Monday, October 14, 2013

Our 'Real' Anniversary - From the Male Point of View

I was feeling pretty good about life. It was pay day, I had finally stashed enough loot to replace the glasses I broke celebrating Liverpool winning the Champions League, and my friend had invited me along to a company drinking session for the school he worked at. With cash burning a hole in my pocket, and a thirst stoked by the daily grind, which at that time was working as a Content Manager for a web development company, we went to the wrong pub.

Pivovarský Klub had only recently opened and not being aware of this fact we went to their sister pub, and one of my favourite places in Prague to eat and drink, Pivovarský dům. A quick taxi ride later and we were sat at a huge table in the brick basement that in a few years time would be the venue for my wedding reception. At some point in the evening the guy sat next to me, who could have bored for the US in the Olympics, went to the toilet. Just as he disappeared one of the girls in the group waved at someone coming down the stairs. I turned, pointed, and said:
"You. Sit here. Now."
That is how I met Mrs Velkyal, as she is known in my all of my blog posts, shortened to Mrs V. I have never been very good at the whole chatting women up malarky, I never know what to say, and as a result of nerves I tend to prattle on and on about some nonsense. Oh and I am terrible at picking up signals. Mrs V and I chatted and chatted, she was clearly a deranged soul as she did insist on listening to me. Must have been the charming British accent.

With the pub closing for the night, an executive decision was made that the group would be decamping to Lucerna. It being a Friday night, it was 80s/90s Video Dance Party, something of a rite of passage for expats living in Prague, and without being cruel, a total meat market. I have always liked going to clubs, not because I like to dance, I hate it, nor yet that I am any good at dancing, two left feet is an understatement, but I like listening to insanely loud music while people watching.

I turned to Mrs V and asked if she would be joining us at Lucerna, to which she replied,
'If you pay for me'
'Sure' was my response.

Stood in the queue to get in, I have a vague recollection that it was pissing down that night, another girl in the group asked if I was going to pay for her as well. When I informed her that my largesse extended only to Mrs V, she asked me why, to which I answered, 'She asked first'. Something of a tangent, but there are few more beautiful places in the world that Prague in the pouring rain, especially in the centre of the city as the reflections of neon signs glisten in the puddled cobble stones. Lucerna is a cavernous space, once owned by the family of my great hero, Vaclav Havel, and it was there that we had our first kiss, and somehow she even got me to dance....well....shuffle indelicately from foot to foot.

We've been together ever since, 8 years now. Not a bad return on investment for 100Kč.

100Kč is about £3.20 or $5.

Our "Real" Anniversary - From the Female Point of View

Every year this day rolls around and we reminisce about the night we met and our whirlwind of a relationship that came of it.  It's been 8 years.  Today on Facebook I announced our "real" anniversary and there were some inquiries as to how exactly it all went down... from both sides.  Men are from Mars, Women from Venus right?  Well, whatever the case, we both love telling stories of the "old days".  We are going to be some old couple!  So here goes.

I had been in a 5 year relationship that ended abruptly.  My companion, best friend and boyfriend blindsided me into a dark place that I could only stand so long.  I remember thinking to myself the week I met Al, "I have got to move on... this feeling sucks and I'm sick of it".  I remember joking about the kind of man I would find.  You know, tall, dark and handsome with a British accent.  Well, all but the dark part (unless you mean sense of humor).

Along came Friday and a friend of mine invited me to meet up with her at some work dinner/drinks thing.  I said, "ok, but I need to go to the Internet cafe first to check my email, then I'll be over".  INTERNET CAFE?  That doesn't age me AT ALL...  I entered Pivovarsky Klub in Prague, walked down the circular staircase to a large table with about 10 people including this guy who's already shouting at me to sit next to him.  "Ok", I say and I sit as I was told as I wave across the table at my friend.  Back in the day (I know it's cheesy), I could down at least 6 half litres of beer and still be able to walk to the next pub.  Plus, the beer is so fresh and tasty, without giving you all that bloat, that it's hard not to drink it.  Anyway, after quite a bit and lots and lots of conversation Al says to me, "You want to go to Lucerna - we're all heading over?".  I responded with a wit I didn't even know I had, "sure, if you'll pay for my entry".  Of course he says yes.

Lucerna is legendary in it's ability to bring people together with their cheap beer, humongous club, and Friday and Saturday night 80's/90's video party.  So fun!  Anyway, another few pints, a random bottle of wine and some hanging out, it was time to leave.  Al walked me home and on the way we stopped for munchies at a ManniMiniMart where he told me we should get married.  This actually happened a few other times until I finally asked him to stop.  He would always forget that he had asked!

I said goodbye to him without the expectation of ever talking again.  Somehow we then spent many a day and night text-messaging and many a weekend going out, together all the time.  It's been 8 years and we are still happy and still having fun, only now the amount of partying we can do is limited.  It actually got old about 6 months in, when I thought to myself "do I really know this person?  I mean, all we do is go out with our friends and drink!"  Turns out, I actually liked the guy.  3 years after meeting we got married and spent our wedding day in the same pub where we met.   I think I chose wisely.

Now, if only Al will post his side of the story...  this is my story and I'm sticking to it.