Today I have been thinking about “our story.” You know what I mean – every couple has one – the fairy tale story of how you met, fell in love and ended up together. Without even meaning to we often sugar coat things, add in extra layers of romance, and make the meeting seem like this super important, time-and-heart-stopping event. Maybe it is that way for some people – maybe they don’t have to exaggerate or leave out the ugly parts because it was that special and wonderful and not a single thing went wrong that night or ever since. It wasn’t “perfect” at all for me and my husband, but somehow I concocted a cutesy, lovey-dovey version of that night for myself and my friends and family.
Here it is (as it appeared in our engagement book – and yes we had one of those) with a few minor changes:
“On November 2nd, 2007 I headed out to spend an evening on the town playing darts with my friend. We met up at The Bar, our favorite place to relax and unwind after a hard week at the office. I hadn’t been out in a while, and I was looking forward to having some fun and releasing a little stress by throwing pointy things at the wall (a.k.a. darts).
After staking out the best table in the corner, we headed up to the bar to grab a drink. Almost immediately my friend spotted someone who she hadn’t seen in a while, my future husband. She introduced us, and I noticed right off the bat how great and genuine his smile was. He was updating his new cell phone and put my friend’s name and number in next to a smiley face icon. I joked that he must not know her very well if that’s the symbol he was using. He laughed and made a joke right back.
The rest of the night she and I played darts, mingled around, and talked to different people. I always found myself gravitating back to [my future husband] because something about him was so engaging and fun. I found out that he hadn’t been out in months, either, and he just happened to be out celebrating a new job that evening. Once we talked a little more I connected the dots that this was the man who my friend had been talking about for years at work. She used to visit his apartment all the time because he was dating her best friend. She told me stories about how well he cooked, and how she always wanted to help but he took care of everything.
At some point in the night we got into a darts match where he and I were on opposite teams. I was not very good at darts because I was just starting out, but somehow my team was kicking their butts. Of course I made sure he knew it. I have heard that I can sometimes be intimidating (though I don’t know how that could be), but I was impressed by his ability to take it and dish it right back. His witty banter was very charming and I could tell he was intelligent and quick on his feet.
Needless to say, I was enjoying myself and having a great time. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my friend told him that he didn’t have a chance with me, so he shouldn’t even try. He is not one to just throw in the towel, and he didn’t take that as the final word. During a brief game break he asked me if I would give him my real phone number if he asked for it. When I said yes, he asked if I would actually pick up if he called. That got me laughing, and got him my number.
He walked me to my car that night and was a perfect gentleman, which I have to admit I made a little difficult. He told me that he wanted to take me out on a date soon and get to know me. About 30 minutes later he called me to make sure I got home safely, and I knew he could be a keeper. The rest is, as they say, history.”
Here’s the shorter, more “real” version:
I went out to a bar with my friend. We proceeded to get drunk and throw darts. I met a friend of hers. She challenged him that he could never “get me.” He pursued me just to prove her wrong (having not really been all that interested in me to begin with). We flirted, drank some more, and I insulted him a few times because I’m mean like that when I’ve been drinking. I was impressed when he didn’t cry, and flattered when he asked for my number. Once the bar closed he walked me to my car, we made out and dry humped a bit on the street. He refused to come home with me. He called me later that night to sooth my drunken ego, and make sure I didn’t kill myself (or someone else) on the way home. He asked to take me out on a date some time. I agreed.
Yeah, that’s really it. Not too flattering to either of us. And I’m not proud of the drinking, the “whore-ish” behavior on my part or the drunk driving (really not cool – REALLY). I was coming off a bad 7-year relationship with my high school sweet-heart (a completely different story). He had just started working again after his own bad breakup and meltdown (really a different story that I will have to get into at some point). There was bad behavior, lies, and poor judgement involved. I will not justify myself because a lot of that was incredibly wrong and in hindsight I am lucky (on so many levels) that I am not dead.
I will say that I now realize there is nothing remotely romantic, stable, or marriage-building in our first meeting – or really a lot of our early dating. I can’t believe how stupid and reckless I was. It doesn’t matter that this was only the 4th or so time I had ever been out to a bar, that I was 22, that I have never had a one-night stand, that I do not agree with driving drunk, that I am normally a safe and intelligent woman, or that I was trying to numb some serious internal pain. What matters is that night ranks as one of the worst moments for me personally, yet somehow I tried to make it sound like the beginning of some “Happily Ever After” scenario. And I believed myself for a while! How ridiculous!
Do you delude yourself about your relationship – either the one you’re in or one in the past? This was just the beginning for me, as you will find out in future posts.