Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Dating Story

Earlier this week Chuck and I celebrated the anniversary of our first date. We always recognize the day but we don't make a huge deal out of it since we have a wedding anniversary to celebrate as well. Usually we go out or cook dinner together, and sometimes we catch a movie. This week we have been very short on free time so we stopped in at our favorite Mexican restaurant and shared some fajitas (the best we've ever tasted) in between errands. We've been pretty stressed lately and a break was really nice.

Our first date was January 6, 1996. It was my freshman year of college and his junior year. We met at a weekly meeting of the Christian organization Campus Crusade for Christ. I don't really remember the very first time we met. I was new there, so everyone was new to me! Chuck says he remembers seeing me for the first time and knowing right away that I was Connie's sister. This has always been funny to me because most people don't think we look alike at all.

That Fall we gradually got to know one another better by being involved in the same campus organization and going on a few retreats as a group. Getting to know Chuck was not very easy because he was very shy back then. What helped tremendously was getting to know him a little more personally by e-mail and online chatting. I was very new to computers back in the mid-90s. A college buddy taught me how to use the "prehistoric" machines in the computer lab and I was so happy because I could keep up with my BFF who'd gone to a different college back home. Downstairs in my dorm there was a tiny common room that had two computers in it. I would often pop in there at night to check my mail and before long I started chatting with Chuck, who was often online from home (we attended college in his hometown, so he didn't live on campus). I began to realize that the shy guitar player I thought I knew was actually quite witty, not to mention smart and kind.

Still I was pretty surprised when he asked me out on a date. True to form, he asked me over the computer instead of in person. He said he'd really been wanting to go see the new movie Toy Story, and did I want to go with him?

Well, I wasn't sure. I was still afraid the date would be awkward and that his shyness would prevent him from talking to me (keep in mind that I didn't have much dating experience). I went ahead and said yes, then went upstairs to quiz my sister (who was my roomie, too) about this guy. She couldn't offer much. She said all she knew was that he was very quiet, he played guitar, and he used to have long hair! I told her I'd just agreed to go on a date with him. We were both pretty clueless about what to expect but relatively confident that he wasn't an axe murderer, so I kept the plans.

It was very cold and icy on the night of our date (ice storms aren't terribly unusual in Northern Louisiana). The roads were somewhat treacherous and in fact he'd been in a minor fender bender just a few nights before because of the ice. This was before the days of personal cell phones, so I remember his parents had let him borrow their bag phone for the 30-minute drive to the neighboring town. I always think about how one day I'll have to describe to our kids what a bag phone was! We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and then we went to see Toy Story - the original one. He was interested in seeing a movie that was entirely computer animated. I'm sure I didn't even know that at the time but I was ok with seeing a cartoon. The most important thing, though, was that in the hour that we were in the car round-trip, the conversation was great! We both talked the entire time and it was never, ever awkward. I couldn't believe that the guy I'd barely heard speak an entire paragraph was suddenly so comfortable. (After living with him for 10 years now I can tell you that this is still true. Chuck is shy in a group setting but much more comfortable one-on-one.)

The best part is that on the drive over he was very straightforward about his intentions about the date. There was no pressure - he thought I was nice and he wanted to get to know me better. There was something about him spelling it out that way that really spoke my language. I'd been strung along for several weeks by a guy whose intentions were very vague. I wasn't sure whether that guy was interested or not interested; we'd have a "date" here and there and then he wouldn't call for days. It was so refreshing to not have to guess at this one. After he dropped me off that night I went upstairs in the dorm to chat with some girlfriends. They were floored that a guy would be so forthcoming, and insisted that Chuck needed to teach a class on dating etiquette! All of this reassured me that I'd done the right thing saying yes to him. I certainly did the right thing when I said yes to his marriage proposal in August of the next year.

Maybe it seems silly to celebrate a first date anniversary, but we still do it. It was a great date and we love reminiscing about it. I almost forgot, a couple of days after the date I got a Toy Story postcard in my mailbox on campus. I pretty much knew then that there was something special about this guy. He still does charming things like that today, and it's one of the many reasons that I enjoy looking back on that date 13 years later.


Amy said...

Sounds like you two are perfect mates. And I am so, so glad he wasn't an axe murderer.
Happy anniversary to you both! That is a special story to share!

Andi said...

Love this story!

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

What a wonderful story! I especially liked this part: After he dropped me off that night I went upstairs in the dorm to chat with some girlfriends. They were floored that a guy would be so forthcoming, and insisted that Chuck needed to teach a class on dating etiquette!

When Adam and I started dating, my roommate suggested the same thing about him!

I Believe in Miracles said...

Stacey, I love this story!! How awesome. It gives me goose bump shivers. Awe.

Teresa said...

Chuck is making my husband look like a douche bag. I'm gonna go chew his a$$ now lol.

OMG I think I blocked out the bag phones. My parents had one and I completely forgot about it. Too funny!

You guys are hands down the sweetest, coolest couple I "know"

katdish said...

1) LOVE Lupe Tortillas! (but you really should have a warning on that link like "WARNING: Loud Mexican Music Ahead!" because it scared my dog.)

2) Chuck is adorably geeky!

3) The bag phone (snort!) aka "the brick".

4) Happy first date anniversary!

5) Teresa's comment about her husband made me laugh VERY loud! (which also scared my dog -- what a wuss!)

6) It's very late and I am incapable of weaving intricate sentences into paragraph form.

7) Goodnight!

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet story. I think its important to look back and remember the early days of our relationships.
FYI - we never got bag phones here in SA so I had NO idea what you were talking about!

Chuck said...

Stacey won't be posting any more...I murdered her with an axe. I've been plotting this for 13 years! :)

Seriously, that was a great date! I never felt so comfortable talking to someone before. Like Stacey said, my intentions were just to get to know her. Little did I know that I would fall in love with her.

Sorry, Katdish, don't want to make your molars hurt. You know what's good for aching molars? Lupe's queso! I could drink that stuff with a straw!

andrea_jennine said...

So sweet! We celebrated our first date anniversary until we hit the five year mark. And I'm totally like Chuck - super quiet in groups, but very open when one-on-one.

Bag phones?

Anonymous said...

And what is sweeter to me-
We still have (and play) the Toy Story video tape you bought Andy for his first birthday. I had no idea the personal meaning behind it. By the way, Andy will be 10 yrs old at the end of this month.

Stacey said...

Very funny, Chuck. :)

Katdish, tell your dog I'm sorry; Teresa, tell your husband I'm sorry!

Faith, I know, I can't believe how big he is now. We always enjoyed babysitting him! Oh, and we can totally replace that VHS with a DVD for ya. :)

Thanks everyone else for your comments and support!

katdish said...

Seriously, Chuck...

I just peed my pants.

Beth said...

Awww...Kathy said this was sweet and she was right.

How funny. Frank and I met through Campus Crusade, too, and we really got to know each other over chatting on the computer as well, since we started dating right as the school year ended and we both went back to our hometowns for the summer.

Our first date was a little awkward...but I still remember the date! April 15, 2000. Fazoli's and Frisbee Golf, no less.

Stacey said...

Beth, I just want you to know that I LOVE Fazoli's. We don't have one where I live and every time a new building goes up I hope deep in my heart that I'll see that big red tomato on the sign. So far, no luck.

Jenn said...

Okay, I'm late here but what can I say. I'll sum it up...What a sweet & perfect dating story... Chuck you are hilarious and sounds like you have Stace's sense of humor, couldn't help but laugh at Teresa's comment and feel sorry for her all at the same time and also felt sorry for katdish's poor little doggy. Hope he doesn't have heart problems!!!

Amy said...

So, this is off-topic, but Stacey, I totally think you should apply for the next Compassion Bloggers trip to India. BooMama has the link on her page. I don't know just seems right. :)

Connie said...

Chuck knows better! Stacey's crazy Cajun family would hunt him wouldn't be pretty!

Teresa - That was hilarious!

I miss living with you and am very jealous that Chuck gets to. :(

Sunny said...

I am trying to catch up on my bloggy friends' lives! This is such a cute post. My BFF IRL still celebrates their first date too. They went to Savannah and now every year and two kids later they still load up and go have a weekend trip to Savannah. I think it's super sweet tradition.

Anonymous said...

I like reading about other people's love stories, sometimes you need a break from reading about fertility issues! I've have been writing down my hubby's and my stories of how we met and the proposal. Come over and read it.