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November 09, 2011

Meeting Cute

Margaret Maron

 It’s a favorite boy-meets-girl device in books and films.  She accidentally spills her drink on a Images-1 stranger or he trips on his own feet and knocks her down, too, or it’s pouring rain and both try to commandeer the same taxi.  It's called “meeting cute” and it always begins with an awkward or embarrassing situation. 

But does it happen in real life?

I love hearing how people first met and I really don’t care it was a case of mistaken identity or he sat behind you in geometry class or you were both eight years old and too short to ride the Zipper at the State Fair.

Last week, Nancy Pickard wrote about the road not taken.  When people tell me how they first met the person who became so important in their lives—be it lover, best friend, or editor —there’s usually a sense of wonder in the telling:  “If I’d left the house five minutes later... If  I’d taken the subway instead of the bus... If I hadn’t been closed out of the cool professor’s class... 

Images-3My husband’s from Brooklyn, I’m from the tobacco fields of North Carolina.   Our separate roads branched and forked so improbably that we somehow wound up in adjoining offices in the Pentagon and married six months later.

I delight in the gray-haired couple who found each other on the Staten Island ferry, and I’ll listen to every detail when someone tells me how she met her best friend when their fishing lines got tangled on a pier at Atlantic Beach, or when he says, “I hadn’t picked up a baseball since high school, but they needed an outfielder so..."

I met my favorite editor because I don’t always mind my own business.  I was checking out of the convention hotel, and I heard her tell the desk clerk that she had three hours to kill till her plane left for New York.  Was there anything interesting within walking distance?

Only the ugliest shopping mall in Raleigh.  It was her first trip to Raleigh and I  Images-2couldn’t bear to think of the impression she would take home with her, so I introduced myself and asked if she’d like a quick two-hour tour of the town? See our capitol building and our 1912 carousel?

We became friends for life that day and a few years later, she nagged me into writing a North Carolina book for her. If I’d minded my own business and walked out of the hotel that day, I might never have written the book that won an Edgar.


Tell me your story.  Even if it isn’t “cute,” I want to hear how you met that best friend or truest love.



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Margaret, I love these stories, too.

I'd only known my L.A. roommate Judith for a couple of months. But when I couldn't go home to Boston for Christmas, she asked her sister-in-law if she could bring me with her for their annual Christmas - New Year week.

It was a huge deal. Everyone in their family was there. Kids were home from boarding school. A cousin at college nearby was taking a break from his job as a cowboy at the school's cattle ranch. Judith's mother was flying in a surprise guest from his brand new job designing tail assemblies for Bill Lear. And why yes, of course they would love to have me join them!

I loved this family. Who wouldn't? They were so generous and warm, and they made me feel at home. It was as if I'd simply stepped into a new family that had been waiting for me to arrive.

Their son, home from boarding school in Pennsylvania fell in love with me. I thought he was very handsome and a lot of fun - but from my advanced age of 20 his 17 was way too young. Then Mum arrived Christmas Eve with Scout (Step) fresh from that new job in Kansas. We locked eyes and that was that. He started looking for a new job in California.

Scout and I were married less than two years later. This Christmas Eve is the 43rd anniversary of our meeting.

Like any family we've had our ups and downs over the years. Judith and I fight and play like sisters. The boy home from boarding school found another girl and is helping my brother-in-law take care of his older sister with autism. She is learning to use Facebook and has been messaging me there. Two of the other boys are in business. The other girl had six children, three adopted. Sadly, she is quite ill. We all adore her. Scout's mother, a physicist, worked full time until she was 80. The sister-in-law who was everyone's mum, and who introduced us, died recently. She taught me everything I needed to know about living in our family. I cherish the memories of our enduring friendship.

Oh, and the boy cousin, who worked as a cowboy on his college's cattle ranch, left school after two years to become a sheep rancher.

Reine,what a sweet story of a family with enough love to expand their circle exponentially. Makes Christmas doubly special, doesn't it?

Reine - what a great story!

I met my husband because he was my boss at the first law firm I joined after law school. If I had taken that job in Boston, or at a big bank, or married that guy stationed in El Paso, we never would have met.

Oh, Margaret, what a wonderful post! I met my beau because he has the film option on my first novel. Another lovely, lovely thing about having written that book. Life is good.

Oddly enough, I can't remember when I met my husband--it was at college, probably in some mob of students somewhere, but my parents had a meet cute:

My mother was at her church youth group Sunday evening whatsit---and these are Presbyterians, so there was nothing wilder than lemonade going on--and a big rain storm hit. My dad (newly home and looking very dashing in his uniform) arrived to help evacuate the church. He carried my mother out to his car and drove her home. Later, she confessed that when she spotted him, she hid her galoshes under a pew.

Great stories. Margaret, what were you doing at the Pentagon? Intriguing detail left unexplained there!

I met my first husband when we were both interviewing to be candidates for a then-new two-year program in Police Science. There were only three women in the class.

When I met Steve, I was meeting friends for a drink after work, and they were both late, as usual, so I went home and had some dinner. I toyed with just staying home, but went back, and they were talking to this very cute guy. We chatted for awhile, and then I asked my guy friend when he was having his next party on "his" boat on the river that he wasn't inviting me to (he'd been talking about these parties all summer, and it turned out to be someone else's boat). He replied, "Next Thursday. Why don't you and Steve go together?" I protested, kind of rudely, but Steve turned to me and said, "I'd like to take you; would you go with me?" Well, how could a girl resist a guy like that?

He always says I was the only girl worth dating he met in a bar.

Nancy, that's hilarious. Very Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

Fingers crossed, Cornelia, for the option and the beau. (You and I almost met at a rather weird Mysterious Press dinner party years ago. Do you remember?)

Kathy, how lucky there was no ban on office dating!

So funny, Nancy. Nothing like helping the weather help the romance.

Karen, that's exactly what I mean about those roads not taken. If you'd stayed home that night instead of going back to the bar, wonder where you'd be right now?

Oh, I LOVE these stories.

Here's how I met my husband--he's an attorney and had done some work for an friend of mine who was telling another friend what a good job he'd done. And that she thought he was sorta cute (but she was happily married). The other friend loved fixing people up (but had never attempted to fix me up. Perhaps because I'd recently announced I was done with dating. Or at least taking a break.). They called me and I thought, Okay, what the heck, what's the worst that could happen. They included him and me in their table at a trivia night . . . all of us ended up in a hot tub late that night (in borrowed swim suits! Um, yes, there was wine involved). I made a point to give him the rest of the triple-fudge bundt cake I'd brought to the trivia night--for his kids, of course, but I also figured that if he didn't call I'd have the excuse of calling him to ask for the plate back. He called the next day and asked me out for the following weekend. The rest is history.

Nothing dramatic for me; however, I do like the story of how my mom's parents met:
As teens, they were members of an after-school youth group. The group sponsored all sorts of activities, including sports and theater. Grandpa was in a play that Grandma went to see. (He was also a world-class athlete - gymast - thanks to training/sponsorship from that group, but that's another story.)At this point, Grandma was 17; Grandpa was 15. She said that a cute blue-eyed guy went out on stage, missed his lines, turned red with embarrassment, and ran off the stage. All she thought was "he seems really sweet; I need to meet him." She did. They got married when he was 20 and she was 22, and they were happily married until her death a couple of months short of their 60th anniversary. He never stopped mourning for her, and he died six years later.

The most fortuitous meeting is my husband. Why did I go to Paris for that week-end while I was spending my vacation in Nice and intially programmed to go to the neighboring Italy for two days? Why did I go alone while had a friend with me? Why did I go to the "place de la Concorde" while I was planning to go to Montmartre? How come that I got stuck in a manifestation? Why did I ask the guy standing right to me (and not the one on the left for exemple) what all this was about and how could I get out of there?...

My husband and I will have been married 30 years next May, and we met on a literal blind date, as he is totally blind from birth. We were in college, and his roommate was dating a friend of mine. She actually introduced him to me once in the fall but it was in a group and we didn't really talk. Then at the fall finals week of my freshman year his roommate called and asked if I was able to read a test for Mike the next day, as that was how he took all of his tests and the person who was supposed to do it had already gone home for the holidays. I agreed, and discovered he has a crazy sense of humor - the teacher handed me the paper and I asked where we should go. Mike piped up with "anywhere I can't copy" which made all of his classmates laugh. We finished the test, he wished me a Merry Christmas and we went on, but after the holiday when we got back to school, I got a phone call from my friend who asked if I'd go to the movie with Mike if he called to ask me. I said I would, and he did. I found out later that they'd all had dinner together and decided to go to the movie, and Mike said maybe he'd get a date and go too, and my friends told him " OK, Ginger said she'd go if you called and asked. You don't have to take her, but if you go with us you do. Do you want to dial it or do you want us to?" The rest is history - we got married at the end of my sophomore year. It's been a crazy nearly 30 years, but I can't imagine being with anyone else.

I graduated from college & still didn't have a job so I went back to work as a waitress for a while. I met my husband on a blind date set up by one of the other waitresses & her boyfriend. We met on Christmas Day. I hadn't planned on going out that night because I was supposed to go to the family gathering the next day a couple of hundred miles away. I was worried I'd be too sleepy (I'm not a good commuter). He said, "if you need me, I'll drive you there." I called him the next morning & he did! He met all my mom's side of the family the day after he met me. We were engaged in two weeks. I found out later that he'd actually had a date with someone else that night we went out the first time, but he heard I was a teacher & wanted to meet me. If I'd had a teaching position or he'd gone to his date, we'd never have met. Still going strong & celebrating 40 years of marriage next August.

No great stories, but I think it's interesting that all of the kids in my mom's family - all five - married someone they met on a blind date. And all five are still married (or, sadly, widowed) after more than thirty years.

My husband and I met during college at our part-time marketing job in Raleigh. We both worked for a marketing firm representing a large NC tobacco company. Our job was to take crates of cigarettes out to local 21 & up bars/clubs and trade smokers 2 packs of our cigarettes for one pack of theirs. He was a good looking and sweet Eastern North Carolina boy who I'd assumed must be in love with a "girl next door" type. Therefore, he got to hear about every date, good or bad, that I went on for the first 6 months that we knew each other. Little did I know that he was a single fellow with the same ideas running though his mind about me as I had running through my mind about him. (I probably would have had to have shut up about myself for 10 minutes to learn that he was, in fact, single.) In any event, a mutaul friend finally clued me in to his feelings and we went on our first date Feb. 16th, 2002. We've been together ever since including tying the knot in 2007 and welcoming a beautiful baby girl into our lives this past July.

Needless to say, the story that our little girl hears about the way that Mommy and Daddy met will not involve handing out cigarettes in bars. It will most likely be a more tame and respectable tale involving a church and a long drawn out courtship.

This is such a great blog, Margaret. My husband and I met briefly in the local hospital looking at our niece and nephew. (His niece was born the day after my nephew.) Then, when we met again at a bar, we said, "Hey...don't I know you from someplace?"

Of course, my mother stuck with the hospital story. At our wedding she told me to shut up about the bar :)

Great stories everyone! I'm really enjoying reading them. Here's mine:

I consider myself a Gulf War Mail-Order Bride because that is how I met my husband. He was a Marine stationed in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. I was working for a retail store in Clemson SC that caters to the Tiger-lovin' crowd down there. The store always placed ads in the college sporting programs and newspaper. One of the guys in his platoon got a basketball program from a relative of his and when Hub saw it, being that he grew up down in Charleston, anything to do with his home state made him homesick, he placed a request for our mail order catalog. When we saw that the request was from a deployed service member, we added a note of support. A few weeks later, he sent in his order and a thank you note that stated he didn't get a lot of mail and would appreciate hearing from us again if we had the time. SO...I started writing to him, then after he came home we kept AT&T and Delta in business for a year, then we got married. 19 years and 1 teenager later, we're still together. Funny thing tho is that the person he got that program from went to my high school. He was 2 grades behind me. I come from a tiny little place in Upstate SC where the best thing about it is that it's as good a place as any to stop and pee while you're on your way someplace ELSE. Less than 500 students in my high school (just over 100 in my grad class), so the odds of that happening are way up there I'm sure.

OH,gosh, I love reading these!

I met my first husband..hmm, I can;t remember exactly...he was a TV reporter, I was working in a political campaign he was covering. (We were too young--I was 20.)

Number two: I was the reporter, he was an environmental activist I interviewed. (We were too busy--both incredible workaholics and he lived in Marin County and I lived in Boston. Doomed.)

Jonathan! We had the BEST most romantic meeting ever--totally by chance, no set up, no planning, just coincidentally showed up at the same place. Nantucket. I had planned a week with pals--didn't know Jonathan would be there.

Readers, I hadn't brought any makeup.

I saw Jonathan. I thought--oh, my GOSH get me to a drug store!

I didn't go, though, deciding, this is how I look. Take it or leave it.

We haven't been apart since that day.

Margaret, the Meet Cute is my favorite device of all time.

My first period class in my first day of high school in a new school, new neighborhood, new everything was Drama. I was a shy 9th grader. Terrified. The Drama Teacher, a very hip, handsome, young teacher, handed out monologues and one by one, we got up and read them aloud. I remember declaiming, "It was a wheat hat. No, it was a beige hat!" (some 60's absurdist playwright) and from the back of the room came a series of guffaws from some out-of-control boy who thought I was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. He was literally falling out of his chair.

When it was his turn, he had the same effect on me.

His name was Dan Reinehr. We were best friends all through high school and beyond. He died of cancer five years ago. He was the funniest man I ever knew and I miss him all the time.

I met my husband officially 3 weeks before he graduated from college when I was in my junior year. Our unofficial meeting happened sometime in the previous year at a campus meeting of our mutual history honorary society, Phi Alpha Theta. (We deduced this after dating a couple of months.)

I was sitting in the front of the classroom in which the meeting was being held. We were discussing a proposed outing to Old Economy Village, a state historic site, and the feasibility of getting there in a reasonable amount of time from Slippery Rock. (Yes, we're both graduates of Slimey Pebble.) I said it would take around 45 minutes.

Our President was ready to say yes lets do this, when a voice from the rear of the room spoke up saying, "She's wrong, it will take an hour and a half to get there."

I didn't want to turn around to see who was causing this deterrent to our resolve to see this historic site. I merely reiterated my estimate of time. After several more exchanges, the discussion was tabled to the next meeting. Of course we never discussed it again and the trip never came off.

I never saw his face and he only saw the back of my head until that fateful day in late April of 1978. I helping to man the Phi Alpha Theta booth at the student union at a college fair day for potential students. As you can well imagine, high school students were not beating down the doors to get information from a history honorary. We were just sitting there when this guy walks up and starts talking to us. The other two girls seemed to know him. A discussion ensued on how to drum of some business which included several facetious suggestions along with a lot of flirting. Soon it was time for my shift to end and this guy walked out the door with me, but left me at the end of the sidewalk. (Turns out he was trying to make a girl he had a crush on jealous. She was working in the student union also.)

A few days later I was studying in the Science Center with a group of student from my "Physics for Dummies" (my term not the colleges). I left to return to my residence hall and while walking down the steps I encountered this same guy.

We started talking and conversed for almost an hour. Towards the end of the conversation he asked me to go to a movie with him the next night. (I thought this meeting was accidental, but he had actually tracked me down via Phi Alpha Theta members - dorm and room number, and my roommate who advised him of my current location.) I said yes and we've been together ever since. We celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary two weeks ago.

Wonderful stories everyone.

I met my wife when we were in kindergarten. We literally went all through school together. The same elementary school our children go to now. We dated twice. I was a nerdy goof and she had a boyfriend all through high school.

In 1987 I wanted to go see "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Muny. The Muny is a huge outdoor theater in Forest Park. I did not want to take my then girlfriend, so I called the good Jewish girl from up the street. We have seen "Fiddler on the Roof" three times since in the last 24 years.

It must have been a good street. I went out with another little girl from down the block. I used to babysit her little brothers.

Another guy from that same block is now married to the lady who used to live across the street from him.

The girlfriend who I didn't want to take to "Fiddler on the Roof"? She wrote a note on the back of a placemat at the restaurant where I was the assistant manager. She thought I was cute and she left me her number. Apparently she dragged her friend and co-worker to dinner every night after work to see me for more than a month before working up the nerve to leave that note.

Hank, I was hoping you'd tell that story here. So romantic.

Laine, the odds of your meeting your husband were as great as my meeting mine. All the things that had to fall in place first. Wow!

Sarah, too funny. Hope the niece and nephew get special presents every year!

Judy, how clever of you to think of handing him your plate, just in case. And how great you didn't have to ask for it back.

Paulette, your story reminds me of a friend who met her husband on the street at a political rally. Politics makes for good bedfellows!

Hot tubs and wine, Judy! Everything out in the open. Immediately! Love it.

Ginger, I do think a sense of humor is what's kept my husband and me together all these years. Laughter's the best glue.

Jamie, truth is as strange as fiction. You treated your guy the way Deborah treated Dwight for so many years. Glad it ended happily for you, too!

Sandi and Jodi - never had your luck with blind dates. Not that I'm complaining!

In 1936 my then 16 year old maternal grandmother went to visit her 1st cousin. In the meantime my 20 year old maternal grandfather dropped by to show his 1st cousin his "new" car. No my grandparents are not related by blood. Her cousin's father was my grandmother's blood uncle. The cousin's mother was my grandfather's blood aunt.

They met, courted and within a year were married. Less than a year later my mother was born.

Dean Martin's "I'm Not the Marrying Kind" was my national anthem. I was making it my life's goal to make 007 look like a monk in comparison. I met a young lady, asked her to lunch. Next day, we repeated the lunch date. That was when she started "You have got to meet my cousin!"

Yeah, yeah, sure, right.

This particular lady and I realized quite quickly we were better suited as friends, and we stayed that way. She continued to harangue me to "call her cousin". Six months later, home, bored, I picked up the phone.

Three nights later, we met face to face. Second date, I got rid of Dean Martin songs and asked point blank what she wanted in a marriage. She thought about it and replied, "I can't answer that. I can tell you what I WON'T put up with."

Close enough. Met and married in less than 90 days.

This month, we'll have 26 years together...:)

Capper to the whole story is, the day I met DD, that night, THAT NIGHT, she was on the phone to "her cousin" saying "I've met the man you're going to marry!" That night.

Life is funny sometimes....

I love "When Harry Met Sally" and watch it all the time. I enjoy the how we met segments. Yes, I am the guy who likes chick flicks.

For a more warped look at all of the coincidences that go into a meeting that lasts a lifetime, there is this X-Files episode: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose (http://www.tv.com/shows/the-xfiles/clyde-bruckmans-final-repose-543/) An insurance salesman has the psychic ability to foresee how people will die. At one point he says he developed this while thinking about all of the different chances that led up to the Big Bopper and Waylon Jennings flipping a coin to see who got on the airplane with Buddy Holly. The Big Bopper won and died in the plane crash.

oh, I just love these stories.

I was working at Georgia Tech and our office was invited to participate in a chili cook-off.

We all went as representatives of the office and we won first prize.

I met Donald there and that was that.

I still fix that chili and we still have the award.

This after two failed marriages (mine) and swearing marriage was obviously something I wasn't very good at and didn't intend to try again. I'd been single for 10 years and was a very happy single person. Besides which - he was too young for me (6 years younger). Besides which - I didn't cook the chili and if he thought I did and thought I was a decent cook, it was kinda like false advertising on my part.

We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last May.

and I think he's the world's cutest, funniest, sweetest husband on God's green earth.

I met my husband in a Film & Literature class in college.

Better than that, though: Our instructor was an ex-priest. His wife was an ex-nun. Would that qualify as a meet cute, I wonder?

Harley, I think it was called The American Dream. We did it at FSU. I played the grandmother part but all I can remember is saying chicken legs and chocolate cake.
I dated a boy I met in the Troubadours drama club one summer. He graduated and went to North Carolina and left his friend to guard me. Well you know what happened.
I dated his friend all through High School but it didn't last when I went off to FSU.
Many years and boyfriends all over the world later I meet my High School boyfriend's best friend who was actually in my 5th grade class and it was instant chemistry.
I can't tell you the Peyton Place history of the people at the wedding ceremony. His best man was of course my High School boyfriend. My matron of honor had had an affair with my husband but ended up marrying our high school drama teacher. My new Step Mother in Law's daughter was one of my cheerleaders in High School and had had an affair with my brother.
Well now that I've told you way more than you need to know...
I suppose it really wasn't too cute.
Anyone for chicken legs and chocolate cake?

It's a meet-something, Ramona.

Margaret also asked for friend meeting stories. In 1989 I was a frequenter of the Prodigy Sewing message boards, and made a lot of friends there, including Roberta, who lived near Chicago. She was a huge fan and collector of Japanese kimono, and organized a "bale party" for like-minded kimono fans. I wasn't a fan, per se, but I was intrigued by the idea that the Japanese were beginning to dress almost exclusively in Western dress, and that Americans were interested in their castoff traditional garb, so I bought a share of the second bale Roberta ordered.

The company that managed these would take a certain amount of kimono, obi, and other garments, and pack them tightly into a cube, or bale, about 6' square, then load them onto a container ship bound for the States. When the bale arrived, Roberta took them out onto her yard and sorted them into piles on clean sheets, trying to fairly share out the good stuff among everyone who ordered a share. Typically, there were 150 kimono in a bale, and a dozen participants. Then she would ship them to us all and we'd discuss them online. It was really a lot of fun.

Roberta is a CPA, and while she was raising her children she had a mail order fabric business. I edited a newsletter for sewing professionals, and asked her to write a column on taxes and business accounting that would appeal to that kind of business, and we became closer online pals. When a national convention was being planned I suggested that Roberta offer to teach a seminar. I was also speaking and teaching, so I suggested that we share a room in Denver.

We met face-to-face at the airport for the first time, and became instant friends. We could not stop talking the entire time we were together. Since then I've stayed at her home in Illinois a dozen times, and also at her vacation home in Wisconsin. We try to get together at least once a year. We've seen one another's children grow up, and she helped me quilt my first bed-sized quilt last year.

One of my cherished possessions is a stuffed kimono-wearing doll that Roberta sent me years ago.

Dear Hubby & I have agreed that Fate was involved with our meeting.

My cousin from out of town was visiting and we went for a ride in my brother's '72 Cutlass Supreme (only because he had an FM radio and my car didn't, lol). We decided to get something to eat at McDonald's. We were getting back into the car when we noticed a couple of guys driving by and staring at us. So we just decided to follow them. No real reason, just wanted to have some fun. We played tag for a while, we would follow them, then they would follow us, when the driver (Dear Hubby) wanted to pull over to talk. No fool am I, drove to a friend's house to pull over. Her boyfriend's car was there and could come out to help if needed, lol. After we detetermined they were relatively helpless, we went to Howard Johnson's to get acquainted. Dear Hubby asked me out and 3 months later we got married.

Had my cousin and I gone to Dairy Queen or Jack in the Box instead of McDonald's, Dear Hubby & I would never have met. You never know what will happen, what determines your course.

My journey to find MR RIGHT began with a trip to the hairdresser. I confessed to my stylist that I was ready to meet the man of my dreams and she said "Don't worry, Marie. This hairstyles is guaranteed to make you meet him." It was a short pixie cut that highlighted my brown eyes. I am petite so I had to play this right. I bought a sleeveless multicolored dress and three pairs of very high heels.
Off to the dance I went with my friends.
My soon to be husband was circling the dance hall somewhat like an old western, I guess. The women were cattle and the men were there to round up their prize heifer. However, when he approached me to dance I looked around thinking that he was going to ask my friend. He admitted later that he almost did not ask me because he feared I might be too tall for him. Insert gales of laughter, here.
The rest is history. He took me over to his Air Force base where the mess hall was a hangout for his friends. Some of them pointed at me and spoke in French unbeknownst to them that I understood what they were saying which was mostly flattering things..must have been the shoes. He gave me a tour of the Prime Minister's airplane..something like introducing me to his etchings.
He took me home, kissed me and the next day he picked up to go to the beach. Before we left the house I played the Hammond Organ for him and thought that maybe that was a deal breaker because I considered my self a musical nerd. Au contraire. We saw each other almost everyday, and were engaged in less than eight weeks.
Forty-six years later I am still petite and shrinking and he is still the one.
So, I say to myself..what a wonderful world.

So true, Pam.

A really good hair day, Marie!

Thanks for the friend story, Karen. I met Nancy Pickard when she called to ask me to be Sisters in Crime's first VP. I thought she'd been coerced to ask me and almost said no. So glad I said yes.

Kaye, how had I never heard how you and Donald met? Chili?

Peach, my maternal grandmother met my g'father when she was 16, too. Only he was 30 at the time. They were married over 50 blissful years.

It was, too, cute, Xena.

William, your wife was very wise. Like her, I didn't know what I wanted, but I certainly knew what I didn't want.

Oh Harley, so sorry about your friend. My best friend from the DC days still lives. At least her body does. Her mind is too deep into Alzheimer's to recognize me any more. But I still hear her laugh. She was a yellow dog, too.

Alan, that really was a fork in the road, wasn't it?

I met my now-ex at the Young Socialist Alliance headquarters . . . good man, and we are still in touch. He met his third (and permanent, I think) wife at a Unitarian Church. I met her when they came to St. Louis for a Unitarian conference -- she's lovely!
Some marriages I see make me wish to be married . . but I have a good life solo . .
My current "fun little job" assisting with aqua-aerobics at the Y came to me as a complete accident, beginning with I.D. fraud and a fall at the police station while filing a report -- funny how things work out . . .

I want to share a story that is actually not my own, but one of my friends'. She was around 30, divorced, and driving up a highway with her mother, in her mother's classic Cadillac, when they had a flat tire. They hadn't been by the side of the road long when a car stopped and a gentleman in his 40's got out and offered to help them. He changed the tire and her mother absolutely insisted that he let them buy him a cup of coffee or something at the next exit. Over coffee, they learned he was a judge from a community a few hours north. From that chance meeting, my friend started dating him and they have been happily married for close to 20 years now.

Since today is our 15th anniversary, I'll tell about my first meeting with Grace.

We had both been members of a computer BBS (bulletin board system, something from the Triassic Age of the internet) where we had chatted a bit, but never met in person. On Labor Day of 1995, the BBS organized a big picnic at a park near her house, so she went. As it turned out, I went was also there and we finally met face to face.

We sat at a table with her son and a bunch of other people and after a bit the topic turned to animals. Being a lifelong Nature Boy and former biology major...and a guy with the gift gab...I was soon regaling all present with little known facts about wildlife.

At some point, Grace mentioned that she had heard that male whales have a prehensile penis (which is true). That lead to several minutes of discussion of the many and varied types of penises that various animals possess (opossum = forked, cat = barbed, pigs = curly, ducks = not only way long, but one of the very few birds that even has a proper penis). As I am wont to do, I added a bunch of humorous content.

After that, the conversation touched on many other subjects, most of which I knew something about and riffed on.

Grace nearly wet herself from laughing and apparently decided that any guy who was that funny and knew that much about so many things was worth hanging out with. 14 months later, she saved the rest of womankind from ever having to deal with me on a romantic basis. I'm surprised they haven't erected a statue in her honor.

I met my husband the traditional 70's way - in a bar. A friend and I were there, and some strange guys were trying to talk to us (I swear we must have had neon signs saying "Hi, I attract wierdo's" on us). A guy was standing at the bar watching us. Soon he came over and acted like he was an old friend. That got rid of the strange guys. We met again a week or so later at the same bar and exchanged phone numbers. We started dating and 4 months later, got engaged. We are still together after 31 years!

My husband and I always said we must have been meant to be for us to have met. I was living in NM, just getting ready to start writing my MA thesis and purchased a new computer in anticipation of this, it came with a free trial of Prodigy. I was bored and activated the membership just to see what it was like. In the course of my exploration, I found the bulletin boards where people posted to meet other people, and thought about how I'd enjoy having pen pals in the past and decided to answer a couple of the requests that sounded interesting. Since I wasn't responding to any of the posts that were looking romance, I just expected to make some new friends.

My husband was living in Hawaii at the time and also had a new computer that came with a free trial of Prodigy, which he activated. His was one of the posts I initially responded to and we both agreed that since neither of us was approaching this with romance in mind, we were very honest with each other from the beginning. We e-mailed for three months before we acknowledged that we were interested in more than friendship. Then we started talking on the phone every so often as well as the e-mails, and about six months after my first e-mail, we met in person. The phone calls increased in frequency and length after that and we joked that the phone company was sad, when five months after our first meeting, I moved to Hawaii, so we could be together. We got married a year later. Given that he was older than me and had health problems, people warned me that our time together might be short. I said that I'd rather have 10 years with him than none at all and that I wasn't going to let what might happen stop me from sharing a life with him for however long it lasted. We had just over 10 years together and while I miss him like crazy, I still feel lucky that we both decided to start our free Prodigy memberships around the same time, because we never would have met otherwise.

My favorite meeting cute story is about my parents: My mother lived in the tiny town of Franklinton, NC [outside of Raleigh] and was in her 4th grade class when a new boy came into her classroom. He sat down behind her and immediately began teasing her. She had just sharpened one of her #2 lead pencils and turned around and stuck it in his knee! Ouch -- and the mark showed for the rest of his life! The jab did not deter my father, though -- he courted her then and for the rest of their lives. They married in 1940 and lived happily ever after, with three children who treasure their cute meeting!

Mine is not a meet cute, but a meet-college style.

My best friend in high school was in the High school Junior Miss Contest. His cousin stood next to her; neither won but they became friendly. 3 months later, (2 days before I left for college) we ran into his cousin Jackie at the mall. In the course of conversation I told her where I was going to college. She whipped out her wallet to show me a picture of her cousin who would be a sophomore that year at the same college. I thought he was cute but thought my chances of meeting him were slim to none.

I ran into him my second day of school, but was too shy to say anything.

The following weekend, I ran into him again. This time I was fortified by 4 screwdrivers, consumed in an hour ( I never drank before college). So I followed him into his room and introduced myself , all my new friends, how we knew each other, how my friend from high school was doing and etc etc etc for an hour.

By then it was obvious that I shouldn't have drank so much, and not only did he help me to the bathroom to be sick, but he made sure I got back to my dorm ok. The next day he came over to see if I was doing better, only to find my roommate and I bouncing on the beds, sunglasses and air guitars, doing our best impressions of Dire Straits "Money for Nothing".

26 years and 4 boys later we are still together.

Sadly I can think of no meet cutes . . . I have met friends etc at work, bars (in the old days), the gym or through friends.

I commented last week that my parents met when my mom was in the airforce and my dad in the navy, they met on a base with 3000 men, 30 women and my mom was engaged to 3 different guys when she met my dad. I guess with those odds they tried to get a ring on her finger as fast as possible! My parents were married for 38 years until my dad died.

I do love all these stories and wow, what a lot of long-term relationships.

Happy Anniversary, Doc!

S-T Mary, sounds like landing that job was a meet-cute if it involves the police.

I'm so enjoying these adorable stories from all of you. And so many end in "...and 15 - 20 - 30 years later . . ."

I had just sold a screenplay and was in LA staying with Peter, the college roommate of my soon to be ex-husband, Ed. Peter had transferred to UNH from a college in PA. His freshman year roommate in PA, Gary, came to visit at the same time. He walked into the house, we saw each other, and we have been together ever since. We're all still friends: the room mate, my husband, and my ex. We all attended "Grateful We're not Deadstock" together last summer.

Met my best friend at work. She tried for a couple years to set me up with the man I eventually married. I finally agreed to meet him, just to get her to leave me alone. Saw him once...and the rest is history. That was almost 30 years ago.


I was recently divorced and struggling with the direction I wanted my life to take. My mother called to ask if I could pick up my 10 year old brother at baseball practice as she was at the hospital with a friend. I parked my car then walked to the practice field to wait for him. You should know there are 16 years difference in my age and his. When practice was over, he waved for me to come over. I helped him gather his equipment. He introduced me to his coach with: "This is my sister. She just got a divorce. Ain't she pretty?" Coach and I have been married 36 years.

I enjoy reading everyone's story. That "what if" factor is still at work in every life.

I went to my 20 year college reunion thinking that a used husband might not be a bad thing to find, even though I was technically dating the Moroccan Millionaire. My friend Pete and his wife walked into the Friday night party with a third person. I waved at them. The man who was with them waved back at me. "I'm not waving at you!" I said.

As soon as he was out of sight, I realized that wow! I had been RUDE! But I couldn't find him to apologize.

The next night, though, I found him. He was sitting with Pete. I left my ice cream at my table and ran over to apologize.

It wasn't a short conversation. He was unmarried, childless, employed, very intelligent, very interesting, very nice and a real cutie.

By the time I returned to my table, my ice cream had melted.

I thought he was geographically undesirable, as I lived in Memphis and he lived in Milwaukee, and that the attraction would go nowhere.

Fortunately, (if that is the right word to use), I had just lost my job and he worked from home and traveled a lot. Many of his flights went through Memphis and he had hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles. We started dating. A month after our first date, he told me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me.

I took a little longer, but not as long as I would have taken had I not had Pete's imprimatur that he wasn't an ax murderer.

We got married three years later. We figured out just recently that we actually met at our 15 year reunion, but that I had paid no attention to him because he was still married and still wearing a ring, which rendered men invisible to me.

We've been together for six years now. He tricked me into leaving Memphis for Milwaukee and its abysmal winters, but other than that, life is very good.

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