Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Birthday Love Story

I met my wife when we were both fifteen. I had transferred into her English class and the only empty seat near the front of the room was next to her. I quickly spotted her as a soft touch for the borrowing of supplies I was too lazy or negligent to bring. One day she was showing off her learner’s permit and I swiped it from her and announced, “Hey, that is my birthday too.” She didn’t believe me, so I had to whip mine out as proof. She remained suspicious, but the novelty of a shared birthday caught her interest.

In another coincidence, we both joined the Social Studies Club. For those of you not up on geek culture, Model United Nations is the second nerdiest activity you can do in high school. Teams of students research and roleplay the international policies of other countries. As sophomores not deserving the famous countries, we were both on a team representing Gabon, an obscure but oil-rich African nation, at a local competition. On our birthday, I gave her a greeting card to lay some groundwork. A week after I got my license, I asked her to a movie. We went to see Breaking Away and on the way home I made a bit of an ass of myself and scared her off.

For at least the next year, she would continue to rebuff my romantic advances. I knew her entire class schedule and would make appearances. For the first month of English in our junior year, much to her consternation, her assigned seat was next to mine. There is a fine line between romance and obsession and I was in danger of crossing it. Stalker awareness was not as developed then as it was now, but in retrospect I showed warning signs. I would show up at her house unannounced. In the meantime, I dated a few other girls. One girl I had a slowly-going-past-platonic relationship with joined the Dungeons and Dragons group I was the informal leader of. Did I mention that I am a geek?

For my seventeenth birthday I had planned to just have a cake at my weekly D&D game. Unbeknownst to me, this other girl planned a surprise party behind my back. She knew most of my friends, ranging from the D&D guys to the preppy student leaders to some stonerish guys I had met at a computer club. It was a rather wide-ranging assortment. Who she didn’t invite were very many girls. In total there were three women at this party: her, my future wife (who was also celebrating her birthday), and a xylophone player in the marching band I had a crush on.

I was fighting a cold that night and about half-way through the party the xylophone girl and I took a walk down the street to get some fresh air. By the time we returned my hand had slipped into hers. Since I didn’t warn anybody I was leaving the party and I was the guest of honor, our return together was noticed and much commented on. While nothing had happened on that walk, gossiping tongues preferred to believe otherwise. My mom never learned the xylophone player’s name. She would just cup her hands in front of her chest and say “that girl with the big…” We eventually parted ways and I went back to wooing my future wife in earnest.

The Social Studies Club had romantic intrigues that make Degrassi High look tame. The pivot point in the relationship with my wife was when a bunch of us were all supposed to meet for research at the library and only she and I showed up. To this day, she thinks I somehow engineered that. I convinced her to give me another chance and we went to see that Stallone/Hauer trivia answer Nighthawks. The next day she went to Grad Nite at Disney World with another SSC member, but for the rest of the school year I continued to make inroads into her heart.

By the beginning of our senior year, we were a “couple”. We took as many classes together as we could. This time she gladly sat next to me in English the whole year. She was president of the social studies club and I was vice-president. When I won a place on the county Brain Brawl team, I wrangled a way for her to come along to the state National Honor Society convention as the school’s delegate. We were inseparable. For our eighteenth birthday, we planned a joint party and invited all our common friends. The rest is history.

Today is the twenty-five anniversery of that first joint birthday celebration. Usually, its just a dinner out for the two of us except for special dates. For our joint fortieth birthday, we threw an awesome 80s themed party. We have a lot of fond memories together and I look forward to many more birthdays in common.

Blatant Comment Whoring™: Does a love story get any dorkier than this?


NPR Junky said...

Nerdy love! Oh, yellojkt, this story warms the cockles of my heart. What a great way to start a romance! Congratulations to the both of you, I am envious (in a good way) of the happy relationship you have with your wife.

Good for you! And no, it doesn't get any dorkier than that, but why would you want it to? You can't beat a story like that, buddy.

HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

Not really, but the ingredients on the table in that last picture are really interesting. Crisco? Beefeater? Big jug of wine? There's a story there.

yellojkt said...

In the picture, we are chopping fruit for a pitcher of sangria, hence the jug wine and the gin (The drinking age was 18 back then). The Crisco was for frying cha gio, Vietnamese egg rolls. My mother-in-law makes the best in the world.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

And who doesn't mix a pitcher of sangria while wearing a tie?

Great story!

PsychoToddler said...

That is a totally awesome story! The shared birthdays--pure karma man.

Although, if I had had a girlfriend who played D&D with me...I can't imagine how much different my life would be now. At least I found a girl who was into Dr. Who.

yellojkt said...

The tale of the D&D girl is one for another day. The last time I ran into her she was working on an advanced degree in immunology and I was very happily married by then.

Anonymous said...

"She didn’t believe me, so I had to whip mine out as proof"
And I thought you were a nerd!
Happy Birthday!

Jamy said...

Charming! And, no, I don't think love stories get much dorkier, but that just makes it so much better. :)

Anonymous said...

There were very few nerdy guys at my high school--we were big on football jocks and FFA guys (that's Future Farmers of America, for the citified among you). I did have a crush on a guy in my physics class who ended up being a meteorologist and I was friends with the other nerdy guy who is now a computer engineer. My parents would sure have preferred it if I'd ended up with one of those guys instead of my bi-polar, high-maintenance, ex-hoodlum-from-Queens artist/hippie husband. I don't know if I'd be happy married to someone who was more like me. I doubt it, considering the self-loathing episodes I regularly experience.

Happy Birthday to you both!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to both of you!


Anonymous said...

Happy B-Day Mr. & Mrs yellojkt..

I'm trying to figure out if that Crisco's going into the Sangria or there's about to be a "Last Tango in Paris" recreation in that kitchen.

Come to think of it, I just do not want to know either way.


PS: yello, if you think that's over the top and want to delete, I understand. Hopefully you got a chuckle out of it anyway.

Pixel said...

>For those of you not up on geek culture, Model United Nations is the second nerdiest activity you can do in high school.

I'm really afraid to ask, but what is the #1 nerdiest activity you can do in high school? Because Social Studies Club is hard to top.

>Does a love story get any dorkier than this?

I think not. You've nailed it!

(Did you sing Hot Blooded to her?)

Aww, it's a very sweet story :-) May you have a lifetime of bliss.


yellojkt said...

I already explained the Crisco. Cha gio, mmmmm. She has heard my "Hot Blooded" cover many times.

The nerdiest high school activity has to be either math team or chess club. I quit math team my senior year to focus more on my social study club duties. Chess club was completely out of the question. I wasn't a total dork.

Anonymous said...

I think the nerdiest part of your story is that you had a crush on a marching band! (sorry.)

Happy Birthday to both of you.

Elizabeth said...

I was a member of the FHA in highschool which is the Future Homemakers of America. I don't know if that's nerdy or just sad.
OK, I do know, it's just sad.
Happy Happy Birthday to you both!

Anonymous said...

High school love stories are all dorky, in retrospect. But yours is pretty good.

Happy Birthday to the both of you!

Mitch McDad said...

Hey. One man's dorkville is another man's Casablanca.

And if Nighthawks is a great date movie, then I don;t want to live anymore.

Happy B days!

Impetua said...

Awwww! Geeks in love! So difficult to spot in the wild. You're a cute couple. Congrats.

Mooselet said...

If that isn't the cutest damn story I've ever heard, I'll color my hair purple. Incredibly dorky, but so cute who cares about the geek factor! But did you ever not wear a tie?

Happy Birthday to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Yello I do not think that is dorky at all just a great love story. I have a brother with a similar story married the girl almost next door and friends of the family, they have been together (married 28 years) and known each other at least 80-10 years before that, you don't hear these stories often but it is nice when you do.

I hope you both have many many more happy years together.

Degrassi High mention - that Canadian show is everywhere and an institution up here!


Thumper said...

Happy Birthday!

Dork love is always cute :)

2fs said...

Very sweet...

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