An Amazingly Awkward Love Story

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I think I need to preface this by letting you know a little bit about my high school experience...

See, Andrew (my husband, his snarky input in bold) and I went a high school especially for nerds.

No, seriously - The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (say that 3 times fast, k?) was the place we both called home for 4 years of our lives.  It's a magnet school especially for students with a high aptitude for math & science.  It has a lower acceptance rate than most colleges.  And it's a haven for nerds.

Also, it was the best high school in the country for five years in a row until last year.  I'm still bitter.

Now, most students in 8th grade don't exactly know what they want to do when they grow up, so if you get into TJ, you GO.  Even if you don't particularly like math or science.  And Andrew actually really enjoyed science (and still does, the astronomy nerd).  Whatever, John Paul loves astronomy too.  And I enjoyed math and science to a certain extent, because they were pretty easy.

However, when you get put in a building with 1600 other students who eat, sleep, and BREATHE math and science, you figure out your real interests preeeetty quickly!

Our high school mascot was a calculator (it started out as a TI-83, but was upgraded to a TI-83+ by the time I graduated).

Our chess team had been undefeated for 14 years when I started.  Our freshman football team had never scored a touchdown.

Our cheerleaders routinely got perfect scores on their SAT.

So it was somewhat surprising to many that we both found our niche in...  Choir?


The real story begins:

I was a freshman and he was a junior.

I, with my braces, lopsided bangs, and overly-peppy personality was most likely not the most attractive thing to him.

What, you mean YOU didn't have an ugly phase?

He, with his glasses, butt cut, and mom-chosen wardrobe?  Yikes.  False.  My mother had not chosen my clothes since at least sixth grade.  And he was a tenor (well, still is).  No way would I ever go for a tenor!

He perfected his condescending glare early on, as you can see

We had virtually no contact my freshman year.  He was in a different choir, but we were in the musical together.


(That means fate)

No, the title of the musical was Kismet.  It's perhaps one of the worst musicals ever written (False.  Borodin's music is awesome.), and DEFINITELY one of the worst to perform with a high school.

He was the romantic lead.  I was a slave girl.

He was seriously interested in a girl with a boyfriend.  I remember seeing them sitting close together in the halls, him with his hand on her knee, hoping that they would get together some day.  After all, he had been into her for a LONG time.  I didn't really care about him, until I heard him sing.

Hooooooooooooo boy!  I thought I like basses, but this tenor had me converted.  The sweet, lyrical tones of his voice were enough to make any girl look past the hair and the lack of a car.  But still, I wasn't romantically interested.  And I'm pretty sure he had no idea who I was.

Out of nowhere, his best friend asked me to the Valentine's Day dance.  Huh?  I said yes because hey, a junior asks a freshman to a dance?  Why not?

In an exceedingly awkward "date," I was forced to go to dinner alone with my friends, find my own ride to the dance, pay for my own ticket, and meet him there.  I remember slow dancing to a Backstreet Boys song, which he sang VERY loudly in my ear.

No, the best friend was NOT the one.  (Especially since he has turned out to be a militant atheist.)

Then came the Rob the Cradle dance - my sister and her friends all conspired to ask choir freshmen to the dance.  She convinced Andrew to ask me, because she knew I was enamored of his awesome voice.  We went to the dance together and didn't dance together the whole time...  I couldn't seem to find him, and he never asked me to dance.

Apparently he was behind me the whole time.  As I remember it, she was too busy dancing with approximately 4,325 other people to notice me.

So...  Not the best first date?

Fast forward through the summer, and we were in the same choir together!  But he in the tenor section, and I in the soprano section never sat together.  We were in the same after-school singing group, and at some point my dad got tired of picking me up two afternoons a week.  Andrew told me it was on his way home, so he started driving me home most of the time (I later found out that yes, it was sort of on his way home if he took the most traffic-filled way to get home...).  (No, it actually was on my way home.) (But NOT the way he normally drove home!!!  This was a lot more romantic when I thought he was wasting a lot more time...)  We bonded over our love of baseball and soon started having long AOL Instant Messenger chats about nothing in particular.

Then another friend of his asked me to the homecoming dance.  Again, upperclassman asks underclassman.  Sure?  But this guy had just broken up with his girlfriend of several years, and to make it worse, another one of his friends had asked HER to the dance and we were all in the same group.  AWKWARD.  Andrew didn't even go to the dance.  I'm pretty sure he was still in love with the same girl as the year before.

No, I think I was pretty much over her by then, but I was also into someone else who would have been a disaster in the end.

I was a shameless flirt.  I would have HATED being friends with me back then.  But I was totally not interested in Andrew - after all, he was a Baptist.  No.  Way.  I was going to marry a Catholic, and there's no way I was dating anyone that I wouldn't marry!

At the same time though, we had an awesome time together.  So I started singing alto (HA!), and we sat next to each other joking through much of class.

Sometime around February I started thinking, "Hey, I've never had a boyfriend!  Look, that guy in my chemistry class wears a scapular, we should date!"

So we went about it the high school way - my friends told his friends that I liked him, his friends told my friends that he reciprocated, my friend brought him flowers to give to me to ask me out.  You know, typical high school stuff.

We went on one date.  To see A Beautiful Mind.  He tried to kiss me with his mouth open and I ran into his teeth.

SO romantic.

And thus began my first high school relationship - he didn't understand why I wouldn't sit with him at lunch (his friends had a conversation about how long one of their poops was.  Cecilia would have loved it, but not I...).  Or why I wouldn't let him grab my butt.  I realized that every time he leaned in for a kiss I thought, "Ick!"  So we had "the talk."

Me:  I think we should break up.
Him:  Yeah, we never see each other anyway.

Incidentally, he's married now (to a really beautiful woman) and not Catholic.  So good for both of us!

I still haven't let it go that I married the first girl I dated, but Rosie can't say the same... (You can see that we've both matured a LOT since high school)

Throughout our "relationship" I had many phone conversations with my sister in which I extolled the virtues of the untouchable Andrew Hill.  There came a point where she asked, "So...  Why don't you date HIM instead?"  "Because he's a BAPTIST!" I replied.

At this point, I'm not convinced that we had actually talked about anything faith-related.  So I'm not sure how this was such a large sticking point.  (Because.  BABIES!)

And thus our friendship continued, him driving way out of his way to take me home twice a week, hours and hours of IM conversations about nothing, and what were clearly hints that were TOO subtle on my part (so subtle that they were nonexistent), trying to get him to ask me to his Senior Prom.


To be continued...

Stay tuned for Part II, in which a choir bus to NYC brings us closer than we ever would have expected!  Oh and if you're an addict like me, check out more love stories at Camp Patton!


  1. I know that I know the story, but I can't wait for part II :)

    And our mascot is the COLONIAL, not the calculator. C'mon.

    Andrew - I can't believe you linked in a google map, and at the same point, I'm not the least bit surprised.

    And Rosie, see I knew there was a reason we weren't friends freshman year ;) jk

  2. You guys are too cute! And I didn't now that he was a Baptist convert. Me too!

  3. Adorable! My husband and I met in high school too, although it was a marching band trip that ultimately brought us together. And then the whole first year we were dating we were AP physics lab partners. So I think we could give you a run for your money in the nerdy department!

  4. I love this blog. Stories like this (and John Paul's birth story...and poop quotes...) are the reasons why.

  5. THIS. IS. FABULOUS. I'm so glad you're writing this (for our and posterity's sake), and I can't wait for Part Dos.

    And I have YEARS worth of awkward photos, many of which consist of choir trips through New England and skirts that look like I grew out of them 5 years prior. Yeeeaaahhh.

  6. Oh Rosie, you are so you, I assume this is going to be a ten-parter? Love it all.

  7. I loooooove that Andrew is chiming in :) You guys are too hilarious. I want a million parts!

  8. I hate two-parters! But love the nerdy school (I was a Honors student in hs and loved math) and set up for a good love story which I know the ending of (babies and all catholic) but would love all the details in between :). Write more soon.

  9. This is epic. All these love stories make me want to write ours. But I don't think I can compare to the hilarity here. Too toi awesome.

  10. This is too funny! Keep writing!

  11. I remember a lot of this love story, though one can't really call it that yet. The part I don't remember is that you sang alto. WHAT????

    Are any of you commenters singers? Because Andrew is the most tenorish tenor of all tenors who ever lived, and Rosie would be a super-diva soprano if her sister and I hadn't beaten it out of her. (Alto is clearly the best singing part. Also the most unappreciated.)

  12. This is too funny...and I think you look adorable in your lop-sided bangs and braces.

  13. I still can't get over your mascot being a calculator!! Is that really true?!? (I guess that's better than ours...the devil! *shudder*) This is great. Your kids are going to LOVE reading this some day!

  14. "but they upgraded it to a TI-83+" HAHA

    gotta love puppy love in highschool-not a fan of waiting for part 2!!

    seriously i know you are just sitting there not doing ANYTHING ;)

  15. I am loving your story! And I love that your husband is chiming in. Looking forward to Part II!

  16. This is great! I have a high school love story, too--but I'm not sure I could make it sound as interesting as yours! And I love how your husband is adding his 2 cents.

    Can't wait for more. :)

  17. Fun! Ken and I were friends for two years before we dated for 5, were engaged for 1 and now married for 12. And we met working with our church youth groups. He was the first (and only) Catholic I ever dated. :)

  18. While I loved science I hated math so I didn't even apply to TJ but I'm loving this story all the more for knowing the hood.

  19. Haha ok three things: 1. Calculator mascot is the greatest thing I've ever heard. 2. All tenors have a condescending glare. 3. You guys are too cute.

  20. This is fantastic! I've been enjoying your WIWS posts for a few weeks and, from those, I know you live in the greater-D.C. area (or the DMV? Is that term still in use? It became popular after I moved away). This is going to sound weird, but I got so excited to see you are a TJ alum! I graduated a long time before you, but I also feel that (irrational?) bitterness about its no longer being ranked #1. I totally get the "nerd" context of your love story. Awesome!

  21. Umm. Just clicked through from Jen's and saw the link in the sidebar to this post. I LOVE IT! I'd write more but I'm typing one handed (Because. BABIES!)

  22. I never knew you went on a date with Andrew's best friend! HAHAHAHAHA

  23. Not sure how I haven't read this till now, but I'm laughing so much there are tears. I love that you've known each other since highschool! Now off to read Part II while waiting to upload the rest of these headshots :)


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