I wanted a man, a man to spend the rest of my life with. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to find him. As I stated in my last post I dated two guys my first year at the main campus of NMSU: Anton, the dentist, and Tim, the engineering student. After my first date with Anton I knew he was not the right guy for me. There were two things that bugged me about him. One was his body odor; I don’t know if his deodorant didn’t work or if he did not wear any. The other thing was that I shared with him my pet peeve about dentists who did not change their latex gloves in between patients but merely washed their gloves. I did not and do not think this is sanitary. He informed me that he did not change gloves between patients. I think it annoyed him that I was annoyed by this practice. I don’t think he wanted to make it a point of contention between us. Still, I just did not feel like he was Mr. Right and so I moved on.
My friend Bonnie had recently begun dating a guy named Marc, with a ‘c’. I wonder if his name was Marcus. Anyway, Marc had a friend named Tim, which was probably short for Timothy. They set me up on a blind date with Tim. Well, it wasn’t completely blind. I was taken to the computer science lab where he worked and introduced to him before the night of the date. I can’t remember where we went on that date but we continued to date after that.
Tim was a nice guy. The last nice guy I would date until I finally found Mr. Right. For a while I thought maybe he was Mr. Right. We spent a lot of time at his parent’s house where they would feed me on a regular basis. Starving student that I was, I am still grateful for that.
As things progressed, it became apparent to his parents that things were starting to get serious. They perceived a problem with this. Their family were devout Church of Christ. They strongly believed that in order to be saved one must be baptized in their church. I had been baptized as a child in a baptist church, but of course this did not count in their eyes. In their way of thinking, baptism was integral to one’s salvation and the only ones who baptized properly for salvation were the Church of Christ churches. Tim’s parents weren’t opposed to our getting serious as long as I was baptized properly…in their church.
I could tell that things were getting tense. Things cooled off between Tim and I as fast as they had previously heated up. He took me to church with him one Sunday morning. It was ‘D’ day for me. I knew that I was expected to make a decision and if I chose the wrong way that would be the end for Tim and me. I was preached at that day; the whole sermon was tailored specifically for me. I wasn’t offended, amused-yes, but not offended. At the end an invitation was given and I just sat there next to Tim. I did not go ask to be baptized into their church because I did not believe that being baptized by them would save my soul from hell. Christ had already saved me, though at that time I was a spiritual infant in need of much sustenance. I hadn’t yet tasted the meat of the Word of God; I was fed milk on a sporadic basis.
That was the end for Tim and me. I moved on yet again. At the end of that year I did acquire a stalker however to take the place of Tim. His name was John and he became obsessed with the idea that I should be his girlfriend. I assured him repeatedly that I should not be his girlfriend. I went home to Carlsbad for the summer months and John would call me from his mother’s home in Texas on a daily basis several times a day. I stopped answering the phone. He wrote me strange letters declaring his love for me saying he would not stop until justice was served. The part of justice being served freaked me out.
John tried to find out where I lived at the start of the new school term. I kept my phone number unlisted and tried to keep my address secret. He somehow got the campus operator to give him my phone number and began calling again. I didn’t have a car of my own and I depended on friends to give me rides. He saw me with a friend one day and followed us to my apartment which I shared with Krissy and two other girls I didn’t know very well. He was soon knocking on my door demanding to see me. Krissy told him to leave. I didn’t know what to do. I consulted a Campus Crusade for Christ leader who told me to be firm with him, but I had already tried that repeatedly and it never worked. I suppose I might have eventually had a restraining order taken out against him, but something happened before it came to that.
I met Steve, the law student. Steve knew Bonnie and told her that he would like to go out on a date with me. She set us up. My friend Linda tried to gently tell me that I shouldn’t date Steve, but I didn’t listen and began dating Steve anyway. I told Steve about my problem with John and he assured me that he would take care of it. And just like that, my problem with John was over…but my problem with Steve had only begun. They say that ‘like’ cures ‘like’, so too ‘scary guy’ cures ‘scary guy’ but in the end one scary guy is left to deal with.
Steve wanted me for appearances I think. He was an aspiring law student and politician. I think he simply wanted a pretty girl on his arm whenever he attended his student government functions. He was the senator for the Arts and Sciences college. He had a typical politician’s sunny disposition whenever he was in public. When we were alone he was mean-spirited and degraded me at every opportunity. I had no desire to be in an abusive relationship. I was so disgusted by him, especially when he told me that it would probably do me a lot of good to get raped, that I simply moved on.
I briefly began dating a guy who also attended Campus Crusade for Christ. Steve was firmly entrenched in CCC, probably because he thought it was good for his political schemes. He was tight with the leaders of that organization. As soon as Steve found out I was dating someone else he determined to punish me. He slandered me to the guy I had begun to date, to the Campus Crusade leaders, to Bonnie who had introduced us, and whoever else would listen. The guy I had begun dating immediately broke up with me. He didn’t even want to hear my side of the story. I was so humiliated by the lies told about me that I never went back to Campus Crusade for Christ. By the time Steve finished with me, wicked Queen Jezebel in the Bible looked like a saint compared to me.
And then it happened. I met Mr. Right. This is how it happened.
Krissy was invited by a girl named Robin to a college student scavenger hunt at Calvary Baptist Church. Krissy was Lutheran but she told me about it and I talked her into going since we had nothing else to do on the weekend. When we got there we were put on Robin’s team since she invited us. Robin had also invited a guy named Paul who was romantically interested in her. Paul brought his friend Scott and soon we had a team. We set off for the scavenger hunt which was held at the mall. I didn’t talk to Paul during the hunt but I remember looking up at him at one point, maybe he said something, and thinking “he’s really tall”.
We didn’t find a single item we were looking for and came back to the church for the mixer which followed. That was when I first talked to Paul. He commented on my watch. He said he liked it. It was just a basic watch with a brown, leather band. The conversation then turned to his recently deceased grandfather and he shared how much his grandfather had meant to him and how much he missed him. After that we went our separate ways.
The next day I was supposed to go to the mall with Krissy but I got a phone call and it was Paul. I hadn’t given him my phone number but he managed to track it down. I think his friend Scott had asked for Krissy’s phone number the night before and Scott remembered that Krissy and I were roommates. Paul wanted to know if I would go see a movie with him. I said sure and canceled my plans with Krissy. Yes, I was that kind of friend; my quest for Mr. Right took precedence over spending time with girlfriends. Everyone has their own priorities and that was mine.
So I went to a Chevy Chase movie with Paul on our first date. He seemed a tad nervous. He spilled coke on my hand and spilled the popcorn on the theater floor. The movie was so-so. Afterward we talked in his car, a red Nissan Sentra, for quite a while. He was easy to talk to…and funny. He liked to turn his car radio to static and when driving on the interstate off ramps he liked to pretend we were in a plane about to takeoff. He was the pilot of course and he would radio the tower before takeoff. It was charming…to me anyway.
After our first date I was happy. I came back to my room and sat on my bed thinking “I could be best friends with him”. And right out of nowhere a thought flashed through my mind that said, “You could love him too.”
I mean, I really, really had a good time with him. But he wasn’t really my type, I thought. He was super skinny and wore glasses that swallowed his narrow face. He wore a baseball cap that looked like it belonged to a ten-year-old boy. He really didn’t look much older than that either even though we were both twenty-two. His car smelled bad too, I knew because I had spent the past couple of hours in it talking to him. Yet, that thought kept replaying in my head, “You could love him too.” I thought, maybe so.
Little did I know that after he left me, he went on another date…with Robin. They went to a basketball game that night with a group of people they knew from Calvary Baptist and the Baptist Student Union.
I thought he was a member of Calvary Baptist. I just assumed this since we met there at the scavenger hunt. I hadn’t known he was interested in Robin who had invited both him and Krissy that night. So I determined on Saturday night, while he was at the basketball game, that I would go to Calvary Baptist to see him on Sunday morning. I just had to figure out how to get there. I could have walked but it would have been a long walk. I begged Krissy to take me the next morning and she begrudgingly did. She dropped me off there and told me I was on my own to find a ride home. I said I would find a ride.
I walked in the sanctuary and looked for Paul. He was there, even though he wasn’t a member of that church. He saw me and waved. I waved back and pretended I was looking for someone else. I didn’t want to seem too obvious. He waved me over to him and I sat down. We began talking right away. I don’t remember about what. Then Robin showed up. She sat on the other side of him.
After church was over Robin leaned over to Paul and said she wanted to introduce him to her parents! He had already agreed to give me a ride back to my apartment. I had secured that promise earlier before Robin showed up. He turned to me and said, “Wait right here; I’ll be right back.” I waited for a while. My cousin Will was there and I talked to him for a while. I didn’t know he had been attending Calvary. After I conversed with Will I decided to go find Paul. He was talking with Robin and her parents when I intruded. He hastily introduced me to Robin’s parents whom he’d just met. I think I saw something pass over Robin’s father’s face, a questioning look perhaps, confusion maybe. The conversation pretty much ended after I showed up. So, Paul and I went to his smelly car.
He said something about being hungry and I offered to buy him lunch. I was hungry too. We went for burgers at a 50s style diner. We talked and talked and talked. It wasn’t just smalltalk either, we went deep the way best friends do. He asked me out again.
I decided to pull out all the stops for that date. Years of reading all the makeup and hair tips in teen magazines had not been lost on me. I knew how to get a guy’s attention if I wanted to just like a good fisherman knows what kind of lure will land him the fish he wants. By this time I knew what fish I was after. When I opened the door to let Paul in that night I was satisfied that my bait had its desired effect. He later told me that he thought he was going to pass out when he saw me that night. Good! Mission accomplished! After that date, Robin faded from his memory. By Wednesday he asked me to wear his class ring, which I did.
By Friday he asked me to go on a college retreat that either Calvary Baptist or the BSU was hosting up in Cloudcroft or Ruidoso. We headed up to the mountains…which would become a habit of ours over the years. On Saturday we ditched the college group and climbed up the side of a mountain. We sat in a field of grass and talked mostly of what we wanted in life. He proposed marriage. We’d been together for seven days and he proposed marriage. I accepted and before we got back to Las Cruces that night we’d settled on July 21st as the day of our wedding, only six months away. All that remained was to tell our parents the good news! Yeah, they were stunned, each set of parents hoping the other set would talk some sense into us. Neither set of parents did. We were married on Saturday, July 21st, 1990. We went to Cloudcroft for our honeymoon, driving off in the smelly Nissan Sentra which our friends had shoe-polished and implanted with confetti. We rented a cabin up in the mountains close to where he had proposed to me. We’ve been happily married ever since and we’re still best friends.