You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m actually rather competitive. Especially when it comes to stupid things, like knowing the names of one-hit-wonder bands from the 1980s (of course YOU remember when “Der Kommissar” was in town, but I bet you couldn’t tell us that After the Fire was the band that brought him); being able to intuit who is on the phone every time it rings (my mom); and predicting with 99.7% accuracy the words that will come out of my husband’s mouth before he says them. Even if most of those words are, “um,” “well,” and “yeah,” you still have to admit that that is pretty impressive wifely knowledge.
So when my friends Colonel Dan and Lola did a victory lap around the Padaro Beach Grill to celebrate their recent domination of an Alaskan Cruise Ship Not-So-Newlywed Game Tournament, I must admit to feeling a bit envious. I wanted that first place gold-plated bottle of Cold Duck for my mantle.
Sure, their closest competition was a couple from Nantucket who only had one good ear and half a head of hair between the two of them. And sure, the third place bronzed beer can went to a couple that only knew a few words of English. But still, Dan and Lola had won an international Not-So-Newlywed Game competition.
I couldn’t help but wonder how Zak and I would have stacked up. I figured we knew each other at least as well as these hacks. After all, Lola was by herself half the time while Dan was out saving the world on some mission or other. Zak hardly ever left the house without me by his side. Most of the time I knew his thoughts before I let him have them. Surely we could kick their sorry little butts.
Luckily, Colonel Dan was eager to quiz us.
The first question was easy. “If your spouse were lost while driving in a foreign city, he/she would do what?”
“Not ask for directions,” I yelled eagerly, knowing I had aced that one.
“OK,” Dan said. “What if you were the one driving, Leslie?”
Zak and I both laughed. I refer you to my column where I made fun of my dad’s driving. My dad taught me to drive. Me, drive in foreign cities? Not in this lifetime.
Dan threw out a few more easy questions. What color are your spouse’s eyes? Boxers or briefs? Leno or Letterman? Dog or cat? Would you like fries with that?
I was starting to feel a little cocky when Lola mentioned that she and Dan had gotten a perfect score. How do you top that?
Lola asked the next question: “If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only be with one person, who wasn’t your spouse, who would it be?”
I weighed the possibilities. Would Einstein or Da Vinci be better able to build us a boat out of palm leaves and coconut shells? And more importantly, which of them was better suited to help me repopulate society? Hmmm…Then Zak piped up with “Brad Pitt” for me. Please. I like man candy just as much as the next girl, but I’m still angry about the whole Jennifer thing.
Dan interrupted my reverie. “Who would Zak want to be trapped with on a desert island?”
C’mon, we’re down a point. Got to regroup, focus. I know he’s moved on from Uma to Scarlett Johanssen, so I go with Scarlett.
He says, “Leonardo Da Vinci.”
Honey, I really didn’t mean to punch your arm so hard. You know how I get in competition.
Zak was still rubbing his bruise when Dan let us have one final bonus question that would allow us to tie the score with them. “Where’s the most unusual place you’ve ever made whoopee?”
I looked at my husband and giggled. We both knew the answer to this one. All we had to do was say the word and the Newlywed Game honors would be ours.
I looked deep into my husband’s eyes (still blue) and nodded, as he said, “Not in this lifetime.”
We’re Not-So-Newlywedded for a reason, after all. It’s all about how well you know your partner.
When she’s not singing “Tainted Love,” by Soft Cell, Leslie can be reached at email
Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on August 11, 2006.