When I first got to college, I tried to be someone I wasn’t. I’d never dated in high school and the only guys that had expressed interest in me were hoping for an easy hook-up (all of which I angrily declined). The only conclusion I drew was that there must have been something wrong with me personally.
I was, you see, a pretty huge nerd (still am, in fact). Any free time I had that didn’t involve reading fantasy novels was absorbed by playing videogames.
But boys don’t like nerdy girls, right?
So I ignored my personality, my actual wants and desires, and became what I thought a college girl should be like. And it did get me dates. With losers.
After many frustrating months, it fell to my last resort: online dating.
On my profile, I started to be a little more honest with myself. I listed some of the books I liked, said I was hoping to find someone who could really make me laugh, and even admitted to being a nerd (though, I said this with the hopes sounding like the much more appealing “OMG lol I’m, like, such a nerd!” college girl as opposed to the “I have literally spent the last sixteen hours playing World of Warcraft” type of nerd that was actually more accurate.)
A few weeks passed and I had had a date or two (also with losers) when I got a message from “SilverMan.”
It said, simply:
“If you’re looking for a nerd who can make you laugh, I’d appreciate it if you gave me a shot,” followed by his phone number.
I looked at his picture and recognized him from my psychology class. I’d noticed him the first day of lectures, in fact. He’d come in a little after me and was kind of hard to miss.
He was tall and lean (just the way I like ‘em), wearing blue jeans and a nice button-down shirt. His eyes were so piercing he could probably see through brick walls and they were accented nicely by his high cheekbones, regal nose, and just exactly the right amount of facial hair. If you had asked me about him at any other stage of my life, I probably would have swooned. But there was just something about him, and I never could pinpoint what, that just seemed… well, nerdy. Maybe it was his attentiveness in class and willingness to ask questions. Maybe it was because he frequently printed extra copies of his notes to share. Maybe it was his shoes. I don’t know. There was just something about him that made me categorize him as a nerd.
And college girls don’t like nerds, right?
I read his message over twice, ignoring the strange tingling excitement running through my chest. “Oh great,” I said aloud to no one in particular since neither of my roommates were home, “it’s that nerd from my psychology class.” And, rather than rejecting him outright, I promptly deleted my account.
That night, I had a dream about him:
I was in our usual psychology classroom. Class had either just gotten out or had not yet started. Faceless students milled around making conversation I didn’t try to hear. “SilverMan” stood beside me, smiling. He said something that made me laugh. I felt warm and comfortable. Accepted. It felt like being a toddler after playing in a bath and having a soft towel wrapped around me in a hug. We chatted about nothings and flirted shamelessly. Toward the end of the dream, I remember taking his hand.
My alarm rudely interrupted and my bleary eyes shot open, the dream still vivid in my mind. My heart felt like it had tripped down a flight of stairs.
After a few moments of furrowing my brow and blinking at the beams of sunlight forcing their way through my blinds I said, “Huh.”
Try as I might to ignore it, the dream clung to my conscious mind for the rest of the day. Its implications were obvious but I spent an absurd amount of energy trying to talk myself out of it.
“This doesn’t happen in real life,” I insisted quietly, glaring at my reflection as I finished putting on makeup.
“I’m not going to have a dream about him and then fall madly in love with him and then we get married and live happily ever after,” I muttered as I tromped down the stairs.
“That sounds like the premise of a bad romance novel,” I told myself after breakfast.
“Besides,” I thought while walking to class, “my account’s been deleted. I probably won’t have access to his number anymore anyway.”
I studiously avoided him in psychology and rushed home after my classes were finished.
By dinner time, I’d exhausted all my excuses and still couldn’t get the dream out of my head.
“Fine!” I said, prying open my laptop, “If his number is still there, I’ll send him a text. I could use more dating experience. It probably won’t even be there anymore, anyway.”
I got online and reactivated my account. Most of my messages had been erased. Only three were still in my inbox. One of which was from SilverMan.
So, I sent him a text.
Turns out, I was right. He was a huge nerd.
We’ll be celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary this December.