The most eventful year of my life so far was 1997 – it was the year I turned 27. It was the year my career took off. It was the year I met my husband.
It starts in May when the guy I had been dating for just 6 months but was head over heels for broke my heart. Shattered. It. I fell into a deep depression and didn’t eat more than a few bites at a time for over a month, I would come home from work and hop on my bike and ride 10 miles it was the only time I wasn’t crying or totally numb. Combine – very little food – lots of exercise for the endorphins and one overweight girl and I quickly dropped 50lbs. By July I was looking pretty good and feeling better about myself too. It was time to start dating again.
I placed a personal ad on Yahoo Personals – this was back in the day when it was free and thus loaded with a lot of CRAP and filtering through it all was difficult. So here was my ad (at least the best I can remember over 10 years later):
Single, White, Female (with 2 cats)
My grandmother tells me that a woman living alone with 2 cats will NEVER find a man. So who wants to prove her wrong? (of course it was attached to my profile with a picture and other vital details like my age, height, hair color, body type, etc)
You would not believe the freaks that came out of the woodwork for this ad. I went on three dates and I will describe them each to you.
Date#1 – After a few emails and one phone call we agree to meet at Don Pablo’s at Harpers Point (this is in Cincinnati) and since his profile has no picture he tells me he will look for me since he knows what I look like. He told me he was 30 years old 6’ tall and muscular. I see him as soon as I walk through the door. I consider turning around and walking back out. He is more like 40 years old. He is 5’8” at most and is wearing cowboy boots with an extra 2” in the heel. He is not muscular, he is FAT. I am not prejudiced against guys with extra weight. I am however prejudiced against LIARS! But he spots me and I’m not brave enough to just blow him off and leave. So we sit down and eat, ah well free dinner right? Nope, I offer to pay half and he LETS ME! Then when we are done he asks me if I want to go to a movie or to a bar to hang out (it’s 7pm?) and it’s time to be brutally honest, I just say NO and tell him I need to get home as I have to work the next day and then I run to my car to get out so he can’t follow me.
Okay they can’t all be that bad right?
Date#2 – He’s from Kentucky and I’m from northern Cincinnati so we agree to meet at Uno’s in Clifton as it’s sort of central for us. He has not misled me – he looks just like his picture, he’s tall and attractive. We get our seats and start talking. And this is where things go south. This guy was a widower – at 28 years old he was a widower. His wife and baby daughter had both been killed in a tragic car accident about a year prior. We hadn’t even ordered yet and he was SOBBING at the table telling me about it. I felt horrible for him, but talk about uncomfortable. Clearly if he can’t talk about it without a total meltdown then he is NOT ready to date. Somehow we make it through the food and it comes time to get out of there. He walks me to my car like a gentleman and then leans in for a kiss, I quickly avert and it lands on my cheek. Then he asks me if I would like to go out with him again? I tried to be kind as I said “no offense, but I don’t think you’re ready for this.” Even if things might have worked out there was no way I wanted to live in the shadow of a dead wife.
Third time’s the charm right?
Date#3 – He’s from Columbus, this is about 80 miles from where I live so must be carefully planned. We talk a lot on the phone and instant messenger. Finally he makes the trip down and stays with friends in my area. He had sent me several pictures and described himself as a body builder type. Normally not my type but he really seemed nice. Turns out the pictures were old – he looked like a body builder that had stopped working out and turned into the Michelin Man type. But he was still kinda cute and so even though he was more fat than muscular and was losing a lot more hair than the picture showed I thought I’d give him a shot. We went out twice. Then I started getting strange emails in my Yahoo account. I thought it was some weirdo. I would tell him about it online and on the phone. The emails talked about where I lived and where I worked and they said someone was watching me. I freaked out a bit. Finally I figured out by some of the details that it was this guy I had dated twice and we had planned a third. I confronted him – he denied. He was taking the police exam and wanted to be an officer – I told him I had reported these weird emails and that my ISP tracked them to Columbus and were notifying the Columbus PD. He FREAKED out thinking I was going to ruin his changes at becoming a police officer. That was the end of him.
I took down the damn ad. INSANE! I stopped looking online and started hanging in clubs – had a few doozy dates that way too.
Then in the end of August, about a month after the ad was pulled, I got a tentative email that said: “I replied to your ad about the cats last month and then my hard drive crashed and I lost all my emails so I don’t know if you emailed me back. I have a cat of my own.” I literally laughed out loud and thought – wow this guy is lame. But I emailed him back, told him about my dating disasters and we started sharing jokes. Then we started playing an online game together called Acrophobia – we flirted heavily in the chat box. We started talking on the phone sometimes. The game had ad’s between sets and many were for movies – we talked about getting together for a movie.
Finally on Tuesday, December 16th 1997 we met for dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. He was cute. He was shy. He was smart. I wasn’t really sure he was interested in me – I did most of the talking because he was so quiet. I must have mentioned that the following night I was going to be playing pool at a certain bar as part of my league. I didn’t tell him where it was but the next night who should walk into the bar? It was him. Friday he met me for lunch. Friday night he took me out to Olive Garden and to a movie (one of the Scream films?). He took me home Friday night and gave me a sweet kiss at the door and said goodnight. He called me on Saturday to see what I was doing. I made something up – was kinda freaked at how much time we’d spent together in that first week. I went out dancing with some friends just so I wasn’t available. Sunday he asked me to come to his apartment for pizza and a movie. I had a lot of errands to run as it was nearly Christmas but I agreed. I showed up in a baggy old sweatshirt, jeans and my hair in a ponytail. We ate pizza, we watched movies, we listened to music, we made out for hours. We ah did more. I left his apartment at 6am to go home and get ready for work. I was in LOVE! We became joined at the hip for awhile – moved in together in March 1998 – it was too soon, nearly ruined us. I moved back out in August 1999 and lived on my own for 6 months – he missed me. He chased again. He proposed. I moved back in and on November 11, 2000 I married that guy. I still love him. We still have the three cats! :)