PART 1: BEFORE WE MET

One Sunday in early January of 2006, my dear friend Steph B called and asked if I wanted to go to Ruby Tuesdays and have a drink or two. I would meet her at her boyfriend Will’s house and we would ride together from there. While hanging out at Will’s house, she mentioned that Will’s friend was going to meet us at Ruby Tuesdays. She said that Will’s friend’s name was Jared, but she apologized that Jared wasn’t boyfriend material. He was too much of a player, and I shouldn’t get involved. But, he was funny and would be entertaining to have around for the night. In fact, he was going to show up that night wearing some shoes he had found in his grandfather’s closet.

I was glad that she wasn’t trying to hook me up with some guy. I had recently had 4 disastrous dates/relationships and was actually okay with being single for once in my life. I have always been boy-crazy. ALWAYS! But I was happy with my life and how things were going, and I didn’t need some guy screwing things up and getting in the way.

I had ended a relationship the previous summer with R.G.. He was a guy I met at Cotton Eyed Joes, and as I always told anyone who would listen… YOU NEVER DATE A GUY YOU MEET AT COTTON EYED JOES! I should have listened to my own advice. He had a great way of always making me feel worthless and undesirable. I was a pretty confident woman at that time, but I still allowed him to destroy my self-esteem and I lost a lot of self-respect. I had managed to pull myself back up by January.

I started dating again and found a random guy from North Carolina (again thanks to Steph B) who had pierced his boy parts… My computer suggested I change that to body parts… but it was his BOY PARTS! We hung out a few times but I was scared of that/his stuff. I was also disturbed when we went out to this restaurant that had grilled flatbread sandwiches. He said the bread was too hard and hurt his mouth. I thought… you pierced your junk and you’re complaining about the texture of the bread. Random I know, but I was really turned off by that. I was so mature.

I met another guy at a bar. He lived in the same apartment complex as me which actually terrified me because I normally tried to meet guys at the location of the date. I didn’t want boys to know where I lived… alone, in a creepy apartment, where I imagined no one would hear my screams. He told me he was a comedian. He spent the entire dinner telling me jokes which were not funny. If I remember correctly, one was about his dad making him kill his pet rabbit. I never answered any more of his calls after he paid for my dinner.

There was also a date with a friend from early in my college years. We never dated then because he kind of annoyed me with his pessimistic attitude… and after a dinner full of him telling me how bad I screwed up in college by not dating him I remembered why I hadn’t dated him. Does that make sense? It was awful. It was one of those times when I was glad I had asked my sister to call me in the middle of the date so I would have an excuse to leave.

I mention these 4 guys as an example of just how anti-relationship I was at the time. I rarely turned down a free dinner… but the free meal was often not worth the crap I had to put up with during the date. This was my state of mind as we pulled into the Ruby Tuesday parking lot.

We arrived at the restaurant right after Jared. I got out of the car and looked across the parking lot and saw Jared for the first time.



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