I love a "how we met" story. It's like a drug to romantics like myself. The more ridiculous, dramatic or insane, the better!
What's that? You met after you got your heel stuck in a train track and he swooped in and saved you right before the train hit you. Amazzzzzing!
But let's be honest, most love stories start with "he accidentally spilt his drink on me at a bar" or "I swiped right on him on Tinder". Snore.
So when a truly awesome story comes along, I like to give it my full attention! Hence, when Felicity Harley came onto my Kinda Sorta Dating podcast and shared the story of how she met her AFL legend husband, Tom, I was hooked. (Spoiler alert: It involves a third date in ITALY!)
One of the key things I took from her story is how, after meeting Felicity, Tom said to his best mate: "I met the girl I'm going to marry today!"
It's an absolute corker of a story and one you really should listen to. It got me thinking of all the times I've dared to be a little adventurous in my dating life, in the hope of having an awesome "how we met" story to tell at our wedding.
The first time I thought I had stumbled into my own epic "love at first sight" moment was when I went to a bar opening a few years ago. I was dressed up to the nines and in need of a free cocktail. Across from me was a tall guy with blue eyes and a country look about him.
You know what I mean, all big, rugged shoulders and a "what the heck am I doing in the middle of the city on a Wednesday night" kinda vibe.
So when he not-so-subtly made his way from the other side of the bar to come stand next to me to order his drink and make very casual conversation, I thought: "Oh, we are on here!"
Turns out his family came from the very small town that my family also comes from.
He too had moved to the city on a whim, and as the night went on and we discovered more and more in common with each other, we joked around that perhaps we had met our future husband/wife.
It wasn't until much further in the night, after one-too-many of those free cocktails that it took a turn for the worst.
Our friendships groups had joined tables, and when one of his mates said: "Oi *Jake, show Jana your party trick" and he proceeded to take out his front teeth and wave them around like a loon. I thought, "Hmm ... that's not normal behaviour."
As the girls and I made our excuses and went to leave, he followed me out to the taxi and said: "I thought we were going home together tonight." Ahh no, dear toothless friend, we are not! So offended was he that I was making a fast escape, he then proceeded to pull down his trousers and shout out: "But look! I've got a big willy!"
Later that night he followed it up with a text ...
Him: So I guess a date is out of the question then?!
Him: Yeah fair enough. OK how about we just f***.
Sigh. Who says romance is dead?!
To this day, my friends and I still laugh at the memory of that horrifying night and the bloke I, for one hot second, thought could be my future husband.
It taught me a couple of things:
Never judge a book by its cover. Ol' country boy was far from the man of my dreams.
Slooooow down and take your time to get to know someone properly! Who says every boy you meet with a sparkle in his eye you meet is going to be husband material?
Free cocktails should be consumed sparingly.
So sure, I still want that "he saved me from a speeding train" moment (or in Felicity's case – he suggested we fly to the other side of the world for our third date moment) but until then ... well let's just say a girl's still got to have her wits about her.
* Name changed
• Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking