16 years ago today . . .
The Dome allowed 18-20-year-olds to enter, but only those over 21 were given "I can drink" bracelets. I spotted a tall, skinny, dark-haired (just like I like 'em!) Marine lurking around the dance floor while his drunken Jarhead friends spun manically near the deejay's booth. I followed him at a distance, positioning myself strategically so that he could ask me to dance. Others came up and asked me to dance as I stood there. "No, thanks!" I told them. I was holding out for the shy one with the ever-so-slightly-too-large front teeth (I thought he was cute, but I figured this minor flaw might keep him from thinking he was all that).
I had always dated military guys. My friend Kevin used to say, "Claudia's entertained more troops than Bob Hope." That wasn't entirely true (I swear! Plus, I had never dated a Navy guy. Only Army, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.) Maybe I liked the fact that they were disciplined and neat and could fold their underwear into six-inch squares - I didn't want to risk spending the rest of my life picking up someone's socks off the floor after all.
Finally, on that evening back in 1992 . . . I gave up on the "stand around and look cute" tactic and asked him to dance. I soon found out that he was only 20 and could not buy me a drink. Strike one. But, I liked him. Later he walked me to my car and uttered this fateful line: "You have a blue car? *I* have a blue car!" Clearly, we were meant to be together.
We dated for a year and eventually decided to go ahead and live in sin. I think my mom was tired of looking at him in her living room all the time.
Over time I learned that he:
- Steps into the shower and THEN turns on the water. If this isn't a sure sign of mental illness, I don't know what is.
- Reads comic books on purpose.
- Is a Republican. (Oooh, I just threw up in my mouth a little when I typed that.) I think he is starting to see the light, though. He voted for Obama in the primary this year.
- Clips a V into the toenails on his big toes to prevent them from becoming ingrown or something. I have been stabbed in the calf with those things in the dead of night and it's not a good time.
- Walks into McDonald's and insists on reading the menu from top to bottom as though he has NO EARTHLY IDEA what they might possibly serve there.
- Forces restaurant servers to (verbally) list every single beer they carry and then invariably orders the very first one that was mentioned.
I married him anyway.