Today’s post is brought to you by the lovely and talented Louise Bohmer. Please read on.
What George Burns and Gracie Allen Taught Me
by Louise Bohmer
When I was a kid I was a voracious reader, but we were poor, and Mom and Dad couldn’t always afford to buy me a new book on grocery day. So I’d head to the library and grab two or three hard covers, or, if it was winter and too nasty to walk to the library, I’d rummage through Mom’s old Harlequins and Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Some Canucks will remember these, but for my cross border friends a Reader’s Digest condensed book consisted of a handful of current bestsellers chopped up and crammed into one volume.
And it didn’t matter what the topic. I had to read. I still read a lot when I can, but as a kid it was my favorite obsession. Didn’t matter if it was horror, a hospital drama, a historical romance. If that’s all I had to stop the constant white noise in my head, then I’d read it. Reading was my escape, my safe place, and it calmed my thoughts.
So one summer afternoon I picked up Gracie: A Love Story. George Burns’ account of his life spent with wife and performing partner, Gracie Allen. I wasn’t big on romances of any kind, but I liked George Burns well enough, so I figured what the hell.
As a kid, I didn’t believe in love. At least, not romantic love. Oh, sure, you could love your mom, your brothers and sisters, I got that. But there was no way you were convincing teen Louise romantic love really existed. Teen Louise figured people just used people, and pretended to be romantically inclined. Yeah, teen Louise was a bit of a know-it-all and way too cynical for her own good.
But, I figured if I ever did this love thing, well, I needed some guidelines I could get behind. Some pointers for avoiding the pitfalls and douche bags. That advice, strangely enough, came from George Burns.
See, here’s the thing. I don’t believe in marriage either, and I came to that conclusion by the time I was 14. No offense to those who do get behind it. To each their own is a big motto in my life. But, for me, marriage was, and is, a contract of ownership. And I don’t own anyone and no one owns me. That and the exorbitant amount of money often shelled out on a wedding, when said money could be saved for a house or car, made me want to steer clear. (Plus I hate wearing dresses, and there is no way in hell I want that many people watching me walk down an aisle in high heeled shoes, when there’s a 99.9% chance I’ll trip and fall on my face.)
But, I decided if I ever did do this relationship deal, I needed to know what I wanted as much as I knew what I didn’t want. And as I delved into the pages of Gracie, one piece of advice George gave to his readers stuck with me. To paraphrase: If you’re going to marry anyone, makes sure they’re your friend as well as your lover.
And, for me, George had a point. He said, as you get old, the sex might taper off, the lust might fade, but if you can still talk to that person, if they can make you laugh and you can make them laugh back, maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it.
So I took that interesting thought and I tucked it in my brain. Might seems strange that something so simple, a turn of phrase that’s really become somewhat clichéd, made an impact on me. But, for most of my teenage years, I hadn’t encountered a relationship like this. It seemed so novel to me. Most of the married people I knew seemed miserable, and often appeared to hate their spouses. Honestly, I thought that was the norm.
Many years later, I would meet a person who would become my dear friend and partner. Keeping George’s advice ever in the back of my head, I decided this was a person I could love romantically for a very long time. I could laugh with him, talk with him for many hours, and while it hasn’t always been easy or perfect, ten years later he is still my best friend. He takes care of me when I’m sick, and I do the same. He washes the dishes, even when I tell him not to because it’s my turn. He vacuums because he knows I hate it, and I clean up his nightstand full of candy wrappers, because I know he forgets.
It’s the little things like this that embody romance for me. See, flowers and candy are wonderful, but when a person washes laundry on their day off just so you can write, well, that’s my definition of true love.
So thank you, George Burns, for that little piece of advice I tucked in the back of my mind twenty years ago. I’ve still never walked down the aisle, and I never plan to, but I’m married to my dearest friend just the same.
L. Bohmer was the pen name under which Louise Bohmer once wrote erotic fiction. Today, she writes erotic fiction under other pen names, Isabel Dyakov being one.
She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, with a tattooed giant and assorted fur children. To learn more about Louise and her alter egos, visit: www.louisebohmer.com
Her erotic romance collection, Passion Plays, will be released February 14. The Passion Plays Teaser, featuring an essay On Love from KV Taylor, is now available at Smashwords, Kindle, and Louise’s website. To keep up with release news for the collection, bookmark: http://www.louisebohmer.com/site/passion-plays/