Three years ago today, I went on my first date with Tony. We met performing in the Groundlings Sunday Company, a comedy theater where a lot of famous people got their start, and where a lot of people more famous than us also met their spouses.
Us, in the Groundlings lobby after our show we wrote together, TONANNIE.
I remember the first time I met him; I was in class at the Groundlings and he was already in the Sunday Company, and I bumped into him in the lobby. He was wearing shorts with sandals and high white athletic socks, and I remember thinking simultaneously “I’m going to marry that guy,” and “That outfit is terrible.” He was exactly my type: Hilarious, from the south(ish) and looked like he could possibly be on steroids. (He’s not! He just works out as obsessively as a sorority girl and eats carbs about as frequently as I watch sports.) I invited him to my birthday party later that day and on the Facebook event wall, he wrote for everyone to see, “I don’t know who you are,” and then never showed.
I figured he was a meathead and best case scenario, I would steer clear of him and worst case scenario, I’d use some poor judgement, he’d behave in a stereotypical meathead fashion, and the whole thing would blow up in my face. My brain kept rationalizing why it was a bad idea and, being the Type-A girl who doesn’t like to stray from “the plan” that I am, I still don’t know why exactly I threw rationality out the window. But I’m so glad I listened to that crazy voice in my head telling me, “I’m going to marry that guy.” It was the best decision I’ve ever made. And now I am going to marry that guy!
No, for real. I get to marry that guy!
I like to tell people that we did everything wrong when it comes to the “rules” of dating. We met working together. The first words he stuttered out on our first date were “Your boobs — ahh, I mean you — look nice tonight.” And on that first date, we decided it was complicated enough working together, we didn’t need any added drama; if we were doing this, it was all in, exclusive, boyfriend/girlfriend immediately, no drama. We spent almost every waking minute together; and on the few days I didn’t see him, he’d drive by my house when I wasn’t home and leave some nonsensical item, like a half-eaten bag of pretzels, with his business card stapled to it on my doorstep. (I still have one of those cards with his ridiculous old headshot on the fridge.) A little over a month into dating, I flew with him to New York for the biggest audition of his life; on his way out the door, he said “I love you,” and left. [Three second beat.] He reopened the door and said, “I didn’t mean that,” then left and didn’t come back to clarify again.
Tony’s old business card. See, the staple’s still in it!
But, he did love me and I loved him. It sounds so cheesy in a “love at first sight,” gag-me-with-a-DVD-of-The Notebook kind of way, but I really think that there was something to that bizarrely calm thought I had when I first saw him. I don’t necessarily believe in soulmates; I think it’s much more romantic to choose to be with someone every day and trust that if you’re both putting the other person first, things are going to be okay.
Practicing our marriage pose in Ojai.
Despite doing everything “wrong,” there was never any drama. No playing of games. In an unstable industry where everyone’s always looking for a better deal, I’ve always known exactly where I stand with Tony. When we fight (and we do), it never gets to that level that used to seem passionate, but now just seems exhausting. He’s never threatened to leave to get what he wants. A word to the wise, ladies: Go for the guy in the socks and sandals. He’s a good communicator, a selfless person, and is confident enough to not give a shit what other people think. Especially about those socks and sandals.
On our first anniversary, Tony made a list of the 365 reasons why he loved me. I don’t have the energy to write the 1095 reasons why I love him (and I don’t think you have the energy to read them, and this blog is gross enough already), so here are some of the countless reasons why I can’t wait to marry him:
He always puts other people first. If he’s having a bad day, he calls someone going through a hard time and asks if they want to go out for coffee and talk.
He calls our dogs “the babies,” and loves to discuss baby names (even though he always vetoes my favorites, Beau and Hunter, and all of his favorites sound like inbred, east coast Old Money lacrosse players. Like Ronjohn.)
He’s the hardest working, most disciplined person I know.
Outside the movie theater for the theatrical release of GHOST TEAM ONE!
He’s my biggest champion. He reads every draft of everything I write, remembers every meeting and audition and texts a pep talk, and believes in me even more than I do.
His wedding fantasies would make our Big Day more like an action movie than a rom com: Skydiving, rappelling down a rope, and his latest bachelor party dream: The detonation of a grenade.
He’s a morning person who brings me a latte in bed every morning.
He sings Michael Bublé at the top of his lungs most mornings.
He “shreds” anywhere and everywhere; he likes to hang off the side of our staircase to do pull-ups.
He wants kids and is going to be the most amazing dad; but, he doesn’t push me. And in the meantime, while we wait, he “adopted” a child for us to sponsor through ChildFund International, and sends him letters and coloring books.
He loves terrible, low-budget horror movies; if it was made for $1,000 in your grandma’s basement, shot on an old iPhone you bought on eBay, he will love it.
He considers blending a protein shake “cooking.”
That’s not Tony. That’s a stranger on the internet.
He’s always optimistic; like, even after three years, he still believes he’ll get me to go camping one day.
He cries whenever an emotional story involves sports or the military. Fiction or non-fiction.
He calls my mom just to talk, and learned to play golf and follow the stock market because those are my dad’s favorite things.
He’ll spend an hour trying to catch a homeless dog, if we spot one running down a busy street. Even if it’s pouring rain.
He leaves Post It notes around the house in weird places telling me how much and why he loves me. (I find them on mirrors, in my car, even in my shoes:)
Not sure why the pink one was on old scrap paper, but that makes me love it even more.
Family is everything to him.
His favorite Groundlings sketches to perform usually involve him getting naked. And my dad usually finds them hilarious.
He’s a “glass half-full, there’s a silver lining in everything” kind of guy, whereas I’m a “the world might end today, we should probably build a bunker and fill it with wine and expensive cheeses” type of girl.
He insists on PDA, even though I hate it.
He has the loudest, wildest laugh in the theater.
He likes to play “Uptown Girl” for me and (sometimes) thinks the fancy things I love are cute, and not “spoiled” or “a personality defect” (my mom’s thoughts, and also the truth.)
He was a Division I lacrosse player at a military college, who also studied ballet and gymnastics.
He surprises me with staycations.
He gave my mom the nickname “Bean Butt,” and she calls him “Tone Bone.”
He didn’t leave me when I got a puppy while he was in Vegas at a bachelor party.
If he’s been gone all day, he usually comes home with a treat and it usually involves chocolate and peanut butter. (See: Wedding diet.)
He’s a great dancer, way better than me. (*Thank you, Nancy, for putting him in those ballet classes!)
He still wears socks with sandals and shorts.
He incorporated everything I love into his proposal: My family, Lake Tahoe, our dogs, red velvet cake, champagne, flowers, the holidays, my dream ring and most important of all, him.
The first picture we took after getting engaged!
Neither one of us is perfect, but we’re perfect for each other and that’s better than soulmates. I’m so excited to be his fiancé, and can’t wait to be his wife. Happy Dateiversary Anniversary, Tony!
One of my favorite pictures because of how he’s looking at me, and also because he looks like Robert Redford.