“Please don’t let it be that guy at the bar.” That was the first thing I thought as I walked into Etrusco at 7:59 pm on Friday, February 11, 2005 to meet “Superbowl Boy”.

“Please don’t let it be that guy at the bar. That canNOT be Superbowl Boy!”

His moniker stuck when he asked  me out three weeks in advance of our first date because he had to travel to the Superbowl for work. I later found out I was “5-10 girl,” so named for my height. But back to the guy at the bar — mid-40s, greasy, alone. I was sure he was my date given my recent streak of bad luck.

Imagining the awkward dinner I was about to have, I was interrupted by the host: “Do you have a reservation?”

“Uum, yes. Well, no. I mean I’m meeting someone who made a reservation.”

“Last name?”

“Uum, I have no idea.” …queue the crickets…

Who was I? Meeting someone for dinner in a restaurant that I’d never been to and I didn’t even know his last name?

Axe-murdering, order of one, coming right up.

“Okay, *whomever* you’re meeting isn’t here yet. Would you like to sit at the bar?”  Huge sigh of relief no one with a reservation was waiting to meet me.

Awkward pause as I figured out how to hang out at the tiny four-stooled bar without talking to Greasy McGreaser-pants. …hmmm…

Just then the door opened. My heart and stomach were in my throat, one big ball of nerves.

I knew it was him. Tall, dark, handsome, friendly.

“Meredith?” he asked.

“Yes, hi, nice to meet you,” I said with my hand extended.

He went in for the hug……perfection.