Dana AKA "Hong Kong Death Breath" / by Dana Bergstrom

This is what Pauly calls me whenever I eat my favorite Asian foods laden with the pungent and always delicious garlic and onions.

We have a wide variety of ridiculous nicknames for each other, but this is truly a treasured one.

The first time Pauly addressed me as "Hong Kong Death Breath", I was utterly enamored with the rhyme and rhythm of the phrase.

To me, he was like a sexy version of Vanilla Ice. A hot, white boy rappin' his clever put-down. I enjoyed his insult comedy so much that it didn't even occur to me to have hurt feelings.

Although rejection and sadness did eventually arrive later in the day.

I attempted to smooch on him and I've never seen the man move so fast.

Apparently, the stench of my exhale had survived the extended mouthwash/tooth brushing session and Pauly was completely mortified at the idea of kissing smelly ol' me.

Boo.

Hiss.

The most delicious seasonings in the world are ruining my love life.

Actually, they've messed it up from the get-go.

Our first argument as a married couple was over garlic.

We were making dinner for guests and I was following the recipe to a T.

Just as I went to add seasonings, Pauly began shouting.

"STOP! YOU'RE GONNA KILL EVERYBODY WITH THAT MUCH GARLIC!"

Never in my life had I imagined that Pauly would scream at anyone. Let alone me. I was scared and shocked.

And, GEEZ, I was just following the recipe! Yet because I was (and still am) incredibly insecure in the kitchen, I got defensive and started crying.

Now it was a decision between 1) following the directions perfectly, which I always do because I'm horribly nervous whenever I pick up cooking utensils and I HAVE NO CLUE WHY I'M PRETENDING TO MAKE EDIBLE FOOD FOR PEOPLE! or 2) upsetting my brand new, loud husband who was convinced I would murder our company with a couple of teaspoons of garlic.

Twenty-three years later I'm still crazy in love with onions and garlic, but because I'm also madly in love with my vampire partner, I have to make a choice between spicy seasonings or hot lovin'.

Usually, it's no contest. Pauly Pauly Pauly.

Other times it's a toss up.

And occasionally the Mister makes it easy by doing something annoying and I go runnin' into the arms of my super sexy alternative - allium herbs and vegetables.

Plus I get to hear Pauly rap about me all night long.

Awww yeah.

Hong Kong Death Breath.

Say my name, say my name.