This is a longer post than normal. Get some coffee.
Is there anything worse than someone in a relationship giving you their personal analysis of why you are not in a relationship yet? Maybe swimming with jeans on, but that’s about it.
I get it. And I get it because I’ve had it happen to me a bunch. So please don’t take what I say next as any advice on what will definitely happen to your love life if you do what I did. It’s just my story.
Still, I do think we can learn from other people’s experiences, and sometimes they can even end up turning out to be quite similar to our own. So keep that in mind as I tell you the story of how I started dating my fiancé, Brittany. Remember, I’m your friend.
I met Brittany in summer of 2007 through my youth group in Ocala, Florida. She had just graduated high school, and I was a few years into college and was the youth director-helper-organizer-whatever guy. That fall, she moved Orlando for college, and I finally moved up to Gainesville, FL to attend the University of Florida.
Somehow we got talking every day on AIM. (Some of you young kids might not know what that is. It was this ancient communication device called AOL Instant Messenger and everyone had really cool screen names. Like mine—JonnyTgoode.) Pretty much every day we’d talk to each other on it, and then sometimes meet up in Ocala and hang out with our friends. I had a crush on her, but didn’t really know what to do about it. We were just good friends, and I was the Friend Zone King.
Our contact became less frequent as we both got more involved in our colleges. But that spring we were both single, and I asked if I could take her to dinner. She said yes, and I thought, “It’s a date!” Apparently, she did not think it was one and was not giving me any good vibes. We went back to the house to watch a movie and she sat on the opposite side of the couch from me. Couldn’t have been farther away. I don’t think I was wearing Michael Jordan Cologne anymore at this point so I can’t even blame it on that.
After that we pretty much lost touch for around five years.
In December 2012, I was back in Ocala for only one night before I went down to my mom’s, and I ran into Brittany on the downtown square. I asked her what she was up to, and she said, “I’m moving to DC in a week.” And I said, “Really? I live there.” Apparently she wasn’t following me on Twitter or anything and had no clue I was up there. We exchanged numbers and I told my friend Luke, “I’m going to ask her out when she gets up there.”
And I did. And we went out in DC on a Friday night to a fun little restaurant called Vapiano. Apparently she didn’t think that was a date, either. To this day I don’t know if she thinks we’ve ever been on a date because both of those were pretty obvious dates to me. Just ask my wallet.
A week or two later we went out to dinner again. Both times I had a great time, and came back home really surprised at how much I had enjoyed myself. Not because I thought it would be horrible, but I just hadn’t seen her or talked to her in years, and I didn’t know whether we had both changed too much.
The next day she asked me to come over to her place, and she would make dinner. I told my sister, “I’m going to Brittany’s, and she’s making dinner,” in shock and excitement. My sister Melissa gave me a high-five, and I headed out. I thought maybe something was finally happening.
She was a great cook, and we were having a good time talking again. Then she proceeded to recommend to me that I should date not just one, but two different girls. She thought I’d be perfect for either of them.
I left a few minutes after her second suggestion.
The next two months we only had a little communication and she pretty much dodged me. She admits it now, too. Well, I ended up moving into an apartment that was only about a ten minute walk from hers. (She still thinks that I did it on purpose but the truth is my future roommate Mike was already living in Crystal City, and I liked the area and wanted to get an apartment there.)
Ok yes, I was kind of hoping it’d help the chances of Brittany and I hanging out, too. And obviously it did. Am I a wizard? I can’t really say, but I can’t say I’m not not one either.
I told her she should come check out the apartment and one night she came over. I gave her a tour that took all of two seconds and then said, “We could watch a movie or something?” She spotted my keyboard and said, “Oh do you play?” And I said, “Yeah a little.” She said, “Play me something.” So I played her a song and sang. I said, “We can watch something or TV.” She said, “Do another one.” So again I did. She laid down on my floor and made me sing and play for about and hour and a half. Then we watched a show, and she went home.
This situation went on for about two to three weeks. Pretty much every night. Some nights Mike and I would both play guitar and sing because I was running out of material. She told me later that she loved coming over every night, A) because her air conditioning was broken, and B) because it helped her relax from her stressful job.
Every time I would finish playing I’d try to sit by her on the couch, and every time she would go sit on the other couch, or already be laying down where I couldn’t even sit by her. Still giving me the couch distance just like years before.
I was on the phone with my friend Chris one night while Brittany was on her way over, and I told him that I couldn’t ever sit by her on the couch. His suggestion was that I put dirty laundry all over one of the couches so she’d have to. It was really quite genius, but then I thought it’d make me look like a slob.
That night, she came over, and I sat right next to her on the couch. Sure enough, she says, “I’m gonna go lay down on the other couch.” Of course. I asked her if she’d ever watched a lot of Saturday Night Live. Turns out she hadn’t seen any of the clips I was talking about. I said, “Oh you gotta see them.” So I went and got my laptop and sat right on the couch next to her so she could see it. And that, of all methods, is what worked.
With her sitting next to me, I didn’t know what to do with my left hand. After my arm went to sleep from being stretched out across the back of the couch, I awkwardly laid my arm on top of her shoulders. It was my way of saying, “Hey girl, I’m here for you. But I don’t know what I’m doing here.” I guess it worked because we’ve been sitting next to each other ever since.
There you have it—I owe my marriage to SNL’s Drunk Uncle and Stefon.
Guys, all I can say is that if you keep showing up, you never know what can happen. No guy likes rejection, or even the thought of being rejected. Yeah, it’s horrible, but if you think she’s someone who is worth it, you should keep showing up. You never know how well you’re wearing her down.
My friend Scott once told me, “Guys are a microwave, and girls are a crock pot.” Men have a tendency to get really excited about a girl really easily, but women can take time to warm up to men. But when they do, they stay that way. I mean now Brittany won’t leave me alone. I guess I’m ok with that, though.