Did you know that Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since 496 AD? So it’s not some contemporary occasion created by the greeting card companies! St. Valentine, a Roman Catholic clergyman who was martyred on February 14, is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers. Surely there is a connection among these groups, but what that may be eludes me.
What can I possibly write about love that hasn’t already been eloquently and poetically expressed by Shakespeare and Hallmark? Nothing. So instead, I’m reposting an essay, my homage to relationships and to the one I hold dear.
As Long As You’re Up…….
At times I feel like I’ve been transported back to the 60’s and am trapped in that old ad for Grant’s Scotch.
Remember that ad? Don’t try to tell me you weren’t born yet. (Well some of you weren’t born yet, but very few.)
I’m not sure how many bottles of whiskey they sold, but the slogan As Long As You’re Up, Get Me a Grant’s had a major impact on popular culture. It went viral before there was such a thing as “viral.” It was a subject of a famous New Yorker cartoon and found a home in the Yale Book of Quotations, in the company of such other blockbusters as I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.
The Grant ads were staged to ooze upper-class sophistication. Each one featured a photograph of either an affluent-looking, elegant, well dressed, not-so-young man or woman.
The ultra-thin, perfectly coiffed, attractive woman was dressed in a simple, but clearly expensive, gown, and was sitting in a chair which looked like it was recently bought at auction from Sotheby’s.
The handsome, graying-at-the-temples-with-just-the-right-amount-of-gray, man was in a tuxedo, also sitting. Each body was turned slightly as if addressing an invisible off-stage partner.
Although the ad for Grant’s Scotch faded from usage a long time ago, I’m happy to say that the slogan, at least the first half of it, is alive and well and living in our house. With some slight revisions.
The man (my husband) is not wearing a tuxedo, but is instead dressed in golf shorts. His graying temples can no longer be distinguished from the rest of his hair color, and the chair he sits in was purchased for comfort rather than its antique value.
The woman (me) does not wear a gown, but is attired in jeans and a tee shirt, and is not now, and never has been, as thin as the woman in the ad.
However, the operative words remain unchanged: As long as you’re up….
Perhaps built into every long-term relationship there emerges a “requestor” and a “requestee.” These roles are not so easily predictable, because in my experience, they’re not always gender-dependent. Not counting extenuating circumstances, like a broken leg, for instance, women are just as capable as men when it comes to asking for little favors, and men can be just as compliant as women in granting them.
In my relationship, however, I have become the “requestee.” Possibly it’s my inability to sit in one place for extended periods of time that has cast me in this role. So as I am frequently up and about during the course of an hour-long TV show, it does not seem unreasonable that a voice from the other room calls out As long as you’re up, get me a glass of club soda. Although he swears he has no recollection of ever seeing that ad, the words seemed to flow from him as easily as scotch over ice.
It’s not always club soda. Sometimes it’s a piece of chocolate. Or it could be ice cream. Or a sweater because he’s chilly. Really, it’s all okay. I’m happy to do it. As long as I’m up.
Occasionally, however, a request with a slightly different tone of voice finds its way into our marital discourse. This request is preceded by if you’re getting up…, or, when you go upstairs…, and usually occurs when I’ve been in a holding pattern in my chair for longer than usual. These, of course, are not-so-subtle indications that my darling is desirous of something, and would prefer not to get it for himself. This causes me to look at him through narrowed eyes, but more often than not, I will grant him his favor.
Have my hyperactive tendencies created a monster, or at the very least, a spoiled spouse? Not really. Because at the end of the day, I know there is a balance. I bring him a pillow, and he brings me a……. Remind me, what is it that he brings me?
Oh yes, the favors do go both ways. He graciously, plays golf with me on Sundays, which cannot be much fun for him, and doesn’t make me watch football, which is never any fun for me.
Most importantly, he is someone that I can rely on, someone who is always there for me, someone who loves me unconditionally. So I will happily continue to bestow him favors. As long as I’m up!