There. It's out.
I met Husband in a bar.
Eight years, two cats, and two kids later, and I finally feel (sort of) comfortable announcing this to the world. I met the love of my life (awwwww) in a darkened, booze-addled, Manhattan bar. Called Prohibition no less. Sue me. You will not win a dime. It is not illegal to find romance in a moderately cheesy meet-market of a jazz bar. (Look, I am an actual lawyer. I checked. It is totally fine to meet someone this way. Yes, even a husband.)
Okay. It is legal. But is it legit? Is it something to, say, shout from the rooftops? Or the blogtops?
Yes, I think so. I know so. Yes.
And I will tell you why. Right now.
You can find love, real love, ridiculous love, anywhere.
It's true. Anywhere.
For so long, I fielded the question. That question everyone just adores to ask. How did you meet? And you know what? I don't blame them. It's an easy question. I've asked it. It's kind of like talking about the weather. It's safe territory. Seemingly safe territory. The thing is that I didn't feel safe when people asked me this purportedly safe softball of a question. No. I wished that I could tell people that we met in school, or through family friends. I felt like I needed to come up with a go-to script. And so I did.
You guys are soooooo cute together.
Where did you meet again?
[Uncomfortable pause. Requisite sip gulp of the Pinot Grigio.] Oh, we met in the neighborhood.
Oh. That's sooooo great.
Yes, it is. And it's a soggy little lie. Actually, not. Prohibition is in the neighborhood! Even with his stiff old categorical imperatives, Kant would approve. (Maybe. Okay, likely not. But he's not around anymore.)
I didn't lie, but I tweaked the truth. To make our story more appropriate, more legitimate, more packaged for mass consumption. But now? Now I'm not interested in quasi-truths, but real ones. I don't want storybook rainbows.
I want reality.
And so. Here is our story.
Not because you deserve it. But because I want to tell it. I love stories. I live for stories. I collect them like stamps. I store them away in my buzzing brain and my blooming blog. For later. To tell. Stories become posts. Stories become books. Stories become marriages.
Stories become lives.
I was in law school. My best friends and I planned a girls' night out. It was a Thursday night. We gathered in one of our apartments. Dressed all in black of course. We sipped Pinot Grigio. We talked and talked. About things serious and silly. About impending exams and celebrity gossip. About the dreaded bar exam. And boys. Even pretentious (oh, and I was. And am?) Ivy Leaguers talk about boys. We talked and talked and then we headed out. To pop by all of our favorite West Side bars. We made cameos. We emitted civilized and sexy laughter. And we moved on. I remember something so vividly about that night. Something so great. That something? It was just us girls. As much as we talked about boys, we were focused on each other. On our friendships. On girl time.
Until we (a) either had too much Pinot Grigio; or (b) saw him. And by him, I mean Husband.
We walked into Prohibition. It was late. The bar was pretty empty. The band was packing up its equipment. I spotted the silhouette of a tall guy with spiky hair. My friend noticed him too. (Hey, J!!) In unison, we said, "Now, he's hot." J and I had the very same taste in men. So much so that it had caused a problem or two in the past. But this didn't matter. There would be no catfight! This was a girls' night after all. No boys allowed.
Except that J, more daring than I will ever dream of being, went right up to Husband and started chatting with him. But there was a charitable aspect to this encounter. In no time, she sent him over to me. Before I knew it, our girls' night included one boy. A boy who would, in about two years' time, ask me a certain question. Who would in about three years' time, become my man.
But that night? That first night? That first page? We talked. Uncertainly. Softly. Even in the dark bar, I noticed his impossible eyes. The ocean blue. He told me he had just moved to New York. I loved that he was not from here. He told me that he played soccer in college. I love soccer. He told me where he went to school. It was not an Ivy League. I loved this. I loved that he was intelligent. And polite. And soooooo painfully handsome.
Well, that was it. It. One night. One random night on which we were not meant to look at boys.
From that night on, we were inseparable. Best friends. Everything.
And eight or so years later, here we are. We just had dinner together. Takeout. On the couch. And now he is thrilled to be watching Heroes as I write this. We are, dare I say, happy. Raising two sweet little girls. Enjoying a bounty of laughter and love. Dealing with the sublime and subversive curveballs Life has a way of throwing: insecurity, sickness, chaos, renovations, and loss.
This is our story. Our love story. And, finally, I have the guts to tell it. Finally.
This is a story I will tell my girls someday. Yes, when they are old enough and curious enough, I will tell them about the rueful randomness of life and love. About chance. About luck. About the fine art of stumbling. I will tell them that if they live life with their eyes open, good things can happen when they least expect them. I will tell them these things. These are things I want them to know.
This is our story. This is our life.
Stories exist everywhere. So does love.
Just let yourself look.
Do you think there are more and less legitimate ways of meeting people, of finding lasting love? Is meeting someone in school somehow more legitimate than meeting someone in a bar, or online, or at jury duty? Where did you meet your person? Where do you hope to meet your person? What's the most random or amazing or unbelievable love encounter story you've ever heard?
***You know the drill. Leave a comment here today (1/6/10) by 11pm EST and you will be eligible to win a copy of Gretchen Rubin's wonderful new book THE HAPPINESS PROJECT. Yesterday's lucky winner was Kimberly... ***