Like any good tea-totalers, Jan and I met at a Bar. We were both volunteering for Hands On DC, an organization that helps repair DC public schools. Hands On was having a fundraiser on February 13, 2003, at Blue in Adams Morgan where I showed up with a friend from work, saw Jan sitting at the end of the table, went over and talked with her. She thought my friend, (a female colleague) was my girlfriend and I was a jerk to be flirting with someone else in front of her, so it was clearly love at first sight! We talked, found out some good stuff about each other, exchanged e-mail addresses (it was 2003 after all) and each went to our own homes that night.
As a huge fan of the movie Swingers, I consider myself the Michael (Jon Favreau) character. You may know this kind of guy: he's nice, earnest, sincere, but doesn't always have a lot of luck picking up women. I never liked the game. One of the things I took away from Swingers is that if you like a girl, just ask her out. No games. That's how it worked with Lorraine (Heather Graham) for Michael, that's how it could work for me. Any girl who didn't play the game with me would be the right girl to date, and I only dated to find the right girl. Therefore, the very next day (coincidentally Valentine's Day), I contacted Jan, asking her if she'd like to go out with me when I got back from a ski trip that weekend. She immediately replied, saying she could not. Something was going on somewhere and she was not available. Fine, she plays games. She clearly hadn't taken the same lesson from Swingers as I did, or maybe (can it be?) didn't even see the movie. Fine, another DC girl who plays games rather than is sincere about meeting a good guy.
That weekend a huge snowstorm hit the DC area, forcing me to return early from my ski trip. I reached out to Jan to see if she'd like to go out that night figuring that her schedule may have opened up, and I had nothing to lose. Turns out I had good timing, she was free, and would like to go out with me. So Money! I offered to take her to an Ethiopian restaurant in Adams Morgan (any girl I would want to date has to be willing to eat and enjoy international food). She was in, so we were set.
At the appropriate time I met her halfway between our houses on a bridge, having passed the burnt out Ethiopian restaurant I had suggested. As an improviser, I then suggested we go to a Ghanaian restaurant across the street instead. She said "Sure," so off we went.
Through dinner we found out a lot of stuff about each other as we talked. I had lamb, she had chicken, but not much. When we were finished with dinner we walked around, ending up at a snowed over playground in the dark. Here we found two empty swings with snow on the seats. I wiped off the snow, and we each took a swing. We stayed there for more than an hour, swinging on the swings, talking, playing with the snow, and simply enjoying each other's company. There were no games, no hiding behind false stories, or anything like that. She turned out to be sincere, honest, and earnest too. I was enthralled!
Once finished with the playground we walked around Adams Morgan a bit, where she ran into someone she had dated in the not-too-distant past. He planted a big kiss on her. I was very surprised, a little pissed off, and ready to call it a night (I don't date women who are dating other guys at the same time). We walked and talked some more, where she won me back. I have no recollection how, but in the end, I was more interested in her than emasculated by that random guy.
We went back to her place while talking more. I'll leave out any further details of our evening, but will let you all know I slept in my own bed that night.
I learned a lot about Jan through talking with her for over nine hours in one night. We walked all over Adams Morgan, and really seemed to get along well. There were no games, although lots of opportunities for misunderstanding, which we talked through. I found out that she had been nervous about Ethiopian food, but took a chance anyway. She had sincerely had something going on that weekend, which is why she could not see me, but wanted to and was very happy it had been cancelled by the snow. She really enjoyed sitting on the swings, letting the night go by with the melting snow and our conversation. She did not like that guy who kissed her, and was very surprised he did so.
Everything that would become how we've chosen to live our Comfy life was present from that first date: No status to uphold, a willingness to take contemplated risk, and an ability to adjust to the situation at hand without imposing ourselves upon it. Our relationship took off from that first date, allowing us to get married exactly one year to the date from when we met (February 13, 2004). To this day we live how we learned about each other that night. Talking through everything. Building our future together. And only playing games when we want fun, not with each other.
Michael and Lorraine hit it off because they were honest with each other. Jan and I did the same, which has carried us 13 years so far. We look forward to a lifetime of the same comfy way of working together.
How did you realize your partner was right for you?
What are some of the things you learned on your first date that led you to ask for a second?
Have you seen Swingers? (I watch it at least once a year to remember how I was before meeting Jan.)
What games do you refuse to play?