“Mawage, Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, twuu wuv, will fowow you foweva..”
(Name that movie!)
Ok, so that’s got nothing to do with a Norse Saga… but it is about wuv and mawage! They go together you know – like a horse and cawwage….. crickets now chirping…. aanndd moving on….
Jumping right into the Wayback Machine let us now flashback to 1984. (Jump! -Van Halen). I was a newly minted 22 year old college senior, fresh out of a lackluster relationship. Oh, don’t get me wrong – “John” was nice enough; and both my parents liked him – but there was no chemistry. “John” had previously dated a girl (remaining nameless for obv reasons) who hung out on the periphery of my group of friends – and who had, shall we say, “been around the block” (Ahem!) way more than a few times. So every time John would lean in to kiss me I would inwardly flinch – couldn’t help thinking about where that had been before….. Unfair? Perhaps, but I just couldn’t help it. After dating John for a couple of months (and by dating I don’t mean “going steady” or “going out with” I just mean socially dating nothing more) I finally played the “lets just be friends/it’s not you its me” card. (I think he knew it was over before that, when I insisted on going dutch to see “The Right Stuff”) And to be honest, I also discovered its (almost) as bad to be the “break-er” as it is to be the “break-ee”. Breakups suck, no matter the level of investment in the relationship. Nonetheless, I decided to concentrate on finishing up with school and getting set with a job. You know – all that pesky grown up stuff – instead of stressing about maintaining a relationship that was going nowhere fast; or whether or not I had a boyfriend. All in due time, I figured. Little did I know that said due time was only about 3 months away. “Life’s what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. – John Lennon
I’d been quite vocal with my friends that I was not interested in a relationship with anyone and told them please not to bother sending any blind dates my way. I was off the market. Life continued thankfully uneventfully until the spring of 84. Friday, April 6th – to be exact. I’d been invited to one of those “hen party” makeup/make-over thingies at my friend Kathy’s apartment that afternoon after classes. Picture this: I’m wearing the quintessential 80’s outfit. Double V necked white and red striped t-shirt, black high-waisted jeans with tight straight legs – and get this – at least 3 bandanas folded into triangles and wrapped around my left knee and calf. (one of which had several buttons pinned to it) I may or may not have been channeling “Diamond” Dave (David Lee Roth) at the time – no comment. We shall revisit my fashion “faux-pas” of the 80’s another time. Anyway, one of my other friends and I arrived at the same time and we rang the buzzer. It wasn’t working properly so Kathy sent someone down to open the door for us…… annddd….I’m sure you can see where this is going…..
There he was – in all his tall, wide shouldered, blond, blue-eyed, white-toothed, smiling, uber- Nordic handsomeness – holding the door open for both of us. I was IMMEDIATELY intrigued. I can’t say smitten, but despite obviously being a few years younger than me he was definitely worth checking out. Apparently he thought the same because one of the buttons I had pinned to those bandanas said “Are we having fun yet?” and he made a slightly risqué statement about it. We spent the next hour or so in intent conversation. He’d come over to see Kathy’s boyfriend Brian, but spent so much time talking with me that Kathy finally had to shoo him out so she could get that make over thing started. He left with Brian, and I turned my attention back to the gathering. It was nice to be noticed and blatantly flirted with, but I didn’t give him (much) thought after that.
2 days went by, and my phone rang. Now mind you, I’d told all my friends not to give out my number as part of informing them I was out of the dating game. It was Kathy. She explained she had the Norse/Viking/door-opener sitting next to her and would I please, PLEASE talk to him?. (Obviously the charismatic force of those baby blues works on all females…) I caved, and accepted a date with him for the following afternoon. Monday, April 9th 1984. I remember, because the Academy Awards were on TV later that night, and ‘Terms of Endearment” won big. I thought I was being smart – you know, an afternoon date on a weekday=no commitment. We met downtown, and spent a few hours walking around and talking. I discovered that he was in fact almost 4 years younger than me – 18 to my 22. (he’d turn 19 in July and I’d be 23 in December) Cradle-robbing was the term in use back then – and I wasn’t sure I wanted that particular label. But dang – the boy was (and still is) seriously adorable! We meandered around town, stopped for coffee, and never ran out of things to talk about.
He proved to be a fast mover just like his ancestors – & I got the first kiss from him behind the Holy Trinity Church. We discovered that my head fit perfectly in the hollow of his shoulder – and my nose lined up great with where his collarbone indented. And he smelled good – I mean he smelled “right”. (and good!) That sounds strange, I know – but apparently the nose knows. Pheromones. (this was back when I actually had a sense of smell ) Anyhoo -by then I’d accepted an extension of the date into the evening. We had planned on going to an Amway thing (Brian and Kathy were both involved). Brian offered to drive (nobody else had a car anyway) and the four of us clambered into his pickup truck – a three seater. So, I ended up on the Viking’s lap… but first I had to pull myself up into the truck by grabbing the roof. He asked me if I was all set as I settled in. I replied yes as I was pulling my right hand into the cab – and he ended up closing the door soundly on the central part of my hand. Like I said, a fast mover…. Quite the auspicious beginning, wouldn’t you say? Broken hand on the first date…. (yup, broken) The darn thing swelled up to about the size of a softball and turned purple.
These Vikings take this pillage and maiming thing seriously when they go on conquest….. He felt so bad, but it was kinda my fault too – I should have waited to say yes to being all set until all my appendages were safely in the vehicle (and all seats and trays in the upright locked position for landing). I soon found out that the bones below my right ring and pinkie fingers had cleanly snapped. And later watched the Oscars, higher than a kite on the mid-eighties version of Perco-cet…
Of course, the injury couldn’t be casted, so my hand got wrapped up in an ace bandage for the duration. I remember taking my Social Psych mid-term the next morning, still stoned on painkillers and hand tightly wrapped. It was a multiple choice 100 question test that I had to complete left-handed, and woozy. A proctor gave the test as the professor was presenting her doctoral dissertation that day. Figuring that I had completely tanked the exam – I arranged, a few days later, to speak with the prof about a re-take. (my classmates said they’d vouch for me being not up to par) The professor just laughed when I sat down in her office – jokingly saying “whatever it was you were taking you should take more – you got the best grade in the class!” She still offered me the re-take but I didn’t need to, thankfully getting a 96. How I did that half-zonked is still amazing to me. I guess there is some truth to test taking anxiety affecting test performance. Those painkillers guaranteed I wasn’t anxious – about anything! And this, dear readers, concludes the first part of the Tales from the Northland. More on our ensuing courtship – and mawage -soon!
Images via: http://www.osterholm.info/vikings/
- Daily Diversion: The Dark-Ages Domestic Drama Of “Viking Wives” (refinery29.com)