What do you buy your other half on Valentine’s Day? Flowers? Chocolates? Personalised champagne flutes and photo frame? His-and-her hand lotions and heart-shaped designer wash bag? You don’t forget the card do you?
Let’s be real, Valentine’s Day is meaningless. You don’t need to a day in the calendar to remind you to be romantic, or to tell your partner you love them, or to send a cryptic note to that person you’re stalking.
So this is going to be a celebration of something that is far more important than a bunch of roses or slab of Hotel Chocolate er… chocolate. You don’t even need to be in a relationship with anyone to have them. That’s right: In-jokes.
Yes, jokes that are only understood by a select few, and aren’t even remotely funny to anyone not in ‘the know’. To be honest, a lot of them aren’t even very funny to those in the know either, but to me, they signify a shared understanding that can contribute more to the length of a relationship than any card that has been recycled or long dead flower.
Mrs Three Time Daddy and I have never gone overboard with Valentine’s Day and we’ve had 18 together. When we met, this was the mobile phone to have:
This woman had a song in the charts:
And I’d never even heard of this guy (thankfully):
During that time, we’ve gone through a lot, but our own private jokes have endured. Here are my favourite five, which I expect you to be completely nonplussed about:
What is this place?
Circa 2002 we were in Tenerife. In the middle of the night, I apparently sat up in bed, surveyed the room with an outstretched arm and asked ‘what is this place?’
I’d like to think it was some sort of profound existential dilemma – what is this world? What is our purpose amongst it? How did we get to this point? What challenges will tomorrow bring? However, my wife is adamant it is from a scene in xXx (that classic 2002 Vin Diesel film that we actually love because it is so bad) and that nobody ever says just a ridiculous thing.
Turns out everyone says ‘what is this place’ in films. Trust me, after 16 years of doing the ‘See, it’s not just me that says that’ face I’ve tended to notice. Everyone is obviously having the same subconscious existential dilemma.
Who is Simon?
Misheard lyrics. We have a few that only we seem to hear or understand. The one that jumps out is Maximo Park’s ‘Our Velocity’
Listen at 1:16 and Paul Smith clearly asks ‘Is it cold where you are Simon? Yeah, you’re gonna need a scarf.’
Perhaps, but who is Simon?
Clive ‘Do You Get Headaches’ Owen
This is as close as I get to impressions and most of them come from The Bourne Identity (2002), one of the first films we saw at the cinema together.
‘Do you get headaches?’ Clive Owen mutters in his monotonous tones. ‘Look at what they make you give?’
And the classic quote from Closer (2004), is ‘are you flirting with me?’
These are questions that can be used to enrich numerous situations, but usually only my wife knows what the hell I’m on about.
Enchilada size 9
Quite a strange one, I admit, but I can’t say enchilada without adding size 9 at the end. It’s physically impossible for me. It comes after drunkenly confusing them with espadrilles during a meal out years ago. Yes I know they sound nothing alike, but I guess that is how it has stuck.
24 and Bruise’s Mum
24 has given us more than it’s fair share of quotable references: ‘Patch me through!’, ‘That is not an option!’ and ‘Damn it, Chloe!’
Our mutual love of 24 and Jack Bauer dominated our early relationship when we could stay up all night bingeing on a DVD boxset before bingeing on boxsets were a thing.
In season 4 we misheard the bad guy’s name as Maoam and one of the pawns as Bruise. Bruise’s Mum (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo) will always be known as Bruise’s Mum no matter what she is in. We recently watched The Punisher on Netflix:
Wife: What’s she been in?
Me: She’s Bruise’s Mum
Fun fact: Bruise is actually her son in real life.
So, these are my top five in-jokes that have helped bring me closer to my wife. I’m sure you have your own, whether past or present, and it would be great to hear what they are.
(And in case you’re wondering, that’s me reading a book with a Cushtie on my head. Another in-joke, but I won’t elaborate on it today)