How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Her Lipstick

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My Wife's Lipstick Kiss

I found something.

A few days ago I was rifling through some rarely-opened filing cabinets, looking for something; something boring enough that I forgot about it the second I opened up a folder that was bloated with odd, crinkled contents.

Memories beamed out at me. Cards from my kids in brightly-colored construction paper, saved scribbles that had once enjoyed the refrigerator magnet spotlight, some random family photos, bits of unfinished bad poetry. And this…

An impression of my wife’s lips. From the second time I ever met her.

The first time we met… Yeah. Let’s just skip to the second time we met, shall we?

Lizzie, our mutual friend Kevin and I were headed out together for a night of fun in the yellow and black Mini Cooper I owned at the time. She asked if she could drive it and, without skipping a beat, I said “Sure!” She seemed stunned and probably had no idea how adorable and sexy her surprise was.

She smiled and climbed into the cockpit, popping open her purse to apply a fresh coat of ruby red to her lips and asked if I had any napkins.

Of course I didn’t and almost laughed at the thought, so I grabbed my sketch pad and tore out a sheet I’d been using to sharpen my pencil by swiping it back and forth. She made a lazy O with her lips and pressed them against a part of the paper that wasn’t covered in pencil lead.

For some reason I put the page back in my sketch pad.

A couple of months later, we were speaking for hours on the phone, for the 62nd consecutive night or so. I think we spoke in various foreign accents for the entire call. When we rang off, I stared at the phone (like they supposedly always do in daytime soap operas but never do in real life), but I wasn’t seeing it in my hand. I was looking at something that wasn’t there. That wasn’t even then. I was looking ahead.

I already knew by then that I loved her. But this was the moment when I allowed myself to let go the grip on friendship that I was using to hold back the shadows and scars of my heart’s former failings; all the thought-up monuments to my own past miseries.

I finally let myself love her. I breathed out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding, and with it came the words, “I’m going to marry her.”

– The Beginning –

when we first met and then got married


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76 Responses to “Her Lipstick”

  1. Steve says:

    God I’m a softy these days [tears falling onto keyboard]. So cool of you to share!

  2. FirstTimeMom #Jamaica says:

    after writing stuff that caused severe histericality (yes there’s no such word) otherwise called LOLs, u go an write something as romantic n tear-jerking as this? i protest!!!

  3. the grumbles says:

    oh you SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

  4. Awww! And again, AWWW!

  5. Claudia says:

    I seriously think you should write a HOW TO BE A GOOD HUSBAND book Mr. Andy! From one artist to another, the fact that you had a sketch pad in your car- that wins ME over. And as a woman, this warms my heart!

  6. BFMama says:

    Aw. How romantic!

  7. JustADaughter says:

    It’s stunning how able you are to make me change all of my ideas about men. Every time in the best.
    You gotta be among the best fathers and husbands in the world, never forget that!

  8. Evonne says:

    You just wrote this post to see how many of us would go all gooey didn’t you??? That’s okay. It’s really nice to see a guy who’s not afraid of such moments (the lipstick one that is) and sharing them πŸ™‚

    • Andy says:

      I like making people feel good things, so in a way it’s true what you suggest. Laughter and goo. But, making my stressed out wife cry with joy might have had something to do with it as well. Thanks!

  9. Mike says:

    A guy driving a Mini Cooper. You’re lucky she didn’t ask to drive her car. Someone has to give you a hard time about it.

  10. mae says:

    Dammit Andy. Holy shit.

  11. shruti says:

    Such a romantic story…very sweet! Wish you both all the happiness in the world!

  12. Laurie says:

    Holy crap! I LOVE This!! gahhh my hormonal state can’t handle this mushiness, made me weepy! No wonder she wants more and more of your babies! Lucky gal!

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha! Well said. I better develop a facial tick and start being an a-hole so she cools her heels on the baby front. Otherwise she might resort to “milking the bull while it sleeps” and put an unauthorized bun in the oven. Wow. Enough metaphors, anyone?

      Super sweet words, thanks!

  13. Mother Duck says:



  14. Katie says:

    So sweet! Gah.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t even speak….tears tears and more tears

  16. Steve says:

    Yeah, Andy can you be a surrogate donor for my wife who is also exhorting/cajoling/extorting me to make more babies?
    You just have to take care of the wee one until age 18. I promise it won’t get all awkward like in that movie Indecent Proposal, because frankly, I don’t have a million bucks.

    Come to think of it, I kept something she gave me long ago, too. And it only flares up every few months or so πŸ™‚ Kidding, of course. It actually came from a public toilet–something to do with my “wide stance” I think.

  17. Ewokmama says:

    That is so freaking sweet!

  18. Babe_Chilla says:

    And a collective and audible “awwwww” came across the blogging world.

  19. Julia says:


  20. Jess Cadena says:

    What a beautiful thing to be so in love then and so in love now to reflect back on that moment!

  21. Jenna says:

    OH FOR THE LOVE. But seriously. Andy FTW.

  22. Corinna says:

    Who needs 50 Shades…? =)

  23. Coco Cana says:

    Just beautiful! This is a stunning picture of your wife! And you look very content and comfortable in your love for her. A perfectly captured moment of wedded bliss!

  24. twobusy says:

    Very nicely done, sir.

  25. Hannah says:

    What an absolutely lovely post!

    (We just had our anniversary yesterday, so I’m prone to mushiness at the moment. :~))

    But really, that’s an awesome story!

  26. gorillabuns says:

    Reminds me of my first date with my husband. scribbles on cocktail napkins and youth.

  27. Zane says:

    And I thought I had mangina problems…..

  28. sipote_1 says:

    Man…this guy writes for mom-bloggers to get their romantic blogger fix…he’s like the 50-shades of daddy bloggers…

    • Andy says:

      Hah! You either need to work on your compliments or work on your insults. Or they’ve been secretly humping, got pregnant and birthed your comment. πŸ˜‰

  29. WHAAAAAAT. This post is so good and melts my cold, hard heart.

  30. First, I write romance novels and you sir are the reason Romantic fiction is the number one seller. But if I wrote that in a book people would scoff and say there is no way.
    We hunger for love enough to risk a scared heart. You made me cry and that is NOT easy.
    Second, I have a sketchbook from the early years. It is a partial nude of my hubby from the back (he was sleeping) I thinks it’s beautiful. He’s not as impressed and hates the idea of our kids seeing it.

    • Andy says:

      Wow. High praise. Thanks!

      It’s true. I often find myself, in real life, spouting the line “You can write s##t like this!” but of course, you can. It’s just that the statement goes further to mean that no one would “buy” it; unfinished books would be abandoned, movie-going audiences would groan, channels would be changed, etc. However, if you add 20 or so pages in between each of the paragraphs of this story, maybe even in an arty, hard to follow, series of quadruple flashbacks… then maybe! Just maybe it would work. πŸ˜‰ Sorry. Just some sharing of my writer musings.

      I think it’s beautiful that you have the sketch of your husband. Cherish it. Even if he’s doesn’t (for the moment being). πŸ˜‰

  31. Jess says:

    It’s comforting to know that not only are you a bona fide goof ball, intellectual audiophile, and graphical genius, but a hopeless romantic to boot. Kudos and bravo and standing ovation, sir Andy. Really. Truly.

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha! YEEEESSSSSS!!! Thanks. Really. Truly.

      • Jess says:

        You’re welcome. Really. Truly. #keepitgoingHerald

        • Andy says:


          I’ve actually daydreamed about how I would keep writing and illustrating if I were ever sent to prison (wrongfully accused and convicted, of course!). So, yeah. I’m pretty committed. πŸ˜‰

          • Jess says:

            Having spent a good deal of time in the clink (13 hours) for being a good Samaritan on the wrong side of a license suspension, I can tell you that there’s no way I’d have survived that stint in solitary without The Writing and The Illustrating. Stay strong. #keepusingerroneoushashtags

  32. Kesha C. says:

    Great story! I wish my husband could articulate when he fell in love with me so eloquently. lol. *applause

  33. Mama Mary says:

    I love that you kept that piece of paper. Such a wonder keepsake with so many memories attached!

  34. Mama Mary says:

    And by wonder, I meant wonderful. Still on my first cup of coffee.

  35. Sarah says:

    Love the straightforward and heartfelt honesty. Great post, lucky man, and lovely wife.

  36. Nichole Been says:

    I’m new here and want to say this is a touching story that brought a tear to my eye. It’s nice to hear “his” side. I just knew when I first went out with my husband I really really dig him, like no one else before. After the first few times we went out, we didn’t spend a night apart for many years. Thanks for this blog and your writing. I enjoy it.

  37. Jessica says:

    Thanks Andy, I have diabetes now from that story.

  38. Elizabeth says:


  39. kat says:

    awwwwwwww this is ridiculously mushily cute

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