Reader Question: How Did You And Anthony Meet?

28 Feb

Little Big reader Nadja wanted to hear the story of how Anthony and I got together. Some names have been changed to protect the very-much-non-innocent.

High school was not a pleasant time in my life. It was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. My family was smack-dab in the middle of alcoholic dysfunction, we were poor and I was awkward, I was surly and rebellious. I pushed a lot of people away by being aggressively standoffish.  I had few friends but those I did have I loved fiercely. It was such a bad time in my life that for years after I would cringe when people would exclaim that Anthony and I were high school sweethearts. We were not charmed innocents kissing under the bleachers at a football game. We were much more interesting.

Here I am, circa 1996, just living my life in thrift stores, sleeping on window displays at the Salvation Army. Often I was with my best friend who, for privacy’s sake, we’ll refer to as Ambee Woo. Ambee Woo was my near constant thrifting companion and I spent the money I made babysitting on boy’s jeans, polyester shirts, and apparently, paintings of Paris. Just like today, I am always the one leaving the thrift store with more bags than anyone else.

There’s Ambee Woo. She had a huge crush on a guy we’ll call “the Ritter.” He was having a party, and Ambee Woo was invited. I’m her wingman, and normally, I’d have her back. “I don’t know if I want to go,” I told her. “I’m leaving town for a funeral tomorrow.”

“I know,” said Ambee Woo. “But, please, Carrie? I don’t want to go by myself.”

I relented. I’d go, I told her, but I wasn’t going to stay all that late.

We went. I wore ripped jeans, my favorite pale blue thrifted SF Pickwick baby doll shirt, dark red doc martens, and a bracelet I’d made out of a choke chain. In short, I gave almost no thought to my appearance.

Anthony attracted my attention on campus, but our paths had never crossed. He had perfect jet-black hair, high cheekbones, and impeccable taste in thrifted shirts. All the boys I knew who had copped a thrifted style did so ironically with a grunge edge. They’d wear their D.A.R.E. t-shirts with gnarly, unbrushed hair and long-sleeved unbuttoned flannel shirt. Their look seemed to say, “I’m ironic and dirty and for some reason I think this will get me laid.” Anthony’s hair may have been shaggy, but his look was clean and polished in a way that said, “I am fully confident in my looks and sexuality which is why you want me even though I’m wearing a woman’s polyester shirt. BOO-YA.” I didn’t know his name. I happened to be dating two boys at the time so it didn’t matter.

When we walked into the party, I froze. There he was, in a fantastic polyester shirt, chatting it up with the Ritter.

It instantly occurred to me that when you meet a person you have admired from afar a couple things could happen.

Upon opening his mouth he could the biggest idiot who had ever lived, and for my fantasy’s sake, I desperately wanted to avoid that. What if he was arrogant? Arrogant men are the worst. What if he was mean to animals, or had specific, repugnant theories about “what chicks liked”? He could be dull. DULL! I would not stand for it. He could be a dull, arrogant, racist, misogynistic frog torturer who hated reading. That would be awful.

Or, even worse, he could open his mouth and be the most perfect being in all creation, and you’d be standing there in your scuffed boots with a stupid dog chain bracelet, and everyone, including him, would be wondering why you were allowed to be in his presence. I felt that this was far more likely.

It’d be all over. You could never fantasize about sunlight hitting his warm brown skin without remembering your failure.

I wanted to run, I wanted to hide, I wanted to be anywhere but there.

I don’t know exactly how Ambee Woo knew I liked him, but she did. Despite my frantic attempt at an exit, she pulled me over and before I could stop her she  introduced us. I remember being able to say nothing, so she told him my name. “I’m Anthony,” said the most perfect being in creation. It was all over. I was in love in one breath.

It turns out I wasn’t irreparably flawed, and perfect beings don’t exist. It turns out we were both pretty wonderful people who had flaws and imperfections. We both enjoyed reading and dancing and never cast so much as a threatening glace toward an amphibian. Without a thought I broke it off with the other two dudes and Anthony and I became inseparable.

It’s pretty much the same today.

And now, picture time!

The photo below is from one of the Proms we attended. I’m wearing my DIY corsage, some painful-looking wedge heels, and Harry Potter glasses.  Anthony is wearing the best sideburns ever and a look that says, “I’m done taking pictures now, Dee.” My mom must not have heard that look because she took at least three more photos after this one and, like a flipbook, you can see his face grow more and more annoyed.

The glint of the camera’s flash on my nose ring makes it look like I have a fantastic golden booger. Ignore that.

Anthony took this photo of me at prom using someone else’s camera. I’m sharing it because it looks like I showed up to the prom completely naked.

Later that night we went to a Denny’s in a nearby town and people kept coming up to us and saying congratulations. We couldn’t figure out why until we realized their prom wasn’t for another month, so they assumed we had just gotten married.

Here we are before our actual wedding. I dyed my hair dark brown and weighed about fifteen pounds.

Here we are at our actual wedding in 2003.

We did not go to Denny’s afterward.

I answer a reader question once a month. Do you have a question for me? I’d love to answer it! If it’s a short one I’ll answer it here. If it’s more complicated, I’ll give it its own post. You can leave your question in the comments, @-reply me on twitter, email it to me at alittlebigblog@gmail.com or send me a messenger pigeon. Don’t actually do the last one, though. My cat will eat it. Be sure to let me know if you want me to include your name and link to your blog or shop. Anonymous questions are fine, too.

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27 Responses to “Reader Question: How Did You And Anthony Meet?”

  1. Leslie February 28, 2013 at 3:35 am #

    I love stories that have happy endings and I love when LOVE wins. I wish you and Anthony a long and healthy marriage.
    Leslie recently posted..Oscar Recap 2013My Profile

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      Thank you! We celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this year, though we’ve been together fifteen years total.

  2. nadja February 28, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Oh this made my morning. I love these stories and you guys are so cute. I want to squeeze Anthony’s adorable face and make old creepy aunt kissy faces at him.

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      I would pay money to see that.

  3. Mae February 28, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Aww… I love this story. It makes me super happy to know you guys are still together. I’m trying to remember that nasty malt liquor we were drinking… Strawberry Kiwi flavored?!?! Eww.

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Fortunately it killed so many brain cells I can’t remember!

  4. Anne February 28, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    This is so sweet I can hardly stand it! You can really tell from these photos how much you two care about each other. It is heartwarming!
    Anne recently posted..Blythe Swap: Dolls for Our Dolls (what I sent)My Profile

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

      Thank you so much, Anne! I’m pretty stoked we still like each other. :)

  5. Salvaged Strawberry February 28, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    This is amazing. So glad you shared this story – and your wedding dress is beautiful – I wish I would have seen this photo before I just dropped half my bank account on a dress for our wedding. I totally would have borrowed yours. And, our paths do not sound terribly different; I can relate to a good deal of this from the awkwardness, to hanging at Denny’s (why did we do this?), and being a thrifter at heart from a young age with no apparent sense of style until much later in life (me, not you). :) xo

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      I am so lucky to have had this dress. Anthony’s family is Guatemalan and an 80-year-old relative of his, Pia, made this dress for me by hand.

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Also! I forgot. I weighed literally 100lbs when I got married, so I’ll never be able to wear it again. Sadness!

      And it sounds like we would have been fast friends. :)

  6. laorganista February 28, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    I heart all of these photos and this lovely story! Love you two. <3

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Love you, lady. Thanks for all the years friendship, fun, and support. <3

  7. allisonthemeep February 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    I lovelovelove this story. It’s so awesome to see cool people who have been together a really long time, and are still making it work and still like each other so much.

    Weirdly, I was just thinking of telling the Legend of the Meeps on my blawg because people keep asking how Wade and I met. I may have to pull a total copycat maneuver.
    allisonthemeep recently posted..threeMy Profile

    • Carrie Anne February 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      I feel like Anthony and I really understand each other well and we’ve worked really hard to have a good relationship and keep communication open, even with things are hard. Especially when things are hard.

      I would LOVE to hear the Legend of the Meeps! Looking forward to it!

  8. Heather March 1, 2013 at 6:46 am #

    What’s funny is that I had the exact same prom experience with the white dress and Denny’s and people thinking my date and I had just gotten married. But, I didn’t keep in touch with my date over the years. I saw him once in the subway system years later but didn’t want to yell his name on the crowded platform to get his attention. He was no Anthony though so it was probably for the best.

    • Carrie Anne March 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      That is so hilarious!

  9. Stefani March 1, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    *heart*

    • Carrie Anne March 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      xoxo

  10. Laura March 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    SO much more than high school sweethearts. This is one of the greatest stories ever written.

    • Carrie Anne March 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      YOU ARE MAKING ME TEAR UP LIKE A CRAZY PERSON.

  11. Jose Gonzalez March 4, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    :) Lovely

    Looking forward to the one with the pegacorn.

    And all the follow-up Voltaire stories ;p

    • Carrie Anne March 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      Like our ninja movie? Or any of the movies? That was the best.

      P.S. Let us know the next time you guys are going dancing. We’d love to come, we just couldn’t get a sitter last time! I’m down for shaking it Latin music all kinds.

  12. AmandaStretch March 4, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I love this! Here’s to a bazillion more years of happiness!
    AmandaStretch recently posted..I’m getting married in the morning!My Profile

    • Carrie Anne March 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Thanks, Lady! Back atcha. :)

  13. Windsor Grace March 7, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    So sweet! I had a similarly difficult (from what you said above it sounds similar) high school time, but didn’t date the nice guy.

    I love seeing those pictures of you guys. :)
    Windsor Grace recently posted..This weather has caused Chico and me to lose the will to liveMy Profile

    • Carrie Anne March 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Don’t worry, I dated plenty of assholes. Hell, I broke up with two of them to date Anthony!

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