Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Birthdays, courtship and Arthur Miller

It was my birthday the other day. Before you wonder, I'm not afraid to reveal it; 36. A year the wrong side of the demographic I'd really rather be in on surveys (why is it always 35-54? Can't they just leave us alone to eke out our 30s?) , but on the plus side, I am still younger than Kylie and only a few months older than Kate Moss......

The Doctor bought tickets for us to go and see Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, starring the brilliant Ken Stott and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Maid Marian to Kevin Costner's Robin Hood, if you can remember that far back and hum the Bryan Adams song). He claims he picked it for its Brooklyn setting, as well as the rave reviews, as we'll be staying in Brooklyn initially when we get to the States. Let's just hope the storyline is not as relevant as the setting; if our arrival in the US sparks incestuous desire, marital breakdown, betrayal and violence as it does for the Italian immigrants in the play, this blog may get altogether more exciting.

Anyway, it was a fabulous production. And on a subconscious level, I'd like to think he chose it because Arthur Miller played a pivotal part in our relationship.

The year: 1991. The drink of choice at the Union bar: Diamond White cider, the song of the moment: Kylie's Better the Devil you know or REM's Losing My Religion. The Doctor and I were on the same corridor in a University hall of residence. We moved vaguely in the same crowd, but had barely spoken. But for some reason I was strangely taken with this good-looking, slightly dishevelled, aloof medical student in a black leather jacket, who managed to combine hanging out with a crowd of rowdy lads with artistic pursuits such as playing the violin (always a winner, boys).

Apart from the usual studenty exchanges - 'Diamond White for me please,' 'God, I was sooooo hammered' - etc, practically the only conversation we had had was about Arthur Miller. I, fresh from my thesp stage at school, had studied The Crucible for A level drama and even directed it, my sister's GCSE drama class helpfully providing the teenage hysterics. He had studied guess what? A View from the Bridge.

So when I noticed that the University drama society was putting on The Crucible about half way through the first term, I made my move. I snapped up tickets for a group of friends, and made sure there was one going spare. I casually mentioned it to The Doctor in the corridor one day, and he agreed to come.

I don't remember much about the evening, other than that I failed to sit next to The Doctor - some other girl got in the way - and although he was grateful for the ticket seemed completely oblivious to my ulterior motives. I spent the rest of the term fending off the attentions of a motley group of other admirers, all of whom declared their undying love but none of whom I actually fancied (except for one Vet student, who provided some useful snogging practice). He spent the rest of the term ignoring me.

But something about the evening must have struck a chord. Because, when we returned from the Christmas holidays, everything had changed. The very first evening, The Doctor pounced, The Vet was history, and we have been together ever since.

So, eighteen years on and after nearly 11 years of marriage I guess I should say a big posthumous thank you to Arthur Miller for bringing us together. And now for the next Act....

11 comments:

Wife in Hong Kong said...

That's a great story. I'm sure Arthur Miller would have been tickled pink. Have you ever asked the Doctor what it was that brought about the Christmas holiday transformation?
btw - quite cool to be able to say you're younger than Kylie. I am the same age, to the day, as Nicole Kidman. Who's not that young anymore....

Mumof4 said...

I cannot believe it's 11 years since your wedding. How time flies....

A belated happy birthday too, and 36 is a mere youngster, you have a whole four years to go before you even hit the big 4-0!

Nota Bene said...

I'm not vain about my age...but confuse many a market researcher by insisting on being in the age group I would like to be in rather than the one I should be in! Sorry we missed the birthday...hope you and the boys enjoyed the cake!

Mud in the City said...

Well done. A Doctor is much more useful than a Vet. Most of the time anyway.

Dumdad said...

Ah, how romantic.

Bon anniversaire, you youngster.

mothership said...

Happy Birthday, and how very romantic.
Think that this is the best age to start ignoring demographics and deciding that none of them apply to you.

Melanie said...

Happy Birthday m'dear. And what a great story!

Amanda said...

Forget birthdays, much more satisfying to celebrate anniversaries - and your marriage has already lasted a lot longer than Miller's to Monroe!

Maternal Tales said...

Ooh I love a good 'how we met' story. And they're even better when there's a happy ending (I'm such a romantic secretly). Love yours. Well done for getting the guy. And of course Happy Birthday! I'm a year behind you but my friend mentioned today that it's halfway to 70! I thought 'thanks love'...and there I was thinking I was but a spring chicken.

Daphne said...

Great story! I love Arthur Miller's writing and I was within ten minutes of meeting his daughter once - - she left a friend's flat and ten minutes later, I arrived. Damn! I've enjoyed reading your blog, thank you.

nappy valley girl said...

Wife in HK - I have asked him many a time, but he has never come up with a convincing answer...

Mum of 4 - time flies indeed. But look at everything that's happened to you since then!

NB - thanks for the cake!

Mud - funnily enough the Vet still crops up occasionally at friends' weddings....

Dumdad - thank you. I won't ask how old you are then!

Mothership - thanks, and that is very true.

Melanie - thanks. It's one I haven't thought about much recently!

Amanda - true, although I think his later marriage lasted a very long time (?)

Maternal tales - half way to 70? Shudder.....

Daphne - what a near miss! And to think she might have even been with Daniel Day Lewis, whom she married. Mmm.