Tonight's Negroni #23: To Have and to Hold Onto

FYI: This is an archive of my Tonight's Negroni email newsletter.

Hey folks! I'm still doing these. Occasionally. Jobs, am I right?!

My records, which are basically irrefutable, tell me me that I last spoke to you about a month and a half ago. Lots of stuff has happened in the interim, so I hope you are settled in for the longest longread that ever did read longly...

Nah, just kidding!

I mean, if I liked talking about the minutia of my day-to-day, I'd be sending you emails WAY more often. So, sorry/you're welcome.

There was one fairly significant event, however: My Special Lady Friend and I had our tenth wedding anniversary.

First, I should point out that I specify wedding anniversary because we had been a couple for almost exactly nine years before we finally tied the knot. In fact, at that point the sentiment was that we'd better hurry up while people were still willing to travel to the celebration.

People act very impressed when you tell them you've reached a milestone like this. They like to ask "So, what's the secret?" which is obviously impossible to answer (not that it's going to stop me further down). If it's a public or casual environment, I usually quip something like "Find the right girl!" and they laugh and congratulate me, which is nice.

Tangent: I despise the term "partner" for anything other than a business relationship. I can't think of a term that could be more simultaneously boring and insulting. I frequently refer to the woman with whom I've nurtured a relationship for nineteen year as a "girl", because relationships are fun. I also feel like this think we've developed is beyond a "partnership". It's going to sound gross to most of you, but it feels more like a simbiosis. (Ick... Told you.)

The truth of the matter is it's an insanely complicated thing to try to quantify and illustrate.

First you have to find attraction. Then you have to let that become a young love. Then that has to weather the inevitable storms to become dedication. It's freaky that it ever happens. (And granted more couple than you can count have made it farther than we have only to have things come to an end, but we're doing pretty darned good right now.)

Finding attraction is both easy and impossible. Getting a crush on that pretty girl at the bookstore is like tripping on the sidewalk. For her to feel similarly about you and for things to actually develop to the point that you become some sort of nacent couple... Well, I'm surprised it ever works.

Then you decide to hook your carts together. This it probably the phase when most people actually get married. It's still a shaky thing, you're still learning stuff about each other. You start making big plans with each other. You start realizing maybe you each have different ideas about some of those plans. Potholes abound, but so do moments you will never forget in your life.

Then as you work through things the dynamic changes just a bit. You have already had to do some serious work. You've made it through some troubles. You (collectively) have got this. At least that's how you feel. And if you have heads on your shoulders, you have some humility and wonder about the fact that you've made it here.

People like to talk about making your own luck. That's how I feel about a long-lived romantic relationship. You've got to get lucky, but then you've got to work your ass off to foster that luck and keep it going.

I do have one bit of advice, though. If and when you reach a fancy milestone anniversary, be excited about it! Tell people about it, but don't have expectations about their reaction. Just show them you are happy and they will be happy for you. Turns out that's kind of fun.

You might also get free sparkling wine when you sit down to dinner in the nice restaurant you remembered to clue in on the occasion. Maybe even a dish from the kitchen. Or more.

Just don't be a douche and actually expect that stuff. Show some grace and if these things come to you, consider it a continuation of the luck you've done such a good job of keeping alive.

Be happy with who you are


No connection to the special occasion, but a good example of a drink that some might consider "lost" that is getting easier to make these days.

  • 2oz Rye or bourbon whiskey
  • ¾oz Dry vermouth
  • 2 barspoons Amer Picon
  • 2 barspoons Luxardo maraschino liqueur

  • Stir in a mixing glass with ice.

  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.
  • Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

The real Amer Picon is not imported to the United States. Some fancy bars I know make their own in-house. There are also varying recommendations for substitution. I used to approximate this drink by mixing mere drops of several ingredients to get something that felt to me like a written description of the flavor of Picon that I'd read. It was a good drink, but the real ingredient helps it a lot. Luckily for me, I can now get Golden Moon's Amer dit Picon here in Colorado.