In honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s post answers a question that I always get asked: how we met. When I tell the story, it’s always met with shock. Yes, it’s a bit unusual but it worked. There’s no questioning that. Instead of listening to me though, there’s a twist. With all the females in the nation talking about this holiday right now (while males grumble), why not hear something romantic from a man? After all, those opporutnities can be few and far between. So, here are Matt’s unedited words about how our story began…
I had been counting down the days to December 1 for months. Escaping the Chicago winter for my first trip to Las Vegas. I knew it would be a memorable weekend, one I would remember forever. But it wouldn’t turn out to be the kind of memorable that people normally associate with a dude’s weekend in Vegas. It would be better.
I got off the plane like every other bro who has ever landed at McCarran airport for a weekend trip, full of (false) optimism. The cabbie and I were chatting up the entire way to the hotel. After I told him it was my first time in the City of Sin, I asked him if there was one place I needed to check out.
“There’s this new nightclub in the Cosmopolitan named Marquee. I’ve never been inside, but every night I pick up gorgeous girls who got turned away at the entrance. If these girls are any indication, I can only imagine what the chicks that actually make it inside are like.”
Never doubt the wisdom of a Las Vegas cab driver. These guys have seen some shit.
Some subtext to this weekend trip is that I almost didn’t make it. A couple days before I left, I came down with a nasty illness. I finally went to the doctor the night before I was supposed to fly out. He diagnosed me with a viral infection, and while writing a prescription for some meds he gave me 2 pieces of advice for the weekend: no alcohol and lots of sleep. My weekend plans called for lots of alcohol and no sleep, which in my mind was pretty much the same thing just some minor alterations.
Fast forward to Saturday in Vegas. The trip so far had been a success. Lots of gambling, nightclubs and a trip to Hoover Dam. But after copious amounts of alcohol and limited sleep, I feel like complete ass. I can visualize my doctor over a thousand miles away shaking his head in disapproval. When our plans for the night fell through, I felt as though a guardian angel was looking down on me. An excuse to head back to the room for some much needed shut eye. That was, until someone suggested we get a table at this new fancy nightclub called Marquee.
We have a prime table on the dance floor. The vibe is incredible and within 10 minutes, a group of girls has joined us in our booth. I’m sitting there talking to a girl named Amy, at least that’s what I think her name was. Between the illness, meds, alcohol, rattling sound system, and lack of sleep, my brain is mush. I went from counting down the days for months leading up to the trip, to counting down the minutes until I’m back in my hotel bed.
Amy (?) gets up to grab a mixer off the table. As she does, her body acts as a curtain of a Broadway play pulling back to unveil one of the most beautiful and exquisite women I’ve ever seen in person, print, or film. Mystery girl sits right next to me.
Sorry Amy your seat is gone. Sorry Amy, my attention is gone.
Her name is Jenna. She’s from Los Angeles, works for a video game company (one that I don’t particularly care), and knows how to wear the fuck out of a hot pink dress. She rejuvenated my energy and stamina with one gaze from her big beautiful eyes. I’m not counting down the minutes anymore, I’m trying to make the minutes count.
We sat at this crowded table and talked, for over THREE hours. It was actually more like shouting in each other’s ear since the decibel level in the club rivaled a spaceship launch. While I don’t remember much of the details, the conversation was filled with sarcasm and sass on both sides. This I very much enjoyed.
As she arose to leave for the night well after 4 in the morning, I handed her my phone. She entered her digits in under the moniker “J” which I have never changed to this day over five years later.
I got back to my room, sat on the bed in disappointment, knowing I’d likely never see J again. I was getting hung up over a girl I had spent 3 hours shouting at in a dimly lit nightclub. I sent her a text. She replied.
What followed was constant texting for the next 5 months. If we were both awake, there wasn’t 20 minutes that would pass without an iMessage. We even got in the routine of talking on the phone every Sunday night, sometimes deep into the morning like we were back in Vegas. It resembled an episode of Catfish, minus the actual cat fishing. I was falling in love with a girl from a distance, via texting and phone chats.
With every week that passed, our bond got stronger, but so did the elephant in the room. When would we see each other again? It came up in conversation that we both had weddings to attend approaching, hers was the weekend of Memorial Day, mine the weekend after. I said in jest that we should be each other’s dates. Jenna replied “not if you ask me like that.”
This statement taught me two important things. First, she has high expectations and will not settle for anything less (this still reigns true today). Second and most importantly, she didn’t hate the idea. The next day I sent flowers to her work with a formal invitation. She accepted.
As the wedding weekend quickly approached, a lot of anticipation was building. We were both under the belief that if we could click in person like we had the past 6 months, we’d be inseparable. Unbeknownst to Jenna, I was working on a little contingency plan.
The night before we were slated to meet again, we video chatted for the first time since Vegas. Yup, I think I love this girl. After three hours, I ended the convo with “see you tomorrow.”
On May 25, 2012 we finally reunited at an Atlanta hotel for the wedding. She wasn’t wearing the hot pink dress, but she was more stunning than I remember. I gave her a size-able hug and carried her bags to our room. We had been reunited for less than five minutes when I told her I needed to talk to her about something. She sat down next to me. My monologue was as follows.
“We’ve always said that no matter how well these weekends went, it would be crazy to date long distance. With you being in LA and me being in Chicago, we agree it just will never work. As sad as that is to accept, it’s true. Which is why I’m very happy to tell you that I’ve just accepted a position in Los Angeles and I’m moving in a couple months. So, Jennifer Dawn Colgrove, will you be my girlfriend?”
She smiled and accepted. I went in for the kiss and the rest is history.
I can always look back and tell people I hit it big in Vegas. Only what I won was better than cash. I hit the jackpot.