How They Met: Love Across a Crowded Room

When it came meeting my fiancÚ, it turned out my mother really did know best.
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Meeting "Her Type"

Let me preface my story by repeating some ludicrous advice my mother gave me when I was a little girl: "Someday you will see a man across the room and you'll know he's the one."

Well, I'd made it to my mid-30s without getting remotely close to finding "the one," let alone in a casual glance across the room. Instead, I spent too many years in relationships with the wrong men. Then, just before the millennium, a new job and a desire to be nearer to my sister prompted a move from Chicago to Houston. With all this "clean start" symbolism, I resolved never again to date any man who was not marriage material. This meant I went on very few first dates and even fewer second ones.

One night I joined a group of friends-all of them coupled, most of them ill matched-at a popular Houston restaurant. They were giving me grief about not dating. "You should just do it for the heck of it," they said.

"Why should I waste my time and their money if I know I'm not interested?" I responded. "If I meet a guy who's my type, I'll go."

They persisted. "Fine, what's your type?"

I had been watching a guy across the room (score one for Mom) who reminded me of my dad: big, well dressed and telling stories with his hands flailing the air, much to the delight of his dinner companions, all men in suits and presumably his business associates. I pointed. "Him," I told my friends. "I'd go out with him."

"Well, go introduce yourself," they urged.

I would do no such thing, I informed them.

"But what if you never see him again?" they asked.

"Then I'll meet someone else," I said, with impeccable logic. "I'm simply showing you my type."

My friends would have none of it. Taskmaster Emily suddenly strode across the room and tapped Mr. Right on the shoulder. "Are you gay?" she asked.

"Uh, no," he said, a bit warily.

"Are you married?" Emily continued.

"No," he said, amused now.

"Good," she said. "That blonde over there" - pointing to me while my face turned red as a beet - "wants to meet you."

"Cool," he replied and walked straight to our table, pulled up a spare chair and stuck out his hand. "Hi, I'm Rick."

We quickly discovered we had a lot in common. He was a partner at a large law firm, and I was a vice president at a large advertising agency. He had played football in college and, briefly, professionally. I had been a cheerleader in college and, briefly, for a pro basketball team. Something we didn't have in common was our size: Rick is 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 pounds; I'm 13 inches shorter and weigh exactly half that. After five minutes, my friends announced that they were leaving. "Can you take her home?" one of them asked Rick.

"Nooooooo!" I yelled, wondering what was wrong with these people. Thrusting my business card at him, I hurried out of the restaurant.

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