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Tell us how you met: Valentine's Day sweetheart stories

February 9, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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On Valentine's Day, people celebrate having met someone special. We are helping share stories of how those couples got together.

Click around the map below to see the romantic, funny, or maybe even sad stories we've collected so far. And if you're lucky enough to be celebrating this Valentine's Day with someone, please take a few seconds to add your story.

REWARD! The couple in the D.C. area with the best story, as chosen subjectively by some warm-hearted folks here at TBD, will have it told in a feature on TBD, with portraits by our professional photographer Jay Westcott, and we'll even give you free copies of the photos.

UPDATE 2/13 We've picked our favorite couple's story to feature -- Meghan and Thor of D.C. Check out their great photos and follow their story. We're still accepting your stories and adding them here, though, so keep them coming.


Read the stories so far, after the jump. New ones will be posted on top of this list as we get them, so check back for updates.

Clair and Rudy, Ashburn

Today, they say 1 in 5 relationships start online, but back in 1996 that was definitely NOT the case. I was new online, on AOL, in April 1996, Surfing chat rooms seeing what the fuss was about. At one point, a guy sent me an IM just saying hi and how he liked my screenname, etc. We chatted for a few but it was late and I had to head to bed. Next morning, I found an email from him thanking me for the chat. That evening, I got back on AOL and eventually he pinged me again and we chatted more. And again, the next morning there was another email. The third night, he pinged me from a different screenname, which made me suspicious...until he told me that the first screenname he used was his personal one, the second was his work screenname, that he worked for AOL (night shifts) and as such he was on every night around the same time as I would be. In fact, his dinner time was my bed time because he lived in Tucson and I lived in Pittsburgh so there was a 3 hour time difference. So it worked out time-wise that we could chat most every night. We chatted as much as we could (AOL was $2.95/hr back then!). Around then, AOL started giving their employees a ""free"" account that they could give to anyone...no charges would apply. So...Rudy set me a screenname and gave me that account so I would not have to worry about racking up a huge bill. That screenname was also his way of telling me how he was feeling at that time. We also exchanged phone numbers and addresses so we could talk ""in person"" and exchange photos. Our first phone call lasted 4 hours and happened on the same day we received each others photos as well. The next few phone calls were pretty long too. (thank goodness for 10 cents a minute long distance at that time!). He even sent my daughter a gift for her 5th birthday, even though we had never met face to face! We talked a lot...as much as we could considering the time difference. We had some same interests, the same views on things and were even finishing each other's sentences almost from the start. Then Rudy planned a trip to Pittsburgh to meet me and my daughter in person. His visit coincided with my birthday and the 4th of July. Folks thought I was nuts, meeting this person like that. How did I know he was not an axe murderer? I was asked. Rudy stayed in Pittsburgh for a week. My daughter, who did not like ANYONE, warmed up to him within a couple hours...by the end of dinner on that first night she was feeding him spaghetti. We spent the days with my daughter and most of the evenings with my family. Had some dates, of course too. Dinner and movies and such. I could not have the whole week off form work, but on the couple days I worked, Rudy showed himself around downtown Pittsburgh. I had some family visiting from out of town at that time too, so Rudy got to meet them as well. He is a computer geek like my favorite uncle, and has the sarcasm to match both my uncle and I. The three of us together in a room was, and still is, a hoot. Before heading back to Tucson, Rudy proposed. Well...my daughter liked him, he got along with my family, and I loved the man, so of course I accepted. As soon as he got back home, he found an apartment (he had still been living at home, as I had...we were 21 and 22, it was ok!) and we made arrangements for my daughter and I to move out there. My daughter and I moved to AZ in August 1996 and Rudy and I married in March 1997. He adopted my daughter in 2000. We also have 3 other kids together. And we are as happy now as we were in the beginning. We moved to Virginia in 2003 for Rudy's work. He is still with AOL. As I readied to board my flight back in 1996, my brother said he thought I would be back home in 6 months. I should have took him up on the bet because I could have made $5 LOL. And the free AOL account Rudy gave me? I still use it to this day. it is my main email account. Why not?? The screenname still applies!

Heather and Jason, Washington

We are a modern rarity — successful Internet daters. Don’t get me wrong: we had waded through the cesspool of online love. Dozens of dates, ranging from horrifyingly bad to meh. It’s a big world of social awkwardness out there, you know? Anyway, we’d found each other’s profiles through dating-website-that-shall-not-be-named and initial communications were promising. We planned a first date at Nooshi near Farragut North. Even if the company was bad, at least the food would be good, right? Luckily for us, the company turned out to be fantastic. Two years later, we’re still eating our way through the DC area.

Wendy Maxwell and John Consiglio, Newport News

We are both artists on a website called DeviantART. I feature (write articles and journals that "show off" other artists and their art), and I was doing a feature of Firefighters (honoring and remembering both the fallen and those still fighting fires every day) and I met him through the feature. We started dating online and via the phone (THANK-YOU Skype and Gmail!!! when he was stationed overseas) and now we get to see each other on weekends. I love my Airman Consiglio very much and I am very proud of him!

Christiana and Nick, Austin

I had flown to Austin last minute for the organization I worked for at the time (I took an earlier flight so I could go out with a friend that night). While he was in Austin (from England) for SXSW interactive conference. My friends and I headed to Bar Six where I literally ran into someone. My now husband had accidentally elbowed me in the face. We started talking and made plans for the next night to grab coffee. As we each finished our days we met up and strolled around the city for several hours - we didn't really want to part. But, I headed back to Tucson and he went back to England where we each ran very large texting bills... before coming to our senses and sending long ridiculous emails and Skype calls. Within a month, he had flown back and we had driven from Tucson to Miami in 4 days... in my non air condition 2 doored hyundai accent. Clearly, we fell in love or I wouldn't be entering our story... But after navigating our way through wedding planning and immigration we're happily still together. We were engaged after only knowing each other for 5 months, and married a year after that - but I don't think I've ever been so grateful to have been hit in the face.

V and Becca, Washington

We met at a teachers night out in D.C. Long story short we saw each other and liked what we saw. She had a pretty smile and nice green eyes. She sounded very educated and could hold a conversation. We ended up working for the same school I asked her out she said yes. First date included dinner at faccia luna, dancing at sign of whale and late night at camelot. Any girl willing to go to camelot on a first date was pretty awesome. Havent been back to camelot since though. On Valentines day we will celebrate our 1st anniversary. She's the love of my life.

Tim & Marie, Alexandria

She worked behind the counter at McDonald's. I worked just down the street and would walk over regularly to buy lunch. ALL the regulars knew to get in her line, regardless of its length, because she was ruthlessly efficient. No chit-chat, no smiles, but dang you got your food fast. She was cute, though, so I started going at odd hours, like 2 pm, to get lunch. After a few months, she began to acknowledge that I was a regular, enough so that when she was quitting to go back to school, I was one of those she told. I panicked, and asked her out. She agreed. It only took another 7 years to get married.... 

Natalie & Xavier, Bethesda

Well, Xavier and I have one of the best or most embarrassing "how we met" stories. In fact, we told his mother that we were just neighbors. My roommate (and friend to this day) and i were doing internships in the DC area. We decided to go out one night sans our guy friends, to a sports bar no less, to watch the Red Sox play. My friend is a huge Red Sox fan and was wearing a Papelbon t-shirt with his name on the back. It was about 2am, we were on our way home, getting off the metro and starting to walk towards our building when a heckler, heading the same direction, made a wisecrack about her jersey. He approached us and then said the most famous line in our entire relationship: "Do you ladies wanna go to breakfast?" I looked at him like he was crazy and immediately denied the line; he was a strange boy i didn't know, i wasn't going anywhere with him! However, he was my type of guy, i loved his style, and he was adorable. So i kept up the conversation until he reached his building and we turned to part ways. This is the most important part of the story: before he could leave, i asked for his number. He had thought i wasn't interested so didn't even try for mine! We parted and i texted him as soon as i got back to my apartment. A week later was our first date and we've been together ever since. It's been 3 years now and we enjoy celebrating anniversaries at diners sometimes... for breakfast, of course. :)

Patrice Courson, Edmonston

I met my childhood sweetheart riding a bicycle down the street in front of my parent's house on a hot summer day in 1968. He had long black hair almost to his waist which wrapped itself around my mind and soul for the next several decades, through various separations and marriages to others. Unfortunately, about the time we got back together, he was murdered by a neighborhood drug dealer and I was devastated. The last thing he ever said to me was: "When I think about you my heart SOAR(s) LIKE AN EAGLE..." which inspired me to write a novel of the same name (available on Amazon.com), detailing our love story. After walking around in a fog for about a year, I met someone else named Carl who was just as wonderful. We have been married for over twenty years and whenever I see or think about my husband he still makes me feel like a teenager all over again.

Kim Brent & Andre Martin, Washington

In April 2009, I was riding the subway home from work; during rush hour, seats are a premium, so of course I was standing. Just happened to be directly across from this guy. For me he was handsome, just my type, but, me being me, I looked away in case he just happened to look in my direction. When I arrived at my stop (Morgan Blvd) it was his also, but we each went our separate ways. I thought I would never see him again, but I was wrong. Little did I know I would see him quite regularly on his walk to the subway from work on Capitol Hill. During the spring and summer I would be standing outside the Library of Congress getting some fresh air in the afternoon and, low and behold, I would spot him walking down 1st Street. I would duck down or move away in hopes he wouldn’t see me. This went on for months…. Then I stopped seeing him and said to myself, Oh well, missed out on that one. Then, one morning in late fall of 2009, I was running late for work. I got to Morgan Blvd and as I approached the escalator down to the subway platform, he was standing right there. Still I said nothing, but in my mind I started plotting, knowing we were getting off at the same station (Capitol South). I was 2 cars behind him. I took out my business card to be ready. When we arrived at Capitol South I knew I had to move fast because he would be ahead of me on the escalator out of the station. The escalator was in service, and that day I was in NO MOOD to move to the left and walk up the escalator. But I knew if I didn’t I would miss my opportunity. With all my trekking up the steps he was still ahead of me. Breathing rather hard and walking brisk in a pair of heeled boots, I caught up with him at the crosswalk. At that point I tapped him on the shoulder, gave him my card, said “I’m tired of just looking at you,” then fled toward work, feeling foolish. But as the saying goes, a try beats a failure. Within about 2 hours my office phone rang and it was him. We talked, went to lunch that day, and almost immediately I went out of town for a previously planned weekend getaway. Didn’t talk to him for a few days, then saw him again on the platform at the Capitol South station. Well, a year later we are engaged to be married. We carpool together and ride Metro everyday. We are a regular fixture in the morning at 1st and C Street, where we kiss and go our separate ways to work and meet at the same place in the evenings to catch the subway home. If not for the Metro we wouldn’t be where we are today. Trains were on time and the escalators worked! "

Rachel and Dan, Durham

"After doing Birth Rite over winter break of my senior year of college, I flew back to the States on December 30--leaving me just a few days before classes started back up. Instead of flying home to California and then back to North Carolina for school, I flew straight into Raleigh-Durham International with the plan to spend a quiet New Years Eve relaxing with a bottle of wine and a bubble bath. Luckily, two friends who worked in the area decided my jet lag wasn't an adequate excuse to spend the night in. After dragging me to dinner and a few deserted bars (because who really spends New Years Eve in Durham, NC), we made our way to 1013--the bar where I sometimes bartended. Walking in, we saw three guys who looked about our age--which was a welcome break from the 50 year old who had been buying us shots at the first bar--and immediately started chatting with them. After talking and dancing with Dan all night, he tried to kiss me at midnight--at which point I told him we couldn't kiss yet because it wasn't midnight yet. The bar was so deserted that we hadn't even done a countdown and I had missed the fact that midnight had come and gone! I asked if we could ""rewind"" to midnight, and I got my kiss. Two years later, we have a few more New Years kisses under our belts--and my manager from the bar still loves to tell me how she played an instrumental role in introducing the two of us."

A&C, Washington

I had just moved from NW Washington to NE Washington in 1989 and was a junior in HS and didn't know anybody. One day I walked to Hechinger Mall in NE and meet this guy , he asked to go out to the movies later we exchanged digits and later he picked me up , we made it a couple of blocks away to Gall University when the cops pulled us over , My date didn't have his license on him and the cops told us we had to walk and couldn't drive that car , all of a sudden he gets mad at me for what I don't know and he said he wasn't going to walk me home , I didn't know where I was so I started walking until i turned a corner a few blocks up and ran right into 10 guys, I was a lil scared at first because I was new to the neighborhood until this handsome guy stepped forward and asked me my name and said are you lost ? where do you live ? as I told him yes and what street I had just moved on he said I know where that is and he walked me home , we exchanged numbers and talked everyday for while until 1 day I was cleaning out my jacket and came across the first guy number and I said this jerk number looks familiar , I checked my baby number with the jerk number and it was the same home number , Later I asked him did he have a brother and he said yes.. WOW!!! if I never met his brother and his brother was a jerk , I would have never gotten lost and ran into his brother trying to find my way home , so it was meant to be , he has been the love of my life ever since.

Melissa and Jay, Frederick

"The year was 1982. I was 14 and Jay was 11. I knew Jay was special but I wouldn’t realize until 27 years later that he was my true love, the one that I was always seeking. Jay played Little League baseball with my younger brother. When I looked at him, my heart would flutter. I was instantly drawn to him. We felt an instant connection to one another. We “went together” for a little while and then lost touch. Fast forward to the year 2009 and my fairytale begins again. I was perusing Facebook one day and saw his name. My heart instantly started to beat faster; on my face was a gigantic smile! I sent him a message and could hardly wait to see if I would hear from him. Jay answered my message and I suddenly felt like a school girl again. Jay and I chatted back and forth over texts and Facebook. A few months later, we took our first motorcycle ride together. Finally, at 41, my dreams are coming true. Words cannot explain what I feel for this man. He truly is an example for other men. We sleep hand in hand all night, every night. He tells me several times a day what I mean to him. He leaves me little love notes all over the house. Just the other day, he left me messages in the shower with bath crayons. On the second of each month, Jay leaves me roses. The roses are usually in several places. He leaves them in bunches by the number of months we have been dating. Also on the second of each month, he takes me to the restaurant where he took me on our first official date. True love like this doesn’t always happen. This kind of love is not experienced by all. I know with all that I am that Jay is my other half, my soul mate, my best friend, my true love, and my life companion."

Amanda and Nick, Tuscaloosa

"My freshman-year college adviser incidentally ended up setting me up with my husband when he told my husband to talk to me about the school's journalism curriculum. But to sum up the long story of how we went from meeting up for coffee to actually dating, we're what happens when stubborn people fall in love at first sight. I was a new student waffling between a journalism or an education degree, so my professor told Nick, who was editor of the yearbook, to get in touch with me and make sure I was getting involved with student media. I was already writing for the newspaper, but when he emailed me, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to meet up with him just to pick someone else’s brain about student media. So we met for coffee, and I started to run into him around campus a little bit. I kind of became absorbed into Nick’s little group of friends. Nick’s friends were entertaining enough, and I was working on a few stories that Nick had assigned me at that point, so I talked to him frequently outside of random run-ins. That led to hanging out on weekends for a concert or something, random dinners at bad Chinese food buffets, late-night trips to IHOP when I would end up dragged along with him and his friends, even a midnight trip to Wendy’s to try the new Vanilla Frosty when a Gmail chat conversation led to a debate about if it would be good at all. Then came Christmas break where we called each other a few times just out of the blue. And we came back to a continuation of the fall: still hanging out, still talking a bunch, still leaning on each other. I’d pretty much decided at that point though that we weren’t going to date. From late August to late January is long enough to decide, I figured. We’d just stay friends at that point. What I didn’t know by then is that Nick had finally come around to realizing that he really did care an awful lot about this person, and at the same time, his friends (who all ended up as groomsmen in our wedding) had what was referred to as a “come to Jesus” meeting with Nick in which they explained that I was pretty awesome and he was being ridiculous by not dating me. Also, I had been wanting to see “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which came out in theaters at the same time as all of this. But none of my fellow freshmen friends were interested, and out his group, only Nick had any interest in going with me when I proposed the idea. So on Feb. 3, we saw the movie (maybe we got dinner first, I can’t remember), and Nick just took me back to my dorm straight after. But not five minutes after he dropped me off, my phone was ringing. “Why are we not dating?” Nick asked when I answered. I didn’t really have a good answer to that one, since by that point, having decided that we were in no way going to date, it kind of took me off guard. But rather than just agree that yes, we’re both being ridiculously stubborn, we should just date, we proceeded to spend about 20 minutes discussing this before Nick hung up so that he could finally just go ahead and drive back to my dorm. And he came back as I went running down to meet him in my pajamas and old Planet Hollywood sweatshirt. I just remember giving him the biggest hug, and haven’t really let go since. Three years to the day that he came back (Feb. 3), Nick proposed to me right next door to the student media building of our alma mater. And a year later, we celebrated our almost-six month wedding anniversary after we were married Aug. 7, 2010."

Reynolds & Louise, Edinburgh

I was studying abroad in Scotland, and my wife, who is from Ireland, was going to school there. It turns out my roommate, also international, was her tutor, and she came over to study and we met. Countless flights later, we were married in Ireland and she moved to America. We have been married 35 years.

Hillary & Jessica, Fairfax

We had actually first connected online through a dating website, which started off rocky. The first time I saw her page, she deleted it the very next day after not having any luck for a few months. Then a few weeks later, she signed back up and I had taken mine offline after I started dating someone. When that didn't work out, I signed back up and saw she was on so we connected through the messaging system. We beat the system by emailing and then canceling after 3 days to get a full refund, a trick for those who can't spend that money. We emailed and talked online for over 6 weeks and the day after her birthday I called to wish her a happy belated birthday. We continued to talk and finally I got the courage to ask her out on a date that night for dinner. We met in the middle at the Hard Times Cafe in Fairfax at around 5pm. They kicked us out at 1:30am and gave us our entire night of playing pool and drinks for free (the only part of the date I will always be curious about). We stood in the cold for another hour talking and ended our 9 hour first date with a kiss. We are about to celebrate our 3 year anniversary in March. :)

Chris and Caryn, Adams Morgan

I (single male) convinced by single male friends to head to Perry's on a Friday night after work for sushi and drinks. We met at the bar. Greeted each other by thumping chests and arm punches. Typical dude night in the city. The hostess lead us to our table for 6. I sat on the end (long legs) which just so happened to share personal space with a girl at the next table over. She recognized one of my friends. Conversation sparked. We chatted the dinner away. After dinner, I begged her to come with us to a jazz bar for one more drink. She did. We spent the entire night laughing about our lives. At the end of the night she wrote her email address down on a bar napkin. I followed up the following week for our first real date. Glad I did, because she is now (6 years later) my wife, my soul mate and the mother of my children. When I did propose to her I incorporated the bar napkin with her email address, which she hadn't realized I saved. Lesson learned: A simple conversation with a stranger can change the trajectory of your life's path for good. Also, always volunteer to sit on the end.

David Stearns, Arlington

I think the story posted on the blog says it all. Wendy and I met at an NHL Awards party at Bailey's in the Ballston Commons Mall. It was kind of crazy and random. Two random hockey fans becoming love birds. Love at first sight. It was all on chance. We both showed up with some friends who dragged us out for a little fun and it just happened. Our eyes met, phone numbers traded, she missed the last metro to Greenbelt to where her car was parked, and I came to the rescue thanks to my trusty friend, John, who told my now fiancee, Wendy, "Oh Dave can drive you to your car!" Plus, he was living up in College Park at the time, so it was a win-win for all. I got to know her better on that car ride from Arlington to Greenbelt, then after dropping her off the text messages went all night, and the first date was set. From there, it was history.

Scott & Lyn, Flemington

My husband and I met in the morgue. While going to college, I was working weekends as a lab clerk and he started working weekends as a morgue assistant. We started talking and he had asked me out to the movies that night, which I said yes. We continued talking and I mentioned that I had never seen inside the morgue. He gave me a tour of the room and we have been together ever since. We tell everyone that our first date was a tour of the morgue. This happened on February 17, 1985 and we were married in 1987.

Brian and Seanna, Indianapolis

I had seen her around and was smitten, but didn't have the nerve to talk to her. one night i was out with my friends and saw her out with her friends. i saw her the next day and struck up a conversation. found out we had mutual friends and went out on a date. when i asked if we could see each other again, she smirked and said maybe. we went out again and again and again. i asked her to marry me about 6 months later and we married on Valentines Day in 98. i still like to go out with her again and again and again.

Laura and Greg, Philadelphia

We had a journalism class but never actually talked. I sat in the front and paid attention, while he said in the back and slept through most of the course, it was an 8:10 a.m. class. We met again after college at a bar in Philadelphia. I sat down next to him and he looked at me and said, "Don't I know you?" I thought it was a lame pick up line, but it turns out we did know each other. We spent the whole night talking at the bar and when it was time to go, instead of asking for my number like a mature man would, he said, " You can find me on Facebook or MySpace," at the time I had neither, so I proceeded to put my number in his phone. We have been together ever since, three plus years!

Nikki Caporale & Brandon Warner, Washington

We first "met" on the online dating site OK-Cupid, in early June. I sent him a virtual wink a quick note telling him that I thought his taste in music based on his profile was superb. He wrote back quickly and we talked about things like our ideal weekend, or our dream vacation, and our favorite places to go in the city. After the 3rd or 4th email exchange he asked me to meet him at Masa 14, we'd both been dying to try it out. On my way to the restaurant I bumped into my Mom in Dupont (she lives just a few blocks from me) and she said "What are you all dressed up for!", and I told her I was on my way to meet my internet boyfriend and if she didn't hear from me in a few days to check the security cameras at Masa 14, that is just how we roll. So when I got to the restaurant I waited for him out front and he was waiting for me at the bar. I thought he was a no show and I texted him, but he popped out to grab me as soon as he got my message. The first date was kind of surreal, I felt really comfortable and I laughed a lot. The conversation flowed pretty well but I could tell Brandon was a little nervous because he must have dropped the f-bomb like 10 times. We had a little awkwardness when the bill came, but he ended up taking care of the tab and we walked to 16th Street where we parted ways. There was a goodbye kiss and I was teeheehee-ing about it all the way home. A few weeks later he invited me to go to the beach with him and his friends over the 4th of July weekend and I kind of panicked. I was worried we were moving too fast and I was intimidated about meeting his friends and being stuck if I was having a bad time. I took the plunge and we headed out there together and it ended up being the most awesome beach trip ever and his friends are awesome. That holiday weekend really sealed the deal for us and now, 7 months later, we are living together and still having a blast. He's my best friend and my favorite person and I'm so glad we got together.

Allen Anderson, Washington

"My Gal Sal".... One morning many years ago I was on the L4 bus going to work as an Investigator at the Department of Commerce in downtown D.C. Nearing the National Zoo I saw a blind lady walking down Connecticut Ave. with her seeing eye dog. Because I thought she might want books read to her on tape I manaaged to find out she lived right next to the Zoo. I contacted her and discovered she worked in that area as a psychotherapist with the DC Institute of Mental Hygiene, helping troubled individuals. People would come to her with THEIR problems! She did indeed want to have books and other media read to her on tape. Thus began a 32 year relationship between this remarkable and inspirational woman and me! Sal (Sally Ann Jumper) and I became very close. We vacationed together as our association grew. She declined my many proposals of marriage because she felt she would be a burden to me, but I loved her more than life itself. She passed away in March 2004 and I felt and feel lost without her. I needed her far more than she ever needed me.

Cherry & Terry White, Forestville

February 4, 2000- Terry and I first met on DC Yahoo Chat and later that day at a concert at the church I grew up in. I was 17 and a Junior in High School and Terry was 19 and a Freshman in College. After the concert Terry and I spent half the night talking and it was very ironic that we found each other to be so compatible. We hung with the same people but just in different arenas. Terry and I complete one another. Other the past year an a half I have been battling and just ended chemotherapy for Uterine Cancer. From Day one Terry has been nothing but supportive and by my side and we know that it wasn't fate that brought us together but it was God.

Barbara and John Eiden Molinaro, Springfield

In September 1977 I got home from work to find my grad school roommate had hoodwinked a guy into helping her with her care - something she knew how to do, and then invited him over to reel him in. I sat down and listened to them talking, thinking he was a bit of a fool, although he had just arrived in town to start school and obviously didn't know better. Then he said something about 'mankind' which was absolutely unacceptable at our school, so my first words to him were a scathing "Well, what about humankind?" The poor guy was totally befuddled and I felt kind of bad for him since he didn't know better about exclusionary language either. We had a class together that semester and became friends, and another class together the following semester. Just before Valentines Day we went out for the first time, then celebrated our first Valentines Day with pizza, and two weeks later got engaged and married in September, almost exactly a year after we met. In these past 35 years has 1) not (dared) to say another sexist word, 2) gotten a lot more savvy about women, 3) often retold the story of how we met with great affection and humor, and 4) been the best friend anyone could possibly have.

Jim & Steve, Washington

I had just relocated to Dupont Circle from Adams Morgan and was going out for a run to clear my head and relax. As I rounded the corner heading up 17th Street, I saw this very handsome man walking a striking dog. I stopped very quickly to "admire the dog" speak a bit about mine and what time I walk her at the corner park. The next day Steve and Teddy (his poodle) showed up and me & Kisha (my white German Shepard) hit it off and found we actually had a lot in common. We had our first date a week later and now 12 years later we are the proud parents of six dogs, two parrots, and a new litter of puppies! happily ensconced in Downtown Silver Spring MD. Happy Valentines Day to Everyone!

Meghan and Thor, Washington

During snowmaggedon, I woke up to 15 inches of snow and no roommate - I had left Cap Lounge early enough to throw myself in front of a taxi and make it home, but my roommate had stayed and ended up crashing on the couch (well, the kitchen floor) of a friend on the Hill. Work was cancelled (thanks, OPM!), grad school was cancelled (gracias, GW) and I was bored to tears. So, I schlepped the six blocks from my place to The Cowboy House, home of friends James and Alex. Fearing starvation, I brought packets of hot chocolate and cornbread I had made that morning. Thor had stayed over at James and Alex's the previous night, after a long night of supporting local businesses on 18th street. James and Alex did not have a tv, but they DID have a carafe of wine (no pesky, unavailable bottle opener needed), which I drank while I lay on the couch and regaled Thor with my brand of cocktail party conversation: the cultural implications of the parasite schistosoma. For some reason, he was attracted to my wine mumblings. I was drawn to the patient, quiet and handsome man with scary tatoos. The group ended up walking from Adams Morgan to Chinatown, and by the time we reached Iron Horse, I was smitten by his sense of humor, brilliance and incredible kindness. We've been together since.

Justin and Keely, College Park

This isn't a joke: we met six years before we started dating. We shared an appreciation for Entry-Level Spanish and college sports during my freshman/her sophomore year at ASU and would see each other every Monday-Thursday during the Spring 2004 semester. However, throughout our time in Tempe, we bonded as inseparable friends rather than an item, even though I always thought she was beyond cute. In 2007, after we graduated, she split for grad school at Maryland while I started work in Phoenix, but we always stayed close. In 2009, I decided to pack up and do grad school myself and ended up choosing Maryland, when she invited me to be her roommate. So, yes, this is the story where guy and girl lived together for a year before they started dating, while all of my friends remained unconvinced that nothing was happening between us. Long story short - we decided to fulfill a mutual bucket list item - New Year's Eve in Times Square - together this past December, and sparks flew. We went up to Manhattan as friends and came back a couple, one 7 years in the making.

Jules and Rob, Agadir

We met at a June training conference while in Peace Corps. Rob was giving a presentation to group but we ran into each other during a break. Turns out we were serving in communities surprisingly close together. I spent the rest of the summer pursuing him until he finally agreed to go on a vacation to the coast with me. We've been together since that weekend and are getting married at the end of the month.

Katy DeLuca and Eric Lucey, Arlington

It's kind of a long story, but it has a happy ending. Eric and I both worked for the same company, but at different times, so we still had some mutual friends. In April of 2008, we met at Cap City during a friend's going away party. We chatted, I thought he was cute and hoped he would call me. Little did I know he also thought I was cute, but hoped I would call him. Alas, neither of us called each other, so we went along our merry ways. Fast forward to a year and half or so later in to August of 2009. At another mutual friend's birthday party, we re-met. Throughout the evening we chatted, and then the party decided to move to a bar in Old Town. Eric helped me move some things to my car and asked me if I was going. I said yes, and told him that I would be heading to the bar early to scope out the guy situation. I was a single girl after all. Once at the bar, I continued to chat with Eric and my other friends while Eric tried to set me up with one of his friends. Needless to say, we did not hit it off. A week or so later, me and my roommate had our apartment housewarming party and I had invited Eric. He showed up and we didn't chat very much, but low and behold, that brief encounter that evening led him to finally ask me out, which he did shortly after the party. However, the night of our date, I had a horrible day at work and just wanted to head home to wallow, so I asked if I could postpone. He was heading to San Francisco for a trip and said he'd call me when he got back. I figured it was typical guy speak and he'd just blow me off. But he called me the first day he was back, and we met up the next night at Bungalow in Shirlington for drinks and football: a Steelers v. Titans game was on that night. He later told me that I was the only girl that had ever made him get butterflies in his stomach. It was during that evening that I realized what a great and amazing guy he was, and we have been together ever since.

Marissa & Dan, Hyderabad

During the winter semester of '06-'07 we were in the same study abroad program in Hyderabad, India Dan introduced himself to me the morning I arrived, only since I was jet-lagged and entirely overwhelmed by actually being in India, I was pretty reserved. He wrote me off as stuck up, and I came to know him as the guy who spent all his time hunched over his MacBook T.Rex-like, Skyping his girlfriend. A couple months and one messy breakup (his) later, he asked me out on a date, to an arcade and movie theater complex. We had a blast playing arcade games and munching curried popcorn, but he kept teasing me because I didn't have an Indian cell phone. The next day, he brought me a pocket notepad that he'd crafted into my new "cell phone" using crayons and a whole lot of creativity. He had given me a 'contacts' page with his cell phone number in it, sent me some text messages and even built in a maze, Sudoku and a word find. I was smitten. After we went out for my 21st birthday, an unremarkable milestone in India and belated due to a case of dysentary (mine), I knew I wanted him to be my boyfriend. We dated long-distance senior year, both moved to D.C. after graduation, and have been together since. We haven't been back to India, but we plan on going, and yes, I will bring my Indian cell phone.

Stephanie and Keith Long, Washington

Keith and I met on June 21, 1986 outside of Annie's Bar (now a Banana Republic) while standing in line to get in. My girlfriends had dragged me out after work, I had thrown my hair into a ponytail, wearing a polka dot tshirt and jeans. I was NOT looking for a guy at all, I was casually dating a guy from school at Towson State. This guy, started making conversation, invading our conversation, cause I was saying how my BF was away fishing. The line was pretty long so it took a while to get into the bar. Where Keith kept approaching us and talking to me. We flirted a bit and danced to the Beastie Boys video that was playing on the big screen (as in movie screen). I finally relented and gave him my phone number written in teal blue eyeliner on a napkin. I came to find out that he had told all of his friends that he was going to marry that girl. The next day he called, and the next and next. Our first date was to see Ruthless People the movie and then Bob's Big Boy for Hot fudge sundae cake. We have been married for nearly 24 years. We still have the napkin, scanned and framed on our wall of pictures. We even took our daughter one Valentine's Day to the spot we met and toured the Banana Republic, explaining where the bar and dance floor was. We are still madly in love! My life would never have been the same if my friends had not taken me out that night!! Thank Goodness!

Christina and Sasan, Washington

We had crossed paths for years . . . he was a trainer in the gym where I worked out, his brother was a bartender at the watering hole, Timberlake's, where my roommate and I spent our time, and he lived just a block from where I did. And we never took any notice of each other until one night. A group of friends and I had gone to see the Cher concert earlier in the evening (I have long had an obsession with Cher), and had been upgraded from our okay seats to the front row center (Cher literally touched us!) by some miraculous twist of fate. After the concert, we returned to Timberlake's to celebrate and enjoy the rest of our Friday night. It was the best night of my life up to that point. In fact, one of Sasan's favorite stories to tell is, "The first time I kissed her, she told me it was the best night of her life." Though, he conveniently leaves Cher out of the equation in the telling. Sasan has indulged my Cher obsession for the past seven years -- we even danced to "After All" as the first dance out our wedding; the other "best day of my life."

Claire & Mike Schmitt, Harrisonburg

Mike and I met in a slightly unconventional way: on the online journal site LiveJournal in April 2007. I was browsing the site one night when I came across Mike's profile, and I noticed we had things in common that I hadn't seen in anyone else before. I left him a comment saying hi -- thinking he'd just be someone cool to talk to -- and before long we were chatting online. As those chats became longer and ending in the early morning hours, we started talking on the phone. Amazingly we realized we didn't really run out of things to say, and that we weren't tired of each other yet. Mike must have felt this pretty strongly, because a couple weeks later he offered to come visit me in Harrisonburg (an 8-hour drive from Myrtle Beach)! Needless to say, Mike's first visit went well, as did my subsequent visit to Myrtle Beach :) Our continuous road trips to see each other went on until I graduated from college in December 2007. In January, Mike's employer suddenly informed him that they were looking to downsize, but since they knew I lived in Virginia, offered to transfer him to where I was instead of letting him go. To make a long story short, Mike accepted the transfer almost instantaneously, and by the end of February we were settling into our new apartment! Our 2-year anniversary was on May 19, 2009. Mike and I decided to have dinner at The Melting Pot again, even though it was what we had done for our first anniversary -- it just seemed right. Everything was normal until after dinner, when Mike started acting a little weird ... like not eating dessert, which never happens! But then he finally said, "so I do have an anniversary present for you ... and it's me." I didn't completely understand at first, but after a few more seconds of explaining, he asked me to marry him and pulled out a ring! It was cute and I wasn't really expecting it, but after letting it sink in for a minute I said yes! We had a long engagement of a year and a half, but no regrets -- we bought our first house in June 2010, and later got married on October 23, 2010!

Hilary Roschke, Bethesda

My husband and I met at the school-bus stop on the corner of Brixton Lane and Fernwood Road (Bethesda) on my first day at Walter Johnson in 1994. I was a Freshman and he was a Junior. He drove the rest of the time, and when it got colder - offered me a ride to class, and asked me out on a date. We have been married since 2003. :)

Brian & Erica, Austin

It was Prom. Yes, really, our graduate school's Prom. But let me back up. I first met Erica at our school's tailgate before the Texas Longhorns' 2008 football season opener. I was wearing a University of Georgia t-shirt -- they were #1 at the time -- which prompted the University of Kentucky grad to come talk some trash. She had a broken finger on one hand and a beer in the other; she was legit. Erica didn't know it at the time, but she'd gotten my attention. We kept bumping into each other through the fall and spring. At a Halloween costume party, where I offered to skillfully end her best friend's then-relationship via text message. At a Vice-Presidential debate viewing party, where I was seated next to a friend donning gear of the "wrong" candidate. And in the library, where I happened to be drinking beer and eating pizza while writing a paper. Whether it was her long-distance relationship back home or the simple fact that she probably thought I was crazy, Erica hadn't been drawn in by my personality. It took Prom to change that. I only own one three-piece suit, and I decided that if I was going to a prom at age 24, I was wearing it! My buddies gave me some flack, suggesting I lose the vest. But I insisted that we depart tout de suite, lest we lose out on the free food. Upon arrival I scanned the room, and there was Erica - in a hot pink dress! We talked on and off for most of the night, mixing our passions for college basketball with our perceived dancing prowess. My friends and I migrated to one bar, then another. But each time, I relayed our destination, and Erica's posse soon arrived. I was sure I'd found my Prom sweetheart! And then a friend got sick. She'd had a few too many spirits, and it was my job to see she got home alright. Dutifully, I brought her some water, convinced her that going home was a good idea, and found some friends with whom she could split a cab. By the time I'd returned, Erica had found a new dancing partner. She thought I'd been canoodling with the sick friend! Dejected, I rounded my amigos and prepared for one last drink. As we readied to leave, I spotted a single Erica. Our eyes met, and she walked over to note her affinity for vests. We began to dance, I told her how awesome the dress was, and we kissed for the first time. I've been wearing vests - mostly of the sweater variety - ever since.

Ellie & Eugene, Limerick

We met in 2007 while I was on a semester abroad. I had been in Ireland 3 weeks at that point and was tired of asking people to repeat themselves. So the first couple times we spoke I would just smile and nod. Eventually I started to understand him.

Don and Julie, Washington

Each year, more than 300 Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” present the history of the Army through the eyes of the American Soldier during Spirit of America performances around the country. Spirit of America, one of the Army’s largest community outreach events, reveals the often lesser known events of perseverance and resiliency of our Soldiers and their families. I have been a member of the marketing and public affairs team for Spirit of America since 2006, planning throughout each year and then spending weeks on the road for the production. In Sept. 2008, only months after arriving to Fort Myer, Va., to serve with The Old Guard, Don, an Army medic, was told he was going to Worcester, Mass., to replace a fellow medic who had to take emergency leave. It was during the last three days of Spirit of America 2008 that we met. He said he noticed me the first day he was at the arena, waiting to get credentials. You become so familiar with the cast and crew after a couple weeks on the road, so when this guy (he was dressed in civilian clothing) started following me around, I had no idea who he was – I thought he worked for the arena. He finally introduced himself to me on the last day. He asked if I was going to go out with him and his friends for a drink that night. I was super stressed out, and said - sure, why not? That afternoon I discovered that he was the replacement medic and that I had no idea where he wanted to go that night. It was only later, by sheer luck and clumsiness that I literally ran smack into him as I was running back to my office after intermission. We exchanged numbers and met after the show. I drove back to Washington that weekend with my boss. The two of us drove her crazy text messaging all the way home. He and I met for happy hour at Bungalow Billiards in Shirlington a few days after our return and months later were living together. In the spring of 2009, Don announced that he was volunteering to deploy to Iraq with The Old Guard. I was nervous because I didn’t know how it would change our relationship. Fortunately the distance only brought us closer. During his mid-tour leave in February 2010, we got married. At first, I thought he was just messing with me when he proposed, but just as when we first met, he was persistent and successful in getting my attention. We discussed it over dinner one night and went to the courthouse the next afternoon. It was just the two of us, and we were wearing jeans, but I wouldn’t have traded that moment for anything. We didn’t have rings or take any pictures, and afterwards we went to a previously planned happy hour at Bungalow Billiards in Shirlington – the site of our first date after returning from Spirit of America in 2008. Coincidentally enough, the medic who Don replaced at Spirit of America 2008 was at the happy hour and was the first person we told about our marriage. Just thirty-six hours after our first kiss as husband and wife, Don returned to Iraq. He returned Aug. 28, 2010. I was working a public affairs mission at Andrews Air Force Base when he returned to the U.S. and blew me a kiss coming off the plane. It was only going to be a week after his arrival before I would be leaving for Spirit of America 2010. Don had asked his leadership while he was deployed if he could work Spirit of America because he didn’t want to be apart for another three weeks. Lucky for us, they assigned him to the mission. We celebrated the two year anniversary of the day we met and our seven month wedding anniversary while on the road. It may seem silly to celebrate a seven month wedding anniversary or even the anniversary of the day you met someone, but Don said there’s nothing that he doesn’t want to celebrate with me. He told me that being away for a year shows you that you can’t let the small moments pass you by. Taking the time away from the other 300 people on the trip to celebrate the day we met – just the two of us - is something he said he would treasure for the rest of his life. The moment I enjoyed the most during the 2010 Spirit of America tour was being able to watch the entire final show of the year with my husband. We were so busy for three weeks, but suddenly it felt like it was just the two of us in the arena. Spirit of America is so much of who we are – both as individuals and as a couple. I’ve always loved my job, but this show has become more than just a way to pay the bills. Telling the Army story, entertaining, informing and inspiring audiences around the country, and gaining support for service members and other families is so rewarding. I look at Don. He’s so strong, yet he tears up during the show. After spending a year away from home and then volunteering to come on the road with us – his devotion to the Army, to both The Old Guard’s tactical and ceremonial missions, and now to his wife… he never ceases to amaze me. Don and I will be apart this year for Valentine’s Day and our first wedding anniversary as he is away for training, but we'll find a special way to celebrate when he comes home.

Ben & Marine, Paris

We met at my first day of class during study abroad in Paris. We dated for the five months that I was there, and at the end she decided to study abroad the next year so that she could follow me back to DC. After six years and more transatlantic flights than I care to count, we got married this past July. All said and done, we moved around 4 cities in 3 different countries to be together. Nothing short of miraculous (especially when you think about the US Immigration process!)

Corinne and Ryan, Washington

At the risk of sounding more than a little immodest, Ryan and I are the kind of couple that people just love - we're fun, outgoing, intelligent and just the right amount of quirky to distinguish ourselves. We have interesting jobs, are well traveled and overall adventuresome. All of these wonderful attributes about us and our relationship has landed us the label of a "great couple" and with that label, we've found that there are expectations for our relationship. When we tell people how we met, they tend to expect a story as exciting as we are, but I'm not sorry to say they're about to be disappointed. The truth is, we met in a perfecty ordinary (albeit no less wonderful) way - we were introduced by a mutual friend over dinner. A relationship was not quick to follow our initial meeting, but in retrospect we both acknowledged that our connection was immediate. A year later we decided to see just how great that connection was and went on our first date, just blocks from where we first met at the corner of 9th and Constitution NW. Henceforth our path to couple greatness was paved. It's been and will continue to be an exhilarating path that we travel together. And while greatness is, well, great, we're not so concerned about arriving at that destination, just as we haven't been terribly bothered by the number of people we've disappointed along they way with our wonderfully ordinary story of how we met.

Emily and James Kotecki, Raleigh

James and I met in high school at the book fair on the first day of junior year. It was 2002, I just transferred to Raleigh Charter High School and a new friend was showing me around introducing me to people. One person she introduced me to was James Kotecki. He’s tall, I'm short. He was standing with his back to the sun so his face was in silhouette. I didn't actually see his face until I realized we were in AP U.S. History class together. He was smart, quirky and pretty darn cute. I decided to make my first move: that October I made him cookies for his birthday. I don't know if he got the hint, but at least we started talking more. In December, an ice storm hit in Raleigh. We planned to get together if there was no school. So my mom and I were driving around Raleigh trying to find his house. Then, out of nowhere, I see James standing on the side of a snowy, icy road. I get dropped off and we proceed to take a three-hour walk through the woods behind his house. On our way back to his house, James suggests we sit down on a cold, icy log to talk. My thought: Hm, okay… We sit in silence for a few seconds before James asks me to be his girlfriend. I say yes. I go to kiss him on the cheek, he turns at the same time and we have an awkward first kiss. We finally make it back to his house. I have to borrow a pair of his pants while mine go in the dryer. We get hot chocolate and play Stratego. We stay together throughout college. He proposed in Las Vegas in December 2007 and we got married January 3, 2009.

Sam and Brian, Arlington

For anyone out there looking for the secret to a successful relationship; I can offer these as a starting point; metro, buffalo wings, and Bill Nye the Science guy. It all started in the bowels of the online dating world, a place normally left for the socially awkward and those with looks of a radio disk jockey. One evening coming home from pushing papers for the largest employer in DC, my Blackberry was abuzz with a new email from cupid’s messenger. I thought OK, here we go again, but this one was different. “So how accurately can you predict the placement of the Metro doors?” it stated; in reference to my profile claim of being able to stand on the platform so the doors open in front of me. “I'm going to be ballsy and say I can beat you 95% of the time.” the challenger stated. Feeling rather confident in my metro doors guessing abilities and her amazing smile I decided to throw caution to the wind and message back. We immediately hit it off and after a couple of weeks talking we decided to meet up for a casual drink or two. We met at a mutually close bar and grabbed a table. Being ever the gentleman I allowed her to order her beverage and chow first. Expecting a glass of Pinot Grigio and a salad coming from the other side of the table, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Lagunitas pils and ten wings, please. I excitedly looked up from the menu to a rather happy orderer looking back. I quickly raddled off my order, which I still cannot remember, and jumped into conversation. The normal “get to know you” banter continued but it was never as awkward as it normally can be. We dove deeper into each other’s likes and hatreds when the bomb was dropped. “I hate the Eagles and Flyers!”, my jaw hit the floor. Growing up in Philly I am much the lover of these two teams and although this normally would be a deal breaker I knew there was something special about this girl. Time seemed to fly by after this and as quick as it seemed, it was time to say goodnight. I walked her to her car, hugged goodnight, and walk away hoping but unsure if there would be a second date. I waited the obligatory two days and gave her a call. To my surprise she was happy and more than willing to see me again. We went on a couple more dates and then went out one night to a local garden of beers. We sat huddled by the fire pit on this cold October night where we saw a familiar face of our childhood. Just a chair away from us was Bill Nye, sipping on a cold one, and sharing his displeasure for the Yankees who were about to lose to Texas in the ALCS. Yeah, Bill Nye doesn’t like the Yankees or the Phillies for that matter (We had a talk about that). But I digress. After talking about science experiments and discussing buoyancy we decided that it was nothing but fate. We quickly decided to make our relationship Facebook official. We have been together since, with no vision of an end point. Who knew the only thing metro could get right was love? I would also like to take this time to apologies to all the CAPS fans out there. It is apparently my fault that you have lost a number of games this year. I am now forbade from go to, watching, or checking the scores of their games. I’m sorry…

Amy and John, Washington

I met my now husband at Stetson's - that's right Stetson's - on U street. Not only did we actually find love in a slightly seedy bar, we found love in a slightly seedy bar on New Years Eve.Since some of his friends did know some of my friends, technically we did not lie to my parents when we told them we met at "a mutual friend's party." But the cold hard truth is that for the rest of our lives when someone asks where we met, the answer is "that bar where the Bush twins got busted for under-age drinking." Our first date was a couple of weeks later, at Zaytina - obviously a venue much more inductive to romance, and things only got better from there. We were married a little over a year and a half ago at a Virginia vineyard. The wedding was everything we hoped for, and we were very grateful none of our friends brought up how we met.

Elliot and Elyse, Warwick

I've been asked enough times where I met my girlfriend, Elyse, that I have a go-to line that I always use: "Camp. All Jews meet at camp." And though that might not be the case, it certainly was for us. It was the summer of 2005, and though we only truly met on the last day we were both there, she made a definite impression. We began to talk online fairly regularly, fell out of contact a while, but then found our way back to each other in the fall of 2008. That October, I suddenly found myself with nonrefundable airline tickets to New York City and no one to stay with; long story. So in a moment of serendipity, I called her to ask if she might meet me in NYC. To my utter surprise (and delight), she said yes. And though it took us 3+ years to get together, we haven't looked back since.

Jeff and Amy, Scranton

I first met Amy when we were out one night with mutual friends. We talked and had a great time, but didn't get to exchange numbers before Amy had to leave. Then the very next night, I was out at a different place I had never been before, in a completely different area, and there of course Amy showed up again. The implausible second chance was a sign, and we started dating. We were married four years, four months and 20 days later.

Mandy & Ben, Kent

I met my husband years before we ever really became friends or began dating. I was working at the campus newspaper during the summer and our advisor brought an incoming freshman in for a newsroom tour. When we were introduced, the advisor (jokingly, I hope) said this kid "was going to be my boss someday". Ben does not remember it this way, but he was 18 and met a lot of people that day. I probably only remember it because I was really insulted at the time. Now it's pretty funny.

Lisa Rowan, Washington

A colleague roped me into being auctioned off for charity about two weeks after Valentine's Day. She promised that the auctionees didn't actually have to go out with the people who won them. Technically, she was right. But Michael wooed me with white wine and joint reminiscences of going to UMD, and when the bidding started, it seemed too easy. Needless to say I went out with the person who won me. That was two years ago.



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  1. JC1234 JC1234

    J C

    Feb 10, 2011 - 10:21:17 AM

    Thanks. These are all great. When will you announce the winner?

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    • jeffsonderman

      Jeff Sonderman

      Feb 10, 2011 - 05:15:05 PM

      We will have an update on the winner on Valentine's Day.

  2. Carol B. Carol B.

    Carol Anderson

    Feb 09, 2011 - 10:47:42 PM

    When my husband was pledging his fraternity at the University of Maryland in 1961, he had to meet and interview one girl from each sorority on campus. We met at the Cancer Carnaval at Wheaton Paza in April 1961, where the fraternities and sororities from the University of Maryland were manning the booths. He interviewed me as the member from my sorority. We were pinned in 1962 on Valentines Day, engaged in 1963 and married in 1964. We celebrated our 46th anniversery last August.

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