Given that everybody gets a free pass to be as sentimental as they want in a personal blog, and that I have just read a wonderful blog post about meeting people for the first time, I thought I might share how I met my other half.
Back in the spring of 2000 I had just moved into my own place, and was finding myself at a loose end most evenings. I didn’t know anybody nearby, and wasn’t interested in heading out to bars every night, so ended up posting my details on a dating site on the internet. You have to remember this was 16 years ago – when nobody met on the internet.
I ended up chatting with a girl via Yahoo Messenger for a few evenings, and we kind of got on, but somehow went our various ways. Over the course of the next month we both went out with other people on some spectacularly bad dates.
One of mine involved flying to the channel islands to attend a birthday party, and being ignored all night before flying home in the morning. I saw her again quite by chance many years later while flying to Jersey with work, and she did a double take before making a huge deal about ignoring me, and putting her arm around somebody while I grinned into my coffee.
Anyway. Back to my story.
One night in the early summer we both ended up staying in on the same night (who am I kidding – I always stayed in), and bumped into each other again while randomly posting “Hello” messages to everybody in our respective Yahoo Messenger friends lists.
A long and winding conversation via Yahoo Messenger turned into a “meet for a drink at lunchtime on Sunday”. I was going to Oxford shopping anyway, so it seemed like an easy solution. Of course I didn’t tell her that I bought new clothes in Oxford, and put them on before meeting her.
I didn’t know this until much later, but she had been meeting people from personal ads in the paper (ah, the days before the internet), and always had a friend call a few minutes into the date – her “exit plan”. She had no plan for me – I was the first person she had ever met without her friends knowing.
We met in the “Cock and Camel” in George Street. I can still remember walking up to the door a few minutes early, and her looking up from a magazine in a comfy chair facing the door, and smiling.
We talked, and talked. I don’t remember what we ordered to eat or drink. She shared photos from her bag of her pet cat “Simpson”, we discovered we had read an awful lot of the same books, and we both had pretty hilarious/horrific car-crash dating stories.
As we left to go our separate ways I said I would love to see her again.
Nobody had ever said that to me before, and I wanted to do cartwheels down the street, but didn’t because that might look a bit too keen.
A little over a year later we found ourselves standing in front of a Church congregation made up of family and friends in a small village in Oxfordshire, scared shitless while a vicar read out a list of promises to each other, and threats from an imaginary being. And then we got very, very drunk.
That first meeting was over 16 years ago now. We’re still together, but have somehow also acquired a big rambling house that we battle with continually, three cats, a number of goldfish, and… oh yes. We adopted three little girls 8 years ago. That’s another story for another day though.