Many of my single friends seem to think that just because I'm married, I know all the secrets of how to find Mr. Right and make him fall in love with you. Well, sorry to disappoint you, girls, but the only secrets I have to dispense are the ones you've heard a million times and refuse to believe."Be yourself"
I know, I know. You've heard it, you tried it, it didn't work. But that's the point - don't try. Just forget about it. It'll happen when it happens, and when it does you'll understand.
I met my husband in college, like many couples, but what makes our story unique is that I actually have a photograph of the moment I met him.
I spent my freshman year of college like many women do: wasting my time pining over some fool who turned out not to deserve me anyway. After a long summer of soul searching, I told myself "Who needs a relationship, anyway? Why do I want to spend all of my time with just one guy? I should be making friends, flirting and just having fun." I resolved that my sophomore year I wouldn't fall hard for anybody. I would sit next to a cute guy in every class I took. I would flirt shamelessly and laugh a lot. And best of all, I wouldn't care one bit what anyone else thought, liked, or disliked about me.
That lasted all of two days.
The dorm I lived in for my first two years of school was the Residential College for the Fine and Performing arts, which means the dorm was pretty much full of creative and just plain crazy people. My sophomore year, I was involved in the planning of "New Student Week" activities, where freshman and transfer students are welcomed to the school and dorm. We had decided to take Polaroids of all the new residents as they arrived at the dorm and post them on a bulletin board with their name and room number so that everyone else in our (relatively small) dorm could associate the new names with the new faces.
I spent my morning shift on move in day helping new students find their rooms, taking pictures and being generally helpful. I had really been looking forward to getting back to school and to all of my college friends, so I was in an excellent mood all day. I spent a good part of the morning flirting with a handsome member of the Wildcat council, who was helping students unload cars in the parking lot. To put it mildly, finding a boyfriend was the last thing on my mind. I was just having a grand old time enjoying being young and single.
That afternoon, I was bored and restless. Most of my friends had not yet arrived on campus, and the ones who had were working their shifts welcoming students, so I went back to the lobby and volunteered to man the camera for a while. An hour or so later a new student arrived wearing an outrageous hat and carrying 8 small mismatched duffel bags, all strapped together in a ridiculous display. He was dressed in a long sleeved flannel shirt, during one of the muggiest Septembers on record.
The first thing I noticed was the hat. It was an Australian bush hat in a green camouflage pattern, perilously perched on his head, but it was the closest thing to a cowboy hat I'd seen since leaving Texas over a year before, and I suddenly realized that I missed that little bit of Southwestern culture in my past. He steered his herd of bags into the lobby and said, "I'm looking for Jones?"
I immediately responded in my best cop voice "Drop your bags and up against the wall!"
He saw the camera in my hands and immediately struck a pose with a big goofy grin. He was the only one, out of some 40 or so new residents who actually posed for his picture. Everyone else looked like a passport photo, disgruntled, confused and a lost. This one just looked goofy and a little surprised!
I laughed as I took his name (Joel Kohler) and room number (308) and then helped him and all his bags into the elevator. His room turned out to be just around the corner from mine. He later told me that he was first impressed that moment by my happy smile and exuberant attitude, so he sought me out later that day when he needed directions. By the time classes started a week later, we were going everywhere together, and as I walked into my first class, I found myself, not scoping for a cute guys who might be likely study partners, but worrying that Joel might be meeting someone he fancied more than me.
I needn't have worried, though. We quickly became best friends and fell in love and were married a little over 3 years later. Between the wedding ceremony and reception, we had the photographer take a few pictures in the exact same spot where that first picture was taken. We still have that picture and I'll cherish it forever.