#RPGaDay2020 Day 7: "Couple"
Rather than talking about RPGs specifically, I'm going to talk about my 25 year marriage to Cathy, and our experiences over the years as they relate to games, RPGs and general geekery.
An Early Date
When did I know I wanted to marry her? That's easy. On one of our first dates, we were driving on the highway, and chatting about something. And I said "It's worse than that he's dead, Jim (Dead, Jim. Dead, Jim.)" and without missing a beat, Cathy starts singing a falsetto "There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow. There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, Jim." and I laughed so hard, I almost drove off the road.
Maybe this wasn't grounds for marriage on its own, but I'll say that one of the boxes was checked in indelible ink. And on the off chance that someone reading this doesn't know the song reference, it's The Firm's Star Trekkin'.
GenCon and our Early Relationship
When we were first living together, I went off to GenCon, and Cathy stayed at home, as she had no interest in RPGs...plus it was "my" thing. This was all good until one night, some boxes I had stacked badly in the other bedroom closet began to move on their own. She called me in a panic, and I stayed on the phone with her. It doesn't help that the badly stacked boxes didn't just move, but actually crashed against one of the doors after she called me.
Eventually, with me on the phone ready to dial the police if something happened, she checked the room and found bent/broken cardboard boxes pushing against the door, and the place safe. She was safe. I was not. :)
Me going to GenCon was an annual thing, and it didn't bother her. I didn't go for the two years after my first daughter was born, but then when my second daughter came along, we decided that it would be fine for me to go back to GenCon even though I had a week long business trip the week immediately after. If it sounds like I left my wife with two young children while I played games, then hung out in Seattle doing training and getting to put wine and dinners on an expense account, you would not be wrong. My punishment for this minor transgression...she spent the time I was gone house shopping, and discovered we were moving, when I returned.
GenCon and the Kids
When my elder daughter turned 13, she was invited to come along with me--and she accepted. Cathy and the younger daughter stayed home and did "them" things. Carolanne took to RPGs like a duck to water. In the first event, I was showing her how to..."I've GOT IT, Dad." And she totally did. Cathy and my younger had a lovely time as well.
Four years later, both girls went with me, and Cathy stayed home by herself. Was she lonely? Abandoned? Felt like she was missing out? I believe her exact expression was "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" as she had a her-only weekend with no responsibilities to anyone but herself.
And yet, a few years later, she suggested that she might want to go, and has been with us ever since. She still doesn't play RPGs but GenCon is a marvel of spouse activities, shopping, and people watching. There are also several of my college friends and a chosen niece, so she gets to see the people she really likes. And as a bonus, she feels absolutely no obligation to follow the crazy hours the rest of us do. She signs up for her own events, meets people for lunch, and does crafting activities that interest her.
Cathy has tried RPGs and just doesn't think they are interesting. She sometimes has fun watching other people play them, but they don't keep her attention. She likes video games, board games, her favorites being around an hour, simple and not too competitive (Dominion, Tokaido, Ticket To Ride, etc.) She is properly impressed with graphic novels, Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows and movies, etc. Two of her favorite T-shirts are R2D2 and C3PO as a Dalek and a Cyberman, and a Thorgie shirt.
And she has always been supportive of my Thursday night at 9pm game. This time was chosen over 20 years ago, and has served my group incredibly well, though moves, children, education, and life. After 9pm is a fair time to walk away from small kids for an evening--they are asleep or will be soon. And Thursday night means you only have one day to survive. And she was fine with people traipsing out the house at midnight...as long as the kids weren't woken up.
So the summary of all this? Cathy has been a wonderful companion on our journey along the path of geekery, and for those few times where she wasn't interested in something specific, she has cheered me on from the rear. Sometimes far, far to the rear, but I can still see her waving.
A special callout to Shanna Germain for her wonderful Love and Sex in the Ninth World which gets into relationships as a real part of a role playing game. It's specifically written as part of Numenera, but the concept really goes well with any system.
Also, a callout to Andrawya who created the wonderful picture at the top of this post. You can see their work Instagram at @andrawya or Tumbler at andrawya. I found this picture on an Aminoapps site also under the name of andrawya.