I am married. Although my blog’s title, Four Kids and a Dog doesn’t shout out, Hey! I’ve got a husband too…I indeed do. I spent treacherous years leading up to meeting my Mr. in the dating battlefield.
My teen years provided particularly tumultuous dating drama.
106 KMEL Jams, a popular Bay Area radio station, featured a boy selection. I guess as a young teenager it seemed like a good idea to call a radio station and win a boyfriend. After many tries, I finally got through.
I scored the dude’s digits via the radio station; weight (yes, weight!), height and name. To this day, I remember that he weighed 135 lbs. and was 6 foot something. I’d had to ask friends if that was really skinny or or not.
Turns out it is.
We set up a time and place to meet. I’ll never forget potential boyfriend asking me nervously, over the phone,
“do you party?”
Party balloons, birthday cake and presents flooded my naive little mind. “Yeah! I love to party!
“Cool. Me too.” He seemed stoked, maybe a little relieved that we had this common link.
I later decided he wasn’t talking that kind of party. But, I might’ve sounded cool, and like I knew what I was talking about anyway.
We set up a time and place to meet. Since I didn’t drive yet, I’d asked my older, driving friend, to take me to meet Long and Lanky “Larry”, I’ll call him.
I’d primped and prepped. My bangs were aquanetted into their rigid holding pattern; blue mascara, carefully applied. I was nervous. He could be the guy.
We rolled up to McDonald’s, which, at nightfall in sleepy little downtown Walnut Creek was the happenin’ location. I tried hard to look casual as I breathed in the warm aroma of grease and burgers. Loitering teens gathered in various parking lot groups, with nearby cars beat boxing “hella good” rap from their Circuit City car stereos.
I spotted Larry immediately. He loped over and laid his removable car stereo on the formica table between us. Our conversation was forced and uncomfortable. Larry was no looker. We left. I never called him or dial a dude, on KMEL, ever again.
There was the time, a few years later, that my date took me to a fancy dinner in San Francisco. Over dinner, he kept ordering alcoholic beverages using his fake ID. By the end of our meal, he was totally smashed.
I had to be the sober driver and get us back home. In those pre-GPS days, I got lost. A lot. Passed out date, was no help. He lay reclined in the passenger seat and I was on my own.
I became hopelessly lost. Instead of the Bay Bridge, I somehow managed to take the Benecia Bridge, heading the opposite direction.
Low on gas, and hope, I pulled over and decided to try let loser date sleep it off, then drive us both home. Like a hibernating bear, eventually he awoke. In the wee hours of the morning we made it back safely.
Then there was bonehead Navy guy. He claimed to be a Navy Seal, although I had serious doubts. The guy had the body of Hercules and the brains of a frog. Our conversations weren’t thought provoking, to be sure. I recall the night I broke up with him.
He pulled up to my house in his topless Jeep. It was pouring rain. I said what I’d rehearsed about needing to move on. He had no response during my speech. His parting words, as he walked out the door and into the storm, were “well, you still smell good”.
Ummm. I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you, Pear Glacé.
After years of no go relationships I’d seriously wondered if a) normal guys existed and b) if I’d ever find Mr. Right.
So, that night at the college party, when I’d literally stumbled into a guy with his friends, and offered him a shot of Popov in the weathered, beaten down college kid backyard, my hopes weren’t exactly soaring. I wasn’t even sure he was taller than I, a steadfast necessity on my list of dating criteria. At 5’11”, it could be a true stumbling block. I penned my name and phone number across his arm with an orange marker.
Our first date was one week before Valentine’s Day. Nothing too fancy. Paul took me to Claim Jumper. We talked and talked and our conversation never faded. He was so normal. Nice. Smart. Handsome. As I gazed at him across from me, the thought occurred to me. I could totally see myself marrying this guy.
Paul stepped it up a few notches and took me to a schnazzy little place on Coronado for our first Valentine’s Day. In preparation for the big date, he’d spent the day detailing his red Ford Escort. He even presented me with beautiful flowers.
That was nearly 20 years ago.
We’ve weathered many storms in our 15 years of marriage and four years of dating. It’s no easy gig. Life happens. Stuff can get complicated. After almost two decades together, we’ve learned that regular date nights are vital. When we can swing them, weekend getaways, sans kids, are even better.
We’re opposites. But, we compliment each other. Recently Paul took a personality test at work. Not surprisingly, results said that his calm personality type ranked among only 10% of people in the world. He keeps me grounded; I keep him flying.