I met Matt when I was 19 years old. I'd like to say we had a romantic, Jane Austin'ish first encounter. Like a candle-lit first dinner, or dancing under the moonlight. Don't get me wrong, we've done those things, but that wasn't how it started out.
It started out in a pool hall. Yep. A smoky, rock'n'roll filled pool hall packed to the gills with less than mature college students. I was a freshman at the time, fresh from a somewhat dramatic break up. I had holed up in my dorm room eating Cheetos and watching TLC marathons for two weeks when my roommate Mindy stormed into the room, yanked me out of bed and stated, "You are coming out tonight. This is ridiculous."
I slunk over to my closet, donned a flannel shirt over my cheeto stained jeans. I realize that in the early 90's flannel shirts were cool, but this was 1999 and flannel shirts had long since died. Which was exactly why I put it on while simultaneously eyeing Mindy with rebellion. I then stuffed my very long hair (I know, I can hardly remember having long hair now) into a messy bun on top of my head, shrugged and said, "Fine, I'm ready."
Mindy eyed me with a scowl, "Did you shower today?"
Me, scowling back, "No."
Mindy, scowling harder, "Don't you at least want to put on some makeup?"
Me, crossing my arms stubbornly, "No."
Mindy, reaching into her backpack, "How about some gum?"
Me, silent and pursing my lips.
So off we went to the ever-classy local pool hall. I'd never been there before, but Mindy went every week. Truthfully, it was a veritable treasure trove of available college guys. But after the sting of my recent break-up, I could have cared less if all men on earth were rounded up and forced to make suicide jumps from the tallest cliff.
We entered into the dimly lit room; pool tables lined up on either side of the long narrow room. We made our way through the crowd (who knew a pool hall was crowded on a Thursday night?) and to the last table on the right. Mindy morphed into meet-and-greet mode (she was by far the most social person I knew in college) and I hung back, sullen and scowling in my flannel ensemble and Doc Martins. Across the table, seated in a chair, a guy was staring at me. He was, for want of a more literary term, hot. Big blue eyes, black hair, squared off muscled shoulders; somebody give me the smelling salts.
I made eye contact and he grinned, a big all-encompassing grin of self-assurance and ease. My forehead creased and my lips turned down in disdain. I disliked him immediately. For you see, beside him, perched happily on his knee, was the most slutty looking girl I'd ever seen. Sorry, but she was. Low cut blouse, over-processed hair, and she was all over him. Despite her fawning (I think she had her hand in his hair or something), he proceeded to stare and grin at me. Me. In all my depressed, stringy-haired, cheeto-eating, man-hating depression. And so I leaned over to Mindy (while simultaneously glaring back at him) and said, "Who's the jerk?"
And that's how I met the love of my life.
Matt hates it when I tell this story, but I love it. You see, he quickly tossed that cleavage-wearing chick out of his lap and immediately started talking to me. I scowled and crossed my arms and he grinned and talked more. He began asking Mindy if I would date him, and between the two of them I was duped into a first date. And upon said date, I was shocked to find behind that gorgeous face, was a guy who made me laugh. A guy who thought I was the greatest thing since the introduction of Mario Brothers in 1983. A guy who loved my quirks, my flannel and cheeto binges.
So here we are, seven years after saying 'I do.' I haven't worn flannel since that night, but he still grins at me, and I still like it. Happy Anniversary Matt... I love you.
*** Matt wanted me to add that Mario Brothers was released in JAPAN in 1983 and the US in 1985. Goodness knows, we must keep our Nintendo facts straight on a decorating blog.