This one is for all the single ladies.

I am thirty and it seems that either my friends are married and having babies (lately it seems like something is in the water) or very much single and looking hard. I on the other hand seem to be the anomaly. My boyfriend and I are in a long-term relationship and very happy. And of course I think the story of how we met is a good one, so I will share it now. Perhaps, it will bring a little hope to the singles out there because I am truly a cliche – I found my main squeeze when I least expected it. This is my version of the story, as my boyfriend may remember it differently. You see, he was drunk off of Crown Royal and 7up when we met.

The story begins in the fall of 2008. I had just volunteered as for a six-month deployment to Iraq and semi-dating a real dufus. Simultaneous to my deployment preparation, plans were being made for my friend Pete’s surprise 40th birthday celebration Las Vegas extravaganza. Pete was already going to be in town because of the Annual Consumer Electronics Show (but, I really believe he was there for the Adult Entertainment Convention that was happening at the same time). Pete and I met while we were both living in the metro Washington DC area but he had since moved to Austin, and I to Pittsburgh. And to be honest, we really did not stay in touch. I caught wind of the celebration through my friend Allison and her husband Dave. The two of them and their friend Kim had signed up for the trip and mentioned I should come and share a hotel room with Kim. My deployment was quickly approaching and I figured that Vegas would be the perfect last hoorah before I left so I purchased my ticket. Soon after I purchased the ticket I emailed the event coordinators to let them know I would be attending. One of the coordinators was a guy name Balex (I thought odd name) and all I knew of him was that he was from Austin.

In January, Dave, Allison, Kim, and I flew to Vegas to begin the festivities and meet up with about 40 other people that were there for Pete. As soon as the four of us checked into the Excalibur (not my favorite) we started drinking those tall bone shaped concoctions and before long we were “feeling fine”. At some point during the cocktails we found out that the “surprise” had been ruined because Pete had “run” into this Balex guy on the street the night before. The four of us were fairly annoyed and I know I bad-mouthed this Balex guy for ruining it.

After we all had our buzz on we returned to our room for naps. We had all taken, “at-the-ass-crack-dawn” flights from the east cost and were beat. After all we had a full night of activities ahead of us so we needed our rest. First on the schedule was a Mexican dinner at the Palms. This is where the big surprise was suppose to occur – until it was ruined.

The four of us headed over to the dinner where we finally met up with the rest of the group. Because the “cat was out of the bag”, the arrival was undramatic. Before the food arrived people mingled and introduced themselves. This is where I finally come face to face with this Balex character. He comes over to Kim and I and introduces himself. He reaches out his hand to Kim and says of all things that her hands were warm. I was thinking what a complete weirdo. But wait – things get more awkward. He notices that I am not drinking and starts interrogating me and asking why I am not boozing it up. The real reason why I wasn’t drinking was because margaritas were $25 and I was already hungover from drinking earlier in the day. He was so persistent and I didn’t feel like explaining myself so I decided to have a little fun. I told him that I was a recovering alcoholic and that I typically had my coin on me but my jeans were too tight. And just for the art of being outrageous I added that I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship.

Balex and I the weekend we met.

Finally, that was enough to shut him up – but at the same time, I must have intrigued him. It didn’t take long for him to realize I misled him regarding my drinking habits, which I think intrigued him even more. He was after me the rest of that weekend and continues to be over two and half years later.

This entire time we have been long distance – really long distance while I was in Iraq. But, we have been very blessed and have been able to spend a lot of time together. Typically, making trips on a monthly basis. I am happy to announce though, that we are finally closing the gap and soon we’ll be together in Pittsburgh.

The moral of this story is – yes, sometimes love does come knocking when you least expect it and there is often the need to to give people second chances. I will also add that you need to live your life for you. Signing up for the deployment was strictly for my own personal growth, so many people put off doing things because they are afraid of what they’ll will miss. But often times, you miss out on more standing still than if you take on life’s scary adventures.