Kevin Purcell on his girlfriend and Doing the “Annus” Thing.

It’s hard to say when to really start celebrating an anniversary in a new relationship.

This is not one of those predictable online rants against using the word anniversary to describe periods of time measured in months. I know the root of “anniversary” is “annus,” the Latin for year, but I’m not one of those reactionary word Nazis. If you want to say “literally” when you specifically mean “really a lot,” you’re not going to hear an objection or correction from me. I’m comfortable judging you in silence.

On a personal note, I’d like to point out how I breezed past “annus” without making a butt joke. So much growth and personal progress after only 13 years and $350,000 worth of therapy.

I guess this is less a question of when to start marking anniversaries (or “milestones,” if you ARE one of those word Nazis literally bursting into flames every time you read the word) than what constitutes an anniversary in the first place. Is it the first meeting? The first date? The first kiss? The first “I love you”? The first night over? The first break-up? The first police intervention? The first time a surfeit of alcohol led to a deficit of good sense and a morning of densely sore regret?

Well, no, not that last one; that one’s clearly the very specific “anal-versary.”

And dammit, I only made it two paragraphs before it all came apart. This is going to have to go in my Accountability Journal. Dr. Gina will be very disappointed.

Like most relationship questions, the answer to this one is: it really kind of depends. For most people, I think the cause for remembrance and celebration has to do with what constitutes a paradigm shift in the relationship. When it shifted from friendship to romantic or from physical to emotional or from prison-conjugal to legal-in-Utah. The consecration of the date is for every couple to decide for themselves.

Or, as in most cases, for the woman in the relationship to decide. And keep to herself. And hold in reserve for the date to come around, to use like a cudgel to emotionally bludgeon her partner when he inevitably fails to adequately remark upon its return.

Most men agree to get married in self-defense; just to have a date they can put down in writing, backed by the full weight of state law.

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