Two weeks from today, I’ll be hopping on a plane with the man of my dreams and heading down to Rio de Janeiro. We will be arriving in my hometown the next day where my parents will greet us at the airport, feed us, then take us to their beach apartment where we will be staying at, and we will anxiously await until November 27, when I will be walking down that aisle and making a commitment for forever.
I met Karl at a karaoke night with my friends, two days after Christmas, at this dive bar I used to go to all the time near where I live. I was grumpy, having a fat and bad hair day, and was about to leave when my friend Jon said to me “Jim’s friend likes you.” I had already noticed Karl (when my friend pointed him out and called him “pretty boy”), but in my condition, there was no way anyone would be attracted to me, so I really hadn’t paid attention until then. Karl was sitting at a different table, with Jim, a guy I had met a couple of times through one of our mutual friends. When I asked Jon “which friend?” and he pointed out the cute guy in a black shirt sitting to the right of Jim, I became like a giddy schoolgirl. (Yes, the picture below was taken on the day we met!)
“Noooooo….! Not him! NO WAY! He likes me? HIM? Me???”
Jim came over, Jon gave him the go-ahead, and he came back with Karl and introduced us. Needless to say when I heard his name, my first thought was “Karl and Carla? HA! That’s NEVER going to work!”
Of course, you already know the spoiler alert: I was wrong, very wrong.
You cannot blame me for being skeptical, even by something as silly as a name. I was 29 years old, and had been single for 3.5 years. (YES, YEARS!) Don’t get me wrong, I had dated people during that time, but no one where I could come close to calling my boyfriend. Promising relationships would fizzle before they even started. DC, a town full of men, has very few available men (blame it on the military — they marry young!). I had tried online dating, I had met guys at bars, I had met guys through friends, and nothing. I was to the point that I knew there would be a risk I would either never marry, or I would have to settle. My friends would assure me “you’ll meet someone” and I would think “well, I haven’t in over 3 years, who said 3 can’t become 5, and 5 can’t become 10, and 10 can’t become 15 and so on?”
My friends also complained that I was too picky. I would go on dates and come home saying things like “he had no neck!” “his arms were too tiny” “he looked fine sitting down then he got up and he had hips!!!”
But at 29, I still didn’t believe that just because I was approaching the dreaded 30’s, that I should date people I was not attracted to. Don’t get me wrong, men have won me over by having spectacular personality, and cute ones have lost me by making my eyes glaze over when they opened their mouths. These guys were not compensating their lack of good looks with intriguing conversation!
Then, I met Karl. He was cute! Super cute! He was exactly my type! And he was smart! Here is a guy that got into undergrad younger than everyone else, and had graduated from law school by the age a lot of people are finishing college! (He hated law though, so he never pursued it.) And he was well-traveled! He lived in Korea for four years while he was in the Army and traveled all over Asia. And he wanted to see more of the world!
We texted all week and went on our first date a week later, right after New Years, when his sister, who had been visiting, left town. Then, we had our second date the following night.
And so it begun… That week we had another date during the week, then saw each other again on Saturday and Sunday. We started whispering loving thoughts to each other “I can’t believe I met you” “I think about you all day long”
Two weeks after our first date, we spent all weekend together. We exchanged “I love yous” We talked about being exclusive. And yes *hangs head down in shame* we changed our Facebook status.
And we joked “how long do we have to be dating to be considered normal?” “It’s ok to say ‘I love you’ after 3 months, right? How much longer until we’re normal?”
And we talked marriage, kids, future, retirement. When we hit the 3 months mark, we joked that we were finally normal now.
We went on trips…
5 months in, we started talking about living together, and picked a date three months away. But we already spent every single night together, he had a copy of my keys.
At month 7, he met my parents who were visiting from Brazil. They loved him. They mentioned how they knew they’d like him, but they didn’t think they would like him this much.
Right before we had our 8 month anniversary, we moved in together.
After a burn accident on my leg (the day he met my parents, of all things!), he nursed me back to health. After shedding so many tears that I would not be able to complete my first Half Marathon due to the break in training, he promised to train with me even though he is a much faster runner. Three weeks later I was able to run again, and on race day we crossed the finish line together.
A year from our first date, he went to Brazil with me, and we spent the New Years Eve in Copacabana, getting our feet wet by ocean, while watching the fireworks.
A month later, while visiting his family in Seattle, he proposed.
And now, we’re 24 days away from our wedding. I won’t say it’s been all fun and rainbows. We went through hard times together, we had stressful days, we had fights. But we can still make each other laugh. We never gave up on each other, on us. When I think about my future, I know he’s in it — I don’t see it any other way. And yes, when it comes to the person you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with, you CAN have it all. He is the man of my dreams, I am ecstatic that I didn’t have to settle. I got the cute, smart guy who would do anything for me. (I’m quite a package too, if I do say so myself, so I’m not the only lucky one here!)
So for those of you single people out there, who are thinking you’ll never find the one, and thinking you might settle, don’t. Somewhere out there there’s the perfect guy for you, and you’ll just be the perfect match for them too. Be picky. It’s worth it. It’s so worth it.