This week it’s twenty years to the day since I first met the Trophy Wife at her cousin’s birthday dinner. The traditional gift for a twentieth anniversary is either porcelain or platinum apparently. Both a bit dull. But that’s for marriages, not love affairs.
There isn’t a ritual or tradition to mark the moment the French (who know about this stuff) call the coup de foudre. Literally, it means ‘a lightning bolt’. But foudre comes from ‘fou’ which means crazy. It’s the moment you go mad. (Told you the French understand.)
At the time I’d been living in the US for a few years and, as we know, healthcare isn’t something they do well over there. And as I walked to the restaurant in Soho, a delicate tooth I’d been ignoring for a while, hoping it would sort itself out, broke off in my mouth. I spat it into the gutter, wiped my chin, and walked into the restaurant.
I sat down next to an attractive brown eyed girl.
“Hey. Do you know a good dentist?” I asked her. She did.
I’ll admit I was slightly distracted by losing the tooth, but when she stood up I thought I was going to lose an eye as well. You know that thing in cartoons when the character’s eyes bug out on springs? Well, real eyes don’t do that, but I thought mine might. I felt the optic nerve strain as the cornea stretched to cram in as much of her as it could – like a stray dog trying to swallow a loaf of bread without chewing.
She was wearing a very tight pair of hip-hugging, brown-striped, boot-cut pants and when she came back they rode down across her backside to reveal the top of her pink thong underwear. This is called a ‘whale tail’ because it resembles the shape of the animal’s flukes as it dives. Google it.
Critically, it points downwards. Like an arrow. An arrow that says ‘Follow me. Into the deep.’
Anyone who knows me will agree that I’m not a complicated man. So obediently (and probably pretty creepily), like Captain Ahab chasing Moby Dick, I followed that whale tail around the room for the rest of the evening. And, like the Duke of Edinburgh – destined to spend his life two steps behind the queen – I’ve been following it ever since.