Why I Call My Husband Ricky Ricardo
Have you ever wondered why I call my husband Ricky Ricardo? There is a very good reason for that and today I’m doing some splainin’. For me, when I call my husband Ricky Ricardo, it’s a term of endearment and an expression of complete and utter love- with a dash of my trademark irreverent humor tossed in. But exactly why do I call my husband Ricky Ricardo and how did this become yet another one of my ridiculous nicknames and expressions of love?
Let’s Start with My Very First Crush
As a young gay boy, the very first man I had a crush on was Ricky Ricardo from the television show, I Love Lucy. Sure, I loved Lucy’s physical comedy, Lucy and Ethel’s antics and the ridiculous yet hilarious situations they got themselves into, but it was Ricky that I loved the most. It was his scenes I waited for, crouching ever closer to the TV when he appeared on screen.
For me, it was the I Love Ricky show.
Part of his allure was that dark, wavy hair of his. Part of it was his deep, soulful eyes- those dark brown pools that I could drown in. Part of it was his sexy accent- played up for comedic purposes I’m sure- but sexy nonetheless. It was also the way he could walk into the room and command attention.
Then there was his genius reactions to whatever crazy thing Lucy had done that day. No matter what over-the-top scheme Lucy had cooked up or whatever inexplicable situation she found herself in, Ricky was there to save the day. And beneath his every Mira que tiene cosa…, there was pure adoration and love.
When Ricky was on screen, no matter what he was doing, I was captivated and lovestruck. He was all I saw and thought about.
As a young gay boy, Ricky Ricardo was the first man I fell in love with and, on an unconscious level, I spent the next 30 years looking for my very own Ricky Ricardo.
An Abridged History of My Road to Ricky
Between the ages of 18 and 35, I had 2 serious boyfriends.
I met my first boyfriend- a Haitian-American- in the one gay bar in that rural Michigan county when I was 18 and we were together for 3 years, which is a lifetime for a gay man so young. It was with him that I moved from that speck of a town in Michigan to New York City. From that relationship, I learned a lot about myself, love and what it takes to make a relationship work. We broke up when I was 21- it was a hard but necessary process and we stayed friends for many years afterwards.
I met my 2nd boyfriend- a Brazilian-born American- when I was 26 and we stayed together for 4 years, which was 3 years past it’s shelf life. Once I summoned the courage to break things off, I was free to take on my 30’s with the vengeance of a single, can’t-hold-his-liquor, attractive-in-the-dark gay man.
In the years between and after those relationships, I kept searching for Ricky Ricardo. I had a bevy of FBs, hoping against hope that one of them would reveal himself to be Ricky, but no.
I think in the straight world that you call them FWBs- Friends With Benefits- but the gay term, FB- is well, more honest and descriptive but not meant for sensitive eyes or ears. Let’s just leave it at I had a bunch of FB/ FWBs along the way!
In my mid-30s, a neighbor and friend of mine invited me over to his house for a small dinner party. It was a gathering of single gay men that night, and it was there, seated on the couch next to me, that I met a man who made me laugh and piqued my curiosity.
We hit it off right away and chatted all through the night. Though I only lived 2 blocks away and it was a nice night for a walk, he insisted on driving me home. We sat in the car for a while, not wanting the night to end and, as I slipped out of the car, we nervously exchanged phone numbers and made a date for the next week.
My First Mira Que Tiene Cosa Moment…
I suppose there are some similarities between Lucy and me- though my antics aren’t quite as extreme. We’re both emotional, reactive, somewhat impulsive and can unintentionally find ourselves in situations we didn’t foresee or intend. Sure, I don’t find myself in Parisian jails for passing counterfeit Euros, but I do take leave of my senses every once in a while and go rogue.
Take my first date with Ricky for example…
Ricky had picked me up from my apartment and was taking me to his house where he had made us dinner. I was beginning veterinary technician school and was very involved in homeless dog rescue, so stray dogs and animals in need were at the forefront of mind most of the time.
Heading to Ricky’s house where a hot, homemade meal was waiting, we were stopped at a red light on the corner of a side street and a major road- NE 81st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, in fact, if you’re familiar with Miami.
While waiting at the red light, we were nervously chatting- the hallmark of any first date- when I noticed a small, fuzzy dog darting in and out of the impatient traffic on Biscayne Boulevard. Focused on the dog, Ricky’s voice was transformed into white, background noise and all I could think was, I need to get that dog.
So, I jumped out of the car and into action. As I approached the dog, dodging cars all the while, I realized he wasn’t going to let me near him. My best option was to herd him off Biscayne Boulevard onto a side street, so that’s what I did.
I felt a tinge of relief that, if I couldn’t save him, at least I had given him a better shot at survival in a quiet residential neighborhood than he had darting in and out of the fray of speeding cars on Biscayne Boulevard.
As I approached Ricky’s car, which was parked despite a green light and the angry honking horns of people stuck behind him, my heart sunk. It was in that moment that I realized what I had just done or, more accurately, what I hadn’t done: when I jumped out of his car to help that dog, I hadn’t said a word to Ricky. I hadn’t told him what I was doing.
Nope. I had just jumped out of the car with no warning or explanation- like a crazy person.
As I got back in the car, I apologized profusely. passionately trying to convince him that this was not normal behavior for me, that I didn’t make a habit of jumping out cars unannounced, that I was not the crazy person I appeared to be.
All I knew was that I reacted instinctively and I was pretty sure this date was now over. I was convinced that he’d drop me off at the closest Taco Bell, so I stuffed 2 bucks in my pocket for bus fare.
…And Then My Own Personal Ricky Ricardo Appeared
But once I settled back in the car- mortified- he pulled forward and started making his way through a quiet residential area. It was with relief that I happily assumed that he had decided to forget my behavior and we were- finally- making our way to his house and the meal he had prepared. Maybe this date was salvageable?
We drove one long block, turned right, made another right, then another, Then we made a left, then another left, then another left and then a right. After we passed the same houses on the same two blocks for the third time, he yelled out, “There he is!”.
That’s when I realized that Ricky hadn’t been heading to his house- he had been circling the blocks looking for the dog! That decision to quietly look for the dog in the dark told me so much about who he was, his character and his giving spirit.
In that moment, I realized that this man was different, that he was special and that I needed to give him a good hard look. I didn’t know it yet, but I had just found my elusive Ricky Ricardo, that unrealistic and unattainable dream had just come true.
That was over 10 years ago. We’ve been married for almost six years and he still surprises me with his unconditional love and support- no matter how ridiculous I’m being. I found my Ricky Ricardo and I’m never letting go.