Monday, February 14, 2011

Our First Date

Last week in our local newspaper, a columnist wrote about a cheap Valentine's date with pizza and beer for about $10. His whole article was about how if you made it an annual tradition rather than eating out at some fancy schmancy restaurant you could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. And, it could serve as a test. If your woman didn't appreciate it, then she wasn't the one for you. Of course, the columnist was a man.

At first, I was appalled and in my head listed all the meals I could make for $10 that were a heck of a lot more romantic.

And then it hit me...

Ironically, a meal of pizza and beer would be the perfect recreation of the first date I had with my husband.

It was right before New Year's Eve in 2000. One of my closest friends had been after me for weeks to meet her boyfriend's friend.

I kept dragging my feet refusing to agree to meet him. Dating guys that were friends of my friends' boyfriends always seemed like treading on dangerous ground. What if you started dating and you broke up or your friend and her boyfriend broke up? Loyalties would be tested. It never seemed worth it to me.

Finally I agreed to meet him casually. We were just a bunch of friends getting together to hang out. The plan was to watch a movie and eat pizza at my apartment.

I had graduated from college in the spring and had moved into my first solo apartment by myself soon after. I was working as an assistant manager at a clothing store while I was taking my Praxis tests so I could start teaching. Life was easy. I worked and spent a lot of time going out with with my friends. There were no major life decisions to be made for the first time in my life. I was loving it especially the fact that I answered to no one.

They brought the movie  and beer and I picked up the pizza at the pizza place down the block from my apartment. I remember the buzzer sounding and me buzzing them in. My first glimpse of him was from the top of the stairs.

I remember the leather coat he had on and the way the light picked up the reddish tint of his auburn hair. I envied his hair. I had always wanted hair that color instead of the plain boring brown I was born with. I didn't know then that his hair curled in between hair cuts or that his best friend's girlfriend had gone shopping with him the week before to help him buy new clothes (including the leather coat).

Our friends made the introductions and small talk as I doled out pizza, plates, and napkins.

We settled down to eat and to watch the movie. We chatted throughout the movie, laughing. It was easy to relax and be myself. For once I didn't care what a guy thought of me or if I ever saw him again. We were just having fun with mutual friends.

There weren't any sparks. He seemed like a nice guy but I wasn't sure if there was even anything there that would kindle and grow. That was fine though.

Little did I know that that night changed my life as I knew it. The more I got to know him, the more I fell in love. His honesty, integrity, work ethic, and his loyalty made it hard not to. He was one of the good guys.

We never make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. In his pragmatism, he called Valentine's Day a commercial holiday where people missed what the day was all about. If you didn't show your love throughout the year, weren't your attempts on Valentine's Day somewhat hollow, he would ask?

Instead, every year we try to do something special without all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds Valentine's Day, something personal, meaningful.

That article got the wheels turning. I have 11 slips of paper (one for each year we have been together) with "I love You" written on them that I am hiding in places he will find them. Tonight I am going to surprise him with a candlelit pizza dinner with the girls. He can have a glass of beer and I'll have a glass of sparkling fruit juice. We can tell our daughters the story of how we met.

Sitting around the table we can see proof of the life that we have built together and be reminded of what a good life it is.

How are you spending your Valentine's Day?


Buckeroomama said...

Oh, that is a lovely way to spend Valentine's Day! :)

We never go fancy on Valentine's Day. We just went and got bubble tea (my favorite) and that's Valentine's enough for me. =)

Kriste said...

Sweet story! We've never really done anything for VDay. Just stay home, eat dinner with the girls. My husband thinks just like yours. He'd rather do things all year round than pile it one for one day.

Daisygirl said...

and this my friend is perfect romance! I love the idea of pizza by!

Anonymous said...

Awww this is so incredibly sweet! Love this!

blueviolet said...

Your evening sounds more perfect than anything!

Anonymous said...

That is such a sweet story. I love how the pizza and beer connects with the early days of dating. Very romantic. I think I may have to steal this idea for next year with my hubby (replacing pizza with our favorite subs).

Joy@TPMG said...

It was nice. We ended up eating in front of the tv after the kids went to bed because my husband got home so late and Emily had dance class from 6-7 so we weren't home when he got home. It was still perfect.

He even brought dessert. Chocolate covered strawberries and my favorite cupcakes with peanut butter icing. He got a thumbs up for that one.

It was nice to relax together. Lately I have been passing out right after the girls go to bed.

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