Monday, December 21, 2009

A Very Long Engagement

All right, I think the time has come to tell my absolute FAVORITE story. You see, The Mister and I didn't just have a "meet cute." What we had is more akin to an epic poem. I love to talk about it, because I'm an old school romantic, and this is the kind of story that makes one clutch one's chest and start to believe in fairies again. It's just my kind of story, and I actually lived it.

It started with a hat. This hat, to be exact:
Photo by me. Sorry for the poor quality. I'm just really excited about sending photos instantly from my phone, and thus not as concerned about attractive composition and such-like.

At the Time of the Hat, I was in graduate school, living by myself in a shoebox of an apartment. I was teaching myself to cook, and trying to regain my Fabulous after a tough breakup. One of my very best grad school friends had decided to host a Valentine's Day party, in honor of the visit of a friend, and as an extra bit of whimsy, decided that the dress code for said party should include hats.

I'd met the mysterious, party-worthy, visiting friend the night before. The three of us had gone to The Weary Traveler, one of Madison, Wisconsin's finer bar-like establishments, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was their vast supply of board games. We chose to play The Game of Life (prophetic?), and huddled around our pitcher or three of local brews. I watched as my friend's friend did worse at this game than I even thought possible. He had to borrow more money than there were promissory notes supplied with the game, and we had to keep track on a napkin. It was hilarious, to say the least, and he was exceedingly good-natured about the whole thing.

Over a meat and cheese platter (and another pitcher), I started to examine this amiable stranger. He was adorable. His light-brown hair curled charmingly across his forehead, and his truly bizarre sense of humor kept me grinning throughout the game, and encouraged me to agree to one last ill-advised pitcher of beer. It was February in Wisconsin, however, and any excuse not to brave the snowy walk home was eagerly accepted, especially when urged by such sparklingly handsome eyes.

Whether it was the hair, or the eyes, or the jokes, I don't know, but I immediately ruled this fellow out as a possible romantic interest. Guys like that weren't interested in me. Guys like that wound up with the tiny girls, the brilliant girls, and the edgy girls. I considered myself to be none of these things, but didn't let it get me down, since I achieved a suprising level of comfort with this man, because I knew he was absolutely out of my league. I decided we should be friends, so I just acted like myself, and never even considered seeking anything more.

That is . . .until the next night. The Night of the Hat. We'd gotten along great, and I arrived at the Valentine's Day Party hoping to continue our conversations (but not to drink any more beer, as that third pitcher had pushed me over the edge the night before, from Woo! Good Times! into Whoa . . . not so good times). I donned my blue had, and climbed the stairs to my friend's apartment, ready to partake of some sober, platonic fun . . .

To Be Continued!

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