Squawk Radio

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Liz Talks About The First Time (But Not The One You're Probably Thinking About)

My profound apologies, but I’m afraid we have to take a break from our usual blogging to promote a book. And this is especially important because it’s MY book. Well, my and Tracy Kelleher’s and Mary Leo’s book, I mean. WRITE IT UP! (and just when did we start punctuating titles anyway?), an anthology about three women trying out alternative dating practices in the big city, goes on sale today. This is the cover. It’s a really good book. My mom loved it. You should buy it.

Okay, end of promotion. Time for blog.

My contribution to the anthology (this is a segue, not promotion, honest) is a story about a woman who’s trying speed-dating for the first time, that en masse dating thing where you get to meet someone at a party for about four or five minutes and decide if you’d like to go out with him/her, then meeting a dozen other people for four or five minutes to decide if you’d like to go out with any of THEM.

Four or five minutes. To decide if you like someone enough to go out with them. It made me think back to when I first met my husband, and I did my best to remember what the first four or five minutes was like. But we were sixteen and seventeen at the time, and although I can’t recall exactly what took place, I imagine the first four or five minutes went something like this:

“Uh, hi.”

“Uh, hi.”

“Uh, my name’s David.”

“Uh, my name’s Liz.”

“Uh, you just started working here today, huh?”

”Uh, yeah. I’m, uh, the new, uh, cashier.”

“I’m, uh, an usher.”

”Yeah, uh, I could tell by your, uh, red jacket with the, uh, Village 8 Theatres, uh, logo.”

“Uh, yeah. That’s a cool, uh, T-shirt they gave you to, uh, wear.”

”Uh, yeah. It’s to promote the, uh, new movie, ‘FM,’ which, uh, I’m sure will be a huge, uh, hit.”

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure the conversation only went downhill from there. Even if the two of us had known we only had four or five minutes to make our best impression, I just can’t see either of us making a very good impression in four or five minutes. We were immediately smitten, without question (amazing on his part, since the glare of my braces under those fluorescent lights had to be relentless), but that smitten-ness just made us that much more nervous, and the nervousness made us that much more stupid.

It wasn’t until we’d worked together for weeks that we knew we were ready for a date that wouldn’t be a disaster. Because every day, we discovered some wonderful thing we had in common, be it as universal as a love for chocolate chip cookies, or as unusual as an intimate familiarity with the complete works of Harlan Ellison.

As cute as David was (and he was awfully damned cute), what really made me want to go out with him was a lot of little things I never noticed in those first four or five minutes. It was the way he’d found black Earth Shoes to fulfill the black shoes requirement for that awful usher uniform. It was that he was a teenage guy who drove an old Audi. It was that he had a big bleach stain on the back of his blue jean jacket. It was that he was gorgeous and was clueless about his gorgeousness. It was that he had (and still has) really great hands. And it was how the rest of the world just melted away whenever I caught him looking at me.

We’ll celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this November. But we won’t celebrate that anniversary nearly as much as we will the one in May. That will be the twenty-eighth anniversary of our first date. Which, in case you haven’t already guessed, went really, really well.

So how about it? If you’d had to decide within four or five minutes of meeting your now-spouse/partner/significant other, would you have ended up with him/her? Did the first impression pan out, or did it take a lot of additional impressions before you really started thinking that person might be The One? What was it about that first meeting that made you want to experience another? And another. And another...

Elizabeth Bevarly, 6:51 AM