I remember meeting Mike Jones that day in the Student Union of LSU in 1979. As far as I could tell, he had one major personality flaw. He was a jerk. And the only thing that was bigger than his personality was his reputation for being a . . . hmmmm . . . how can I say this in a way that would be culturally relevant 33 years later
. . . he was a p-l-a-y-e-r.
So no, I wasn't too impressed.
But we had a large circle of the same friends, and as was the "thing" back in those days, we often ended up in the Student Union together at the same table playing Spades with our mutual friends. Playing Spades with Mike did little to change my impression of him, other than perhaps to add adjectives to my already dim view of him. He went from being a jerk in my mind to an arrogant jerk, a cheating jerk (he was notoriously bad for cheating, but virtually impossible to catch) but also a brilliant jerk.
I'd often tell my friends, "It's a shame he's such a jerk because he's so dang smart and cute."
So how in the world did I ever end up on a date with this man, much less married to him?
Well that story started 34 years ago today, the anniversary of our first date.
You see, he was brilliant, and I sucked at math, and he helped me pass college algebra. And honestly, I was so surprised to pass that class (I got a solid "D" and was incredibly grateful!) that when grades were posted, and I passed, I ran straight to the student union and found Mike Jones and kissed him straight on the mouth. It was a spontaneous gesture. I was overcome. Don't judge me.
And in that moment, when he saw my weakness, he charged, as any good p-l-a-y-e-r with an "a" game would do, and said, "You know, I think you should repay me with a date." And I agreed. Because I was weak. And grateful. And it was sort of a good kiss.
And even though my friends were appalled that I was going to go on a date with "THE Mike Jones" I have to say it was the best move of my life to date. Turns out he wasn't a jerk. He was funny, and sensitive, and a man richly in love with his family. And a marvelous kisser.
Three days later, (which also happened to be 3 DATES later) he declared that someday he was going to marry me.
All that to say, I learned that sometimes you have to look beyond what you think you know about someone and realize there's a richness to people that we sometimes never take the time to see. I'm glad I married that "jerk." Turns out he's the gift of my life. (But he still cheats at cards.)
So Happy Anniversary of our First Date to you, Mike Jones.