I was reading Not Knowing The Colour of Your Wife’s Underwear Could Get You Deported today in the Huffington Post. Apparently, quite a few immigrants are being detained due to them possibly marrying for convenience (i.e. a passport). Some of the people getting caught out don’t seem to know their wife’s bra size, or the colour of her underpants or her National Insurance number. Wait, what? Are those the important things that tell you if someone has truly married for love?
According to this test, Husband and I have been in a sham marriage for almost 12 years. If you called Husband right now, he would not know any of those things. And chances are, he would additionally not know my clothing size, the colour of my toothbrush or what jewellery I wear on a daily basis. And while I probably know some of these things, it just does not matter.
I moved to London almost 14 years ago on a working holidaymaker visa. This gave me two years to work, but it also gave my then boyfriend/now-husband and me time to figure out whether our long-distane relationship would work in real life. A year later we bought our first flat and got engaged. We married on the last day of April, the day my visa expired. It could not be helped. It was the only available Friday at our wedding venue before June (and all the Saturdays were booked). I remember going to the British Consulate in Vienna after our marriage. They took me into a room by myself. An interviewer asked me questions behind a glass door. They were trying to prove whether our marriage was for love or convenience.
Before the interview, Husband and I had practiced answering the questions they might ask. What side of the bed does he sleep on? What was the name of the hospital where he was born? What was the name of his primary school? Though we had known each other for four years before our marriage, we were worried that there were some information we did not know about one another. We did not want to be caught out, especially as we desperately wanted to stay together. I got most of the questions right. To this day, I can never remember the name of Husband’s diploma from law school.
But we passed the test. I think mostly because we had bought a flat together, and the interviewer was shocked at what we paid for it (Vienna house prices aren’t like London). And if you’re willing to spend a lot of money on a crappy one-bedroom flat in Walthamstow rather than living in sunny California, then you must be in love.