Swept Off My Feet


I want to be swept off my feet. Literally. Figuratively, too, of course. For those of you who don’t already know this, especially those of you with a Y chromosome on your double helix, this little fantasy is not unique to me. Almost every woman I know wants to be swept off her Jimmy Choos, too. It’s a girlie thing.

I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have had a conversation like this:

“Pick me up!” I demand.

“Why?” my husband asks. He is genuinely baffled to receive such a request from a perfectly healthy, fiercely independent, grown-up woman.

“Because I want you to! It’s romantic and fun!” I respond in my most commanding, I’m-not-fooling-around voice.

“What for?” he quizzes me further, trying to read my mood. “It’s not like you’re injured or anything. I could pick you up if I had to–if the house caught on fire or a bookshelf fell on you or something like that, but otherwise, what’s the point?”

I am momentarily distracted from my pick-me-up crusade by the word “could.”

“What do you mean you ‘could’ pick me up? Of course, you could pick me up! Are you implying that I’m fat?” I inquire in a dangerously quiet voice.

NO! Absolutely not,” he responds instantly. “I said I COULD pick you up if I had to, but there isn’t anything wrong with you. You don’t need me to pick you up. It’s ridiculous.”

“I DO need you to!” I affirm dramatically, arms stretched wide open in a gesture to the Heavens to demonstrate my dire need of a swept-off-my-feet moment.

“What is this really about?” my husband queries. “Were you not picked up enough as a child or what? This is weird. Where does this come from?”

“Don’t be silly. I’m sure I was picked up as much as any other little girl—which is completely beside the point. Being swept off one’s fee is romantic. Think about the scene in Gone With the Wind where Rhett Butler sweeps Scarlett up in his arms and charges up that grand staircase,” I reply, trying to inspire my husband with a classic cinematic visual.

“I read somewhere that Clark Gable had terrible breath,” my husband digresses. “I doubt Vivien Leigh enjoyed that little ride very much. I could probably carry you over my shoulder in a firefighters’ lift or something, if you want me to, but I’m definitely not charging up any stairs. Do you want me to have a heart attack?”

“I have no desire to be tossed over your shoulder like a giant bag of potting soil!” I reply, stamping my foot for emphasis. “I want to be swept up like a bride crossing a threshold for the first time in the arms of her husband! How can you not get this?”

“You haven’t been a bride in 26 years!” he points out with that obnoxious logic and keen eye for detail that makes him good at being an appellate court judge and bad at arguing about romantic gestures with his wife.

“For better or worse, remember?” I remind him.

“I don’t remember one thing in the marriage vows about carrying you around anywhere,” he observes, rather rudely, in my opinion.

“Maybe you didn’t read the fine print. I think some carrying around is called for in every marriage. Wouldn’t YOU like to be picked up?” I ask, trying to get him to empathize.

“Good grief, no! I’m a foot taller, and I have over 100 pounds on you. You carrying me defies the laws of physics. I’d crush you like a bug,” he announces, gazing at me in open-mouth horror.

“It’s a grand gesture, honey. Romance. Hearts and flowers. Don’t you see?” I implore him. By this point, I am practically begging the big lug to understand and respond to my emotional needs. The least he can do is fake it politely.

Ignoring my heartfelt plea for chocolate-hoarding, bubble bath-loving female clichés like me the world over, my husband falls back into his comfort zone: logical analysis—like that ever got him anywhere with me.

“You know what your problem is?” my husband asks me rhetorically.

I close my eyes in anguish. I hate when my husband gets all uber-calm and reasonable. It gets on my last nerve and makes me want to throw things just for the heck of it.

“I have a feeling you’re about to tell me, sweetie. My advice: Pick your words carefully,” I caution him, ready to launch myself right into a full-blown, you-hurt-my-feelings snit.

“You’re high maintenance,” he declares, like this is a pronouncement God Almighty whispered personally right in his ear, “But you think you’re low maintenance. Worst combo ever.”

“I am not!” I defend myself indignantly.

“You absolutely are, but it’s okay. You’re worth it–most of the time,” he adds as a caveat. “How about a piggy-back ride? Would that do it for you? You can climb on a chair and get right up. I’m pretty sure I can handle that,” he offers as a compromise.

Frankly, I feel it is beneath me to respond to such a childish counter-offer, so I merely roll my eyes and make a scoffing sound with my throat to signal my flat-out rejection of that idea.

Leaning contemplatively back on the kitchen counter, one foot propped up on a bar stool, my husband crosses his arms in front of him and prepares for serious negotiating while I watch. I know this body language.

“What do I get if I sweep you off your feet?” he asks.

“I think there’s an emergency Toblerone bar in my underwear drawer,” I throw out half-heartedly, not overly concerned with rewarding such a reluctant hero.

“Toblerones do it for you–not me. What else you got?” he asks with that head tilt I’ve always loved.

“What do you want?” I demand, in no mood to be charmed.

“Get creative,” he responds.

“I’ll see what I can do,” I promise.

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