MY SAY: Dreadful opening line a shock start to romance
LET'S talk about romance because Valentine's Day passed me by this year without a blink.
We do make a bit more of a fuss about it here in Australia now. Good or bad thing?
We are almost as good/bad as Americans now for the red roses and schmaltzy cards and romantic dinner invitations.
My bloke can be romantic if he chooses. In fact, his romantic streak has grown impressively over the many years of our long marriage.
But it wasn't the case on the first night I met him.
If I told you his opening line to me, you wouldn't believe it. It has to be the worst in history. Rude. Insulting.
Thankfully, I overlooked it, otherwise I wouldn't be here now to tell the sorry tale - and that would have been my life's biggest tragedy.
Here's the opening line, quoted word for word. It is branded red hot in my mind after all these decades.
"Hi, that's because I'm the only man in the room bigger than you."
I do not lie.
I was a passenger ona ship, sailing out of Southampton, returning to Australia after a two-year working holiday in the UK.
He was an officer, fourth engineer.
I spotted him across a crowded room at the Captain's cocktail/ welcome party.
Wearing the white officer's uniform, two gold stripes on his epaulettes, tall, full head of curly hair, thick black-rimmed glasses - he cut a dashing figure.
"Mmmmm, he looks interesting," I said to a cadet engineer officer I had already befriended the first day out of Southampton.
"That's big Geoff," the 2nd engineer said.
"Can you bring him over. Introduce us," I asked.
Big Geoff was in the process of ferrying a small glass of dry sherry with a maraschino cherry to a lady passenger.
Very fashionable drink in those days.
Gentlemen officers were required to do this at the Captain's cocktail party.
When Geoff had attended to this gentlemanly duty, my friend brought him over and introduced us.
"This is Ann. She wants to meet you."
That's when the atrocious opening line came tumbling out.
How I didn't turn and walk away I don't know. I just choked on my small glass of dry sherry with a maraschino cherry.
It turned out he was nervous. He really is a gentleman. And it was true, he was the only man in the room bigger than me for I am big boned, or what I like to call "statuesque".
A sailing from the UK to Australia took six lazy weeks back in those days and it couldn't have been a more perfect time or setting to fall in love.
A shipboard romance led to a lifetime journey ... and it's still going more than four decades later.
So in Beyonce's words, "all the single ladies", I suggest you look beyond the first chat-up line if it is not to your liking ... you never know where it could lead.
Valentine's romance for you until this time next year. firstname.lastname@example.org