Like most everyone, I was brought up to believe that romance and falling in love is indeed a very specific, time-tested process. Everyone seems to think that after you meet someone, you need to date for a while (sometimes for years) and then eventually decide if you want to marry this person. After years in the dating scene, I started to tire of it. In fact, dating felt like a never-ending job interview. And, since as we all know, the divorce rate hovers around fifty percent, so any reasonable person might conclude that there’s got to be a better way of finding romantic happiness.
Unbeknownst to me, at another location in the city, a woman named Kathy had similarly reached the end of her dating rope and was about to purchase sperm from a cryobank. How did I discover that? By striking up a conversation with her later that night at a restaurant as we waited for our to-go pizzas. Chemistry kicked in and by the time our pizzas were ready, we decided to share a table and eat right there.
What followed was the traditional “Exchanging of the Dating Horror Stories,” along with much laughter and mutual attraction. She told me about one date who still lived at home with his parents, had no car or job, and cried during sex.
Whether it was our shared past dating hell, our shared two bottles of wine, or simply that we were two people who’d met at the right time in our lives and couldn’t immediately see any drawbacks or red flags – we were bonding rather quickly. I felt it. Kathy felt it.
The next night we went out on our first date and dinner went great. We shared our thoughts on marriage and came to the same conclusion: at some point, you just pick someone. And so as I walked Kathy to her car, an incredible thought occurred to me. You decide that he or she is “The One.” I looked at her and asked myself, what if Kathy is “The One?” And what if she’s thinking that I might be “The One?” How to tell, how to tell? We were almost at her car.
And then I said: “I realize we don’t know each other very well and haven’t known each other very long. But we’ve agreed that at some point you have to just choose someone. And so I choose you.” I asked her to marry me. I immediately pointed out that since neither of us has had luck doing things the traditional way… who’s to say that this crazy idea of getting married this quickly wouldn’t be more effective?!
Kathy said yes! I asked her if we could get married at the end of the week. She said yes and then I said yes. We agreed that we could make this work. In fact, we were determined to make it work. I made it clear that I was not playing games. Again, she agreed and said neither was she. We both laughed about the fact that we would not have sex until we were married — which would be within the week. Then Kathy realized that she was now actually engaged… so she called her best friend. Then I called mine and naturally both our friends immediately tried to talk us out of getting married. In fact, everyone who heard our plan tried to talk us out of it. But we were impervious to logic.
Everything was happening so fast and we both got caught up in the excitement. The next few days went by like a movie montage of wonderful dates. Movies, restaurants, walks in the park, museums, walking dogs.
Our families were convinced we were insane and we didn’t disagree with them. Still, we realized that most of our friends who’d dated for years before getting married were no longer together. Kathy and I were just collapsing the time span of two of life’s occurrences – courtship and marriage. We celebrated our 24-hour anniversary. We were in love and we were nuts, and that was enough for us.
Most couples spend a year planning their wedding. We thought that was a little long, so we gave ourselves a day. And it went by in a blur. A hotel employee friend got us a banquet room for an hour – squeezed in between two other couples’ weddings. Like whirling dervishes, we chose the cake, food, booze, flowers, band, photographer, priest and rabbi. We composed and sent out the email invitations, followed by invitations to our impromptu bachelor and bachelorette parties. What we lacked in being selective, we more than made up for in speed. We picked every element of our wedding the same way we picked each other – quickly and by our gut feeling.
My bachelor party took place at a club in the Village. Kathy had hers at a clothing store that was closed for the evening. (Her friends actually had fun trying all the outfits that would eventually become their bridesmaid dresses.)
At both parties our best friends continued to warn us about moving too fast and suggested over and over that we reconsider this insanity. Of course neither Kathy nor I would back down… because we knew we were in love and that’s all that mattered.
At the end of the evening I met up with Kathy again. We opened up our laptops and checked on our RSVPs for the wedding. We kissed as the sun came up and it was clear to us that everything was going perfectly… so far.
Did things go wrong in all this haste? Sure. The photographer’s dog took a big bite out of the cake. The strippers for my bachelor party never showed. But the wedding managed to happen. It took place at the Waldorf Astoria. We watched as our one-hour banquet room was transformed in the style of a D-Day invasion. It was a wedding played out at hyper speed and I remember watching everyone as they came roaring in: the band, the caterers, the waiters, the guests, etc. Luckily I remembered to remind my hotel connection that we would definitely be out of there by 3pm sharp.
I watched as the room was instantly transformed, seats were taken, and the wedding began. Then Kathy finally made her entrance and, of course, she looked fantastic. Amidst the madness, all I chose to focus on was how beautiful Kathy looked in her dress. And how sincerely we exchanged our vows, which we’d written together in forty-five minutes.
The food was served in seconds and removed in seconds. This was followed by a quick first dance, very short speeches, picture-taking, cake-cutting, etc. It was all exhausting and hilarious insanity.
Both of us had to be back at work Monday morning, so we only had one full day for our honeymoon. Not nearly enough, but we made the most of Cancun anyway. Yes, that’s right. We crammed a one-week honeymoon into a one-day honeymoon.
We raced to JFK and managed to catch our plane. Yes, we were both a bit concerned about our separate careers, but then we realized we didn’t have to worry so much as we would be back in the city tomorrow.
When we got to Cancun, we attempted to accomplish in twenty-four hours what most tourists would attempt to accomplish in a month. I do have to admit that Kathy and I had our first fight in the cab, but we had too much to do to have any kind of time-consuming argument. The next morning, when we got back on the plane, Kathy and I were so tired that we weren’t really speaking to each other all that much. I think this might have been the first sign that things were starting to go wrong. But by the time we landed, we reassured each other that we were still very much in love and ready to make this work. In the cab ride back to the city, my guess is that we both were starting to recognize the fact that we were about to move in with each other, but really didn’t know each other at all. Twenty-four hours later, we were back in the city and Kathy moved into my apartment.
Once we agreed that Kathy would move into my apartment, we discovered that our lifestyles were very different. When we woke up that morning, we continued to notice that we didn’t exactly have everything in common. I had been up since six a.m. and was busy exercising. Kathy was obviously a very slow riser. While I drank my protein shake, Kathy lit up a cigarette.
And as time went on, Kathy and I discovered we didn’t know each other at all, and that we were more different than alike. We had little arguments and differences of opinion that escalated into bigger ones. After three days as man and wife, we visited a marriage counselor. The counselor said what we’d both been thinking. What did we really expect after marrying each other and only knowing one another for less than a week?
And so we agreed on a trial separation. Of course, we still had to meet with lawyers and file for an annulment… but after we left the lawyer’s office, we walked through the park and had the greatest conversation we’ve ever had. I have to admit it was more like a traditional first date and we began to truly get to know each other. I asked her what her favorite movie was and she asked me to explain what I really did for a living. By the time we exited the park, we both realized we wanted to go out on a date Saturday night.
In conclusion, I’m happy to say that Kathy and I are still dating… and, yes, we’re even thinking about marriage again. But both of us have had to reluctantly admit that no matter how repetitive and boring dating can be, it’s just one of those things we all have to do. Getting to know someone really does take time, so dating is just a necessary evil that we’re all going to have to endure as we continue the search for our soul mate.