Since it's the week of love, flowers, goopy cards, CHOCOLATE (priorities, Reds), etc., I thought I'd have the Reds share how they met their partners. Was it love at first sight? Were you friends first? Did you meet online? Come on, tell all! And if you're single and looking, take notes.
JENN: I'll kick it off by going first. Hub and I met in a library. Not kidding! We were both Gen-X slackers working as part-time librarians as we pursued our dreams of writing (me) and music (him). I was engaged to another fella and he was living with a gal so while we worked in the same building, in different departments, and saw each other in passing, we never spoke - FOR FIVE YEARS! Around the time we were both turning thirty, he and the gal split up and the would-be groom and I called it quits. Thirty can be quite the life re-evaluator. After letting me wallow for a few months, my girlfriend Patti, worried that I was having a breakdown, showed up at my apartment to drag me out to see this band that a guy from work was in. I refused to go, seriously, I left claw marks on my doorjamb but she's pretty strong for a librarian, and she muscled me into her car. Prepared for the worst, I watched over the rim of my frothy beer as Hub took the stage with his band the Cartwheels. OMG! The dude who never talked (I used to call him "aloof boy" in my head) was suddenly funny, charming, and, man, he could sing and play guitar! His smile about killed me. We became friends (okay, there may have been some light stalking on my part) and hung out for several months before we finally became a thing. Afterwards, I found out he'd had a crush on me for years and when we got married and his band played, he sang a song he'd written called Butterflies and said, "I wrote this song a few years ago for a girl I had a crush on and today she became my wife."
HALLIE: Oh Jenn, that is the sweetest story ever! And the librarian came to the wedding?
JENN: Yes, she did. She's still a dear friend and in a turnabout is fair play manuever, I'm the one who pushed her (hard shove to the back) into a relationship with the man who is now her husband.
HALLIE: A generation earlier, on another planet perhaps, I was a junior in college and ran into an old boyfriend on Broadway. A very weird old boyfriend. He fixed me up with one of his roommates. I was very wary of going because the old boyfriend was exceptionally weird. But I was on the rebound (from yet another unsuitable match) and so I went... to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden with a physics graduate student whom I would marry eighteen months later. NOT love at first sight. But he grew on me. In May we'll celebrate 48 years.
JENN: 48 years, Hallie? That is fantastic!
HANK: Absolutely by chance. I was about six months out of a terrible relationship, and a pal asked me to go with her for a week to share a house in Nantucket. It would just be her, me, another couple, the couple's kids and their nanny. I brought my bathing suit, and tennis racket, and a million books--but no make up. I mean--what would happen? When we arrived at the house, turned out the couple had invited a guy named Jonathan. I took one look at him and thought--this is the coolest man I have ever seen. Get me to the drugstore! But I did not run off to buy make-up, figuring--this is how I look, get used to it. That was August 18, 1995. We have not been apart since that day.
JENN: Aw...I love the no make-up. With that self-confidence, of course, he fell for you.
LUCY: I met my John at a singles tennis night at the racquet club in the next town. We got matched up for mixed doubles and had a good time. He remembered my short red tennis skirt and a big smile. I remembered...not much. So when he called to ask for a movie date, I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was and I turned him down. (I attribute that to being blinded by my infatuation with an inappropriate guy who was quite enamored of himself.)
After about six months of playing doubles with John (as friends) and another couple, I began to realize just how special he was. So I invited him to dinner one night. "Who's coming?" he asked. "You," I said. And we've been together ever since. I think he's forgiven me for that first dreadful gaffe...
JENN: What is it about the inappropriate ones, Lucy?
RHYS: I have to confess that I met my John (how many Johns and Jonathans do we have?) at his girlfriend's party. I must qualify this by saying that I didn't know she was his girlfriend at the time. I was newly arrived in Sydney, Australia and sharing a house with a couple of other girls. They took me along to a party they were attending. I started talking to this very good-looking Englishman (who was wearing a blazer and tie. So weird in sunny Sydney). Polite conversation. He offered to drive me home. I let him. He invited me out a few days later and we walked along a beach and talked. Certainly no spark but he was an interesting man. We went out to a couple of meals, and then... then I got stomach flu. He came round to see me as I was recovering and looked about as bad as anyone can look after a couple of days of vomiting. He made me scrambled egg, sat on the edge of my bed, and fed it to me. My heart melted!
I have to add that in fifty years of marriage he has never once sat on the edge of my bed and fed me anything!
JENN: Fifty years, Rhys? I'm in awe. Congratulations!
Doug and I first met in high school. We didn't attend the same school, but we had mutual friends. This was a time when teenagers hung out in groups (do kids still do that?) even when they were dating someone in particular. We were both involved with others (as much as you can be at sixteen!), but we liked each other as friends. A few years later we reconnected and really hit it off. It was over a Christmas break from college, and I remember that he invited me to a New Year's Eve party at his house, which was party central in those days. He'd cleverly instituted a semi-formal dress code for the event to separate the invited from the drop-ins, and I vividly remember the dress I had on that night, a sleeveless black Liz Claiborne with large, crystal-like buttons. We've been together ever since, and although it took us time to meander to the altar, I knew he was the one from the start. My favorite part of our origin story? The ex-girlfriend who told him shortly after that New Year's Eve, "It will never last with her!" HA!!
JENN: Yes, I remember the dating in packs thing -- it was very John Hughes. And who doesn't love a bitter ex-girlfriend? Ha, indeed!
JULIA: I was at a Graduate Student Union dance at GWU, where I was in the master's program for Museum Studies. The band they had hired was horrible - I suspected it was someone's untalented kid brother's garage band. I was chatting with a guy here and there, but mostly biding my time - I had only come because my housemate didn't want to go alone.
This red-headed guy came up and started talking, and he was interesting and smart, and then we made the introductions: "I'm Julia Spencer-Fleming." "I'm Ross Hugo-Vidal." We stared at each other, and then, as one, exclaimed, "You have a hyphen!"
The challenge of going through life with a double-barrelled name may be a slender reed upon which to rest a relationship, but this May will be our 30th anniversary, so we've obviously found a few more things in common as we went along.
DEBS: Would you believe that Rick and I were next door
neighbors? He and his mom and younger siblings moved in when he was twelve and I was FIFTEEN. I just thought of the whole bunch as the blond kids next door. Fast forward about four years. I was sitting out on the curb one hot August night with a girlfriend when he drove up on his motorbike, then walked over and took off his helmet. Can you say "love at first sight" along with "cradle robbing?" We went out off and on for about seven years. In one of the "offs", he introduced me to my Scottish ex, never thinking I would go off to Scotland to marry the guy... Fast forward another good few years, and my divorce from Scottish ex. Short version--we got back together, and will be married twenty-three years in May. His mom and sis still live next door to the house I grew up in.
Were we cute babies, or what?
JENN: Debs, that is the best! I even fanned myself a bit at the motorcycle part. You two were totes adorbs!
So, give us the scoop, Reds, how did you meet your mate? And if you're single, do you want to find a partner or are you happiest flying solo? Because believe me, there are days...