Friday, July 12, 2013

A Girl Walks Into a Bar

No for real, I met my husband in a bar. A Mexican bar. Dreams do come true.

Well okay, it was the Hacienda Colorado, and technically, we were at the hostess stand in front of the bar...but still. I distinctly remember our first conversation happening over giant margaritas.
The night in question. View from Dave's perspective. I'm in the middle.
Let me back that up to the summer of 2008. After 3 long, hard, and gloriously transformative years at FUS in Steubenville (finishing my BA, dabbling in my MA, working for one of my Catholic heroes, learning how to drink responsibly, etc.) I was ready to beat a path DC, specifically, where I had dreams of working on the Hill, for some thinktank, or just being generally awesome and well-paid for it. Strangely enough, those dreams did not materialize, for reasons which I cannot to this day fathom. I mean, a 5-year college graduate with a degree in 'mental health and human services' and zero political experience? Come on.

Midway through that summer, I found myself, with my boss' encouragement, applying for a position with FOCUS at their Denver headquarters. I'd known a few good FOCUS missionaries in my fuzzy days at CU Boulder, and I'd been mightily impressed by them. One resume and a flurry of phone calls later, I found myself on a flight bound for Colorado, still determined that I was going to 'make it' in DC, but willing to give this other opportunity a shot, too.

Wouldn't you know, the interviews went great. And I'd be doing some menial administrative work, yes, and writing grants, which, at the time, I didn't realize would endanger my very soul and suck all the hope and goodness from the world...but I'd also be free to contribute to other projects, and to write various texts and campaigns for my department and others within FOCUS. All I remember hearing was 'get paid to write' so obviously, when they called to offer the job, I accepted.

Back it up to interview weekend, though. My little brother picked my up from the airport and dropped me at a girlfriend's house from college (hi, Diana) where I'd be camping out for 3 days. She and her roomies were gracious enough to host an extra body for the long weekend, and indeed went a further mile by arranging some extra-curricular activities for the Thursday evening before my interviews.

As we were putting on makeup and trying on clothes to go out that night, Diana casually mentioned that she'd asked her boyfriend (now husband) to invite his roommates to meet us at the restaurant we'd be starting at. One in particular, she assured me, was worth meeting. He was an editor. I was a writer. Didn't I think that was interesting?

No, no I did not. Not particularly. Still smarting after yet another failed Steubenville 'I'm discerning my vocation to you/ no, to the priesthood/ no, to you/no, just kidding, to another girl' I was not in dating shape, to say the least. But Diana was insistent that roommate and I would hit it off. So much so, that when her future husband reported back to her with a headcount for the evening, she took matters into her own hands, lest her plans be foiled.

I remember getting to the restaurant and hearing Diana still on the phone with Dave, coaxing him to just  'cancel your plans, you can always drop by that party later' and please come and meet us for dinner. I have no idea what kind of promises she made to him, but he did eventually show up at the restaurant, and I was immediately aware that this was the guy I was supposed to meet. And honestly? Not my type.

But he was really nice. And really easy to talk to. And even though I thought he might be a little bit into one of her other roommates, (he was) he spent at least a half hour talking with me about my upcoming interview (he'd been a FOCUS missionary for 3 years, imagine that!) and was so engrossed in our convo that he even swapped seats with one of the guys to get closer in. (Okay, so maybe he was a little bit into me.)

I don't remember why this seemed like a good idea, but after dinner, we all piled into somebody's early 90's Pontiac and drove downtown to...a Lutheran church. In an old Victorian house in a trendy neighborhood. Because, in the attic every Thursday night: swing dancing!

I don't have a long list of 'things I refuse to do' because hey, for the most part, I'll try anything once. But swing dancing is definitely on that list. Along with playing Settlers of Catan and drinking non-alcoholic cocktails. I'm sorry, life's too short to be intentionally miserable.

Imagine my horror to step into a stifling attic filled with nascent hipsters in saddle shoes showing off their sweet moves and oh, was that a table full of gatorade in the corner for refreshment? Perfect.

I backed slowly into a corner and prayed for some kind of relief, perhaps in the form of a contraband cigarette on the fire escape. Did anyone in our little group smoke? But then there was Dave, coming towards me and, looking almost sheepish, extending his hand with an eyebrow raised. He seemed to be saying 'Hey, why not? We're here, after all.'

Oh what the hell.

I gamely let myself be led out onto the dance floor and steeled myself for a sweaty, awkward 5 minutes of indelicate shuffling and bouncing, because I sweat like a mother and I have no rhythm. None.

No sooner had he put an arm around me then I heard - or maybe felt? I don't know, this part is admittedly really weird, and I had never nor have I ever experienced anything like it since - an interior voice, clear as a bell, telling me:

"You're dancing with your husband."

I'm sorry, what?

I actually stepped back and held him kind of at arm's length for a second, so shocked was I and so disturbed to be hearing voices in the attic of a protestant church while swing dancing.

Uh, God, if that's you...he's not exactly my type. I mean, no offense.

But apparently, the line went dead.

I could go into the rest of the night's details, about how we ended up at a biker bar with a sequin-jumpsuited Elvis impersonator jiving onstage while an ASL translator painstakingly performed the lyrics to a completely hearing crowd (in retrospect, she may have been really drunk, and those may have been her interpretive dance moves), or about how he DIDN'T ask for my number nor did he offer to drive me to the airport in the morning (his roommate did. For which I still give him crap).

Instead, I'll skip to the part 6 weeks later, where he'd convinced me to be his date to a wedding in which he was the best man, thereby dooming me to ride the party bus to the reception with some scrutinizing bridesmaids and a whole bunch of other very well-dressed strangers.

Young, in love, and eating corn chowder.

As the reception wound down, we ended up wandering a bit into a nearby alpine meadow and there, under a starry sky at 10,000 feet above sea level, la prima baci. Perfecto.

7 months later, this:

And then 8 months after that, this:

And then, you know, a couple of these:

I still hate swing dancing. But gosh, do I love margaritas.

Thanks for the memories, Grace.


  1. That was SO cute!! My husband wasn't my type either. And our parents introduced us. Nothing could be worse than that. Thank goodness, God knows better!

  2. "playing Settlers of Catan and drinking non-alcoholic cocktails. I'm sorry, life's too short to be intentionally miserable."

  3. What a great story. I love the crazy detail about the voice saying "you're dancing with your husband."

    And I didn't marry my type either - skinny, hipster boys who love music. Travis lifts weights, wears t-shirts and polos, and questions half my music choices. But he's the perfect husband.

  4. I just think these stories are so much fun! I remember, with my husband, when we first started dating, knowing for sure I would marry him. I actually remember thinking, 'we just have to wait for our wills/emotions to catch up to our reality'. Sure enough, six months later engaged, six months later married and 1 month before our first wedding anniversary we got our first kid born'd :)

    1. It's so funny you should put it like that--catching up to reality. I thought the exact same thing when my husband and I were dating!

    2. Me too! I definitely share these sentiments. God spoke clearly about our relationship even before I was quite ready to understand.

  5. What a wonderful story! I heard the same clear-as-a-bell voice when I met my husband -- and I was interviewing him for a job! I looked up from his resume to ask a routine question and "The Voice" said "Pay attention, you are going to marry him!" I almost laughed out loud but managed to compose myself, since I was HR and all.

  6. I think this is my favorite story I've read from the linkup so far! Especially the bit about hearing the voice while swing dancing. :)

  7. "swing dancing is definitely on that list. Along with playing Settlers of Catan and drinking non-alcoholic cocktails. I'm sorry, life's too short to be intentionally miserable."-- we are the same person.

    This story warmed my little heart, so so sweet. Can't wait til his fam draws you back to the bend again so we can hang!!

  8. I love the short dating and short engagement stories...wish mine had been even quicker! Once you know, you know :-)

  9. Thank you for sharing! Dave is such a great man, and therefore I know you are an amazing woman and he is very lucky! Please tell him I said hello :) Gotta Love FOCUS connections! A donor, introduced me to my husband and a year later we were married :)

  10. I met my husband, at a bar, in D.C, when I was 17 and he was 21. I also heard an internal voice. "He's the one." That was 4/11/81 and we are now planning to retire in 2016! He is the absolutely best husband - I've often been asked if he has a brother (by single women!)

  11. oh my gosh this is so great. I love the story, but honestly, my favorite part was:

    "I don't have a long list of 'things I refuse to do' because hey, for the most part, I'll try anything once. But swing dancing is definitely on that list. Along with playing Settlers of Catan and drinking non-alcoholic cocktails. I'm sorry, life's too short to be intentionally miserable."

    I feel the same way about cocktails. so true :)

  12. I've been loving your posts lately. I'm an expat also, with 2 littles, so I really relate to your struggles. What I would give some days for a play group/ child friendly play ground/ Target run to get us out of the house :) And I've met your husband-- he was a good friend of my good friend's now husband when we were undergrads at FUS. I love your story!

  13. You are hilarious! Loved this love stoey.

  14. I LOVE this story! I am so glad that God brought you two together. I am not gonna lie that I feel a tad bit famous for getting some credit and for being mentioned on your blog. :) You made my day. -Diana A.

  15. LOVE this story (and the fact that the first convo was over giant margaritas). You had me laughing the whole way through!

  16. Love that Grace has gotten you all snagged into these! It's fun to read! :)

  17. Oh my, yes, yes, and yes to your swing dance/settlers of catan/non-alcoholic bevy manifesto! We're clearly best friends, or as Gemma would say, "best, BEST friends".

    I think its so romantic meeting and getting swept up and engaged quickly! From me who suffered for years being in love with her high school sweetheart. And your pictures are the cutest.

  18. I love this story.

  19. That is such a sweet story - and two things completely stuck in my mind.

    1) It took me several (I'm serious) double takes to convince myself that the corn chowder picture was not you sitting with Prince William.

    2) Every girl wants to be looked at like that on her wedding day.

    My husband isn't my 'type' either - and I love him to pieces.


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