Tasstle Shoes, Plants, Dancing and how they all come together today

Nov 10, 2008


I was 12 years old when my Mom gave me my first marriage advice. “Leslie,” she said looking down at my perm and blue eye-shadow, “When you get married, be sure you look for three things in your husband. One, be sure he wears tasseled shoes. Two, be sure he has plants in his apartment. And three, make sure he can’t dance.”

I looked up at her in complete bewilderment. So she went on to explain:

The shoes represent someone with a conscience style and sense of self. Someone who has drive and motivation. Of course, back in the mid-eighties, tasseled shoes were the height of trend among successful mid-thirties men.

The plants represent a man who cares for other living things aside from himself. He takes responsibility and cares for others.

And finally, the one I was most confused about, the lack of dance ability. My mom explained that a “fast tawlkin’ smooth dancin’” man wasn’t the type that would settle down and raise a family. I would want a man who could stay home on a Friday and watch movies while kids slept upstairs. That I’d want someone who would be there with me when I was sick and not chomping at the bit to get out and party.

In essence, the fast dancer wasn’t husband material.


I remember looking up at my mother and asking her if Dad met all three of those criteria. She thought carefully for a moment and said, “He doesn’t have tasseled shoes.”

I never forgot that conversation.

And so it was that a short year after these words were isssued, back in 1989, I met my husband. At the age of 13, I met the man I’d have babies with. The man who would take me to prom, twice, and then marry me in a dress that cost less than all our formal High School danced combined. A man who would break up with me, watch me grow, fall in love with me again and stay my best friend for 19 years.

It’s a long story, ours is, filled with boring details about teen-age angst, being driven to dates together and first kisses. It’s long and boring and complicated with other lovers and states of distance between us. It’s mushy, filled with long phone calls and notes and sloppy poems.

It’s our story, though. And we love our story.

Today we celebrate our seven year wedding anniversary. We joke, often, with other people about the 19 years that seal us together. The long sorted past of friends and lovers and time and growing up together. We laugh, nod, and shrug at seven years. “It’s a drop in the hat” we joke. “We have 68 more to go.”

And I love that we mean it.

Today I realize what my mother meant and I’m thankful that I listened to her warnings to my 12 year old self. I married a man who cares for other people and living things, our children, our plants, our home, our family and friends. Who cares for us all when we’re sick or tired. Who stands beside us when we don’t want to stand at all. I married a man who doesn’t go to clubs or bars to watch the eye candy. I married a man who paints the entry with me on a Saturday night and giggles as we sing grunge songs from “back in the day” together. I married a man who curls up on the couch and lets me lay my head on his lap as we watch Grey’s Anatomy, not because he loves the show but because I do. I married a man who comes home each night to his family, even as hard as that can be some days when the kids are screaming and the wife is crying.

The tasseled shoes? Well, I married a man who does not wear tasseled shoes but who has a drive to support his family and a goal that motivates him in his career and in his place in life. Those tasseled shoes represented something their own image would long outgrow. Luckily, the man I married grew as well. I guess we really do marry someone like our Dads.

And so it is, our story. Seven years after our small marriage at the top of Mount Constitution, I know we’d do it again. We’d choose each other all over again.


In fact, we do. Daily.

*November 10th, 2001.


  1. happy anniversary.
    what a very sweet way to celebrate it and remember it here on your blog.
    may each year be richer and more blessed than the year before.

    By laura on 2008 11 10

  2. Happy Anniversary. What I love most about your post is that, despite having been together for 19 years, you show that it is hard and takes work. You admit to having ups and downs. You are(said in my most Ghetto voice, which actually still sounds snobbish)“Keepin’ it Real.” I love that about you. Congrats and here’s to 68 more.

    By Kristina Brooke on 2008 11 10

  3. Happy Anniversary! My husband doesn’t dance either. I thought it was weird, but I actually should appreciate it because he has the same qualities your mom described in a non-dancer.

    And I like the new design.

    By beanery on 2008 11 10

  4. Awww… here’s to 68 more! smile

    By Veep Veep on 2008 11 10

  5. Happy Anniversary to you.  We just celebrated 5 month married and I hope that in 6 and a half years I’ll be as happily in love with my husband as your obviously are with yours.

    My husband can dance (he used to professionally), but he won’t.  So that’s like the same thing, right?

    By Overflowing Brain on 2008 11 10

  6. Beautifully written!  Happy anniversary!

    By Jen on 2008 11 10

  7. Awww!  Happy Anniversary!

    By Jan on 2008 11 10

  8. What a beautiful post!  Happy anniversary!

    By Amie on 2008 11 10

  9. What a great post… and great advice!  I’ll save Oma’s inspired words for B when she’s 12…  smile

    Congrats on your anniversary, and even more on 19 years.  I think the relationships that stood the test of time even before “official” time began, are some of the best I’ve ever witnessed.

    Here’s to AT LEAST 68 more.  {{HUGS!}}

    By Katie Kat on 2008 11 10

  10. Happy anniversary, Flingers!  Y’all are so cute…

    By Marie on 2008 11 10

  11. Really nice story, Leslie. Happy Anniversary!

    By All Adither on 2008 11 10

  12. Happy Anniversary!  Enjoy each other today and everyday and keep on keeping on….you guys are great together.  Love IS work, but you two make it a labor of love and that’s what counts!

    By Michelle on 2008 11 10

  13. We celebrate 7 years on the 17th!  Happy anniversary!!

    By KD @ A Bit Squirrelly on 2008 11 10

  14. awwwwww

    Happy 7th darlin’!  That is so sweet and I love your mom’s advice. What a smart woman.

    By Rachel, A southern Fairytale on 2008 11 10

  15. Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful post!!

    By Kathie on 2008 11 10

  16. What a great story!

    Happy Anniversary!

    By Stacy (mama-om) on 2008 11 10

  17. That’s just beautiful. I couldn’t help but tear up yet again. I married my highschool sweetheart, albeit a lot earlier. I hope as time passed I continue to say that I would do it again as well.

    Happy anniversary!

    By janae on 2008 11 10

  18. I love your post too.

    This is inspirational for me because you didn’t show me a hand and tell me to talk to “it.” You listened.

    I believe it will become inspirational again for LB, especially when she turns 12.

    Your card is still here *sigh* Happy Anniversary.

    By omaflinger on 2008 11 10

  19. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww….

    ps i just nominated you over here…


    By Wacky Mommy on 2008 11 10

  20. Congratulations from one pair of childhood sweethearts to another (we first went out in the 8th grade). What a beautiful post!

    By Susannah aka Petunia Face on 2008 11 10