Until I was 25, nobody had ever told me NO. I had always dated those boys. They were bad but not stupid. So, they always said yes, and I was nice to them. My first boyfriend was 4’11 and always thought we were auditioning for the WWE. He wanted to wrestle and fight with me through middle school. There were a few boys in high school and my son’s father. They were always easy to get and then have shitty relationships with. I would flirt and smile, and bam whatever I wanted until I got bored. But, Mike was different.
The first time I spoke to him, I knew he was different. He and I both worked at Wal-mart in Ocean City. I was the customer service cashier, and he worked in sporting goods. It was the Fall of 2002, the cashiers had a competition to sign up the most people for credit cards. I came to work on a mission: cute little outfit, pig tails, and just the right amount of lip stick. I walked around, and I got every lame young man in the store to fill out the application (22 by the end of the day), but Mike said NO. I came back 3 times, and he kept saying NO. What does that word mean? Who would tell me NO?
So next day, I had a new mission: figure out how he could tell me NO. So, I would go back to the counter of sporting goods and ask questions and flip my hair around. Over the course of the next few weeks. I spent a lot of time trying to work him. I flirted with his co-worker, Matt, who wore flip flops everyday (so weird). I ignored him. I asked questions about him. I ignored him. I would walk by and flip my hair, etc. Nothing.
Then one day in late October, I was reading the Golden Ass by some Greek philosopher in the break room. He walked up and asked me why I was reading Greek plays at work, and he started to talk about Sophocles and Aristotle, etc. Stop right here! I am pretty sure this is the first intelligent person I encountered at this store. I closed the book, and we talked about books and history.
The next day, I walked up very directly and asked, “Want to walk with me?” We have been walking together ever since. This month will be our 13 year wedding anniversary, and on the 11th of January, we have been together 16 years. He makes having four children easier. He makes me want to be nicer to people. And, he makes me laugh. Even after 16 years, his dancing and jokes are still funny, more corny but still funny. And, just like the first weekend when we were together, he has always been the best dad to our kids, and he does so much that I can be who I need to be at work for other people’s children.