Having repeatedly failed to meet the right person, I "stumbled" (yeah right) -- I sought out your novel dating website. I liked the fact I was able to target various characteristics, including religion. I sent out five emails after carefully perusing and searching through the thousands of possibilities. Four of the five had pictures. One did not.
Of the initial five, I quickly heard back from four of them asking me to get in touch with them through email or phone contact. The first woman was a 10 second phone call due to the fact that she had just arrived home and was not able to speak at that time. While being busy is understandable, the response was not very endearing. Scratch off number 1 -- thanks for playing our game. Not a great start, but perseverance usually pays off, and it surely would just one call later.
Methodically moving down "the list,” I came to door number 2, which was a phone number from NMiche. I had corresponded a few times with NMiche, better known as Nancy, for a period of about two weeks or so. She was the imageless entrant to my heart -- no picture but a profile that made me laugh. A profile that called for a fat, bald, beer drinking guy that watches nothing but ESPN. While I only fit one or two of the criteria (I’m not fat nor bald (totally;-)), I could sense the tongue ‘n cheek attitude and thought the humor/wit aspect was enough to pursue the contact. As it was, I would later find out her best friend's husband penned the notorious profile calling for purveyors of ESPN Sports Center.
Moving to the second on the list, it was time to call Nancy. When I say time, I mean about 6 hours of phone time during the first couple of phone calls. By the time we ended our conversation, the only thing left to do was to meet in person.
I will never ever forget the night we met because it was the night before the Super Bowl -- just kidding (kind of). We decided to meet in Philadelphia, near the water -- in case it did not go well, either of us could jump. Seriously though, we met at a restaurant/bar and amazingly almost missed each other due to the layout of the place. Having finally located each other (we knew what each other looked like by now), we made our way to the bar for some drinks.
I should quickly digress -- the reason we had an inkling of each others physical appearance was due to the fact that we had eventually, after a number of emails, exchanged pictures. In what was a perfect advertisement for a quicker computer processor, we both anxiously waited while the images loaded only to be very pleased. Well, from my point of view, more like WHOA MOMMA, what did I do to deserve this good fortune. Anyway, back to the date.
Nancy and I had set the guidelines. Well more like Nancy told me the guidelines. A couple drinks and then our separate ways. No point in pushing fate. First dates were for an introduction and dinner was out of the question. Which was fine because, after all, I needed to get home to watch Sports Center. So of course, after a couple drinks and some pleasant conversation, the hostess asks us if we would like a table to grab some food. Ahh, the dreaded break the dating guidelines question. Without hesitation, I turned to Nancy and muttered with absolutely no confidence, "your call." Dazed and confused, she responded "Sure, that sounds great." Huh? Wait a second, what’s going on here? Could this be going well on her end? I had already decided it was on mine and things would only get better.
Two hours into our meeting, who shows up and is seated right next to us, but her sister and friend. Talk about a set-up. To this day, she flat denies it. But really, what are the odds of that happening? It got to the point where I was concerned about getting up from the table to use the restroom knowing I was about to be single women fodder for dating discussion. But a bladder can only resist so long before permanent damage is created. Knowing they were going to give it the once over, I was sure to shake it like my momma gave it to me, or something like that. Ok, I just walked away and tried not to trip or knock anything over.
FIVE hours later, we finally decided we better not push it any further. After great conversation and some tasty appetizers, we made our way to our vehicles. In another sudden positive development, Nancy offered a ride to my car. Mind you, it was 15 degrees with negative wind chills, and I, unbelievably, stated I could "use the fresh air." All the while, I really had no idea which lot or street I had parked my car in and was too embarrassed to have her drive me around endlessly until I got my bearings straight. With the first breathtaking wind chill laden gust, I quickly re-thought that moronic strategy and agreed to a ride to the corner. At the ensuing red light, I thanked Nancy for a nice night and told her I'd like to call her, if that was agreeable. She said it was, and I scurried out of her car into the frigid temperature only to have to double back on foot about 5 blocks to eventually find my car.
Nancy would later admit that she was not too confident about my declaration involving the dreaded "I’ll call you" conclusion to the evening's events. After waiting the "mandatory" 3 days, I phoned Nancy that following Tuesday. From that point on, she thinks we dated exclusively ;-) -- seriously though, from there, families would meet, holidays were celebrated. An engagement the night of my birthday in a surprise move would move Nancy to say yes in a flood of tears.
On April 13, 2002, with 40 of our closest friends and family, Nancy and I were married at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. An incredibly memorable night and lifetime to come made possible by an electronic token and a chance.
Nancy and Alan
Cherry Hill, New Jersey