The Love Tap
You wanna know how I know that this life of travel is the best thing for our marriage?
Because whenever we embark on a new trip, whether it means just a quick weekend getaway or a long plane journey over oceans – Pete gets cuter.
Irresistibly, in fact. The thrill of a new adventure automatically brings us closer, and I instinctively become glued to Pete’s side. His scruffy face is suddenly less itchy when I kiss him. His relaxed smile has me reaching to hold his hand, to rest my head on his shoulder.
(This is especially true if he also happens to be carrying my bag for me).
We are undoubtedly happiest when we are on the road, and so both automatically feel compelled to show it. Which is great, right? To be married for so long and want to show off our love to the world makes us both feel very fortunate.
But now we find ourselves in a country where public displays of affection are simply not done and in fact can be seen as disrespectful. While I expect that we would never be admonished for such things (being in less-conservative western Turkey), we would undoubtedly stick out like a sore thumb, and maybe even make some people uncomfortable.
That is the last thing we want to do, as we always try to be completely respectful of local culture.
But damnitall! Sometimes…
“I want to smooch you right now,” I said to Pete as we waited to board our bus from Izmir to Bodrum. We were standing on a long platform with hundreds of people slowly milling around us. His dusty hat was sitting slightly crooked, his wrinkled shirt was tucked into his pants on one side. I think he even had a small remnant of lunch stuck in his teeth. But that perma-grin he wore, the one that beams whenever we are off on a new adventure, made him endlessly attractive and charming.
“I know,” he said smiling and looking down at his sneakers. After pondering them for a second, he reached out with his sneaker and tapped the top of my simple black shoes. “Hey,” he said, “whenever you want to kiss me, just tap my shoe instead. Then I’ll know what you’re thinking of.”
An ingeniously simple solution to a cultural discrepancy. And romantic to boot.
There was a lot of toe tapping in the few days that followed. And once I stopped getting angry that he was totally scuffing up my shoes (forgetting the first few times that it was actually an intimate secret code), I rejoiced in having this simple little custom in place to continuously show our affections. It was just another reminder that no matter where we are in the world, we know that what we are doing is right for us, and completely right for our marriage. We can secretly smooch our way around any problem.
It just means our shoes are going to get a little dirty.
P.S. After I let Pete read this post, he said: “Does this mean I don’t have to shave anymore?” Always looking for a way out, that one. My work here is not done.