12 Years After Limp Broccoli and Giggling Roommates

It was 12 years ago tonight that I had my first date with the guy that I would one day say “I do” to. (and first kiss, but that’s jumping too far ahead). I’m sure if there was a ranking of most “romantic” dates ever, ours definitely would have topped it. I mean, come on, doesn’t limp broccoli and being joined by 3 giggling roommates automatically shoot it to the top? Throw in some lost in translation confusion and it was a winner.

Perhaps I should explain. Let’s jump back to 2002, you know before facebook, twitter (still haven’t figured that one out), and phones that worked faster than the computers we used. I was a junior in college studying biology and had noticed a certain guy for the ENTIRE year but didn’t know what to do about it. He was a freshman and fairly (no actually completely) clueless. So clueless in fact, that when I finally had gotten up the nerve to ask him over for dinner literally answered “sure, I like food”. At least he agreed to come over, even if it was just the food.

Clearly someone (namely our good friend) had clued him in that this was more than just about eating and he showed up at my door with a bouquet of tulips. Granted he was over 30 minutes late and I was a literal wreck by the time he finally knocked, but at least he kind of had a clue. One of my dear roommates could see that I was in panic mode prior to his arrival and calmly sat on the couch and told me in great detail all about her French Literature class that she had had that day to distract me. It kind of worked, but honestly to this day I can’t tell you a thing she said.

The plan for the date was to make dinner together and then share it with my roommates since it was my night to cook. Again maybe not the best option for a first date, but on a college student budget, it made sense, and I didn’t want him to think I was totally crazy and obsessed with him (which I was) but wanted to appear as calm as possible. Of course most of that went out the window when I panicked that he wasn’t going to show up.

In my attempt to distract myself after the great attempt at teaching me French Literature by my roommate, I had decided to cut up the broccoli and get that started. So by the time we actually had dinner ready I think it had cooked for over an hour and a half. It was pretty much un-edible by that point. Luckily everything else we made was pretty good. Of course I was shaking from nerves while we were cooking everything.

The flowers he brought were put in a vase on the table, so as my other roommates came in while we were cooking they all giggled and sent knowing smiles into the kitchen. And since that didn’t make things awkward enough, then we all got to sit down together and eat. (of note, no one really touched their broccoli)

One of our roommates was a foreign exchange student from Japan and we had made it a habit of teaching her a new phrase each night during dinner. It was late April and we were running out of phrases and all our brains were in end-of-semester overload. I tried hard that night to try and think up a phrase (little did I know an opportunity would present itself later that evening) and try to distract my roommates from their giggles and smiles every time they looked in our direction.

We made it through dinner and then my roommates all scattered to do homework and go to rehearsals. We jumped in to do the dishes, usually the rule was that if you cooked, the other three did the dishes, but they all managed to find some excuse to leave. We had a great time talking while we washed and put everything away. I had finally calmed down which helped A TON.

He stayed for a bit after putting the dishes away and we sat down on the couch to just talk. While we were talking he leaned over and kissed me. I’m not sure which one of us was more surprised. I think he surprised himself because he said “Um, so I was just thinking I was going to ask you for your address for this summer so I could write…” To which I replied “Um, you did a little more than just that right now”.

And so that was how it began. 30 minutes late, tulips, limp broccoli, giggling roommates, and a kiss. And to me it was perfect…and 12 years later I’m still getting kisses.

About that lost in translation part…well about 20 minutes after he had left, I was in the bathroom, when I heard Hannah, our roommate from Japan, pick up the ringing phone (ie one of those that had a cord and was connected to the wall), and I heard her talking, and then not hearing her hang up, heard her say very loudly over and over again “Clint and Leslie, they make love”. Needless to say I came running out of the bathroom trying to figure out who was on the other line and what rumors were about to be spread across our small conservative Baptist college campus. Luckily the phone had been hung up and she was just skipping up and down the hallway saying that phrase over and over. And so Hannah’s phrase of the day that she learned 12 years ago today was what “making love” means….

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