I didn't think my husband was my type. It turned out, I didn't know what my type was until we met.
I met my husband in a bar on Valentine's Day. The next day, he texted me "Good luck" just before a job interview that I didn't remember mentioning. I debated whether to call or text him back. I was 29 and looking for a husband. This was back when I had a flip phone, and had no time for flirting with my thumbs. I wanted to call, but I didn't want to be too much.
I called a married friend for advice.
"Call him," she said.
"Don't text him?"
"He texted you to test the waters. He wants you to call."
Her kid started to wail in the background. "I have to go. Call him."
Before I could chicken out, I highlighted his number and hit send. He hadn't even asked me if I was free that weekend when he admitted, "I have a confession." Dan was cute. He was smart. He asked me questions and really listened to the answers. He had a job. He was an amazing kisser. Of course he had a confession.
I braced myself for the inevitable catch. Maybe he was still living with his ex-wife. Or he was about to embark on a sex change. Perhaps he'd been offered his dream job in Antarctica.
"I have to admit, I Googled you. I found your blog. It's hilarious."
I exhaled, relieved that it wasn't the alcohol. He really was a gem. Except, it turned out, he didn't meet several of my Very Important Requirements. When I met Dan, I was active on two dating websites and my search criteria included only guys who met these Very Important Requirements, which were:
1. He must be Jewish or Jewish-familiar.
I wanted to meet someone Jewish, ideally. Otherwise, he should've been to his share of Bar Mitzvahs and danced the Hora at his friends' Jewish weddings. I didn't want to be the one to teach him how to pronounce the ch in challah or to explain exactly what's in gefilte fish.
Dan was raised Presbyterian and considered himself an atheist. He was pretty sure he'd never known a Jew in his life.
2. He must be athletic.
Only someone who was serious about sports would understand me — how I got twitchy if a change in schedule threatened my workout, the way I planned vacations around my races, and the hours I devoted to training for my latest obsession, the ironman triathlon. What if my man didn't run, bike, or swim when we hang out?
Dan biked for commuting purposes only and his preferred form of exercise was hiking. As far as I knew, you couldn't win at hiking or bike commuting.
3. He must appreciate fashion.
The guy for me didn't have to be metrosexual, but he'd wear a crisp pair of khakis and a freshly ironed button-down with style. Any profile featuring photos of a man in a baggy t-shirt or jean shorts was ineligible.
Dan wore a smart-looking button-down shirt the night we met. We later dubbed it "The Party Shirt." I'd soon learn that The Party Shirt was made of wrinkle-resistant fabric, and like Dan's enthusiasm for dancing with me that night, had been a ruse to lure me. By the time he wore his black pea coat over a threadbare t-shirt and 15-year-old mesh shorts, it was too late. I was already madly in love.
What no internet algorithm could've calculated was the fact that I didn't know what kind of guy would make me happy until I found him.
Neither the internet, nor I, could've predicted that despite knowing very little about Judaism, Dan would agree to raise our kids Jewish, a stipulation he agreed to before we'd even exchanged "I love yous." Seven years and two kids later, we're figuring out how to raise Jewish children as we go. Also, he happens to love gefilte fish.
Even the all-knowing Google couldn't have guessed that two weeks after we met, Dan would ask for my help shopping for his first road bike. He's never been obsessive about training, but that's OK; the last thing I need is another load of spandex to throw in the laundry.
I'm slowly learning to accept that he likes his clothes "lived-in." It helps that his preference for the relaxed look saves me a lot of ironing.
I love the internet. I love searching for recipes and crafts I'll never make on Pinterest. I love salivating over menus before booking a reservation at the perfect restaurant. I even love when Facebook's sidebar ads remind me of the adorable red boots I've had my eye on. (Dan doesn't love this.)
As magical as the internet is, there's nothing more marvelous than the magic of the universe. It was the universe, not the internet, that redefined my Very Important Requirements when it brought me the man I didn't know I needed to meet.
Or maybe it was the gin and tonics.