It just so happened that my first-ever date with my husband Todd fell on Valentine’s Day. It was 2002, and we’d just looked at our little single people calendars and chosen a Thursday, not thinking of the date’s significance. It was a lunch date, because I hadn’t made up my mind yet about him, and I wouldn’t want to waste a prime Thursday night (Girls Night Out) on a man who might turn out to be yet another Dipshidiot. This was only three months after I broke up with the biggest Dipshidiot in my life’s repertoire, and my heart was still smoking from spending 18 months on his hellish rotisserie. (In a nutshell, he was a cheating, drug-addicted mortician. I’ll spare you the gory details). I’d met Todd shortly after breaking up with this Flatulating Buttface, and I really had no interest in selling my soul to another male for as long as I lived.
I was at a bar one Tuesday night with some co-workers, and a girl approached me in the line to the bathrooms, asking if I wanted to meet some of her guy friends. I hesitated, trying to find a polite way to say, “Not no, but HELL NO,” and to fill that awkward silence, she started talking. And talking. And talking. I found I actually enjoyed listening to her, so I didn’t interrupt. I did eventually walk over to meet her friends, of which Todd was one, but hers was the phone number I walked away with that night. She (Christina) became a friend and introduced me to a huge group of single, successful women, most of whom were not in the habit of wasting time with the kind of Dillweeds I’d fooled around with most of my adult life.
Fast-forward three more months of casually running into Todd at mutual outings involving my new girlfriends and their single guy friends, and Todd all of a sudden started sending me emails. (Yes, emails, not texts. This was back in the era of flip phones). His messages began with random Confucius one-liners. “Man who farts in church sits in own pew,” was one. Another? “Man who walks through airport turnstile sideways is going to Bangkok.” He gambled, instinctively, I guess, that the way to win my heart was to write to me in a totally irreverent and perverted fashion. SCORE. After a few weeks of this interesting Confucius bombing (combined with a little conversation here and there), I agreed to go on a date with him. The way he asked was endearing.
“I think there’s something happening between us. Can we go out sometime?”
I’d never experienced such unbridled honestly. Seriously. I’d been accustomed to the game-players and the shit-talkers for sooo long, and I thought to myself: here’s someone my mother would be proud of. Here’s someone my therapist thinks I should be dating. So I accepted a lunch date. On a Thursday. Which brings us up to speed.
We agreed to meet at a popular, quaint, village-type row of restaurants that was close enough to where we each worked. I got there early, as I am the Time Nazi (after suffering a childhood of tardiness to school, church, doctors’ appointments or any other function demanding heart-pounding, sweaty punctuality). I paced around in front of the agreed-upon restaurant, observing the passersby, especially a lot of men hurriedly rushing past me with bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolates. It suddenly occurred to me: Huh. Oh, yeah. That’s right. It IS Valentine’s Day. What if this guy wants to woo me to death with flowers, a card, a box of chocolates? Oh, I don’t think I can handle that. I mean, yes, it would be nice. But I don’t think I’m ready for nice. I think I would kick nice in the balls, actually. Because I am still so pissed at the male gender and dealing with my weird transition between gravitating towards Dipshidiots and gravitating towards Nice Guys, that this will probably push me over the Not Happening Edge. I am perspiring after this inner monologue, jerking around looking for my date spasmodically around every corner, like I’m looking for Jason in Friday the Umpteenth, until I see him. No flowers, no apparent card, just a goofy grin on his face. And what do I say?
“Ummm, hellllloooo? WHERE are my flowers? My card? Tell me you at least got me a card.” He looked so frightened and chagrined and uncomfortable, I had to end it quickly. I burst out in hysterical laughter, even splicing in some attractive snorts here and there. That was his induction to Mean, Weird, Scary Ashley World. And he married me anyway.