During the school year I have a strict rule about only agreeing to Bumble dates on weekdays. The weekends are my time and I want to spend them with my people. I’m not willing to take the chance on a date that has the potential to go sour in the first ten minutes. However, it’s summer time, which makes everyday Saturday, and this wasn’t a bumble date. We connected on OkCupid so I broke my own rule and asked him out for a drink before I headed home early on a Saturday evening.
I told him I only had time for one drink as I had to get up early on Sunday; this was a white lie but I’ve learned with online dating you have to have an end game just in case it goes south quickly. We met up at a local watering hole and upon his introduction I knew there was something familiar about him. I had definitely had an interaction with him before but I couldn’t put my finger on where. We sat down, sipped our drinks and shared the basic get to know you facts – careers, age, hobbies, drink preferences, and similar experiences. He mentioned that he was a bartender for some time at a bar that was popular when I was in college …. Boom. It hit me. A flood of memories flashed furiously through my mind. He was the bartender at a bar I used to frequent when I was freshly 21. He has a deadpan sense of humor and a quick mouth. I remember it vividly. As an inebriated bright eyed 21 year old that didn’t know how to order drinks the mixture of his blunt sense of humor and his good looks intimidated me. The memories smeared a smile on my face and I continued to listen with giggles in my eyes finally pin pointing my deja vu.
The conversation was unfolding comfortably and soon enough we had reached the bottom of our glasses. To his surprise I agreed to another round of drinks. We walked to the bar and ran into a small bachelorette party. They were three young foreign girls shipping their good friend off to the land of marriage with a fun scavenger hunt. The bartender in him allows him to casually and comfortably strike up a conversation with anyone, so he did. He promptly greeted the girls and asked to see their list, scanning it to see if there was anything he could check off for them. “Get serenaded by a guy”. He sang her an unenthusiastic version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. They weren’t satisfied with it, and silently, neither was I. They egged him on, considerately checking with me to make sure I was in support of the festivities. I was, completely; I was ready to make some memories for this bachelorette. Suddenly I hear the bachelorette ask my date how long he and I have been together for. Without missing a beat I decided to take a risk. I reply with, “We’ve been married for 7 years”. I’m immediately thankful that my hands were in my pockets because all three girls instantly dart their eyes towards my ring finger. Yup, he smiles, 7 happy-ish years. He teases as his eyes meet mine. The girls are giddy with shock, they can’t fathom that we’ve been married for so long. Apparently I look far too young for that nonsense (their words, not mine). They ask all the questions, how did you meet, what advice do you have, and of course how did he propose? I fielded how we met, he was a bartender and I was patron. He chimed right in explaining that he never charged me for drinks which kept me coming back. Finally I agreed to take his number. The bachelorette was in awh. I could see the sentimental hope in her eyes, she couldn’t wait to be telling strangers about her marriage story one day. The girls insisted we tell them our engagement story, I passed this one off to him eager to hear how elaborate he was willing to make this story. As he began to talk I realized this may prompt them to inquire about my ring. I smoothly switched the attention back to the bachelorette reminding the group that this night was about her story not ours. With that I offered them a round of shots so I could make a proper toast. As the shots arrived I slyly slipped the ring I was wearing onto my left hand. As I had anticipated, once the shots were finished they asked to see my ring. I held my hand out and explained that we like to keep it simple. I was wearing a simple silver band with a tarnished engraving. With the arrival of the bill we bid them a good night and all the well wishes for her wedding. I don’t quite remember all the details of our interaction, but I know we walked away from that conversation as a happily married couple of 7 years with two kids.
As we sat down and laughed about our victory I officially redacted the fake curfew I set in motion at the beginning of our evening. I was sold. Whether this budding relationship had true potential or not I still didn’t know, but I was ready to see where the night would take us. No matter what the future outcome the night was one for the books.