I met my friend Bob’s son, Dan, for the first time in New York City. He was six foot six inches tall, handsome and polite. He leaned in to conversations, and offered soft, ironic commentary. He spoke eloquently and with keen intelligence. This guy was funny, tall, sweet and liberal. He was perfect for Hannah!
I decided right then that, when you come to it, I believe in arranged marriages. After all, we knew his parents. They were smart people with broad interests and good values. I mean, sure, she should probably meet him at some point. And it should probably seem… well, okay, it should be her idea. But, really. He was perfect for her.
“You know, Dan. I have a beautiful, tall, very smart daughter that I’m going to introduce you to.”
He charmingly explained that he was in a relationship.
So, charming and loyal, too. Undeterred, I persevered.
“Is it serious?” Well, I figured that I should ask. And plant the seed.
Dipping his head shyly, and allowed, “Yes, it’s serious.”
“So, how long have you been dating?” I asked.
“Six years? Oh, well then,” I gave him my biggest smile, “That’s not so serious, kiddo. If it was serious, you’d have married her by now.” I’m a salesperson by nature. Don’t give me an opportunity like that if you don’t want me to follow through.
“Look,” I said, ”when that relationship ends, call me. I think you and Hannah will really like one another.”
If he was shocked, he didn’t show it. He took my card and laughed in a way that may have said, “Lady, you sure are nuts, but you are a guest in my parent’s home so I will humor you.”
And then, Bob called.
“Ellen, guess what? We are coming up to Vermont for Christmas vacation!!”
Bob is not normally a double exclamation point kind of guy. He’s more a full stop sort of man. Perhaps, with an occasional ellipsis. But that day, he was practically giddy. It was a double exclamation kind of conversation. I knew that Bob and Anette lived in Manhattan, but I thought that they usually came to Vermont for Christmas. I didn’t get what the big deal was.
“The boys are coming, too,” He explained. “Dan and Will. And Dan’s not bringing his girlfriend!!”
Aha. That was the sound of the other shoe dropping. I got it.
Bob and Anette were not thrilled with Dan’s relationship status.
“Bob, we’ll have a party. Let’s make it something casual. How about a before-Christmas pizza party or something? No holiday foods. No dressing up. Casual will be the word of the day.”
Predictably, they couldn’t stop talking all night. Dan moved to an ottoman near where she sat on the sofa, and he did that leaning-in thing I had noticed before.
What a charmer.
Hannah giggled and glittered and tossed her hair. At the hair toss, I knew she liked him. Three days later, he and his brother invited her to go out with their group. Only, there was a giant snowstorm, so they were snowed-in at our place, which meant that they had to spend the night.
Dan broke up with his girlfriend that year on New Year’s Eve, which was a little sad, probably, for someone. Probably. But, Hannah and Dan have been a happy couple ever since. Arranged relationships. In these, I now believe.
At least, when I’m doing the arranging.
Happy Birthday Dan. We love having you in the family