Today’s CHBM carnival topic is "How did you meet your spouse/partner."
You know, this strikes me as funny, not because of the subject matter, but because I tend to shy away from telling stories that are a little too much edging toward the personal. Which, I realize, is rather ridiculous in some ways considering that this is a personal blog and it’s all about me, me, me and –in case you were not paying attention– ME.
Also, I’ve reconnected with a few friends recently, and talking about that inevitably comes up.
The Cliffs notes version goes like this: we went on a blind date, et voilà! (incidentally… isn’t "Blind Date" the best/worst show EVER?!)
But you know that the Cliffs notes always leaves the good part out– unless it happens to be the Cliffs notes for Anna Karenina, in which case I highly recommend them because do you really want to punish yourself by reading the whole thing only to wish YOU had lived in Czarist Russia so that you could have killed Anna yourself.
Last night while we watched "On The Lot" after American Idol –ugh– the Monsieur and I were trying to come up with our own pitches for movies. He kept on talking animatedly and was full of ideas. I kept on realizing how much of an art form it is to convey simple stories in such a way that you actually want to hear them told over and over again, even if they are trite and even if it’s something predictable and something you’ve heard or something that has even happened to you.
And so, on to the story:
2002 was not a bad year, really, but something was missing in my life: that elusive someone, of course. Having been the issue of the first feminist generation has put us women entering our thirties in a weird position, where we’re *definitely* not supposed to associate our value as a person on having a man–because otherwise what was the whole "we’re all equal" bit about then?– but we’re also all still biologically and societally expected to settle down somehow. Many of us are pressured to have a career, and many of us are pressured to have a career AND kids. Many of us are pressured to have a career, kids, pets, and donate time to worthy causes and fine spare time to do DIY projects out of Martha Stewart magazine. Plus since we’re liberated, we’re supposed to be just a little wanton, or maybe even straight up dynamite in the sack. Oh, and we’re also supposed to floss daily, read the newspaper, stay out of the sun, and save at least $3000 per year so we can have some sort of nest egg for when we’re older.
Because there is nothing sadder than being of a certain age, alone and penniless, feeding cats and crocheting doilies until the day we die– still alone and penniless and unfulfilled (but, I suppose, still liberated). So instead we stumble and fumble and feel very very annoyed and we grow up later and later. Thank goodness most of us have mothers to blame, huh?
By New Year’s Eve of 2002, after a very annoying and frustrating "romance" petered out due to the other party’s utter lack of interest in me… wait… I need a few seconds there for my bruised ego at this point… ouch.. okay. By the end of ’02, frustrated by the utter lack of interest in me, I had had it.
Sure, 26 is pretty young to give up on love, romance and amorous pursuits, but I really felt like I’d turned a corner of sorts. It’s hard to pretend it does not bother one that another human being –for whom one has romantic and lurid feelings– thinks one is as exciting as melamine, and that was a good reason to be hurt and make rash decisions. But I also felt that I was on the slow train going to Shitsville — still living at home, in a very nice but boring job, and with friends who (I thought) had far more fabulous lives than I, hands down.
So what does a person who’s hit rock-bottom do? She gets roaringly drunk on New Year’s eve, cancels coaching practice, spends all day in bed whining, and realizes that New Year’s day is just another day and not the magical life-turning point she’s enshrined in her mind. 2003 beckoned: the year of do-not-give-a-flying-eff.
The year began, and so did my new resigned, singleton self. And do you know what? Hitting a low point has the virtue of making everything else look pretty good by comparison: I worked on crocheting (had to train for doily-making), and I read, and I did, you know, things. I stopped caring as much about getting asked out and started enjoying going to pubs and playing trivia more (yes, the geeky stuff). I tried to stop seeing myself as a piece of cattle who must auction herself off to know her worth.
On St. Patrick’s day, while having a pint with a family friend, I agreed to something that I’d never done in my life. He told me of a guy he knew through work, whom he thought would be a good date for me.
An old-fashioned blind date: the quintessential anything-goes of the dating world. Why not?
"Is he cute?" I knee-jerked.
"Um. I guess I think he’s reasonably handsome for a guy."
"That doesn’t help"
"Well… uh… he’s the best runner I know."
Blank stare. I hate to run. I don’t really want to go out with some super fit crunchy athletic nightmare guy.
"Anything else to recommend this guy?"
"He drives a Jaguar."
"K, what’s his number?"
Don’t look at me like that. I happen to like cars. I figured that at least I’d be going out with someone who was in relatively good shape, and the fact that he drove a nice car was a good bonus (and something to get me home faster in case the night went horribly.
But it didn’t.
It was "geek at first sight." He was geeky, and looked like he’d stepped out from 1961.
He thought I looked, "Um. Different from what I’d imagined." (<–confessed years later, both)
Uh. Jaguar, take us away?
Somewhere in between dinner and drinks at bar #1, I realized he had the most beautiful green eyes I’d ever seen. And somewhere between bar #1 and bar #2, I found out he was a cat person. Oh, and I found out that being held by him felt right and good and yes.
And here we are, four years and several thousands of miles later.
Later I found out that he’d also given up on romance and life and love. He thought he’d end up a geriatric bachelor, living somewhere in the deep woods with a cat.
It’s a good thing we found each other, because we could have been next-door neighbors otherwise.
Oh, been there and done that. Love this post. And, I must know: how’s that doily-making coming?
I also met my husband after not giving up exactly, but spending a lot less time worrying about romance and a lot more time doing things for myself as a single person. It helped I had moved away from home and was less obsessed with how far behind (so to speak) I was compared to my friends who by that time had all married and started having kids.
I had thought perhaps I’d meet someone in the summer Latin class where we met, but on the first day, when I saw my fellow students assembled, I thought, “What a bunch of geeks” (says the kettle). But I married one of them. Otherwise I’d probably be a crazy cat lady by now.
I can’t tell you how many of my girl friends found their Mr. Rights after “giving up on love”!
*chuckles* Sometimes the next-door neighbour is Mr. Right!!
I read your story out to my husband and he enjoyed it. It certainly beats our “we met in high school and was introduced by a mutual friend” tale. Although my husband says he knew immediately I was the one for him and convinced our friend to introduce us. I apparently took some convincing first.
I think my daughter is going to have to give up on love and move away before she finds anyone. She seems to be too liberated for the guys around here.
I can totally relate to this as the person who has given up on love after hideous experiences with men. I hope you’re right…
Thanks for the sharing. 🙂 Great story, and great writing. You inspire me. 🙂