If we had kids, John would have a great story for an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” I’d bounced around from tiny country town to Ivy League university to the Marine Corps in less than two years. When we met in January 1988, I was marking time at the local community college, waiting desperately for the fall semester so I could return to my “real” school.
John was living off-campus with his twin brother, but he spent most of his time hanging out with his friends at West Hall. That just happened to be where I lived. When I asked him out on a date – I was a modern 80s woman – he grudgingly agreed. He was more interested in my bubbly roommate and Hot Rachel across the hall, but I was determined to gain his attention.
Our first date was a disaster. He was mad at me for something, then I got mad at him, and back and forth all night. By the time we ended up at his place where he introduced me to his pet rats, I decided the whole thing had been a terrible mistake. I wanted my kiss and then I’d leave.
See, when we were in college, it was sort of the “in” thing for girls to ask boys out if they really wanted to. Whoever did the asking paid for the date. And experience had taught us girls that boys assumed they should at least get a kiss after forking out the cash for a cheap dinner and a flick of their choice. So, having paid for those things that night, and having far less fun with Mr. Moody than I’d expected, I wanted the kiss I’d paid for and I’d be on my way. Goodbye and good luck.
The thing is, when I finally got that kiss – and it took a lot of work on my part to get him to give in – it was pretty darned good. Good enough to give the guy a second chance! 😉
A month later, smitten to the core by now, I waited to see what John would plan for Valentine’s Day. I was more than a little nervous because John’s twin brother had been telling him over and over, “Run far, and run fast!” We were 19 and 20, not old enough to buy a wine cooler, let alone a fancy bottle of wine. Neither of us had a car, there was no public transit in our town, and several feet of snow covered the ground. Where could we walk to besides the pizza place?
John invited me to have Valentine’s dinner with him at his place. He was in the hospitality program at school, so I figured I’d lucked out. I didn’t cook, so anything he made was bound to be delicious.
John was the perfect gentleman, taking my coat when I arrived and pushing me toward the heater to defrost. I’d only walked about a mile, but it was bitter cold out. When I thawed enough to glance at the table, I was speechless for a moment. Not a home-cooked dish in sight. But when I realized how John had prepared dinner, I began to smile. I don’t think a boy had ever gone to such trouble for me.
I think we had salisbury steak dinners and corn – courtesy of Swanson frozen dinners and the microwave. John took the food out of the cardboard containers and re-plated it on Corningware plates (the college student’s dinnerware of choice). He poured peach Faygo sodapop into glasses so it looked like champaign. Our paper napkins had fancy restaurant folds. Then he pulled out my chair.
I fell for him a little more.
We talked and ate and drank peach-flavored pop. For dessert, John went into the kitchen and made some noise. I heard the microwave ding and out he came with a steaming carton of microwaveable brownies. Yum! He cut the brownies and…the knife made a big globby mess. John muttered under his breath.
By then, I knew this guy was someone I wanted to make happy. “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “Let’s just eat it with spoons.”
John got the spoons, but he was still grumpy that the brownies hadn’t turned out right. What he didn’t know is that I love brownie and cookie batter! Before long, we were laughing and feeding each other spoonfuls of sort-of microwaved brownies. More Faygo was opened and consumed. One of us joked that we didn’t need alcohol to have a good time.
By the end of the night, I was more than smitten. I was irrevocably in love. I never returned to my old Ivy League school. John gave me a promise ring that summer and we’ve been following each other around ever since. The only thing that’s changed since then is that we’ve learned you can actually become MORE in love every year. 🙂
That’s why I like to write funny, romantic stories! What about you? Do you have a silly Valentine’s Day story? Tell me! I love to hear stories about people in love. 🙂
Books I’m reading this week: Accused by Janice Cantore (it’s awesome!)