Meeting my husband was sort of like a mini Bachelorette show for me. I know a lot of people don’t like that show but I happen to love it. :-p
I used to be an IT consultant before I decided to stay at home with the kids. I traveled for work and basically lived in hotels out of a suitcase. I gave up my apartment in Houston, TX at some point b/c it didn’t make sense to have one since I was never there and I didn’t want to have to fly back and forth every weekend. I was on a project in San Francisco where they were trying to get me to live to reduce expenses on the project but I just couldn’t see living there (I was there for 10 months). Being from Texas, San Francisco was just way too different for me. The cost of living was the biggest shock to the system. I couldn’t imagine paying the prices they were asking for housing and the raise wouldn’t have been nearly enough to cover the expense.
In addition, I feel like there is such a different culture in San Francisco than I’m used to. It seemed to me that many of the men weren’t ready to settle down or weren’t interested in women or they only ate salad (which was probably the worst thing). :-p I got a lot of funny looks for eating huge plates of meat and potatoes on dates and men eating tiny, extremely healthy salads (kale used to only be used for decoration, right?) – no thanks, I’m not a brontosaurus. Not just funny looks though – sometimes looks of disapproval which bothered me. I don’t care that much about my appearance or health (I should care more about my health) that I’m willing to be unhappy (aka – only eat salad). And, with the men I was meeting, it seemed to me that they cared a lot about appearance and being healthy which would only drive me NUTS. Now, I hate to generalize everyone (I didn’t date everyone :-p) there but that was just my experience. Whatever the case, I was just finding it hard to “settle down” which is what I really wanted.
When I saw a project come up in St Louis, MO, I was extremely excited! A few of my friends were already working there and I got word that they were in need of software testers. I jumped on it. I’ve always had a thing for the Midwest though I’d never really been there (unless you consider TX part of the Midwest – not sure). You could say my type of guy is a Midwestern guy. They not only had to have the Midwestern look (manly man type of look – I guess the opposite of metrosexual) but also the values b/c it’s the values that I find the most attractive (good old-fashioned family values).
I signed up online from California to do a pre-dating (just like speed dating) event in St Louis, MO about a week after I arrived there. I thought it would be a good way to meet some St Louis people and maybe they could show me around. I had no idea that I would meet my husband there. Though I did pray that I would.
There were 13 guys and 12 girls. The age range was 25 to 35 years old. There I had an advantage b/c I was 26. You spend about 6 minutes with each person and then the organizers ring a bell and the men switched tables. The women got to stay at the same table. The held it at a bar called Llewellyn’s in the Central West End. I arrived a little bit late from work so I didn’t get a chance to get a drink – which was definitely a Godsend. :-p We talked about basic things – what do you do for work, for fun, etc. They had some ice breaker cards on the table, but we didn’t really use them.
How it works is that they give you a piece of paper with everyone’s names on it and you select the people that you would be interested in seeing again and if they also selected you, then the organizer will give them your phone number. Everyone I talked to was really nice and interesting so I selected 7 people to see again! Well, they all selected me too so I had 7 dates potentially to go on! I went from having no social life to a crazy social life! :-p Bryon only had one date to go on with me b/c he was more selective on who he picked. That is, maybe the choices weren’t that great – hence, all my dates. I think many of the women were on the older side of the date range which is a big disadvantage at these things if the men are younger and vice versa. It all just depends on the candidates that sign up.
So, needless to say, I was busy. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on anyone so I went out with everyone. See my post about searching for the magical unicorn – Lighter Shade of Gray – this is completely in line with my personality- or personality disorder. :-p
Bryon was the last guy to call. I had already gone on a few dates by the time he called b/c some of the guys called the second after they got my number which I wasn’t too keen on (looks a little frantic and desperate). But I was waiting for Bryon to call b/c I really liked him – I had written some good things by his name. I wish I had kept that paper so I could remember what that was but he was definitely a front runner – he definitely would’ve gotten the first impression rose if this was the real Bachelorette. ;-P
So, finally he called and we arranged to meet up at the Spaghetti Factory in downtown St Louis at the landing. I was living at Gentry’s Landing in downtown so this really worked well for me – I guess that’s why he picked it – very thoughtful. Except I suck at directions and even though I went downtown everyday for the past week to get to my apartment, I missed my exit to get there and ended up going across the bridge into Illinois. I was already running late from work, so I had to call and tell him I was going to be extra late. He was very nice and talked me through how to get there. And he was waiting outside for me when I arrived at the Spaghetti Factory to give me a big hug. That was nice.
We ate great food and had great conversation. It was really nice. Then, we went down the street to get a drink – I can’t remember where. We had to end the date a bit early (early for me b/c I’m not disciplined and never had a set bed time) b/c we both had work the next day and we ended with a small kiss on the lips goodbye. Perfect.
While we were on the date, he arranged for a second date (that’s how you know the date is going well :-p). He finds it funny though b/c when he asked what I was doing on the following Saturday, I asked what time on Saturday? This indicated to him that I had another date which I had no idea that that’s what it indicated to him but that was true. :-p I did have another date but I was willing to squeeze him in. :-p Which was probably not fair to that other date but at that point I didn’t care. Bryon was the front runner.
Fast forward to Saturday. I went on my “other” date. It was not good. The guy I went out with was ready to be married like that day. He took me to an Italian restaurant on the Hill which was nice and had great food but everybody in there was much, much older than us – like I think I we were the only ones that didn’t have white hair. I was thinking that if I dated this guy, this would be us. He was talking about me meeting his parents (it was our first date!) and marriage. I got really scared off and I drank waaaaaay too much wine during that date. I thought this guy doesn’t care at all who I am, he just wants to marry anyone. I was dying to get off that date.
After dinner, I had him take me back to my apartment b/c I had scheduled Bryon to pick me up at 9pm to go to a comedy club. I think my date had figured we would do something after dinner which I hadn’t even factored that in to my thinking in my original planning of this night. I kept checking my watch b/c I was cutting it very close. I didn’t want the two of them to run into each other. I basically got out of one car, barely got inside, when Bryon called that he had arrived. It was REALLY close and stressful! I’m pretty sure I had to be a bit rude to my first date in order to race out of the car (like, I basically dropped and rolled out of the car when he pulled up to the apartment complex), but I didn’t want to get busted. Woops!!!!
This poor planning almost ruined my chances with Bryon b/c by the time he picked me up I had already had a couple glasses of wine to get through my first date which didn’t go well. To him, I wasn’t the same person he had met on the first date we had b/c I was tipsy Denise which is different. We went to the comedy club and had an OK time. I could tell something was off. Then, he dropped me back off at my apartment. I knew I had to do something to reel him back in. So, I invited him up and showed him pictures of my family on my laptop. He realized that I wasn’t crazy, tipsy Denise. I was the same person he’d met on the first date – so long as I didn’t drink. And that is history. We found our crazily ever after. And, in this area of my life, I found my magical unicorn. 🙂 Still searching for it in all the other areas. :-p