Yes, I Love Techonology!

via Photobucket/susano75

Ten years ago at 12:15 p.m., my husband and stood in front of a towering judge, along with my daughters, my ex-in-laws, and two of our best friends. The ceremony was short and sweet, and at its end, we were bound for life, just as we knew we would be from the day we met. While friends, family, and coworkers rejoiced in our happiness, very few of them knew the real story of how we came to be standing in front of that Frankensteinianly tall judge and saying our vows.

Years ago, I was a skinny blond school teacher; a not so gay divorcee, raising two kids on my own. Though I had my work and my beautiful daughters to keep me occupied, my inward lack of gaiety was a definite problem. I was lonely. When I’d first divorced I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t date anyone for at least a year, and even then, I would confine my dating to the weekends that my daughters were visiting their father. The last thing I wanted to be was one of those women who introduced their daughters to an endless string of men. I had taught children whose mothers acquainted them with a “new daddy” every few months and I certainly feared for their future.

In my college days, before I met my first husband, I’d dated a fair variety of gentlemen, so I assumed that once I put myself back out on the market that dating would be effortless. Oh, I was wrong, so very, very wrong! If I were to blog about my post-divorce dates, you would see titles like, “Don’t Call Me Sunshine,” “If you Touch me with your Foot Again, I’ll Kill You” “Wrangler Jeans and Flannel Shirts in August,” and the classic “Oh, you Live with your Mother.” In spite of well-meaning friends, with scores of dudes to fix me up with, I just wasn’t finding Mr. Right, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. My dating plan was oddly intermingled with a lay-away plan at my local Wal-Mart. It was simple; I’d buy computer in six easy payments, secretly post a personal ad, and in a few short months, or sooner, I’d be dating the man of my dreams.

After my debt was paid, and I’d figured out which cord went where, I began to compose my ad. I brain stormed by making a list of attributes that I hoped for in a mate. He needed to be kind, responsible, sober, and willing to accept the fact that my children were a huge part of the package. He had to be intelligent, financially secure, and cool with the fact that I’m an adult who still likes to make prank phone calls. When I finished I had a list of 54 requirements that my future husband needed to possess. A girl has to be picky, but to assure you that I’m not shallow; there was nothing on the list referring to appearance and nothing that I that I required of Mr. Right that I couldn’t bring to the table myself.

I spent an entire Saturday munching on baby carrots, cooped up in my stuffy apartment trying to turn my list into the most brilliant personal ad ever written. Finally, after hitting the delete button fifty bazillion times, I settled on something like this:

SWF, 35, seeks responsible, kind, intelligent guy to date, to eventually love, to potentially marry, and to possibly make prank phone calls with.

The problem with personal ads is that lots of people aren’t reasonably good at self-assessment. There are guys who’ve had restraining orders placed against them who consider themselves kind. There are guys that are chronically without jobs who consider themselves responsible and there are dopey dudes who think they’re Einstein. There are also lots of crazy guys out there! So, once the fruits of my labor began showing up in my inbox, I had to do some serious analyzing to make sure I wasn’t about to hook up with Hannibal Lector. I immediately deleted any email that came from a father of four plus children. I’m no Carol Brady. Then I axed anyone who couldn’t write in complete sentences. Sadly, this got rid of quite a few. If an email had anything remotely perverse such as a reference to fetishes, or a vibe that there might be a girl chained up in the basement, it was a goner. After my careful scrutiny, I was left with an inbox containing three potential choices. I replied to all and one guy answered back. He was a civil engineer eight years my senior and Guardrail1234, was his screen name. For a few weeks Guardrail and I wrote back and forth. His letters were always witty and fun. After we’d learned all that we could about one another online, he asked to meet me. Amazingly, although I’d received emails from men who lived hundreds of miles away, Guardrail lived only eleven miles from my apartment. After asking for his social security number to have him checked out (not kidding, girls have to be careful), and after telling two of my closest friends exactly where I’d be (really, you can’t be too safe). I met Guardrail1234 at a Chinese restaurant downtown. As silly as it sounds coming from a non-romantic girl like me, it was love at first sight. He was, and still is, the beautiful human form of everything on my 54 item list, and then some.

A burning question among family and co-workers was, “How did you meet?” This was 12 years ago, before the answer, “Oh, we met online,” was acceptable. I didn’t want everyone to know for a fact that I’m as flakey quirky as they imagine I am. So, my über conservative grandmother was told that we were introduced by friends. My co-workers were told that we met through one of my relatives, but anyone who really knows and cares about me is aware of the real way that we really met.

The one I met him on was a little older than this one!

I’m dying to know!! How did you meet your partner?

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24 thoughts on “Yes, I Love Techonology!

  1. What a great story, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I’m so happy for you and Mr. Sprinkles; he seems like a wonderful man. My husband and I met at work while we were both still in college (a school for children with autism; he’s still a special ed teacher). It was a year and a half before we started dating — once I found out he was in a band (lead singer, no less, not to mention guitar and harmonica), I was a goner!

  2. I met my fella through a free on line dating site. We both had pictures and we talked through video calling almost every day before we met in person. No surprises except for the earth shaking physical response I had for him. And still do after a year.

    I love your story of how you met. It sounds like destiny. Mr. Sprinkles and you were meant to be.

    • I met my guy through a free online site, too!! When you have to buy a computer on lay-away you can’t pay for any of those pricey sites!! 🙂
      Now it’s pretty normal to hear someone admit to meeting online, back then, online dating was relatively new. I guess Mr. S and I were pioneers! I know we were meant to be, too!

      I’m glad you caught a nice one on the net, too!!

  3. I met my boyfriend (A.) in high school, if you can believe it. We didn’t date in high school, nor in college…or grad school…or after grad school. We stayed friends for all those years, lost touch for a few when I was overseas, and got back in touch when I came back. We started dating just over 6 years ago.

    I had bad experiences with my own brief attempt at e-harmony before I started dating A. First rule: never sign up for a dating site under the influence of mojitos! You get set up with a guy who has a goiter and doesn’t pay his taxes. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

    I let out an unexpectedly loud guffaw when I read “Don’t call me Sunshine” line. I dated a guy in grad school who was pretty flaky. He’d call an hour after he was supposed to pick me up because he’d just woken up from a nap…that kind of crap. It was never too serious but it went on for a while fun while it lasted. We parted when I finally refused to deal with the flakiness. Just a few weeks later, I ran into him and he yelled, “Hey there Sunshine! How’ve you been?” He clearly remembered me but not my name. “You have no idea what my name is, do you?” I asked, more amused than angry. He tried to deny it but then admitted what a tool he was 🙂

    Happy Anniversary!

    • I think it’s especially difficult to date when you’re a teacher. At the school I worked at, there was only one male teacher who was married and near retirement. The other option was the widowed and divorced dads of students, but they seemed to come with a house full of kids and problems. Dating in my mid 30s was a serious nightmare! My “Sunshine” guy was a Ned Flanders type, who was 12 years my senior. He said things on our date like. “Mother and I enjoy going to the flea market,” and “I need to stop by Walgreens on the way to the restaurant to get some epsom salts for Daddy’s hemorrhoids.” Would you want to get busy with that? What’s frightening is that these were my friends fixing me up with these guys!
      I don’t think e-harmony existed twelve years ago and even if it did, I probably couldn’t have afforded it. I’m sure there’s a very funny blog post in your e-harmony experience.
      It’s amazing that you’ve know your boyfriend for such a long time and it’s very cool that you have such a shared past. Is he also a teacher/linguist? 🙂

      • He teaches but at a different college and a different subject. He teaches history and political science.

        It’s definitely fun to have a long, shared past. It’s always useful to pull out the, “You don’t fool me, pal. Don’t forget that I knew you during your mullet and Army fatigues days!” 😉

  4. Omg, I LOVE your story! Thanks for sharing it, and happy anniversary. I’ve yet to meet the guy for me, but I do like your idea of making a list of things to look for. I brainstormed a few things but I think I need to organize the list better. Anyway, I really admire the way you took things into your own hands! Both you and your husband sound like amazing people and I’m so happy for you. 🙂

    • Thank you, Linda for all of your sweet compliments! 🙂 You’re very close to my own daughters’ ages and the mom in me will tell you that you have plenty of time to find Mr. Right! Keep making your list! It’s alright to be picky! There is someone out there who will be perfect for you! 🙂

  5. I met my hubby on a carousel.. 16 yrs old working at the local amusement park, he was the one to give me my break.

    Happy Anniversary! (and there is no reason not to refer to your computer as your “friend”)

  6. Happy Anniversary, Sprinkles, you were obviously a trendsetter way ahead of the online curve! You’ve got to love a man that chooses the username “Guardrail” – it conjures safety with a little edginess all in one word.

    I met my husband when he was living in the Caribbean and working for the same international accounting firm as I did. He will want me to make special note that he is not a bean counter, like me, he just worked for the same company.

    Anyway, an out-of-town fling turned into a long-distance relationship that led to a trip down the aisle in New Zealand three years later. I wrote a little more about our meeting here: http://keeniebeanie.blogspot.com/2010/10/decade.html

    Hope you had a great time celebrating 10 years of marriage!

    • Thank you, and thank you for the link!! I tried to post twice on your Blogspot page, but it didn’t seem to work. You are a gorgeous bride and you and your sweetie make a lovely couple! Congrats on your one decade mark and may you share many more!!

      I think I might have been more of a desperate teacher who was never in a position to meet males over the age of 10 than a trendsetter, but I’m very glad that online dating worked! And, that I did’t meet a weirdo! 🙂

  7. I always preferred meeting guys on my own and in person, but being introduced through mutual friends can be helpful. Once, eons ago, in the early 90’s, after a broken engagement (I was never to keen about walking down the aisle or having kids, so I felt no rush to meet anyone) my co-workers were placing ads in our paper we worked for. They decided I should mystery-date too, and invited me out for Margaritas at the bar/restaurant that had just opened up next door to our office.

    By the time I got there, they had already written my personal ad on a cocktail napkin. It was titled: ULTIMATE BLONDE (a good eye catcher, but really, just the brand of Loreal hair color I was using at the time) and they listed a few of my interests, including films (I was taking classes in a local film school program). I didn’t go out with anyone, but listened to a few of the messages and read a few letters. And talked to a couple guys on the phone. The only one I did go out with a few times, another naval officer, had a date with my friend prior, but she had moved on by then to another guy. After 3 dates, he basically wanted me to move to Hawaii with him to take care of his 9 year old son while he went out to sea! Nice guy, but no thanks on the instant-motherhood thing! Plus I was living well where I was. And that was the end of that!

    Thanks for sharing your story. I imagine, with kids, a Moms’ meeting-guys time is very limited.

    • Personal ads are scary! My friend was the head of advertising for a small newspaper, and many years ago her paper began doing a feature called “Strictly Personal.” I was only 21 and still in college, so dating wasn’t a problem. She asked me to write a free ad to help get the feature started. I wrote sort of a silly one, knowing that I never planned on dating any of the guys that responded. I made sure to ask that a photo be included. This is awful, but we had so much fun with the photos that these dudes sent. One was of a guy and his 4 sons and all of them had the exact same mullet! Another guy sent me pictures with the fish he had caught. One guy sent a professional, wallet-sized photo with his poodle and a really sleazy guy sent a shirtless pic of himself with his pants unbuttoned, but not showing his ween! I made a photo collage on my dorm bulletin board with them.
      Kudos to you for knowing what you want. Though I have children, I respect your decision to not have them. Too many people out there feel like they have to follow a certain “life script” and end up unhappy. My very favorite aunt is childfree which left her with lots of time to spoil me as a kid!

  8. Oh how I love this. I stumbled across your blog through another persons blog and I’m glad I did. I’m reading bits of your posts and just love them!

    My fiance’ and I met at a friends house. He was going to her house for dinner (they had known each other since 5th grade) and I just happened to be there (my son was with his father) We ate, I really didn’t say much, and he went home. My friend later texted him and said “Trent, you’re such a cutie” to which he responded with “Thanks..so is your friend” OUCH! haha He apologized and said he didn’t mean it that way. She wasn’t upset, because well, he was basically her brother. She sent him my phone number (without asking! but I’m glad she didn’t because I would have probably said no) and it just went from there. I agree, you can never be too careful, especially if you have children. I vowed not to bring men in and out of mine or my sons life, and that is one thing I have never done. When Trent came, he came to stay for good and I couldnt’ be happier 🙂

    • Thank you, Kayla! (My daughter is named Kalah!) I think it’s really cool how you and Trent met. It is very hard to date when you have children, but it sounds like your guy is a keeper! Thanks for visiting my blog! 🙂

  9. Omigosh! What an awesome story! And happy anniversary to you and Guardrail1234!

    I met my hubby when I was living with the drummer in a band.

    Hubby showed up to try out as the lead guitarist.

    He was amazing.

    Drummer cheated.

    Guitarist consoled.

    I moved out.

    Guitarist and I moved to New Orleans.

    Drummer totally blew it.

    I win.

    We just had our 16th anniversary on 8/12. I wish I had written something about how we met, but it kinda doesn’t go on my blog. 😉

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