Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dennis and Mandy's Love Story

I don't know them. I just found their video on YouTube and got hooked on their love story. In Mandy's words (taken from their wedding site):

The Beginning

Our story is one that can only be described as serendipitous. I was working out at the gym with a friend of mine who was always going out on dates. I asked her where she was meeting all these guys. She informed me that she was using one of the online dating sites. I sort of cringed because I had some previous experiences with online dating and it was...well..."unsuccessful." She said, "Just try it out." Since I had nothing to lose, I went on to 2 different sites and created profiles. I did some browsing on one of the sites and only found 3 or 4 guys that I found remotely cute or interesting. One of them I thought was VERY cute but he hadn't been on the site in months. I shot him a flirt anyway. On the other site I found numerous people that I connected with, and communicated with. One of these gentlemen and I hit it off quickly with some great conversation, but had some trouble nailing down a date to go out and meet face to face.

A few days later, I was back at the gym, although I was working this time. (I worked at the front desk to earn some extra cash while I was getting my Masters degree.) I started talking to one of the regular couples I saw on the weekends. As the conversation went on, the wife (Michelle) said to me, "I have a friend who would be great for you! Would you mind if I gave him your contact info?" I gave her my info, and went about my day. Later that night I was finally able to nail down a date with the guy from the Internet. We went out that night and had a really good time. It was the next day that Michelle's friend left me a voicemail, which I did not respond to since I wanted to see where this new relationship was going. A few days later I got an email from her friend too, which I also did not respond to.

That weekend I ran into Michelle again at the gym who asked if I had called her friend. When I told her the situation she said I should at least call to let him know. That evening, I sat down to make the 10 second "Thanks but no thanks" phone call and ended up talking to Dennis for 45 minutes. He was very respectful of my decision to pursue the other relationship, and we had a great conversation anyway. He sent me an email afterwards asking to remain in touch because, "you can never have too many friends." We did remain in touch via many emails. I was intrigued by the immediate sense of comfort I felt talking to Dennis.

During that initial phone conversation, Dennis mentioned to me that he really did not like the blind-date/fix-up scene, nor did he like online dating. That said, he told me the following story: On the morning I was talking to Michelle at the gym, Dennis was at home making airline reservations. He had been put on hold and was checking email while he waited. He received a spam message from one of the dating websites and decided that since he had nothing better to do -- it was 7:30 on a Sunday morning -- he would go browse. He went onto the site, put in his preferences and browsed through 7 pages of profiles before he found one woman he found attractive. He read the profile, and just as he finished, the airline representative came back on the phone. He closed out of the site and forgot about it. Later that morning Michelle called Dennis. She told him she knew how he felt about blind dates but had met a great girl that she thought would be perfect for him. "Let me tell you about her before you say no," she said. She proceeded to explain where I had gone to school, what I did after graduation, and that I was currently working on my Masters in teaching. Dennis said that he sat in silence because this sounded too familiar. He asked if she was near her computer. She said she was, so he told her to go to the website he had been on and look up the profile he had found. He sat waiting and the next thing her heard was "Oh my gosh! That's her." Dennis said that without that weird coincidence, he probably would not have called me.

About a week after our initial phone conversation, I got an email from Dennis telling me that he had another interesting story for me. He said once again that, although he knows it works for many people, he did not believe in online dating. However, one of his friends said Dennis needed to put himself out there more to meet women so his friend set up a profile on a dating site for him. Dennis said he never checked the account but got occasional emails that informed him he had mail in his inbox that was about to expire. He had just received one such email. After checking it, he found a flirt from a user named Mermandy whose description and profile matched the one he had read on the other website previously, so he knew it was me. I asked what his user name was, and it turned out that the one flirt I had sent to the "VERY cute guy" who hadn't logged in months was sent to the man I was now talking to. Now I was thinking a little more about him.

Soon thereafter, the guy I had started dating and I had a falling out that ended our relationship. Later that day, I was at my computer responding to one of Dennis' emails and told him that my day had been pretty bad because the guy I was seeing had stood me up. No more than 30 seconds had passed after I sent the email, and a response popped up on my screen. Strange that he was on at the exact same moment, but what made it even more interesting was that he happened to be in Italy at the time. He asked me if the "WAS SEEING" was a typo. I replied that it was not. Again, no more than 30 seconds passed when my cell phone rang. Dennis was calling from Italy! We spoke for about 40 minutes!

It was hard to ignore that there were 3 completely separate events that had caused our paths to cross. I am a big believer in signs and things happening for a reason. This was a MAJOR sign! I was hooked. We made plans to meet when he returned from Europe about a week later. The evening we met was incredible. We talked until 3 am as though we had known each other for years. Since that day we have been together and are now engaged, which leads to...

The Engagement

It was a moment straight from a fairy tale!

It is July 21, 2007 and we are in Paris for a short layover before heading to Italy. It is also the day Harry Potter 7 is released. Dennis told me he had made reservations for dinner at The Jules Verne restaurant on the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant required a blazer which Dennis had to carry in his backpack all day since I was not going to carry it, though I usually carry everything else. In the early part of the morning, we walked by the Eiffel Tower and saw there was no line, so I dragged Dennis to the top. Once there, he informed me that he had a gift that was going to shock me. My immediate thought was "Oh my gosh! He's going to propose!" Then I remembered that he said he would never propose overseas. Then I thought, "Oh my gosh He got me Harry Potter!" Sure enough, Dennis pulled a present out of his bag the size of a book. I ripped open the paper and saw "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." I was elated but very confused since it had come out at midnight the evening prior and we had been together ever since. I flipped through the book to try to make some sense of the quandary I was in and found the middle had been cut out. Nestled in the center was a video iPod. I asked if it was a book on tape, somewhat distraught that he had ruined my book. Dennis snickered, said no, and plugged in 2 sets of headphones. (He later informed me he had gotten an advance copy of only the cover and had used an old copy of the 5th Harry Potter book to cut up.) He turned on the iPod, and I proceeded to watch the most amazing photo montage set to our song.

There was a letter super-imposed on the photos talking about our relationship and how he was done looking and ready to begin his journey through life with me as his wife. He then got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Through tears and complete shock, I sobbed "Yes, of course!" People around us were from all over the world but all of them began clapping, cheering and taking photos. It was amazing!

On the way down from the top, Dennis told me that he had wanted to do this later because it was 4 am in the States, so I couldn't call anyone at home. Oh well. Later that afternoon I began making phone calls. First to my parents who were not at home and then to my brother and best friends. Dinner time rolled around and I still had not reached my parents. I said that I would call them after dinner in hopes to find them available. We went into the restaurant (not the Jules Verne which had been a ploy) and gave them our name. They led us around towards the back of the restaurant where, to my disbelief, my parents and Dennis' parents were sitting at the table waiting for us. I was speechless, but it was exactly the way I wanted to share one of the most amazing and special moments of my life!

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