How appropriate that today is Thursday and I get to write a throwback article. You see, today is a special day of celebration for the CFO and I. Exactly 17 years ago today, our partnership was formed. I’m 31, you do the math. You see, the CFO is also my wife, Alisia. Since we’re hopelessly cheesy nerds, we celebrate our original anniversary – the day we started “going steady”. Today I feel like sharing the story with you.
This one time, at band camp, I met a beautiful redhead.
Yes, I really get to start this story with “this one time, at band camp”. You see, I played trombone and she played trumpet, and we met the week before school started at band camp. Ok , technically we met two years earlier in junior high, but that didn’t go so well, except that we never forgot each other. For me, she was that beautiful redhead that was absolutely mean to me. To her, I was that dorky flute player that was doing it wrong. At band camp, we looked for one another for reasons we didn’t understand.
We started talking during breaks on the second day of band camp, and I realized I was smitten. This couldn’t be the same girl. She was attractive, funny, and even nice. And I have completely fallen for her. Oh boy, now what? I was nervous as could be around her. I was never very good with girls, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself before I got the chance to ask her out. I really didn’t want the other guy that was interested in her to ask first. I was in trouble. Is it only the second day of band camp?
By day three, I made up my mind. We were going to have lunch together, and I knew there would be no other irritations around. I would ask her then. I just had to keep my competitor away from her until I could ask. By lunch time, I was nervous. My voice quivered, I was shaky, and my palms were sweaty. What if she said no? What if she thinks I’m a loser? I almost blew my chance to ask because I was so terrified of rejection. We were headed back from lunch, and I realized I was almost out of time. So I asked.
And she said “no.”
She gave me some reason about not being able to date because she wasn’t old enough. I wrote it off as a lie to let me down easy. I had been rejected before. She just wasn’t interested. It hurt. I wanted to cry. I tried my best not to let her know.
Something inside told me to be persistent. I watched her during practice, trying to gauge whether or not she was actually interested and being honest. She kept smiling when she caught me looking. I was determined to know for sure. On the next break, I asked again.
And she said “no.” Again.
She stuck to her guns, giving me the same reason. She never let on that she was actually interested in me, though, so I still thought it was a contrived fib to try to ease the pain of rejection. It didn’t work any better this round, but that feeling inside remained. At the end of the day, I made the decision to wait with her for her ride, something she suggested could get her in trouble. I didn’t care. I would leave just before they got there, since we could see them nearly a half mile away. And, while we were waiting I asked again. Third time’s a charm, right?
She said “no.” For the third time.
She gave the same answer and the same reason, but this time indicated that she did in fact like me and that we would officially start dating when she was allowed to. And it didn’t hurt so much. That answer and plan would have to be satisfactory, right?
If you know me, you know better.
We joked and laughed and at some point I was tickling her. All of the sudden we were face-to-face in one of those awkward stares that you only see in the movies. We both wanted to kiss each other, but weren’t certain what to do. And then the
charmer lady’s man idiot in me decided to speak up. The most arrogant line that’s ever escaped my lips rolled forth from my tongue, and I could have punched me for what I said. “You might as well. It’s going to happen eventually.” Really?
Amazingly enough, it worked. Seventeen years ago today, at approximately 3:30pm, the woman I would eventually marry, start a company with, and raise three children alongside of, became my girlfriend. And we celebrate every year with a recollection of those stubborn and arrogant words. It turns out persistence, stalking, and a little bit of arrogance paid off. Happy anniversary to my wife, my business partner, and my best friend.