Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where It All Began (According to Her)

Have you ever fallen into that rut where you find yourself at a bar on a Friday night wondering which lucky guy is going to take you home only to spend a lonely ferry ride back to your cold apartment? Ah, yes, that would be me circa January 2009. I was finishing up my masters program, student teaching, and it seemed that all of my friends were falling in love and I was left to fend for myself. After several failed attempts at a relationship I decided to focus on finishing my degree and learning to love myself. I was exploring NYC, cooking up a storm, and excited for my annual Memorial Day Weekend camping trip.

Now, when I say camping trip, I don't mean any of this RV, bring your plasma tv to hook up to the digital cable and sit your ass on a couch all weekend in nature, kind of camping. I'm talking legitimate no electricity, no running water, no cell phone service camping. This particular year one of my good friends decided to join and brought along the guy she was seeing. Katie and Ed had met on and had been seeing each other for about a month by the time we took the 6 hour drive up to the Finger Lakes. Normally, it's a "the more the merrier" type of atmosphere but this year I happened to notice that I was surrounded by couples. I was the only single person over the age of 21 and not liking it. Shortly after returning home I decided to bite the bullet and join Match. Everyone was doing it, right?

Two weeks into my online dating endeavor and it was Miserable Dates: 3, Happy Relationship: 0. I understand that these things take time, but I'm terribly impatient. Here's the thing about Match: in order to reap the benefits, you need a paid account. After several days of winking back and forth with guys and getting nowhere, I decided to make this a criteria. If you couldn't read my email and reply, then obviously you weren't a serious taker. Simple idea, right? Well, that's what I originally thought. I suppose I overestimated how many people had paid accounts. A guy would wink, I'd send an email, and then I'd wait....and wait...and wait...and never get a response. I decided to shorten my emails. Why should I waste my time, carefully planning out how to give the best first impression when 9 times out of 10 the person didn't have access to it?

Enter Bobby.

I had logged in just like any other day. I checked my messages and then moved on to the winks. I always had the courtesy of reading the other person's profile and picking out something I liked to write about. Bobby happened to write that he was a fan of Harlan Coben. Bingo! He's one of my favorite authors. I sent him a quick message of "Harlan Coben is my hero" and that's when it all began. Throughout my miserable dates, I would come home and tell Bobby about all of the pathetic things guys did. He would politely listen and humor me with a response putting down the knuckleheads I chose. After two weeks of emailing back and forth, our schedules finally matched up and we went out to dinner.

This first date was different than all of the others. Bobby picked me up at my house, normally something I would NEVER do. He came to the door and escorted me to his car. He even opened the door for me, something I was not at all used to. The only thing that would have made the initial impression better was if he brought flowers...though that may have creeped me out. We had a great first date at The Melting Pot. We both were too full to move and decided to call it an early night. I gave him a hug and scurried up the stairs to my house. Within minutes I sent him a text thanking him for the evening and joking about how my mother was still out.

The next morning we decided to make plans for another date. Bobby had never had a Philly cheesesteak and I was feeling adventurous so that's what we did. We went on a long adventure down to Philly. The two hour car ride flew by and the conversation never ended. We talked about our childhood, college, family, everything. I learned that his parents grew up in my hometown and went to the same high school as my mother. He learned that I can't pass up the opportunity to sing along to the radio. Together we learned that 4 hours in a car with someone can make a pretty great second date.

"But Melanie, this story sounds pretty lame....get to the good stuff."

Ok, Ok here's the best part. After discovering our parents grew up in the same town, Bobby asked his parents if they knew my mother. The conversation went a little something like this:

The Dude: "Hey ma, I met this kickass girl who claims her mom went to HHHS around the same time as you."
Mama O: "Oh yea? What's her mom's maiden name?"
The Dude: "Lenox.....sound familiar?"
Mama O: " know Millie?"
The Dude: "You mean Gran's Bff?"
Mama O: "That's the one.....You must have gone on a date with her granddaughter"

Yes, that's right folks. Bobby and I have known each other since before we were both born. His grandmother is my grandmother's bff. His gma used to come see my plays in high school and my gma used to tell me all about what's going on in Grace's life. I used to get yelled at by my gma because "Grace's grandson calls her from college".

And so it was meant to be.

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