On December 12, 1988, I was in my early twenties and had been working at Backer Spielvogel Bates, one of New York’s biggest advertising agencies, for a few months. That was the tail end of the industry’s boom era: bottomless expense accounts, margarita lunches, lavish events, perks galore. The agency went all out for the annual holiday party that year, renting out an entire Manhattan nightclub for an evening of open bar and dancing.
My friend Jennie and I had recently read a magazine article about how to be a “Do” and a “Don’t” at the office Christmas party, and that night, we fell squarely into the “Don’t” category. We arrived early, stayed till the end, drank cocktails without alternating a glass of seltzer between each one, danced, gossiped, and dressed provocatively (On me: big earrings, big hair, dramatic makeup, heels, a black spandex mini skirt, and some kind of bizarre majorette-meets-Madonna off-the-shoulder red top–it was the ‘80s, after all).

Had I been an Office Party Do, I’m sure I never would have met my future husband. Mark worked, at the time, in the Media department, while I was in the Account Management Department. The company was huge, having recently gone through a merger and a consolidating move to new offices in the Chrysler Building, which explains why we had never lain eyes on each other until that night.

Mark arrived late at the party, being an integral (MVP) member of the company’s volleyball team, which had just played a match. He found himself being lectured by his female boss (and good pal) about the fact that he was only interested in dating around, and never got himself into a long term relationship (not, mind you, that he thought that was a problem). She said, “It’s because you always go after the wrong kind of women. Women like...” (Looking around the room, she zeroed in on a slutty-looking Madonna Majorette and pointed.) “...HER.”

Mark took one look and made a beeline over to me. When he introduced himself to me with a “Hi, I’m Mark,” I was in the midst of posing for someone’s camera with my fellow Don’t friends. “Want to get into a picture?” I asked, and we posed together for a snapshot, capturing our seconds-old relationship forever on film–never imagining what lay ahead. Then he took the camera and turned it toward us both for one of his famous “chin shots” (of which there would be many more to come over the next two decades). (See above: a page from our oldest photo album, with the photos so decrepit I couldn’t get them off the page to copy them individually!)

Later that night, I learned that he was my boss’s roommate, and he discovered I wasn’t actually a Slut–just an Office Party Don’t. And a Klutz. I accidentally knocked an entire beer into his lap, soaking his suit, and he actually laughed it off. We danced to “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” (the Dirty Dancing soundtrack was still hot that year.) At the end of the evening, we flagged a cab and went our separate ways, but he had my phone number in his pocket. He called the next morning and the rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Anniversary, Mark. These two decades have brought far more sunshine than shadow. I can't wait to see what lies ahead. "Point me toward tomorrow."

As for the rest of you...how did you meet your significant other? Everyone loves a love story...tell us yours!

P.S. Anyone out there who's read my Wendy Markham chick lit novel SLIGHTLY SETTLED might recognize some of the above details. That novel was born over lunch with my editor one day, as I was telling her the real saga of how I’d met my husband–and she asked me to springboard it into a plot that was, in the end, far more fiction than fact.

(Yes, this is a repost of a blog I originally shared back in 2009 and again in 2011. Thought it was worth reprinting!)

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Comment by Dorothy Cunningham on December 12, 2012 at 5:39pm

Happy Anniversary to you both and here's to many more!

Comment by Monroe on December 12, 2011 at 10:38am

I love this story. I read it every time you post about it.

Comment by Roseann Smith on December 17, 2008 at 10:48am
My husband and I met in 1975 on a high school bus. I was a 16 , he was 17. He was actually interested in my best friend. But she knew we would be a match! And introduced us. She was right. We found out later that we also went to same Catholic Elem school, but he was one year ahead of me. We are now married 28 yrs.
Comment by Monroe on December 16, 2008 at 10:47am
I love How-we-met stories and this is one of the best.
I barely remember first meeting my husband. I was twelve and he was my oldest sister's boyfriend's best friend (got that?). For years, he was just always around. From there it's a long story but it does have a happy ending.
Comment by Carol Buck on December 14, 2008 at 4:06am
I met my husband Pat at a CYO dance, we had both gone with friends who are catholic. Neither Pat nor I are catholic. He was the nicest guy there and pretty funny too. My friend and I both couldn't stop talking about him. We met up again at another CYO function and the rest is history. We met in February and got married that same November. In fact, this year it was 25 years for us. So, yes I do believe in love at first sight. Happy Anniversary Wendy and Mark!
Comment by John on December 12, 2008 at 11:22pm
Happy anniversary to you both! (And I did recognize those details...) Chelsey and I struck up a friendship online which quickly turned into something more. Fortunately for me, she wasn't a forty year old man! ;-) It wasn't as creepy as it might seem, though-our friends were dating so our Internet romance wasn't exactly anonymous, though we'd never met. And now here we are...

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