Growing Old With Small Appliances


Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time

When gifts you received at your bridal shower begin wearing out, you know you’ve been married for a long time.

I had this revelation this morning as I cooked breakfast using my electric skillet, a bridal gift that was given to me by my friend Pat.

Today, my husband Brian and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary, which is why I’m cooking. I try not to cook whenever possible.

We have been married for thirteen years, five years longer than the average American marriage and twelve years, eleven months and eight days longer than the average Hollywood marriage.

That is, if you count what they do in Hollywood as marriage.

We dated for four years before we were married meaning we’ve been in a relationship for seventeen years.

It seems like I was seventeen just two years ago. How did we get here so fast? Has it really been so long since I proposed to him?

You read that right. I proposed to him. We’re not your typical couple.

The “proposal,” if it can be called that, went something like this: I was a student at Augusta State University. Brian and I were waiting until I finished school to get married. It was my senior year and due to a strange scheduling fluke, I could only go to school part time that semester. We were eating hamburgers for lunch at a chain restaurant when I explained my school schedule.

“I have extra time this semester. Do you want to go ahead and get married?” I asked him.

“Is that what you want?” He asked only mildly surprised.

“Yes,” I replied. Of course, it’s what I wanted. I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.

“Ok,” he said. Then we shook hands.

I’m not making this up.

Before you panic over our lack of romance, take a deep breath. I insisted we visit jewelry stores after lunch to pick out my ring. I’m not completely devoid of all femininity, just the bits that I find inconvenient.

It strikes me as ironic that as Americans, we often look to movies for guidance on what marriage and relationships should look like, yet the people who make those films don’t stay in a relationship long enough to have any real insight. If they did, their divorce rate wouldn’t be so high.

Thirteen years of marriage and seventeen years of a relationship with Brian have taught me a few things: marriage is best when you follow your own set of rules and it’s time to buy a new electric skillet.

Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at or contact her at