Sunday, June 10, 2018

First Date

Twenty years ago (today!), Brandon took me out on our first date. Back in 2008, I wrote extensively about the "year of tens" (the 10th anniversary of all our "firsts"). I'm really glad I did, because my memory is not what it used to be, and now I have all these stories written down!

For those who might be interested, here’s the story of our first date (I wrote this on June 10, 2008. Keep that in mind because I feel I've matured greatly as a writer since then! Also, I should note that Brandon and I met while working for on-campus housing at BYU; it'll add sense to the story):

Brandon asked me, on a Sunday afternoon, if I would go out with him on a Wednesday afternoon (June 10, 1998). I had been waiting on pins and needles for at least 4 or 5 days for him to ask me out. Back then, four days was torture! I was thrilled when he finally asked me out.
[Sidebar (I wrote this sidebar in 2012): how did he ask me out, you ask? Well, that's a fun story, too. I was sitting in my place of work, talking to two other co-workers (they were visiting me from another housing area and weren't working). One of them had a question only Brandon could answer, and I knew he was in his dorm working in his place of work (the dorm office) and so I called him. We chatted and then there was some harmless flirting going on between me and my co-workers (both were male) and one said something about me being beautiful. Here's the conversation thereafter:Me: So-and-so just said I'm beautiful.Brandon (on the phone): Well, you are beautiful.Me: (blushing profusely, hesitating) Well, then... when are you going to ask me out?Brandon: (stammering) Well, uh, I... well, I was planning on it!Me: Before September?Brandon: Yes!Me: Okay. Good!
And I can't even remember how he asked me out (this is me, writing in 2018: he called me on the phone. I do remember that....) Just that it was four days later. Huh. I guess this was more me letting him know I'd say yes. That's funny!]
Well, Brandon didn't have a car. He had been home from his mission for exactly 3 whole months (and a week) and was working and living on campus at BYU. Like me (except I didn't serve a mission, I meant the working and living on campus part, capische?). I remember I wasn't sure what we were going to do, what with the lack of car and all, but he came and got me and we walked onto the main part of campus. It was a gorgeous day (I remember the sun), and I had gorgeous hair (I remember the curling iron). I have no idea what we talked about on the way there, but I remember feeling more comfortable than nervous, which was odd, considering how giddy and silly I was around boys I liked. And boy-oh-boy! I liked Brandon. A lot.

He guided me to the Museum of Art, and when we walked inside, I realized we were eating at the Museum Cafe. What a great idea for one without a car, but wanting to make a good impression! We got great seats by the window, and I remember some of our conversation:
*He was floored that I was only 19 years old. He didn't realize how young I was when we had met. Actually, I think it was the fact that I had graduated from high school in 1997. His sister was a year younger than me, but had graduated the same year as me --I think he was afraid I was an 18 year old, at first.
*We talked about school and where we were from.
That's it. That's all I can remember. Time has done a number on my brain, and so have my children. But I do remember feeling a tad self-conscious as I ate my salad (did I have salad? I think I did!), but being perfectly at ease with the conversation. He was really easy to talk to and I loved that.

After we ate, we walked around all the free parts of the museum looking at the gorgeous art. My cousin worked as a security guard in the museum at the time, so she got to meet Brandon that very first day! She approved of him, too.

It's funny, but Brandon told me later that he was immediately taken in by me because I "played the game right" during that date. I asked him what he meant, and he told me that I was good at banter, but I was also very good at the touching. The touching? Yes, the touching --I knew when to touch his arm, or lean into his shoulder with my shoulder to push him away, i.e. playful, teasing, sexual tension (but in a very prudish way! Don't you be getting any ideers, there, mister!). You know what I mean, right? Well, I hadn't realized I was doing it at the time (he was doing it, too!), but I'm glad it worked.

When we were done looking at art (where Brandon impressed me, again, with his cultural and art-loving knowledge), he took me to the BYU Creamery inside the Wilk (for those who don't know "Wilk", it's the Wilkinson Student Center). This is where I was ambushed. Ambushed, I tell you!

Every Wednesday during that Spring/Summer terms (1998), BYU students (and friends) that had lived in Thousand Oaks, CA (or had gone to T.O. high school) met to eat ice cream. I was totally set up to meet his friends. On the first date! Oh, sure, it was just to "get some ice cream," but later, I found out that he had planned it all too well. *Four days after our date, he got together with the same friends, sans me, and then proceeded to seek their approval of Yours Truly. I didn't find this out for a couple of weeks, and so I thought it odd he would do that on a first date.

Obviously, it didn't bother me. Oh, and the friends approved.

*I'd like to note that on the same day the friends approved of me, Brandon and I decided to date exclusively. ❤

It's surreal being on this end of 20 years. When I look back, it feels like my life should be one of those movie montages --all sepia-toned and emotional-tugging with beautifully-timed background music. Hindsight seems to condense all of our pivotal life moments and it's easy to analyze the contents in that way. "See how this choice led to this?" and "See what this experience did for our family?" and "Man, isn't it a good thing we did this?" Both the good and bad kind of mesh together to create a complicated and beautiful life.

I think it's important for us to remember that as we go forward, too. (I could write about that extensively, but I don't have the time, right now. Maybe later?)

I like being on this side of 20 years. I like that I'm still grateful for that first date and for all the dates that followed. I know not every marriage has lasted as long as ours has; I know not everyone still loves their spouse. I know not everyone married who they thought they were marrying, either. I am, however, very grateful our marriage has lasted, that I still love him, that he is who he says he is, and that he still loves me. I don't want to take it for granted; I try not to!

Thanks for asking me out back then, Brandon! I will always be eternally grateful I said, "yes" (although, in my mind, I was probably saying, "YESYESYESYESYES!!" 😀 )

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