Spill-It Sunday – The Near Disaster of Our First ‘Date’

My beautiful picture

I write all the time about my family, most of all my wife Lisa. That is because she is the center of the universe and has been for the majority of my life at this point. This year we celebrate 22 years of marriage, and have known each other more than 27 years. But there was one pivotal night that could easily have destroyed any chance of a future, but instead cemented our relationship and made us inseparable. I think it is a pretty cool story, and want to share it.

Lisa and I met in college through a mutual friend at a fraternity party at my house (Theta Xi). It was fairly typical – girls traveling as friends, but as soon as our friend met up with her boyfriend, she ditched Lisa. We hung out at parties several times that year (she was a senior, I was a junior), but never connected after she graduated. To each other we were just nice people we had met and would never see again.

Fast forward to after I was out of school and living back in the Boston area. Our friend was coming out for a visit, so the three of us got together and had a pretty fun time, but I was in the midst of my weight loss and she was living in a crappy apartment and dealing with other stuff, so neither of us made contact and we didn’t connect again until the following spring. Again our friend was visiting, and she and I met and then headed to Brigham & Woman’s Hospital where Lisa was working. When she came out … well, it is a moment I won’t forget. I was in a totally different place, and so was she and we hit it off from the first moment and it was just an epic great day.

Lisa was planning to head to Albany the next weekend and I had planned to visit the fraternity, so I offered her a ride there (we were coming back on different days) and we had a great chat across the 3.5 hour drive. We both wanted to hang out again, so set up to go out the following weekend. When she was back we made more specific plans – we were going to head to Chinatown for dinner, hang out around various places in Boston, and generally just have a relaxing night. Oh, and most importantly, we decided that a great central place to meet would be the Dunkin’ Donuts at Park Street station.

The only problem – there are TWO Dunkin’ Donuts at Park street … one on the inside that only people coming from the north can see, and the other on the street where people coming from the south would depart!

You can probably see where this is heading – in an era before cell phones, where there was no way to reach each other unless we checked in at home, there was little to do but wait. I hung out up top for about a half hour, then hit a pay phone and called her answering machine (cost me a dime, too! Talk about old school!) Waited some more and then called again. During that time I did head back into the station as far as I could go without paying again a few times.

Needless to say I was pretty crushed. I was dressed nicely and ready for a great time.

The last time I headed down I hit a crowd coming up from the trains, and looked through to see if Lisa was there. But then as I came back up and looked back over towards the train station – guess who I saw emerging from the other stairway? That is right!

And as I headed over, Lisa turned and spotted me … and we ran and met each other with a massive hug! After a little bit we got a bit awkward and separated and all of that anger and disappointment quickly turned to laughter as I pointed out the Dunkin’ Donuts up top and she pointed out the one below! From there we had a great night in Chinatown, Faneuil Hall, and so on. We walked around and ended up back at her Somerville apartment late, where I crashed on the couch.

She had gotten dressed up as well and looked really nice, and we had the most fabulous time. I call it a ‘date’ because we wouldn’t kiss for more than two months after that. We had grown into friends so quickly, and she had a neighbor who spoke to me in a way that seemed to assert ‘territory’ with her, and honestly I didn’t think she was into me ‘in that way’.

When I look back at the beginnings of our relationship there are two moments that come to mind – meeting eyes with her that day at the Brigham, and the hug and subsequent night in Boston. You see, we had communicated only a casual ‘hanging out’ … yet both of us were very much dressed up. And neither of us gave up – it meant a lot to both of us. Nor did we hold grudges or seek to assign blame – it was an honest case of miscommunication, and it dissipated as we had a great night, turning now into one of those stories our kids have heard hundreds of times.

Of course, today this entire thing would have been solved in two quick texts and a chuckle. I wonder how that would have changed things?

Do you have a story from the time you met someone in your life?

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11 thoughts on “Spill-It Sunday – The Near Disaster of Our First ‘Date’

  1. He love/hates this story, but the first time I met my husband was at a flash show at a bar. One of our favorite local bands was doing an impromptu acoustic set and so some friends and I headed there, and we ran into Jeff. They introduced us, and he sat with us during the show. Pretty standard stuff, but the funny part? I totally thought he was gay. I can’t even really say why now, but I think it’s actually a good thing I did. It really let me relax and be myself because I thought there was no potential there! We met up again a few nights later and since our friends told me he’d been asking about me, this time had a whole different vibe and the rest is history!

    • Wow – I really love that story. I strongly believe that sexuality, like most things, exists on a continuum – in other words, hetero / homo is not some light switch that differentiates people, but instead there is a broad range of characteristics that people have assigned male/female to, and that makes our ‘gaydar’ go off. The story also shows how open you are as a person.

  2. What a great story! After I met my husband for the first time (I was visiting friends in Baltimore, and he happened to work with one of my friends, and we shared mutual friends from college) he asked a friend for my number and called a couple days later. He later shared that he never asks for girls’ phone numbers ( especially having to get it through someone else) and I never answer calls I don’t recognize, but for some reason I answered his call! Isn’t it funny how such small choices can change everything?! Congrats on 22 years of marriage!!

  3. I almost missed out on a first date with my wife. We kind of knew each other and after running into each other one day, she told me to call her over the weekend to go get a coffee or beer or something. (When her friend she was with asked who that was, she joked “Oh, just my future husband.”) But I happened to know that she had a gig on that Saturday, since a friend of mine was subbing on bass for the show. She was vaguely annoyed that I waited so long to call, not knowing that I knew she was busy. Of course, it also would have been nice if she informed me that it was a romantic date, but that’s another matter.

    • I guess this also helped her understand a bunch about you as a person as well. The how and why of handling a situation can go a long way to letting us know whether or not we will be able to stand dealing with someone. Funny story and I can totally see it!

  4. I absolutely love this story! You guys are such an amazing couple! Your kids are so lucky to be able to hear this one over and over…I wish my parents had a great meeting story, but theirs is pretty horrible.

    My husband and I were friends for years before we started dating too! We met at a bar when we were introduced by my old roommate, who then was my husband’s current roommate. But we were both dating other people at the time so it never became anything romantic then. I always thought he was so cute though. The next year I moved to California and he was at my going away party. We would hang out when I came home for visits. Finally one time I came home for the holidays I went to a New Years party at his house and we just happened to both be single and ended up staying up all night long talking. I went back to LA a couple days later and we each ended up going out on a date with someone else about a week later and then told those dates that it wasn’t going to go anywhere because we were both interested in someone else (each other haha). We ended up dating long distance across the country for a little while until I moved home, we got an apartment pretty much right away and got married a year and a half later. 🙂

  5. I’m so glad I went back to read this because it’s so sweet :). Love the story!! When I decided on my college, we had a “pre-frosh” weekend in April before we would move in in September. During Pre-Frosh Weekend, I met a cute guy and stayed in touch with him (by hand-written letters!) over the summer. So, on move-in day, I went to go say hi to him … and Kevin was his roommate :). Haha!! I changed my mind fairly quickly, which was fine because it turns out the other guy found someone else he was more interested in, too! Funny how those things happen!

    • Hand-written letters? Fountain pens on parchment I assume 🙂 When I was a a freshman & sophomore my best friend was a few states away, and we would mail a 5.25″ Apple][ floppy back and forth … which was just as bizarre then as it sounds now! But there was no internet, and our schools weren’t connected through the same set of DARPANET pipes.

      Love the story about you and Kevin! You just never know!

  6. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude – Day #30, The Better Part of Me | Running Around the Bend

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