David (aka Treppenwitz) wrote recently about how he and Zahava met, and I mentioned in the comments section that westbankpappa and I had a somewhat similar story. He then e-mailed me and suggested that I start a "how we met meme". So here goes, for those of you who like this kind of thing (I know I do).
Westbankpappa almost met me once, when we were both studying in Israel and he went out with one of my apartment mates (there were 8 of us at the time). She really liked him - but the feeling wasn't mutual. The next time we "met" (I put this into quotation marks because I remember him, he didn't remember me) was at the huge Sheva Brachot celebration of mutual friends. Even though they were going to live in America for a year before making aliyah officially, they married in Jerusalem. Their families decided to make a huge catered affair for the Sheva Brachot, which included separate tables for the single guys and girls. At one point a few guys came over to the girls' table to introduce themselves. I took one look at westbankpappa and said to myself "this guy is way too goodlooking for me, he won't look at me twice".
About a year later, we both attended a CAT Shabbaton (Chevrat Aliyah Toranit - a social organization that doesn't exist anymore, which was meant to get singles together who were religious and wanted to make aliyah) in the same community where our mutual friends lived. This wasn't the first singles event that I had attended, and I usually didn't enjoy them at all. I am a naturally introspective person, and am a bit of a wallflower. But I knew that in these situations you have to push yourself a bit to be a bit more "out there". For most of the Shabbat I forced myself to be "on", but at the third meal, (late Saturday afternoon) I had had enough. I sat down at one of the tables with a girlfriend in a grumpy mood. This of course, was the time that westbankpappa decided to sit next to me! My girlfriend knew his sister, so they spent most of the time talking about her and other mutual friends, and I was happy to just sit quietly and listen to the conversation. At one point pappa made himself an open faced tuna sandwich, and decided to put potatoe chips on top. (Are there other people in the world that do this?) I had never seen this before, and said to him "That is the wierdest thing I have ever seen!" (I know, I had the "hard to get" part down pat, the charming part was a bit rusty).
After Shabbat was over, (I wasn't there, I only heard about this later) our mutual friends made a joke and told pappa that they wouldn't feel comfortable making aliyah without setting up their friends first, and suggested that he take a phone number. He then asked for the phone number of the "skinny one with the glasses". (At least he didn't ask for the girl who insulted him!) He then kept the phone number and didn't call right away.
My younger brother got married two weeks later, and although I was thrilled for him, I had to "run the guantlet" that every single Jewish girl has to in these situations, hearing the sincere blessings from all of the older ladies "im yirtza Hashem by you" which means "G-d willing, it will be your turn soon". The groom cuts a huge challah at the wedding meal and gives out pieces to the single people as a "good luck" sign for them to get married. My brother made sure to cut me a HUGE piece and put in on my plate with a wink and a smile. Someone's good wishes must have done the trick because the next day pappa decided to call.
He called me, and we had a very comfortable conversation. As a matter of fact, I glanced at my watch and noticed to my shock that an hour and a half had passed without me noticing. He asked me out for the Thursday, which was July 4th. I decided that I had better make an effort at the "girl stuff" so I borrowed a blouse from one friend, earrings from another, I put makeup on and changed my glasses for my contacts. When I opened the door for pappa his eyes widened, and I looked behind me to see what he was looking at. It didn't occur to me at the time that he was actually looking at me!
We had a very good time, the conversation never had those awkward pauses that sometimes happens, and we discovered that our family backgrounds and our goals in life were very similar. Pappa tells the joke (that I've heard at least four thousand times) that we saw fireworks at our first date. It is a cliche, but the honest truth is that I came home and couldn't sleep all night, because I knew that he was the one for me.
We have been married almost twenty years now - and there have been many times where I've said the equivalent of "that is the wierdest thing I have ever seen", but there have been just as many times that we've seen the equivalent of fireworks. Added to that is the accomplishment of our dream of having beautiful children (which didn't come easily to us) and making aliyah. Not bad huh?
I'm passing the baton to Abbagav - who I hope won't mind being tagged.