It seems, over the years, that I’ve been asked an inordinate number of times how my wife and I met.
People are always asking me, “How did you guys become a couple?”
I don’t know if I’ve ever asked another person that question, and I don’t know if other men are asked as frequently as I seem to have been asked over the years how we became us.
I used to not give it any thought, but more recently, my internal response to the question has evolved into one of negative insinuations.
Whereas before, I assumed it was simply an innocent question being asked as small talk by someone to sustain a dying conversation, when I hear the question now, I sense the person asking does truly want an answer, but the question they want answered isn’t truly the one they asked.
Ten years ago:
Person: “So how did you and The Wife meet anyway?”
My brain made me hear this: “So how did you and The Wife meet anyway?”
Person: “So how did you and The Wife meet anyway?”
My brain makes me hear this: “Don, you are, by all accounts, a totally disgusting, fat jackass and your wife is so nice and pretty and sweet. How in the world did you talk her into marrying your dumb ass?”
First, thanks for asking and screw you, by the way.
Secondly, no, I am not hung like a Clydesdale, I see you peeking, look at my face, you sick fuck!
Finally, I will tell you how we came about so that you will never have to ask again.
Our story begins back around 1995, in the Southern part of the state of Illinois, otherwise just known as Southern Illinois. It’s like saying Southern California minus anything about it being cool, trendy, fun, warm, etc.
I was a misguided, or maybe completely unguided, lad of 22 nearing completion of what would become a useless Biology/Psychology double major.
When I wasn’t in school or at a party or soccer practice, I was killing time as a bartender and sometimes server at a newly opened restaurant in Fairview Heights. It was called Damon’s Restaurant.
The wife and I were part of the crew that opened that Damon’s Restaurant. She had worked in the building before when it was a dump called Brinker’s.
That Damon’s crew was a lot of fun and I have a lot of great memories of both working with them (imagine the movie “Waiting” and see it, if you haven’t) and drinking with them after work at St. Clair Bowl and anywhere else that would let us in.
Note to self…write your next post without any reference to drinking before these people start thinking you have a problem.
Anyhow, the restaurant had been open for a while, and I don’t recall if, up to this point, the wife had ever said two words to me outside of “Hey dickhead, where’s the Bud Light I need for table 46.”
She was a beautiful woman, but she wasn’t a total fucktard like the rest of us, so she wasn’t out drinking after nearly ever single shift. She was still in school as well, but she must have taken it seriously or something like that.
Because I didn’t see her very often outside of work, I didn’t have the opportunity to wear her down with my wit and charm. I mean, she was REALLY gorgeous, so I never paid her much attention since I assumed she was already spoken for and would want no part of me, even though I was pretty awesome.
Well, one night, I was walking through the kitchen at the restaurant when I overheard her talking on the phone to a friend of hers. She was being sort of pissy on the phone to somebody, which was really out of character for wife, at least that I’d ever noticed. She’s always been level headed and professional at work, and was even the employee of the year that first year of the restaurant’s existence (yay wife!).
Anyway, it turns out that her friend, let’s call her Godiva, was backing out of plans they had made to go see the “Happy Gilmore” movie.
Well, as it turns out, I wanted to see that movie too and I’m a super nice guy, so I told the wife that I’d gladly go see the movie with her.
While it was not my intention that our outing be considered a date, I also proposed that I would drive because I’m a gentleman, and I suggested as well that we should go out to eat because I like to eat!
I picked the wife up from her home and it was much farther away than I thought. We didn’t have Google Maps yet people!
I can see, in hindsight, how she might misconstrue my having driven that far to get her as a date, but it wasn’t!
Anyway, we ate (was that our first Pasta House night when I had some terrible gas, dear?), we saw the movie, we exchanged pleasantries, and I guess she couldn’t resist my charms because 17 years later, we’re still together.
As a bonus, I will share our engagement story as well.
Mercifully, wife isn’t a greedy, sentimental imbecile, like so many women are, who won’t be satisfied unless their to be husband mortgages their future by flying her to Paris and proposes to her under the Eiffel Tower or something equally ridiculous.
I had been looking at rings as early as when I was in California working for Anheuser-Busch. I guess this would have been the end of 1997-98.
I remember learning the four C’s and all that crap, but sadly, the fifth C, Cash, was lacking.
Wife would have been fine with a piece of crap, tiny ring, I’m sure of it, but I wanted her ring to be special, so I waited….and waited…then moved back to St. Louis in 1998…then waited…then, finally, in October of 2001, I bought the ring so that I’d at least have it in hand for when the time was right.
The wife and I had been together for five or six years before she sort of finally gave me an indication that it was time for me to either shit or get off the pot with respect to this marriage stuff.
We never really discussed it and she never said anything specific, but somehow, there was an implied ultimatum that it had better happen when we took a trip to Chicago with my parents at one point.
Well, I didn’t have the ring yet, so that ultimatum came and went without incident.
I finally had the ring in early October and had every intention of waiting a bit to plan a nice engagement (I can be thoughtful when the mood hits me right). Instead, I made the mistake of showing the ring to my mom over lunch and she literally started dialing wife’s phone number to congratulate her on an engagement that wife knew nothing about and certainly hadn’t agreed to yet.
So, with the cat out of the bag due to TT’s (my mother) knowledge that the question was coming, the goal wasn’t romance, but rather to be the one who asks wife to marry me before my mom did so on my behalf!
I don’t recall who got us the tickets, but we scored the best seats ever to game 3 of the NLDS for my Cardinals against the Diamondbacks in 2001. The game was the same night as the lunch with my mom.
My seat was right at the Cardinal’s dugout steps. I could look directly to my left and, without having to raise my voice, tell that then rookie Albert Pujols that he had a nice at bat, or tell Steve Klein that I thought he was a douchebag and that he could jam his dirty, oily hat up his Canadian ass.
They were sweet seats!
I was nervous but determined to ask the wife to marry me at this game…oh, by the way, she was working while I was enjoying the game.
As a second job, she waited on the muckitty mucks who sat in the expensive green seats behind home plate where you get all the free food and drink you can handle. I think a few of those people might even be aware that there’s a baseball game going on from time to time.
By the 7th inning, I was primed with enough Bud Light to inebriate at least a juvenile African elephant and made my way towards the green seats.
This is almost how it happened verbatim:
Me: “Wife to be, come here. Hey, come over here please!”
Wife: “I’m busy, drunkie, it’s last call, leave me alone. We’ll talk later”
Me: Getting down on one knee…wife’s face alters as she clearly anticipates what’s about to happen…”Wife, I love you so much and. awe fuck! fuck, fuck, fuck!!”
Wife: “Wha? WTF???”
Me: “Fuck! Counsel just hit a goddam homerun and now we’re losing!”
Wife: clearly perplexed
Me: Clearly pissed off at the turn of events at this important playoff game -“well, will you be my wife or something like that anyway??”
Ain’t that romantic?
Me: “YAY?” No, “YAAAAAAAY!”
We have a great picture of her smiling so happily at this very second, but it’s not digitized and I don’t know where it is. It’s one of those great smiles that you can tell isn’t forced, it’s pure joy.
This is Cdawg just as thrilled as can be with a balloon. Wife’s face looked like this when I proposed, even though Cdawg is my mini me, normally.
The Cards lost than night and ultimately, they lost the series to the eventual WS Champion Diamondbacks.
I, on the other hand, was a big winner!
So there were no roofies or tricks or unkept promises used to procure her hand in marriage. I was simply my charming self and she, being the good woman she is, recognized that.
Thanks for loving me in spite of my jackassery, baby! I love you a ton!!
I wrote this a few months ago around wife’s birthday, but for whatever reason, didn’t post it as I had planned.
As an aside, the stadium where we were engaged, “Old Busch Stadium,” was torn down so a newer one could be built across the street.
That Pasta House restaurant where we had our first date, even if it may not have been intended to be a date, burned to the ground.
Damon’s, the place where we met, burned to the ground.
I’ve warned the priest at the church where we were married about these coincidences, but he didn’t seem concerned. He assures me that the church is doing fine, just like my marriage.