September 8, 2009
I have a very long day tomorrow with work at 6am and CJ's cross country meet afterwards, so I won't keep you in suspense about "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say.
So one day I am working, very hard I'm sure, in the Young Men's department, when this long-legged brunette walks through the other part of my department to return some jeans that had wandered over to the Juniors department. I looked up just in time to see her lay the jeans down on the other register, and exit stage right to return to her department. I am not sappy enough to say that all the lights dimmed, or that suddenly there was less air to breathe around me, or that the Muzak in the store starting playing The Carpenters (Why do birds suddenly appear...), but I will tell you that I was very intrigued by this girl. She had a look about her that made me "wish that she was my girlfriend" (The Pussycat Dolls are very romantic).
Immediately, I went over to a coworker named Lynn who was working at the fitting room in my dept. Fitting room checkers work at different fitting rooms throughout the store checking the number of articles you are taking into the fitting room with you. (Otherwise some of you will hide bras under the pile of clothes on your arm and then wear them out under your clothes as you leave. Me bitter, heck no). Therefore, Lynn knew almost everyone. As I asked her who that girl was that passed through the department, she got very excited. Lynn was fond of me, and as it turns out, fond of Beth too. She knew Beth was recently out of a relationship, and she wanted to set us up. She volunteered to get me her number, and since I had no skills on my own to make this happen, I agreed.
Several days later, Lynn held up her end of the bargain and produced Beth's number. I did all the things a guy is supposed to do before he calls a girl he REALLY WANTS TO GO OUT WITH. I waited a week. I had my brother walk by her department to check her out. Frankly, I do not remember what his review was. I think it would have been weird if he came back and said, " dude, I'd do her". You'd have to know my brother for that to be funny, yet wrong. Finally, I never called her. Before you get all worked up, the reason I never called her, is that I actually walked all the way over to Juniors to speak with her in person. Juniors was about 50' from Young Men's. I know, you can see why it took me a week to make contact with her being so far away and all.
My first face-to-face with Beth must have surely sealed the deal for her. I was carrying an umbrella, like all cool dudes do. I was wearing my favorite outfit, plaid shirt with one of those maroon cut off knit ties that were popular, and these blue pants with white flecks in them that I think were called moonlight pants, or something really cool. I can't believe these styles haven't returned from the late '80s for all of us, instead of just for college professors in movies. I owned a gray Members Only jacket, so I must have been wearing it if I was cool enough to have on my cut off tie and be carrying my umbrella.
So I don't recall what we talked about during this first conversation, but Beth did agree to go on a date with me. I called her, we set something up, and she gave me directions to her house.
Our first date was to a restaurant called Garcia's, which was a Mexican place. Beth looked wonderful and was vibrant and witty. I think we also went to Barleycorns for a beer afterwards, and we had a great time. My memories of what we talked about or what she wore are all gone. The things I remember about the first date are meeting her father and a couple brothers when I picked her up. I found out she had 6 older brothers who were all bigger than I. Her father was also rather imposing. While none of them declared out loud that if I touched their baby sister's boob on our first date, I was dead, I assumed it. I don't think I even gave her a good night kiss at the end.
Our first kiss came at the end of our second date. I remember it well as I leaned in for the kiss, 90%, just as recommended by Hitch, and Beth came the other 10%. It was quite the kiss. There was something in that kiss that told me that this girl was a big fan of CHIPS in the early '80s. It was everything in a kiss you would want, or at least I would want. You cannot kiss Beth to find out.
I do not remember at what point I pulled this off, but I do remember getting a friend to deliver some roses to Beth in her department on our dating anniversary. I chose roses because roses had had a bad connection with her due to some previous boyfriend giving her roses and then breaking up with her. I let her know in the card that she was a girl that deserved roses and that I had no plans to let go of such a good thing.
After that, we were dating. The only hiccup in our relationship came whenever we were at my apartment or at a Xavier hangout and old girlfriend showed up with old roommate. It would have been awkward anyway, but they never thought it was weird to flaunt their relationship in front of me. Whenever I saw them together, I would get very quiet, and feel less of myself, as a person would who had significant people in their life treat them like dirt. Beth used to interpret this quiet as me still having feelings for old girlfriend. Now while it is true that when we broke up, I sent her a cassette with the Billy and the Beaters song "At This Moment" on it, as time passed the feelings I had for this girl were more along the lines of seeing her drowning in a lake and hoping Phil Collins was the only one who could save her. Finally, on the day that this couple announced their engagement in the presence of our friends and us, I told Beth I loved her. For some reason, Beth was skeptical. Not only was I drunk, but I said it right after they showed me the engagement ring. I would certainly change the timing of this if I had the chance and a time machine.
When I mention that there may have been a hiccup in our relationship, I think Beth may have thought I was going to mention how disgusting that old apartment used to be. We hung at my apartment since Beth lived at home (and had 6 big brothers), which meant she had to use the bathroom at an apartment lived in by 3 boys. Apparently, we were not known by our girlfriends as clean freaks. They would have to put towels down on the floor of the shower to feel okay about standing in there. Really? I don't recall it being that bad.
Well, things worked out for Beth and myself as we dated for 4 years and have been married for 18. My next post will take us through the dating years followed by each year of our marriage. Bring snacks.
No, not really. :)
Until Beth comes to her senses and I find out she always like John on CHIPS better than Ponch...