When nerds flirt

you-ve-got-mail-original

you-ve-got-mail-original

My husband and I celebrated an anniversary last week. Two years (not bragging but that’s over 730 days). Even though it’s only been two short years, our anniversary tradition is pretty much established. Here’s what we do.

One: Go out to eat. Doesn’t matter where. (But if you really want to know, it’s always going to be Carrabba’s.)

Two: Watch You’ve Got Mail. This step is actually the most crucial; step one is only for appearance’s sake. You’ve Got Mail, which is—if you’ve never seen it—the paragon of perfect romantic comedy, is also OUR MOVIE.

I will now try to explain why this is our movie. Even as I do this, I recognize that I am perhaps ruining our reputations as responsible adult professionals somewhat. But honesty compels me to tell you this story.

Before I begin, I should explain one more important point: Justin is really and truly a man, and a man’s man kind of man.

Not in a hunting/fishing kind of way, and not a football kind of way, but a man’s man nonetheless. He’s manly in a loves-economic-theory-and-good-beer kind of way—those are guy things, right? And he likes the other traditional man things—eating, for instance, and giving his lady a gentle smack on the… lips.

Still, despite these manly attributes, Justin made no bones about explaining to me at great length, within just a few minutes of our first meeting each other (at a Super Bowl party, no less), that he loved the 2008 BBC version of Jane Austen’s Emma better than any other version.

“Although,” he graciously admitted, “there have been two others that were not bad at all. The 1978 BBC, for instance.”

It took me almost a year to get over this first impression.

But it was a year later, around the time we finally got together, that I found out about another movie love of his, and this one was almost as hard to believe: You’ve Got Mail. Fortunately, this just so happens to be in my Top 10. (Note: this is another relentlessly nerdy thing about Justin; he considers a Top 10 list to be very personally revealing. He keeps Top 10 lists—especially books and movies—in a Word document on his computer. He has mine on there too.)

So here it is: this is the part where it gets actually embarrassing.  One night, when we were friends and just getting to the point of considering dating—we sat up one night online and actually quoted an entire scene of You’ve Got Mail to one another in one time-wastey message feed.

It’s the scene (for those of you that love this movie; there must be some of you out there) where Kathleen is in the café waiting to meet her mystery writer and Joe Fox finds out it’s her and comes in. She asks him to leave, and they have an adorable fight. It’s the Nora Ephron-est fight you ever heard.

And why, you ask, did one fully employed adult sit up to a late hour chatting out an entire scene of a rom-com with another fully employed adult?

I really don’t know what to say. I don’t know how it happened—it was over before I could even get my head around what we were doing. One thing just led to another… and we were there. One of us dropped a veiled reference to the scene; the other picked it up. Suddenly we were both running full speed ahead and Joe had already moved to the other table and Kathleen was monologuing about 22-year-old cocktail waitresses.

So in honor of this historic event in our relational history—quite possibly the nerdiest case of flirtation on record in the internet age—we’ve agreed to watch this movie together every year during the season of our anniversary.

And reminisce about old days.

I really think this is the best thing about anniversaries. Through the years, I’m sure there will be a tidy little stockpile of roses built up. There may be little bed and breakfasts, and white tablecloths and babysitters. But it’s the remembering that makes an anniversary really worthwhile; otherwise it’s just another exhausting version of Valentine’s.

Remembering the early days, when the two of you were just feeling your awkward way towards romance, trying to understand some little thing about this stranger and wondering if it would make any sense to…?

So for the married ones among you—go for it. Remember. Reminisce. Drag out the old letters and pull up the old email records. Try to find pictures of the first date, the first trip, the first day as man and wife. See if it doesn’t give you just a little jolt of gratefulness—that you’re married to him now. That no matter how bad things get, you’ll never have to go on a first date with her again. Because she’s not a stranger any more. She’s your wife. He’s your husband.

And for the singles among you, go ahead! Throw caution to the wind. Drop that movie quote. Throw out that obscure, nerd-tastic, nervous reference. You never know—she just may bite.

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