Table Talkers remember the one that got away -- and why it was for the best.

By Salon Staff

Published February 18, 2005 3:54PM (EST)

Private Life

The Ones That Got Away

Mary1971 - 02:42 p.m. Pacific Time - Feb. 14, 2005 - #276 of 283

I didn't date at all during high school. I was a shy, picked-on oddball.

My senior year, I decided, was going to be different. No longer was I going to wait around for people to come say hello to me -- I was going to go out and say hello to them.

For the two years of junior high, and the four of senior high, Chris sat in front of me in homeroom. I didn't take much notice of him, until we ended up in a few classes together senior year, most notably the brand new speech class.

One warm May day, our teacher decided we were not going to do anything that class period -- we were instructed just to sit around and talk. Chris and I were laughing over being "married" in health class and how much we liked the speech class. Together, we watched a bee try to get into the classroom, and had a good laugh about how it was trying so hard to get into a place we both hated so much.

I still remember that moment when our eyes connected. I remember staring into his bluer-than-blue eyes, and I realized that I had stronger feelings for him than I had ever had for anyone.

But I was chicken, and didn't ask him out. We graduated and went our separate ways. I bumped into him a few times, and I could still feel that old spark, but I never gave him a way to get in touch with me. It came to pass that I ran into our high school president, who assured me that Chris had married, moved to Arizona, and was going to be a father in a few months. I lamented what could have been, and I moved on.

A few years ago, I was in between relationships, and I checked out Yahoo Personals, and came across a profile. The picture looked a lot like Chris, and I responded.

Our class president was wrong. Chris never married, never moved to Arizona, and didn't have any children. He moved to an apartment over my dentist's office, a dentist I had gone to for over 10 years, until I moved out of the neighborhood. And I found him in the personals. Once he found out who I was, he wrote he had harbored those same feelings of attraction and regret that I had. In fact, he wrote he had thought me attractive way before that moment in senior year. I was flattered and thrilled.

I had such high hopes for that coffee date. I remember how meticulous I was in making myself up, trying on every outfit in my closet, watching my cheeks warm with anticipation. Would this be the end of my hideous, hopeless dating history?

My hopes were crushed when it became apparent I had grown up ... and Chris had not. So he got away, but I can't help but think it was for the best. Had it worked out when we were young, I would have never found the wonderful man I'm with now.

I hope Chris found that perfect woman, though, and he remains a turning point in my life.

Mothers Who Think

Blambi, Latrina, Dwayno: Bad Names and the People Who Mock Them

NicoleM - 07:15 a.m. Pacific Time - Feb. 11, 2005 - #4260 of 4354

I have always hated my maiden name. I thought it was ugly -- it had an unpleasant sound, probably because the first four letters spelled a word that meant something . . . unpleasant. Anyway, when I was in law school my best pal was a guy name Wade, who happened to be a Homosexual-American. His parents had kicked him out of the house literally the day of his high school graduation, and he hadn't had much of a relationship with them since then. Meanwhile, I was 23 with no significant other in sight. I had looked into changing my last name, but I couldn't decide what to change it to, and the hoops I would have to jump through seemed like a big PITA. I figured it would be easier to just get married.

On Friday afternoons, Wade and I liked to go have a drink and then go to the Bon Marche and fantasize about all the stuff we would buy when we were rich lawyers. On this particular Friday, we had two or three drinks first, so we were both a little tipsy.

We were wandering around the store when suddenly I had brilliant idea. We could get married! I could have his last name (which wasn't particularly attractive or even really spellable, but it was better than mine), his parents wouldn't hate him anymore, and we could register for all the stuff we wanted so we wouldn't even have to buy it! "And then," I said to Wade, "we can do our own annulment!"

Well, poor Wade flipped out on me. He ran away. I couldn't find him for a while. Finally I think I trapped him in the men's jeans section and demanded to know why he freaked and bolted. He looked at me with a bit of panic on his face and said, "YOU SAID WE COULD DO IT ALL NIGHT!"

When I finished laughing, I explained to him that I had said we could do our own ANNULMENT, and that I had no interest in doing "it" all night with him. He heaved a big sigh of relief, and we went about our pretend shopping.

We never did get married.

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