how to have a second anniversary

Have you ever had an anniversary? Do you know someone who’s had an anniversary? If you’ve never had an anniversary, would you be willing to entertain the idea of having one in the future?

Believe it or not, marriage anniversaries haven’t always been celebrated to the standards they are today. In the olden days, for example, couples traditionally acknowledged their anniversaries by briefly making eye contact before heading back out to till the fields with oxen and rudimentary wooden ploughs.

Later, Mary Sue would attempt to bludgeon poor Horace with a butter churn handle, on account of being driven crazy by the endless amber waves of grain undulating in every direction, OH GOD THEY NEVER STOPPED MOVING.

These days, anniversaries are typically celebrated with a set of preconceived, exponentially-inflating expectations which culminate in bitter disappointment. If, like me, your cup should already runneth over with disappointment, you can circumvent the possibility by following this handy guide from my friend Lyn, who holds an imaginary degree in anniversary expertism.

I found Lyn one day while I was looking in the mirror, and boy, was I ever glad for this discovery. Turns out we share a lot in common! I really feel like you will relate to her no-nonsense, whimsical, anti-waves-of-grain attitude. So without further ado, I present you: Lyn.


Thanks, Lyn!

I tell you, folks, there is nothing like getting married. Your wedding day is full of pomp and circumstance, of fondness and cherished moments, of distant family members passing out in bushes, and of course, rhinestone-studded purple pleather pants. People make a really big deal out of weddings, because it’s the only time in their lives that they get to stand up in front of a crowd of their nearest and dearest and completely forget how to say all the lovey talky words they meant to memorize, because they’re rendered speechless by the pressure of ten dozen sets of eyes boring holes into the backs of their heads.

On your wedding day you’re also allowed to get a cake with as many tiers as you want, and I’m telling you what, that shit is golden. You can’t get away with a 17-tiered cake on any other day of your life. It’s the one time the cake police will let you go without so much as a warning. A get-out-of-cake-jail-free card. Forget about centerpieces or lawn games or even open bars: the sole measure of your wedding’s worthiness is whether your guests strain their necks trying to gaze to the top of the dessert.

It’s like the hair in Texas: the higher to heaven, the closer to god.

What I’m trying to get at is that your wedding day is momentous, and many people try to relive some of that momentousness on their first anniversary. They bestow gifts, dress up, go out to dinner, make a concerted effort to perform “special occasion” sexual favors. Many guests, still nursing year-old hangovers, remember to congratulate the fine couple on crossing the one-year finish line. “Well done!” they say. “You have exceeded our expectations.”


By the second anniversary things are a little different.

In year two, that new-marriage-smell has begun to fade. There are dings in the door, and french fries under the passenger seat. Your former guests are so distracted by the newest crop of happy couples that they barely know you exist. Your own mother is surprised to be reminded you’re hitched. “Oh, that’s still happening, dear? The same person, too? Tch.”

She’s always making that noise, that infernal tongue-clicking noise.

And you know what? You couldn’t care less. There is something blissfully freeing about no longer being special. You are open to wallow about in your own unremarkableness; wear it around like a comfortable sweater. You’re finally nobody, again.

Being that I’m an expert in anniversaries, I thought I’d share my tips on how to properly celebrate a second anniversary. Because there is only one way to experience life events, and that way is My Way. So sit back, my special children, and let me share this step-by-step guide to everything you need to know about having an anniversary.

  • Forget about your anniversary until the week before, when you are flipping through television channels and come across a show where a couple is getting married, which jogs your memory about the fact that you are married, too. To that one person, whatitsface. The one in the kitchen crinkling a bag of chips just loudly enough to slightly annoy you while you’re trying to play a game of Plants Versus Zombies. That one.
  • Look up the anniversary year theme. Cotton, huh?
  • Briefly consider giving your partner a plastic baggie stuffed with cotton balls, because what? Are these themes completely arbitrary? Is next year “rust” or “smoke” or “oxblood” or perhaps “sticky vinyl that a stranger’s thighs have likely been stuck to at some point?”
  • Go online and purchase a cotton tee featuring aliens fighting dinosaurs in your partner’s size (note: your individual partner’s interests may vary. Consult his or her secret diary for further information).
  • Do a little jig when the shirt arrives on the day of your anniversary. Do you have skills that pay the romance bills, or what?
  • 10 minutes before your partner arrives home from work, rummage around frantically in the closet for wrapping supplies. Reflect with wonder on how you’ve managed to collect a dozen rolls of Christmas paper and nothing else. Strongly consider wrapping the gift in paper printed with pine cones and acting like it was totally intentional (“Oh, yeah. Traditionally, like in olden days, couples exchanged coniferous trees. You know, before they went back out to till the fields. You never heard about that?”)
  • Instead, wrap the shirt in torn tissue paper and jam it inside a paper bag that appears to have come from a fish market.
  • Open a bottle of wine to breathe while the frozen “chicken” nuggets are heating in the toaster oven.
  • Light a candle and sit down at the table. Gaze deep into your partner’s eyes for a moment before asking if he or she remembered the ketchup.
  • Talk about work.
  • After you’re done eating, retire to the couch and open your laptops for some quality individual internet times.
  • Brush your teeth in comfortable silence and get in bed.
  • Just as you’re drifting off sit up suddenly and say, oh wait, I got you some cotton.
  • Exchange cotton.
  • Roll over and go to sleep.

That’s it. That’s how you do when you have been married two years.

Trust me, I’m a professional.



14 Responses to “how to have a second anniversary”

  1. The baby was basically due on our two year anniversary, but came a few weeks earlier. So we abandoned the 14 day old infant with my mother and went out to a fancy dinner. (Mainly to get away from the tiny infant of infinite need.) Sounds way more romantic than it was.

    We agreed that we gave each other a baby as an anniversary present. I think your cotton was kind of more awesome.

  2. This. A thousand times this: There is something blissfully freeing about no longer being special. You are open to wallow about in your own unremarkableness; wear it around like a comfortable sweater. You’re finally nobody, again.

    I can’t actually remember what we did on our 2nd anniversary. It was only 3 months ago. I think dinner might have been involved, but I won’t swear to it.

  3. Yes. Derrik’s anniversary present- Lord of the Rings pint glasses- arrived on the day of our anniversary and I felt like a god. I think dating year 7 is the alcohol anniversary?

  4. Just wait. 3rd anniversary is leather. So. Many. Options.

  5. this is amazing and pretty much exactly our 2 year anniversary. thanks 🙂

  6. Our third anniversary is coming up very soon.

    And there is definitely something nice about exiting the newlywed spotlighted phase.

  7. That’s a great shirt. Nice job on the cotton!

    We set the bar pretty low at our 1st anniversary where we shook hands and agreed to stay married another year. We did pop a bottle of champagne, so there was that.

  8. I failed the cotton year, but I’ll note these tips for next time. Happy anniversary!


    Fuck everything else, the dude got a dinosaur shirt! Who needs special sex now, huh?

  10. Happy anniversary!

    Amaze-ballz gift.

  11. Man, I love anniversary-present themes — especially the old-timey ones. Nothing like a challenge! This sounds like a pretty sweet anniversary. Our first was one for which my husband orchestrated an overnight getaway which was beyond lame (fortunately enough so that it was humorous), so for our second we played it close to home and went out to dinner, then had a drink at the hotel where we’d stayed after the wedding. He got me a band t-shirt, and I got him seersucker pants. 🙂

    Also, that shirt is totally kickass. And happy anniversary!

  12. I bought my young man the air compressor of his heart, and he bought me pint glasses from a local bike shop on our second anniversary (which was this summer). A dinosaur vs. alien t-shirt would have been highly appropriate as well.

    Then we had a fancy dinner, which I made him pay for because he wanted a wedding rather than eloping like I wanted to. We deserve each other.

  13. I still feel newlywed. Is that weird? I got diamonds for my present. Bling bling! Keeps it fresh.

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