Recently I attended the wedding luncheon of the daughter of one of my favorite BYU roommates. It’s been almost twenty-five years since Sherri and I were roommates, and she’s lived all over the world since she got married, currently residing just outside of Detroit, while I’ve lived in California and, for the past twenty years, Provo. But we attended each other’s weddings and have remained close friends over the years, even if several years go by between phone calls. I even had the privilege of being with Sherri and her husband, Curt, in the temple several years ago when they had their recently adopted Chinese daughter sealed to them. So when Sherri invited me to her daughter’s wedding luncheon in Salt Lake, I jumped at the chance to see my dear friend and celebrate her family’s happy day with her.
As I got ready for the wedding luncheon that morning, I took extra time doing my hair and makeup, because I once dated Sherri’s husband’s younger brother Matt (before Sherri and Curt got married). Whenever I attend Sherri’s extended family functions (a grand total of three times in the last twenty-five years), I run into Matt. Matt and I never dated seriously, but I consider him an old boyfriend of sorts, so I want to look my best whenever I happen to see him at, say, a temple sealing or a wedding luncheon—it’s a pride thing, you know? I just don’t want him thinking, “Wow, I really dodged a bullet there.”
I’ve had my share of awkward meetings with ex-boyfriends and ex-sort-of-boyfriends, but my encounters with Matt rank near the top—such as when I was Sherri’s bridesmaid and Matt was a groomsman, just a couple of months after Matt and I stopped dating. Especially memorable is the first time I saw Matt after I got married: my husband, Scott, and I were living in California and I was six months pregnant when Sherri and Curt visited Curt’s parents in Idaho and invited us to fly up for a visit. The plan was that Scott and I would rent a car and meet Curt and Sherri at Curt’s parents’ house, stay one night there, and then drive with Curt and Sherri to the family cabin for a couple days while Curt’s parents took care of Curt and Sherri’s baby.
The flight up to Idaho on that hot summer day was turbulent, and I was still struggling with pregnancy queasiness, so when we pulled up to Curt’s parents’ house I was shaky, bloated, green at the gills, and sweaty, my bangs plastered to my forehead—oh, and did I mention I was six months pregnant? Scott and I hopped out of the car—well, I sort of heaved myself out of the car—and who happened to be outside to greet us but Matt? As I watched him and Scott shake hands, I suddenly had the urge to laugh as I realized that they were dressed identically: chambray shirts, khaki pants, brown loafers—even the exact same braided brown belt (yes, this was during the 80’s). When it dawned on them simultaneously that they had on the exact same outfit, they both flushed bright red. And so commenced a rather awkward evening which culminated in Scott and me being assigned to sleep, of all places, in Matt’s bed.
My children still get a kick out of that story. I thought about it again as I drove to Sherri’s daughter’s wedding luncheon. As luck would have it, Scott and I had been invited to another wedding that day, as well, so he attended that one and I went to Sherri’s daughter’s wedding luncheon by myself. Sherri’s daughter was radiant—the spitting image of Sherri as a bride—and Sherri and I hugged and laughed and caught up, not feeling a day older than when we were roommates and newlyweds, yet suddenly finding ourselves middle-aged, with children on missions and getting married, wondering where the last twenty-five years went.
And yes, Matt was there, looking older, too, yet the same. Seated at different tables, we didn’t talk to each other until after the luncheon. As I was preparing to leave, he came up and said hi and leaned in to give me a hug, but because I was facing the other direction and only half turned to hug him, I came in at an awkward angle, accidentally squishing my nose against his neck and almost touching his neck with my lips. Not as awkward as some of the other post dating encounters we’ve had, but awkward enough. At any rate, it gave me a funny story to tell Scott and the kids when I got home.
And now it’s your turn. Tell me about your awkward encounters with ex-boyfriends, Facebook encounters included. Do you worry about how you look when you run into someone you once dated? And do you still feel like you’re twenty-something inside, even though you’re, ahem, considerably older?