He wasn't my type. We worked together, and he kept asking me to do things with him, in a collegial sort of way. But when my friends asked if he might be a romantic possibility, I assured them that he wasn't my type at all. I had always been attracted to powerful older men —the kind who charm the pants off every woman they meet. You can imagine how well this worked out for me.
But Jeremy was a peer. Instead of being a generation older and far more successful than I, he was almost three years younger and a fellow reporter for the same newspaper. I was used to aggressive guys whose idea of a good time was hurtling down a black diamond run. Jeremy was a bespectacled theater expert who had spent the Vietnam War years as a conscientious objector teaching emotionally disturbed children.
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When I wore high heels, I was almost as tall as he was—quite a change from my previous loves, most of whom towered over me from formidable heights. Unfortunately, they were as domineering emotionally as they were dominating physically, which was one of several reasons I had sworn off men. But Jeremy was patient and persistent; no matter how many invitations I declined, he didn't take offense and always tried again.
As cultural news reporters, we were both required to see the same plays, so we'd go together. Afterward, starving, we'd go to dinner. Our conversations grew more intimate. As the months rolled by, my friends became increasingly suspicious: Jeremy again? Are you sure there's nothing going on here?" "Absolutely not," I insisted. "He's not my type at all."
And, if truth be told, I was pretty sure I wasn't his type, either. His previous wife was very short, dark, introverted, and Jewish. I am a tall, blond, extroverted WASP. We were clearly not a match.
But I was 36 when I met him, and pretty soon I was 37. My biological clock was making quite a racket. As for Jeremy, every time we passed a baby in a stroller or saw a toddler at a restaurant, he was transfixed. He really wanted to start a family, an issue that hadbeen a source of conflict in his former marriage. "Do you want to have kids?" Jeremy asked me late one night as we waited for our hamburgers at a 24-hour diner.
"I would have loved to, but I've accepted the fact that it's probably never going to happen," I said. "I've made my peace with it." He smiled understandingly—so understandingly that my eyes welled with tears. Horrified, I acted as if there were something wrong with my contact lenses.
But Jeremy was always very kind. I had recently gone into therapy (mostly to try to figure out why I had such disastrous taste in men), and like a dope I had accepted an early morning time slot. So I'd see my shrink, sob through my session, and come to the office with mascara smeared all over my face. One morning I arrived in particularly terrible shape, still weeping. Jeremy materialized at my desk. He didn't ask if I was all right; he knew perfectly well that I wasn't. "Go home," he said firmly. "I'll go tell them you didn't feel well. Just get out of here."
I nodded gratefully, took a cab to my apartment and fell into a deep, exhausted sleep. The phone rang at 4 P.M. "Just checking up on you," he said. "How are you doing?"
"A little better," I said, partly because that's what you're supposed to say and partly because I suddenly realized it was true: the simple fact that he had cared enough to call made me feel at least a little bit comforted.
Then one day, Jeremy asked me to go to a program at a theater a couple of blocks from his apartment, which I had never visited. "Now you're in for it," said my closest office friend, with unseemly glee. "He'll ask you back to his place, and then he'll make a pass at you. What are you going to do?" Jeremy did invite me to see his apartment, and he did make a pass. The next day he asked me to marry him. Here's where I have to admit that I was a commitment-phobe myself. Stalling for escape clauses, I asked if we could have a long engagement. "How long did you have in mind?" he inquired.
"Maybe 10 years?" He shook his head calmly, still smiling that understanding smile. My eyes welled with tears again.
At our wedding, I was so terrified of getting married that I almost fainted. Jeremy kept a steady grip on my elbow. Panicked, I kept sneaking sideways looks at him and thinking desperately, "But he's not my type!"
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