I’m not sure why I’m in such a walk-down-memory-lane sort of mood lately, but I am. Today I’m going to tell you one of my favorite stories. It involves one of my oldest and dearest friends, a sorority sister whose privacy I want to be very careful to protect. So I’ll just tell you only that her name begins with Mich- and ends in -elle.
(I’m totally giving her a hard time, because I know she’s reading this. Hi, darlin’!)
Hubs and I first met our junior year in college, Michelle and Hubs were both very active leaders in a particular student organization. They had to work closely together, and in the course of their interactions they had somehow butted heads. Badly. Both of these people I love dearly are very (how shall I say it?) independent-minded, and the two of them together wasn’t a nice combination.
Anyway, Hubs and I had met in February of ’93, with initially disastrous impressions of each other. Thankfully, circumstances continued to put us around each other, and we formed more favorable opinions. We quickly became friends, and I developed a pretty significant crush on this smart, funny, ambitious fraternity boy who was unlike anyone I’d ever met.
In March, my sorority held a "date function", which is another word for "cruel, medieval torture device." Not really, but it did mean that the girl from the sorority invited a boy to the party. As in, asked him out. On a DATE. Because of the very proper way I’d (thankfully) been raised, I would’ve rather thrown myself in front of a bus than ask a boy out, so I had skipped most of these date functions up to that point.
But then there was Hubs. And I WANTED A DATE with that man. I fretted and stewed and wrung my hands and somehow summoned every ounce of courage deep in my soul. I was going to ask him to the party.
This particular date function required that the sorority member sign up her date’s name on a list posted in the chapter house. Then that list would be published in the student newspaper, and the girl would then call the boy and say, "Hey! Did you see your name on the list? That was from me!"
So not only could you potentially be rejected, but you could potentially be rejected with the entire University of Arkansas watching. It was a grand tradition.
With sweaty palms, I nervously wrote "Hubs Dryer" on the list. It was horrible, but I was ready to sacrifice my dignity for a date with Dream Boy. I took a deep breath and dashed to class.
As I headed across campus, though, I heard someone shouting my name. It was Michelle, and she was frantically chasing me. Breathless, she said, "Did I see that you put Hubs Dryer‘s name on the date function list? I didn’t even know you knew him!"
"Yes," I told her. "We met about a month ago, and I think I like him."
She told me how she knew him, how they’d worked together. "Shannon," she said firmly. "He is AWFUL. So bossy. You cannot possibly go out with him." Then she delivered the final blow: "Trust me–the two of you would NEVER work out."
Of course, that was just IT for me. My nerves couldn’t take anymore. As soon as I got the chance, I thoroughly erased his name from the list, thankful my friend had spared me from a horrible date with Awful Boy.
Yet, Awful Boy continued to show up in my path, almost daily. And he wasn’t that awful. Not at all. When he spared me the trauma and asked me out a month later, I fell hard.
The wonderful irony of this story (and there is much) is that Michelle and Hubs are dear friends now, which tickles me pink. Except for this one gaping incident, every other piece of advice she’s given me has been spot-on correct, but I still won’t let her live it down. In fact, I recall standing behind her in the foyer of my hometown church on my wedding day. Pachelbel’s Canon in D was swirling in the air and Michelle, my maid of honor, was about to head down the aisle.
"We’d never work out, huh?" I whispered.
Thankfully, a good sense of humor is one of her many gifts. (I love you, my sweet friend! Oh, and Awful Boy? I love you too.)