Winning the Dude-A-Thon


‘We make it to 31 on the 31st’

It snowed late that March too. A lot. So much that we were worried about travel. No, not for our guests, but for us.

See, we didn’t really have a wedding. We are officially married, rest assured. But those jillion-dollar affairs with champagne spigots and swans carved from ice? Not for us. For one thing, we were paying for it ourselves. And for another thing, while Dude Man does like attention, he does not like being the center of attention. Which can’t help but happen if you have a wedding. With yourself in it, I mean.

Speaking of being the center of attention, The Dude and I demonstrate the secret to a long marriage: racy underpants. Worn on your head, of course

Speaking of being the center of attention, The Dude and I demonstrate the secret to a long marriage: racy underpants. Worn on your head, of course. (Oh, I’ve got a story involving underpants and a huge dog you might like)

See, The Dude had been to one too many weddings where people did things like write ‘Help Me!’ on the soles of the bridegroom’s shoes so everyone tittered when the kneeling bits happened. And, speaking of shoes, he once forgot his when he packed for an out-of-town wedding–a wedding where he was the Best Man.

So. No good nuptial-celebration associations there.

But it did make us sad to contemplate no wedding at all. (This was back in the days when getting married at City Hall, trust me, lacked the cachet it seems to have now.) So we compromised, which is actually good practice for being married, and found a non-denominational chapel (across from the UN, no less), invited our parents, got married, and had lunch. Then we spent the ‘wedding money’ on a trip to Europe. (I’ve got a cool story about our honeymoon called ‘They needed the eggs’ you might want to read when you’re done with this one.)

And we did have a wedding cake. The Dude got it at Carvel. Hey, why not? He doesn’t like cake, but he loves ice cream, especially Carvel. Which, for you Midwestern Readers out there, is kind of like Dairy Queen.

This Carvel Cake fit the bill just right. It had ‘Congratulations Alice and Wayne’ written in pretty icing on the top. And I must say, it was delicious. But you know how you’re supposed to freeze the top layer of your wedding cake and eat it on your first anniversary? Well, this Carvel Cake proved too tempting for the ice-cream-loving, tradition-challenged Dude. He had it polished off before the ink was even dry on our marriage license.

Oh, we did celebrate at least one other tradition. We had our Wedding Portrait taken. Next to a hot dog stand. You can admire it up there at the top of this post. And we always thought we would have a ‘party for our friends’. It was going to be ‘when we got back from our honeymoon’, then it was ‘when we have our first anniversary’. Then 10 years sounded like a good time. And then, um, 20. Well, it’s not that you weren’t invited — we still haven’t pulled off that party. But we do have party clothes, as you can see here*:

*That dress got around. You can also check it out at another stage of our 31-year-journey in my story ‘Auld Lang Sally’

So. Thirty-one years on the 31st. Which reminds me. Have you heard of something called the Golden Birthday? It’s when your age ‘matches’ your date of birth, and was considered pretty special when I was a kid. My sister Laura, who was born on the 18th (of December, much to her duplicate-Christmas-and-birthday-gift-hating dismay), celebrated her Golden Birthday when she turned 18.

My birthday, on the other hand, falls on the 1st of November (mark your calendars) which meant that my own Golden Birthday was completely wasted, since I was one year old at the time. Maybe my parents whooped it up for me.

So. If today is the 31st of March, and it is The Dude’s and my 31st  wedding anniversary, does that mean it’s our Golden Anniversary? Ouch. I hope not. But when we do get to our Golden Anniversary, you can bet we’ll throw a party. Or maybe we’ll just go to Europe again. If they can haul us onto the plane.

Speaking of Europe, and 'racy', The Dude and I pose in front of an X-rated statue in Venice. Not on the honeymoon (notice we are Old), but on a Big Recent Birthday

Speaking of Europe, and ‘racy’, The Dude and I pose in front of an X-rated statue in Venice. Not on the honeymoon (notice we are Old), but on a Big Recent Birthday

Thank you, as usual, for reading. I just have to switch back to a Young Picture to end this post. Here we are, on the beach at St. Kitts, about a million and thirty-one years ago. Sigh:

The Dude and I looking impossibly Young and Gorgeous, even before we got married

The Dude and I looking impossibly Young and Gorgeous, even while still-wet from the ocean



New York City. March 2015

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42 thoughts on “Winning the Dude-A-Thon

  1. Happy Anniversary and I loved all the photos (esp the ones of you wearing the same dress after 31 years!) I love long marriages and love that lasts (it was 36 years for us in Feb) so here’s to many more with your lovely dude. x

    • Yes! Here’s to “love that lasts”! The Dude and I were just talking at dinner about how special it is to hang out with someone who has seen you at your worst and still thinks you’re the best. Happy anniversary to you, too!

      • Joanna Weber

        Alice and Wayne,
        You guys are the BEST!! Alice is the world’s most amazing historian on long term marriages. So happy you guys are our neighbors – forever!! Loved all the pictures but think you both look the best now, in 2019. Our anniversary is also March (3). We just hit 51 years….yikes. But I agree, it is great to hang out with someone who has seen you at your worst and best. Keep hanging in there. See you soon. Love, Joanna

        • Congratulations on being married even longer than us! Of course I cheated a bit — this is actually my SECOND marriage. If I’d married The Dude instead of That Other Guy, we’d have been married for (gosh) 47 years. Oh — thanks for the nice compliment — and yes, we want you ALWAYS to be our neighbors!

    • Hey thanks! We went to the Met Opera Council Auditions Finals Concert, then to Smith & Wollensky. Next: a screening of “Us” right across the street. Good times! xo

  2. Margaret (Peggy) Henry

    Hi Alice! I love to read your stories. Since we spent so much time in the Military that we missed most of the stories you and your siblings had. I’m enjoying them now. Wish Mike was here to enjoy them too.
    We had lots of stories too, but he’s not able to give his special touch to the stories. I can hardly believe Michael James will be 62 this year!!!
    Time flies is really true!!! Love you, Aunt Peggy

    • Thank you so much, dear Aunt Peggy. Uncle Mike has been one of my inspirations. He, like so many Henrys, was a fabulous storyteller. Miss him SO much. Those were the days, huh? Also, can’t believe Cousin Mike will be 62!!! Love you back ?

  3. John Colledge

    The years slip by very easily, don’t they? It will be our 47th, (yes four then seven – that was not a misprint!) this year. Slightly belated Happy Anniversary and here’s to the next 31! 🙂

    • 47?!? But you both still look 27! Seriously, though. Isn’t it fun to spend your life with your best friend? Here’s to many more years, and many more adventures. (And in your case, many more beautiful handsewn shirts!) xoxo

  4. Unbound Roots

    Wishing you and The Dude and very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY today! I actually appreciate that you had a small wedding. I wanted a small wedding, but my MIL’s list wouldn’t permit it. Looking back, I should have pushed to have the wedding the way we wanted it, but confrontation is not a skill I’ve conquered. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Oh, and we just got 6″ of snow last night. Happy Spring 🙂

    • Goodness! Six inches of snow! Believe it or not, they’re predicting more snow here too. And by ‘here’ I mean on Long Island! Thank you so much for the anniversary wishes. To be honest, I would have ‘gone for’ a much bigger wedding (well, more than just our parents) were it not for the fact that I’d actually been married before. So there’s that! I figure any way you get married is a good way — as long as you’re marrying the right One. Happy anniversary to you — whenever yours is! xoxoxo

  5. Happy Anniversary to you, Alice. What lovely photos you have shared with us, I am jealous that you can still get into the same dress you wore 30 years ago, and you look just as good in it! 🙂

  6. Sweet, I love to read about couples that have been together a long time, we just celebrated our anniversary for our first date 36 years ago – I posted about it, and how she ended up in the river, clogs floating beside her, and our first date movie, Love at first bite.

  7. As someone who eloped to Jamaica for a non-traditional wedding, I love this piece! I cannot wait until our 17-year adventure turns into a 31-year adventure. Congratulations! Our wedding cake was too small to have a top, but I think we’ve had our share of good luck nonetheless.

    • An elopement! What fun! How exciting! Thank you for reading, and for your congratulatory comment. While we were too traditional to elope, we did try to sneak away to the airport with little fuss. But some friends of The Dude’s were waiting to shower us with rice. Somewhere over the Atlantic, when Nature Called and I used the teensy airplane lav, I discovered all these little white grains inside my clothes. It gave me quite a shock, till I realized what they were. Happy 17 years — here’s hoping you enjoy many many more (!)

  8. Cousin's Wife

    Congratulations W&A! Carlitos and me followed your steps and did the cachet laking town hall wedding some years after you. I think we’re still happy. Stay happy

  9. Aw, well, congratulations.

    I haven’t understood the desire to do zanily comic things at weddings. I can understand wanting a bit of gentle humor to defuse what is an intense day, but, seriously, ‘HELP ME’ on the shoes? I can’t get into that.

    • I couldn’t have said it better, Joseph! Not only was the ‘Help Me’ a bad joke, it sort of ruined weddings (or being in them, anyway) for The Dude (and, subsequently, me). But all’s well that ends well. We had a wonderful time at our ‘unwedding’…and ever since! Thank you for reading, and commenting too.

  10. Myrna Henry

    Happy anniversary, you two! And many more. I’ve always
    said ‘The first 31 years are the hardest!


  11. Ruth Meisenheimer

    Maybe it’s good luck to eat the top of the wedding cake right away. We’ve been married 55 years and I ate the cake a few days after the wedding because I was in our little apartment with no other food, no car, no restaurants close by and a husband who stayed at work all day. At 3 p.m. I ate the cake and I don’t like cake that much either! Happy anniversary, Alice and Wayne!! XO

    • Well well well. I love the fact that you too ate the top of your cake (though the circumstances sound somewhat sad!) And I also love the fact that you have been married even longer than we have (oh and that you continue to read and comment on my posts!) xoxoxoxoxoxo

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