I read a fellow blogger’s story about how she and her partner met and decided I would share the details about how I met Jeanne.
In my coming out story (part I and part II), posted last summer, I mentioned that I joined a women’s bowling league to meet other lesbians. It was a gay women’s league – I wasn’t just making assumptions about the type of women I might meet. I didn’t know anyone on the league, but the informational flyer I had gotten said I could show up and they would put me on a team.
The last Sunday in August, 1993, I drove to the bowling alley and found the registration table. I let them know I didn’t know anyone else there, but wanted to bowl. I was placed on a team with another new bowler and a returning bowler (Jeanne) whose team had fallen by the wayside. The league was small – maybe 8 or 10 teams – with 3 bowlers on each team. It was a perfect starting point for me. I am fairly shy in new situations – it is hard for me to initiate conversations with people I don’t know – but I quickly started looking forward to Sunday nights! We could always discuss the weather, music, and bowling.
My teammates and I didn’t communicate outside of the bowling alley, though. We would just show up, bowl, and then go our separate ways. We didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers until half way through the season. In early December, we realized that it would be helpful to let each other know if we weren’t going to be there for some reason, so we exchanged numbers.
At this point, I was still not “out” to most of my friends (or family). Two or three from college and the new ones I had made in the support group I attended on Tuesdays, plus my sister-in-law/best friend were it. I did tell some co-workers that I had joined a bowling league, but left it at that. The Friday after exchanging phone numbers with my teammates, a friend of mine (Annie) from the Tuesday night group went out dancing with me. We had a blast and that Sunday, she came with me to the bowling alley. She didn’t want to bowl, but thought it would be fun to come cheer for me and meet other women. We were talking to Jeanne and some of the other women about having been to a gay country bar and how much fun it had been. Jeanne said she had been there, but not in a long time, and that a group of us should plan to go that coming Friday.
Apparently, at some point that night, Jeanne asked Annie if I was dating anyone. Annie told her no, and Jeanne asked if she thought I was interested in dating at all. I’m not sure how Annie answered her, but the next day when she was telling me this, she encouraged me to call Jeanne up and invite her to dinner before the group of us went dancing on Friday. So I did. Except I had never asked a woman out before – in fact I had never asked anyone out, and only had dated one guy in college. So when I called Jeanne, I was pretty nervous. I said something along the lines of “Would you like to get some dinner before we go dancing?” and when she didn’t respond immediately, I jumped in with “we could go dutch”.
What I was thinking would be our first date, Jeanne says was not because we did in fact go “dutch” – I paid for my dinner and she paid for hers. But I picked her up and drove her home afterwards. We danced and laughed and had a good time. Even though there were other friends at the bar with us, I felt like we were there “together”, so I still think of it as a “date”.
The next day, we spent about 2 hours on the phone, talking about how much fun we had had and making plans to co-host a New Year’s Eve party. I was leaving town for a week, but would be back in time for the festivities. We talked on the phone every day before I left town on the 22nd. I called her on the 25th to wish her Merry Christmas, and when I flew home on the 29th, I made my dad, who had met me at the airport in the middle of a snow storm, drive me the extra half hour to my house instead of crashing at his place so I could call her.
The evening of the 31st, I went over to her place early to help get ready for the party. We cooked and decorated and got games out to play. About 10-12 people came over and we had a good time. At 11:55, I casually made my way across the room so I could be standing next to her when the ball dropped. The count down began, and my heart started beating just a little faster. Our first kiss was, 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, right at the stroke of midnight. Even though our first “official date”, when we went to the movies and she paid, wasn’t for another couple of weeks, we count that moment as our beginning. 17 years later, here we are!