In 1994, I met this nerdy guy who was going to UBC at the time, studying engineering. He seemed like a nice enough person, but boy, oozed with geekiness. His clothes were at least 10 or 15 years behind the trend. He buttoned everything up to right underneath his chin, and always had his shirts tucked in. Everything was always “proper”. You can tell he was not comfortable around new faces.
We had little in common. But for the next few years, he kept appearing in my circle. He would always be friends with my friends, so every so often we end up hanging out together. He drove beat-up cars that his dad fixed up for him, but he always drove his friends home after hanging out. A lot of times he showed up late to events because he would be picking up his friends from all over town. I always thought he was a nice guy. But he was not tall, not funny, not charismatic, not “my type”, and did not stand out. He was the down-to-earth kind of guy that most girls don’t notice.
We eventually became friends, because he was buddies with the guy I was dating. Sometimes when I went to my boyfriend’s place, he would be there hanging out as well. We saw each other a lot less after I broke up with my boyfriend. Then eventually this nerdy guy started dating my housemate, but their relationship didn’t last long. He liked a few of my other friends, so I even tried to help him hook up with them, but none of it worked out.
At that time in my life, I figured I’d be single forever. I liked my freedom of being single, and dating has just been disappointing. Most guys I knew at that time always told me that I intimated them because of the things I was interested in, like rugby. Yeah, ok, so a girl who plays rugby doesn’t get dates. Awesome.
A few years go by, then one day out of the blue, this nerdy UBC guy asked me to go on a date with him. I said ok, figuring that it was just a “friendly date”. I had zero expectations, because I knew I’d just be hanging out with a good friend I already know. He picked me up in his 20-year-old Dodge Caravan that had a missing side panel. We met up with a couple of other friends, went for dinner at Hon’s on Robson, went for a drive to the North shore, and went for a walk on top of Mount Seymour (or was it Cypress?).
I can’t remember exactly everything that happened that night, but all I remembered was that I never felt for a moment that I needed to impress him or act like somebody else, and I had such a good time with him because I could be myself. We laughed at silly little things I can no longer recall. But I remember getting home that night and thinking to myself, “Holy sh@$, why have I not noticed him before?”
It turned out that he felt the same about me that night, and just over a year later, we were married.
I still maintain that he tricked me on that date.
I remember someone once told me that the right guy that God has lined up for you may not be the guy you “want”, but he’s the guy you “need”. So much of what we “want” is a combination of fantasy built up from movies, or what we think a relationship should be, or a desire of a product of someone else’s relationship. What I “wanted” was a guy who is tall, funny, outgoing, smart, career focused, and as a bonus be handsome and ripped and plays electric guitar like a rockstar.
Luckily for me, I got what I “needed”–someone to grow with, to be equals with, to figure out my career choices with, to be honest with, to be myself with and not feel judged by. Cliff has never made me feel like I needed to change something or be someone else in order to impress him or make him happy, but somehow has always inspired me to want to grow and improve myself. He un-complicates things for me on a regular basis. He has never tried to dictate my life or my choices, but has always supported whatever crazy or stupid or impractical ideas I’ve had. I can’t think of a better way to describe Cliff other than a “gift” in my life. More than 9 years after we got married, even though he still doesn’t play the electric guitar like a rockstar, he has in his quiet ways made me fall more in love with him as time goes by.
Today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Bear!