Thursday, May 5, 2016

Our First Date

April 24th, 2016 was my 23rd wedding anniversary.  I celebrated it by working all day, then sitting in the apartment with my roomie and bestie Linda and our companion Jasper Newton Daniels.

I spoke to Wife later in the evening.

Not exactly how I expected to be celebrating the day.

In any case, I'm going to try to focus on the Positive.  And I'm going to do it in a different way: by having a guest Blogger... sort of.

May 10 will mark 25 years since Wife and I's first date.  Now, by all standards, that first date should've ended in miserable failure.  It's a tale I've told many times over the years... and which Wife has corrected me over the years.

So many times, that both of our parts are entirely predictable.

So, my Guest Blogger will be... my Wife.  Her comments will be in italics.


Ok, so I met Wife when I was working a table shift at TGI Fridays.  It was a Tuesday lunch shift, the first part of a double:  My standard Tuesday shift during spring of 1991.  Wife came in with her grandmother, and I waited on her.  I really don't remember what I said to her, as I had five different "spiels" I'd use for tables.  I remember she was wearing green eye shadow that made her beautiful blue eyes look moldy.

And I never wore it again.  Happy now?

Me, around that time.  Spring 1991

So, the following Tuesday, they came in again.  Wife and her grandmother, now dead these twenty years, did lunch every Tuesday.  They sat at the same table, but I was in a different section, so they had a different server: Robyn.  There was in big party of 8 in that area (far cafe), so I helped run out the food.  Wife saw me go by, and according to her sainted grandmother, her eyes locked on my butt.

I did NOT!  I was just trying to see if it was you!

Would your sainted grandmother lie?

Why do you always tell this story wrong?

It's MY story!

Anyway, so a few minutes later, Robyn tells me that one of her tables wants to say "hi" to me, and she gave me the table number (37, if you're curious).  So I went to the table, and there was Wife and grandmother.  I said hi, and thanks for remembering me.  They said they wanted me to be their server again, so that's why they sat where they did.  I asked why didn't they request me by name, and they replied that they didn't remember it.  I, of course, was heartbroken.

Cut me a break!  Your name tag was on your BACK!

So you should've seen it if you weren't staring at my butt.

I wasn't staring at your butt!

Whatever.  Anyway, she told me she worked in the jewelry and handbag department at Strawbridge and Clothier on the other side of the mall.  Now this is the King of Prussia mall, the largest in the US and maybe the world.  Fridays was at the extreme west side of the mall, while S&C was at the extreme other end... over half a mile away, I think.

It wasn't THAT far!  

You didn't have to walk it!

Anyway, I had a two hour break between shifts, so I decided to take one of the blank Fridays business cards over to her.  I wrote my name on the front... and being sneaky... wrote my phone number on the back, figuring she wouldn't look at the back until after I'd gone.

I found her in the jewelry department, and she was quite surprised.  I slid the card across the counter, saying "This card is handy for helping you remember my name..."

Then I immediately flipped the card over.

Yes, and I said "also for writing down your phone number."  I was so embarrassed.  She said "why would you want to give me that?"

So I asked if she was busy Saturday night, as I worked a day shift that day.  Much to my surprise, she said "yes!" and wrote her number on a yellow S&C bad using grease pencil (I still have that bag somewhere in storage.)  I told her I'd call her Thursday (my next night off) to make arrangements, and went back to work.

Which I did.

I was very nervous about this date.  I made reservations at three different places, not knowing what she'd like.  I consulted with a couple of the female servers I worked with for ideas.  One, Beth, would later be in Wife's wedding party.

So.  Saturday night May 10, 1991, arrived.  It was a beautiful sunny day, if a bit cool.  I was to pick her up at 6.  She gave me directions to her house... and I arrived a half hour early (I had over-estimated the time it would take to get there.)  I drove around for a bit, then pulled into the driveway.

I rang the bell.  Her mother let me in.  That's when the HUGE rottweiler started charging at me, snarling viciously, only to be tackled by Wife's youngest brother, then in middle school (he's now a veterinarian.)  It turns out the dog was named "Puddles."  Seriously!

I was seated at the kitchen table, where Wife's parents started asking questions, then got off on a tangent about teachers.  The local school district had settled a strike a couple of years before, and the both of them were accusing teachers of every evil since Cain smote Abel.  It was "teachers this" and "teachers that!"  for a good five minutes.

Then her father asked what my degree was in.


Stony silence.  That's when Wife chose to make her entrance...

You were twenty minutes early!  It's not my fault I wasn't ready!

... wearing a beautiful red mini dress.  She was gorgeous!

Yes, I looked good and I knew it.

And you're humble too.  So, I'd brought a single red rose, which she looked at it with contempt, like as if I'd just given her an incurable disease.

"I was playing it cool.  I was trying to contain my excitement!  "Oh my God he brought me a rose!"  

Then she went to put it in turpentine...

WATER!  I loved it!

And we beat a hasty retreat.  I asked her where she'd like dinner, and gave her the three choices.  She told me to choose.  So I chose Casa Marias in King of Prussia (now long gone.)  On the way down, Yes came on the radio, and I learned that Yes is her favorite group.

When we arrived, I thought "I can't order wings, because they're too messy and I'm trying to make a good impression..."

So you ordered fajitas instead.  Smart move.

We talked about lots of things and discovered we had a LOT in common... Music... books... and she was a fellow Star Wars fanatic!

Star Wars exhibit, summer 2008

We were playing "trust the bartender" so I ordered her a margarita and it was HUGE!  Almost as big as her head!

How was I supposed to drink that???

Anyway, she finished it!  I paid the bill and we left.  As we went outside, I held her hand for the first time, using a bad line.

I knew it was a line!  I LET you hold my hand.

So we went to Houlihans at the mall (now long gone) and I ordered her a Sex on the Beach.  Then a shot of Sambuca.  When I excused myself to the bathroom, I kissed her for the first time.

*silence* *sly smile*

After a beer there, we went back to Phoenixville, to a place called the Epicurean (also long gone), which is where Wife and her friends hung out.  As expected, they were there.  I met her friends, including the woman who would be Maid of Honor at our wedding.  She was very tipsy.  I told her what Wife had to drink (I was astounded by the sheer amount!)

She said "Oh, [Wife] you know how you get when you're drunk!"

I immediately ordered a round of drinks, kamikazes if I remember correctly.

Which I hardly touched.

You drank it!

I gave most of it to [Maid of Honor].

And how did you drink all that and keep sober?  Hollow legs?

I was running on pure adrenaline.  I'm a lightweight with alcohol, you know that!

Anyway, we went back to where I lived (parent's house) where Wife received a VERY frosty reception (My mum said "You're sitting in my chair!") to get a movie, then back to her place.  I left around 2:30 AM.  I had to open the store the next day, when I discovered... I'd left my class ring at her house!  I almost never took that thing off!

So, as soon as I could, I called Wife, and she had the ring.

You forgot it on purpose.

No I didn't!  Anyway, she said I could come over after work to retrieve it.  So I did, and that was our SECOND date, walking in Valley Forge Park, hand in hand.  One topic we discussed was baby names (she told me that if she had a daughter, she wanted her named [Daughter's name], and so it was!)

You left it on purpose so you had an excuse to see me again.  Don't deny it.

I really didn't!  But, that said, if I hadn't left the ring, I would've waited a couple of days to call, so I didn't seem too eager or desperate.

Aren't you glad you did?

That's beside the point.

What am I going to do with you?


Me, the other day.  

So, that's the story of our first date.  Twenty five years ago next week.  I proposed nearly a year later, and we were married a year after that, on April 24, 1993.

And we separated in August 2013, when I was thrown out of her mother's house.  Two and a half years ago.

So we limped to our 23rd wedding anniversary... where we didn't even see each other by Her choice (we DID go out two nights later.)

Next week is 25 years together.   We've endured MANY storms, and she is the biggest supporter of my transition.  But, she doesn't want to be married to a woman.

And so it is.


  1. Love this story. I remember when I first met her and I heard it. I said, "I want to meet the woman who married the biggest geek I know"! You said, "She's a geek, too." :)

  2. Awww. Great story! My wife and I share somewhat similar anniversary dates. We officially became an item on May 27,1993. We then had our "holy union" (as marriage was not legal for us then) on April 27th, 1996. We just celebrated 20 years married (legal for 5+ yrs). We'll celebrate our 23 years of "getting together" this month. I also turn the big 4-0, 2 days before our anniversary. So, yeah, we got together young, 2 days after I turned 17.