Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Getting to Know Germany’s Top Husband


My husband is a star. He has been known to wipe vomit off my favourite pink satin shoes, he will happily take the children off for a skiing weekend and leave me alone to pick my hangnails and eat popcorn for breakfast, and he has a great sense of humour. First über-blogger Dooce did this meme, and then my good friend the very Noble Savage tagged me, so here’s a small tribute to Germany’s Top Husband.

What are your middle names?

Mine is Elise, after my maternal grandmother, and his is Witham, after family tradition. I can imagine a novel, set in the mid-nineteenth century where, after meeting at a dance, Elise and Witham fall in love, are separated for many years, then meet again, realise they have always been in love, move to Germany and have a vast brood of children.

How long have you been together?

Wow, a Maths question. We have known each other 22 years, have been officially together 17 years (there were forays, folks, during the wilderness years, but we needn’t go there) and married for 14.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

The first time we met we were 17 and there were, oh, about 22 minutes between meeting and kissing. We dated for two weeks, I dumped him, then there was the wilderness. When we met again, I chased him mercilessly until he gave in. Elise was a shameless hussy.

Who asked who out?

Well, on the second time around, he asked me out, though he swears it was just platonic. He had just moved to Cape Town and thought he would look me up so that I could introduce him to some of my friends. Hah! I took one look and bagged him for myself. Elise was not going to let Witham slip out of her rapidly-aging fingers again – there would be no shelf for our bold heroine.

How old are you?

Both 40. He is six weeks older.

Whose siblings do you see the most?

Gawd. We both see our brothers (he has one; I have four) about once every three years. However, we are going to South Africa this year and to Greece for a family wedding, so 2009 will be Year of the Brother. Elise and Witham were devoted to their families, but sadly did enjoy the felicity of their company quite often enough.

Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?

Finding time to be alone together. Living far away from family, with no support, we have very, very few opportunities to do the kinds of things we enjoy doing together, like having long breakfasts in cafes and meandering in bookshops. We have a great babysitter for when we need nights out, but we very seldom have DAYS together. Elise missed the days when she would embroider while Witham read to her in front of a roaring fire.

Did you go to the same school?

No. I went to an institution for young ladies and he went to an institution for young barbarians.

Are you from the same home town?

Technically, no. His wandering parents lived in many, many places, and eventually landed in the South African version of the Burg, where my family had lived for generations. It was inevitable that one day, under the right circumstances, young Elise and Witham would meet.

Who is smarter?

Ooh, dangerous ground here. He beats me at Scrabble; I correct his spelling. Can we leave it there?

Who is the most sensitive?

If that means the one most likely to tear up while watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics, then me. Elise was the type to weep at the sight of a withered bloom; it was this that made Witham love her all the more.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Various restaurants in Heidelberg, but our special date restaurant is in the Burg. And very lovely it is too.

Where is the furthest you have travelled together as a couple?

Is the southern tip of Africa to Germany far enough? Or London to Atlanta, Georgia?

Who has the craziest exes?

I win! Bat shit is not adequate enough to describe.

Who has the worst temper?

We both tend to grumpiness and muttering and a bit of inanimate object kicking, but I think he controls his better than I control mine.

Who does the most cooking?

At the moment, me. But there have been phases in the relationship when he’s done it all.

Who is the most stubborn?


Who hogs the bed most?

Oh, that would be me. Je suis the duvet thief.

Who does the laundry?

Mostly me, but with very staunch back-up.

Who’s better with the computer?

He is.

Who drives when you are together?

He drives there, I drive back. Elise and Witham enjoyed a very even marriage, sharing responsibilities, and taking care of each other’s needs. Whenever they had dined out, Elise would happily drive the trap home, her darling snoring gently at her side.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

29 thoughts on “Getting to Know Germany’s Top Husband

  1. This was a ‘glowing’ tribute to GTH – although he had my vote when he wiped the vomit of Elise’s satin pink shoes! You sound like a fabulous couple who balance each other beautifully!

  2. You all play SCRABBLE?? It’s my favorite board game! We must set a date to play!

  3. I have a sneaky yen to hear more about the batshit exes. Sorry – just the bottomless British appetite for schadenfreude.

  4. An engaging read…I like thinking of Elise and Witham in staid clothing, aching for each other as they wander the moors. Too fun. Will have to steal it.

  5. I’m with (un)relaxeddad, for exactly the same reasons. Great answers, and much enjoyment to be had out of Elise and Witham’s subplot.

  6. Too divine! Bat shit?

  7. I’m interested in how long that wilderness trip was. My cousin and her first love split up after high school and were apart for five years before starting to date again. They’ve been married 27 years.

  8. We’ll have to hear more of Witham and Elise, they sound made for a long Victorian romance of heart-wrenching restraint and suppressed passion…

  9. Great post, so romantic, seems you guys were destined to be together 🙂

  10. I love this 19th century novel – I agree tell us more!

  11. >> an institution for young barbarians

    He he he he he.

  12. Sounds like a wonderful guy!

  13. With kids and no grandparents in town I’m surprised you even remember long breakfasts! What a nice blog about your husband. Will he read it?

  14. Who is smarter?

    I love that question. Off to pose it right now.

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  16. You have to write more about Elise and Witham, I feel like I just started reading a lovely novel and have misplaced it somewhere. Lovely post.

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  18. Thanks Elise.
    love from the Lufthansa Lounge…

  19. Lovely. I think I shall participate in this one, but doubt I can beat Elise and Witham, as my second name is Jane and his is Daniel. It doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  20. GTH and you make a very cute couple. I also want to read more about Elise and Witham with maybe a smattering of bat shit thrown in 😉

  21. Please write AT LEAST a short story about Elise and Witham! I see Elise as an ethereal blond with a backbone of steel and a soft heart, while Witham is a bit of a dark, brooding Darcy type but with a fondness for beer and dancing.

    I think I’ll steal this meme right now.

  22. Fun post. I was intrigued by the exes also. I had an interesting experience reading this as I was thinking of my own answers to the questions while I was reading yours, sort of a distracting comparison shopping thing, I guess. Perhaps this is the sign of a successful meme.

    Sounds like your marriage is on a properly romantic and yet practical plane.

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  26. Hey – I’m back! And what a fab fab meme 🙂 N also beats me at Scrabble (damn damn damn) and chess is a place we no longer go ( I cry for each anthropomorphosised pawn lost while he sneaks ou on my king). As for batshit crazy-assed exes, let’s meet and discuss on the Garden Route in a couple of week’s time, over a glass of something bubbly. Will e-mail you my contact number!

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  28. Delightful! Why am I only seeing this now? I especially love your inner voice.

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