It was a hot summer evening at the University of Southern California (USC). Campus was the alive with the energy for the second week of classes on that fateful Tuesday night of September 9, 2003.
The University of Southern California
I started off the evening in my Sorority house – where I lived with most of my bestest friends in the world.
I was studying (who am I kidding, it was only the second week of classes, I was probably watching a movie) when one of my best friends, Marisa popped by my room, and asked, “do you want to do margarita Tuesday at La Barca with Matt and I tonight?”
“Ugh, I’m not sure if I’m going to out tonight. I’m all tired from rush and all the parties last week. I might just stay here.” I replied.
“Pleeeease come out with us” Marisa begged. “I’m sick of it just being Matt and me as a couple. It’s more fun to go out with more people.
“Fine, I’ll go.” I said cheerfully, giving in. I’ve always caved to peer pressure easily. Good thing that I did NOT stay in that night.
So an hour later we piled into Matt's truck and spent the next few hours enjoying cheep burritos and margaritas at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. It was one of those perfect dinners – all laughs, and toasts, and stories of summer.
This picture was taken a couple of months later but I was wearing this exact shirt the night I met the Mr.
We arrived back at our sorority keyed up from our dinner and margaritas. No way were we ending this night early. So we grabbed a couple of sorority sisters and walked to the just down-the-street, campus dive bar, the 901 Club, or as the locals call it, the 9-0.
We showed our “IDs” to the bouncer and he let us in. When you walk into the 9-0 the smell of the beer-soak floors hits you like ton of bricks. But we didn’t care. We went for the crowd, not the ambiance.
That night the 9-0 was jam-packed with every sorority girl, jock, fraternity boy, and GDI looking to be a part of the whos-who USC social-scene. It was too crowded to really even dance but that didn’t stop us. It was uncharacteristically hot for a Los Angeles night – maybe 80-some degrees outside and 100 degrees inside of the jam-packed bar.
I was out on the dance floor and ran into a guy that I had dated sophomore year. We exchanged pleasantries and he introduced me to an acquaintance of his, his freshman year apartment-mate, J. In the dark bar I couldn’t really see his face, but I could see that he was very tall. And I love tall guys.
I don't know if it I believe in love at first site, but I like to say it was "chemistry" at first site.
Ben turned to me and asked if I wanted to dance. And I did.
After a song or two on the make-shift dance floor, J leaned over to me and asked, “Do you want to get out of here? It’s so hot!”
“Yes!” I replied enthusiastically because I was sweltering. And the next thing I knew we were out the door.
“Where are we going?” I asked him.
“Oh my fraternity house is just across the street, let’s go there,” he replied.
About a million things raced through my mind. Was he a sketchy guy? A total player? Did he think that I was going to hook up with him after knowing him for less than an hour? I should have never left with him just because I was so hot. Dang this LA heat!
I wanted to just run home, but something inside me said that I should stay.
And my instincts were right. We ended up just sitting on his couch all night talking. We talked about our families, home towns, majors, passions, dreams, and more. We were the same grade, both Greek, and lived within a block of each other -- we felt like we'd known each other for years. I think we talked until 4:00 AM before he finally walked me home. As we were getting ready to leave his house, he gave me a quick kiss and asked me for my phone number. I gave it to him and exactly two days later he called me to go out.
And a couple of months later we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.
But that’s just the beginning of the story. The real story is how we turned a random chance meeting at bar into a lasting love and marriage. But that's a story for another day!
One of our first pictures as a couple taken at one of my sorority invites.
Want to read more about our early relationship? You can see our first love letters here.
14 hours ago