name but a few), all those illustrious parties, getting married and buying a flat, adopting our lovely mogs; the list of happy memories is a long and ever-growing one. I'll drink to that!

3 comments:

  1. nice! at least your stint at the 'stones was good for something...?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My darling it's been the bestest adventure ever, and I shall forever be greatful for the bounty of gin that hooked us up. I know well you've had to put up with unimaginable idiocy and pig headedness from me on infinite occasions- for that I am sorry and eternally grateful. As a good friend once said to you, as I lay hurling drunkenly into a wastepaper basket under my desk, 'You must be a very patient woman'.

    And I do love you very very much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This blog & subsequent comment has put only the second big smile on my face this week, brilliant...

    ReplyDelete

I don't publish anonymous or obviously self-promotional comments, so please include your name and preferably a link to your site/blog/Twitter profile if you have one.