As a prelude to tomorrow’s ‘holiday’- and a precursor to my gushing post about my wonderful spouse that you can read then, I thought I would relate our ‘How We Met’ story because, well for one thing it’s pretty neat and secondly, in our current snug economy, where everything is so much more about what you can do for the least amount of cash, I’d love to tell you how a simple $20 that I spent in 2001 is still giving me awesome returns nearly seven years later.
In 2001 I was a single mother to a 7 year old. My life was work, home, errands, home, sleep, work, home, fun playtime!!!, maybe some sleep, more play!!!…..you get the picture. It was all about my little boy, and that really was fine but somewhere in me I wanted something, even a simple martini on a breezy restaurant patio, that was only for me. After seven years of creating only two tracks through life, one from feet that were so tiny and fresh, I felt like there needed to be more. Griffin had one night a week where he left my side and spent time with his Grandma, and I enjoyed the quiet hours without him, but part of me, the place in my heart that wanted a stronger and loving hand always willing to hold mine, was empty.
At that time, Internet dating was kinda shrouded in dork-dom. You turned to the Internet to find a date only because you were desperate. I wasn’t desperate, just bored. I had no places in my life where I could cross paths with decent guys, and the online dating sites gave me at least a chance to check out someone, often in anonymity, before setting anything up. My spot of choice was Match.com. You placed your profile, uploaded a photo and could search other profiles without paying a dime, but if you wanted to contact anyone on the site, you paid a fee. I had several dates with others from Match but it just didn’t set off any fireworks. It just alleviated the boredom. Match.com had a feature then called Venus Matches. The site generated a percentage for you of compatibility based on your profile and what you listed in it when compared to others. Every time I logged into my Venus matches, at the top of the list, with a surprising 97% compatibility, was a photo of an very nice looking guy.
Obviously you’ve guessed by now that it was Mike- you’re smart that way. I kept looking at that photo until one day I threw caution to the wind and said ‘What the heck…’ , inserted my credit card number in the appropriate spot and when I was finally in the site’s good graces, I sent him a message. We messaged back and forth a few times and I liked what he had to say in his emails. There were no spelling errors, no run-on sentences and he was concise and eloquent- true signs of intelligence and thoughfulness behind the bright photogenic smile. Eventually he sent me his phone number, and I was slightly surprised to see it had the same prefix as mine so when I called him, I asked him where he lived.
The address he gave me was a block away from where I was living. I could see the roof of his house from my patio.
This all occurred on that amazing device known as the world wide web. Here was Mr. 97% Compatibility and he was in my backyard. I likely passed him at the grocer, maybe at the gas station or even on the street. That was the first light tap on the outer level of my consciousness that something way bigger was beginning to circle around me and if I wanted to see where it was going, I needed to get on board.
We met face to face on Mothers Day 2001 and his smile was as brilliant in person as it was in his online photo. Our first date was the next day, May 11th and it was barely two months later that I looked at him and said to myself ‘I’m going to marry this guy’ . It was a frighteningly wonderful thought. Our wedding took place on August 17th, 2002- a relatively cool but brightly sunny day. It took me months -no, years- to stop looking at my left hand 100 times a day, in awe and in love with what had happened to me, and dazzled by the sparkle there that told the whole world of my joy and commitment. Every young girl dreams about marriage and has some idea of how it should be; despite many years of my life where I aligned myself with the wrong guys due to a deep sense of emptiness, I never let go of those ideals and am thrilled beyond measure that most of them have come true in my marriage to Mike, a lifetime for a simple $20.
Since then, when I tell this story I can’t believe how many people quickly light up and tell me of someone they know, or someone that their friend or sister or co-worker or their dog’s veterinarian know who found their spouse on the Internet, on Match especially. Internet dating now is far more acceptable and less dork-minded because, when handled correctly and with a finely tuned eye, it really works, and there are millions of couples out there to throw their testimony in with mine.
So tomorrow, for my actual Valentines Day post, there’ll be more, some slightly mushy but all of it worthy of celebration.