Since my crappy marriage book is coming out in three weeks and it’s about marriage, I’m going to share some of the prenuptial story. How we met and such. Basically, what happened before marriage happened. These stories comprised an entire chapter in the book that was cut out…
It is a hot and humid, mid-summer afternoon. I have the day off so I decide to go to the park to lie in the sun and read a book. (For context, I’ve just graduated from college and this is in Madison, WI.)
I can usually convince a friend to go with me.
So I call my friend Jessie:
But she has to work and after that she is hanging out with her new boyfriend. I can’t complain; I was the one who set them up. (Fast forward several years – they get married!)
I walk to my friend Justin’s house to borrow his headphones and he won’t come either. Nobody is around. Fine. I’ll go by myself.
Maybe it will be good for me to go alone. My boyfriend just moved away to California for law school. After going back and forth about “trying the distance thing” we both admitted defeat. It wasn’t going to work and we were mature enough to realize it right away. After dating for two years we split up. But it’s okay. I’m ready to be alone and focus on myself for a change. No more guys. Just me. Single.
I grab a blanket and sunscreen and look for my swimsuit. I find it wrapped inside a smelly wet towel buried in the laundry pile. It is nasty and unwearable. Now what? Could I just wear matching bra and underwear? It will look like a bikini. Nobody will be close enough to notice. Sure, it is totally fine.
I finish packing my bag and head out.
This particular park isn’t one I usually go to because it is a much farther walk from my apartment. Today, it is particularly crowded with groups of college students. People are on blankets. People are playing Frisbee and soccer and secretly drinking alcohol out of thermos containers.
I survey the grass and look for a quiet spot where I’ll be least likely to get smacked on the head with a ball.
I smooth out my towel and lean back and close my eyes. Wow, it feels so good to be in the sun. I can hear kids shrieking with laughter because two seagulls are trying to steal their popcorn. I can smell the lighter fluid and charcoal of a grill getting started.
I love summer.
I open my eyes and notice a guy sitting nearby with his shirt off, holding an open book in his lap. He looks away when our eyes meet. Was he there when I sat down? I didn’t notice him. I watch him out of the corner of my eye. Did he just look at me again?
I lie down completely and put my sun hat over my face. Once it is on my face I realize that it isn’t an ordinary hat. It is a spy hat.
One of the eyelet holes where the long lost chin tie should poke through is the perfect size to peep through. I can watch everything going on around me and nobody knows that I can see!
Yep. That guy is looking at me. And he is gorgeous. Why is he looking at me? I’m terribly intimidated so I decide to pretend that I’m not intimidated and be brave instead.
I quickly sit up, dig in my bag for my journal and a pen and I boldly face him and start sketching a picture of him.
I also write down that I’m “making eyes with some sausage guy”. A sausage guy is any muscular male who isn’t particularly bright but is pleasing to the eye. I also note that “at least he can read” and I wonder what he is reading. The book looks small. It is probably something fluffy.
Just then I hear a loud beeping noise and I see him reach in his pocket and look at a pager. Then he calls someone on his cell phone. Then it happens again.
Who still uses a pager? Oh my god, he is a fucking drug dealer. I’m playing eye games with a dangerous drug dealer in my bra and underwear and he is going to follow me and chop me into pieces or make me try heroin.
He is really nice to look at though:
But I better stop looking at him or he’ll come over here.
Oh no! He is coming over here! Right now!
Frantically, I toss my journal in my bag and rifle through it to grab my clothes. Quickly, quickly!
My heart is pounding, I have got to put my clothes on before he gets here. Hurry!
Too late. He casually sits down on the grass next to my blanket and introduces himself.
We shake hands and the entire time I’m thinking about the fact that I’m wearing only a bra and underwear. He put his shirt on before he walked over. Not fair. Not fair at all.
I have to put him on the defensive. So I quickly say:
But he is unflappable.
We talk for a while and I learn that he just moved here from Los Angeles a couple weeks ago. Interesting. My ex-boyfriend just moved to Los Angeles a couple weeks ago. It was as if the universe was saying, “Oops, sorry, that wasn’t the one. Try this fresh one we just flew in.”
He also shows me that he is reading Cope’s Early Diagnosis of the Acute Abdomen. Not exactly a comic book. And he explains that his pager is going off because he is a medical resident and on call. Not exactly a drug dealer either. (Okay, he was still a drug dealer. Just a legal one.)
He talks at length about himself and then asks me:
A simple question that I answer (the answer is no) which wouldn’t be notable except it is. You’ll see.
He asks me out to dinner. That same night, two hours from now! I say yes and literally RUN home as soon as I’m sure he can’t see me. Half out of excitement and half because my apartment is far away and I still have to shower and get ready for our date in less than two hours.
We meet at a Caribbean restaurant and because he is on call, he can’t order a drink. So I decide not to order one either because I don’t want to look like a drunk which is exactly what I look like after only one cocktail if the other person isn’t drinking. I’m on a first date with a completely gorgeous and intimidating stranger without the crutch of alcohol? Please save me. This is awful. Why am I here? At least I’m wearing clothes now.
He talks more about himself and then he causally asks:
Again. The same question! Again! Which means he absolutely didn’t listen to me the first time he asked it. Which means he isn’t really interested in me at all.
The dinner finishes up and he gets a page that he needs to go back to the hospital. He has to leave suddenly and says he’ll call me but I’m pretty sure he won’t.
We go on a second (much improved) date where he actually remembers that I’m an only child. He is much more relaxed and we laugh together. Then something horrible happens. I fall for him. Hard.
So I do what any normal young woman does when she falls for someone so hard and so quickly that it scares the shit out of her. I tell him that I don’t want to see him anymore.
The timing is horrible. I just got out of a serious relationship. Getting involved with someone is the last thing I want to do right now. I don’t want this! I’m not ready!
But after a phone call consultation with my friend Jessie, I’m swayed:
And so I do eventually see him again. Again and again. (Fast forward several years – we get married too! Thanks Jessie. We’re even.)
Win a copy of Marriage: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures! Here’s how… Leave a comment below telling the story of how you met your significant other. One winner will be picked at random on Friday, December 12th, posted here and emailed.
Congrats to Erica who wrote, “I don’t remember the “first” time meeting my husband because we went to elementary school together!”
(PS – you can still pre-order and get a signed bookplate! Details at the bottom of this post.)