I was extremely excited when I was contacted by Jaclyn about this week’s “Happily Ever After” post. Her story captures the beautiful and awkward moments of first encounters. Jaclyn is delightful, sweet, and UBER talented (seriously, go check out her adorable Etsy shop–holidays are just around the corner!). Let’s all please give her a warm welcome! You can also find her on Facebook here.
(If you would like to be featured in the “Finding Love” series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!)
At my blog, I post about lots of things–my Etsy shop, my brother (who has autism), slice-o’-life style goodies and, often, my beau. While I have more than my share of bosom pals, most of them live in, oh, any state other than my own, so my fun is often had with the beau, aka Jeff. I have not, however, ever shared the story of how I met him. I find it kind of adorable.
A friend and coworker invited me to her birthday party two years ago. I was excited to go, but the closer the date came, I realized: I would not know many people there. Maybe I wouldn’t go.
A few hours before the party, I decided: I’d go, but I’d only stay for a little bit. I should be social, even though going to parties where you only know a handful of people can be awkward.
I got there just about on time. I hugged the birthday girl, looked around and thought, “Aw, shit.” There weren’t many people there, yet: There was that cute guy from downstairs talking to some bald dude. There were a few folks I’d never seen before in my life. Oh! Finally! A friendly face!
Pam and I promptly plopped ourselves down by the (spiked) punch.
“Do NOT let me drink more of that,” I told her. “I will crawl up under the table and go to sleep.”
“You should crawl up on his lap and go to sleep,” she said, pointing to the bald guy.
“I should?” I asked. “Who’s that?”
“That’s Jeff. He’s awesome. You need to meet him.”
A few minutes later, Jeff came up to say hello, and we were introduced. We shook hands, and I noticed the bald guy had a pretty smile.
After a few minutes–or maybe it was longer, as the party had gotten considerably more crowded–a group of us went into the basement. There was my friend Steve playing the maracas. His wife, Bonnie, had a clarinette. Someone had some bongos. The Birthday Girl handed me an accordion.
And we all started to play. No one had a clue what anyone was doing, and it sounded a little like Satan, but hilarious.
In the midst of the cacophony, I heard it: music. Like, real music. Someone knew what he was doing? I looked in the rocking chair to my right, and there was the baldie with the pretty smile, strumming a guitar. He was by no means an expert, but in that group, he was clearly the only one who’d ever so much as held their instrument before in the past. (Ever try to play the accordion?? It’s flippin’ HARD. Also, this pic reminded me that at some point, I passed off the accordion for a ukelele. That’s a normal sentence, right?)
I forgot to mention one detail: Most people playing these instruments? They were wearing either a hat or a wig. Or both. (My birthday girl friend? She’s awesome. She has wigs and hats and instruments just hangin’ out in the basement, ready to provide the greatest ice breakers known to man.)
Jeff and I chatted throughout the “concert,” and eventually, there were only six of us: me and Jeff, birthday girl and her husband, and Pam and her husband.
Birthday Girl and Pam had been eyeing us all evening, very happy to see us chatting almost exclusively. But they decided it was time to kick it up a notch.
“We need to dance!” Birthday Girl exclaimed, and she put on one of her (so old school, I’d never even heard of it) records, and the slow dancing part of the evening began. During this portion, Jeff had on a looooong red wig. He looked a little like Dave Mustaine from Megadeath. I had on a short, curly, old lady wig and a pink pill box hat.
Feeling a level of embarrassed and giddy I hadn’t felt since junior high, I grabbed Pam’s husband for the first dance. After about 30 seconds, Birthday Girl yelled, “SWITCH!” and I found myself dancing with her husband. Thirty seconds later: “SWITCH.”
Oh, hello there sexy bald man in the Ariel wig who is making my palms sweat like a mofo.
“I’m sorry you have to dance with an old lady,” I said, referencing the fact that I was definitely not looking my best.
“You’re a sexy old lady!” he shouted over the music from the 1960s.
“You’re drunk!” I declared.
“No, I’m not!”
Around 3 a.m., I figured it was time to go home. Birthday Girl told me she had put my coat upstairs, and as I went to get it, I heard, “Jeff, you need to take her to her car! I live in the white ghetto!” (She doesn’t.)
As he walked me down the street to my car, Birthday Girl and Pam stood on the porch for a smoke. As we walked, I linked my arm through his, and I told him, “I’m very aware that we have an audience.”
“It was really fun getting to know you,” he told me at my car. “Is it OK if I call you?”
“It is,” I told him. “Give me your phone, and I’ll put my number in it.”
“I left it in the car,” he told me.
“OK,” I said. “Give me your phone number, and I’ll call it.”
So I dialed, and he watched me with a smirk as I left the following message: “Hello, Jeff! This is Jaclyn. You met me at the birthday party, and we had an awesome time. You should call me, and we should hang out, ‘cause that’d be fun.”
“That was a good message,” he said when I hung up, and he gave me a smooch.
I froze. Abso-frackin-lutely froze, as if it were my first kiss or something. My brain turned to mush, and I no longer had control of my body or my mouth. I pulled away really awkwardly and stiffly, all robot-style.
To this day, he swears he didn’t notice.