Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Lederhosen Story: Part 1

I promised long ago that I would post the story of how Aaron and I met.  Many of you already know this story, but for those that don't, I've peppered this blog long enough with teasers of "lederhosen" that I think it is time I finally put the story out there.  Plus, I had a gentle reminder and little inspiration recently from a blog friend, (a story I will get to later), and thought this seemed like an appropriate time to post the story of how two souls met and how a pair of lederhosen led me to a life of grape picking.

It was the first Friday of October in 2006 and I was at a happy hour in downtown Minneapolis at a well known Irish Pub called, The Local.  I was meeting a couple of my college girlfriends to catch up and the bar was packed with young, hip professionals-nothing unusual for this place.  At one point, I excused myself from the coveted table we were able to score to go to the bathroom.  On my way back, I bumped into a couple of acquaintances I knew from unrelated places, but learned they all worked together at the big corporation across the street and were all out for a beer after work.  I said hello to a few of them and then started chatting with a guy whom I saw from time to time through some mutual friends.  He was cute, single, very friendly, athletic, and had a good job.  Probably the kind of guy that a lot of girls had a crush on, but I was never really interested in him that way.   We'll call him Stu. 

As I was chatting with Stu, I scanned the group of his fellow employees and my eyes stopped when I spotted who I thought, at that very moment, was the most handsome man I'd ever seen standing at the other side of the table.  He was tall, about 6'3, with broad shoulders and I could tell he had some muscles under his button down shirt, which was tucked into his casual Friday jeans. I was glad to see his shirt tucked in as I wasn't a fan of wrinkled shirt tails hanging out on guys.  His dark hair was cut short, but not too short, just long enough to indicate he had nice hair and an even hairline.  He was clean-shaven showing off his chiseled jawline, and from afar, I could only tell he had big eyes that looked greenish-brown.  And most importantly, his left ring finger:  empty.  If you had asked me to describe my "type" I would have drawn a picture of this stud.

I'd be crazy if, as a single woman, I just returned to my table of girlfriends after spotting this guy. It had been six months since my last relationship, probably my longest string of singlehood since I was 15.   I was enjoying this bout of independence and had gone on a lot of dates during that six months, but picking up guys in bars was still foreign to me.  Normally, I wasn't so drawn by looks alone either.  Usually it was a personality or sense of humor coupled with good looks that drew me in.  Was this guy just a pretty face and hot body, or did he have the rest of the package too?  Was he even single?  I figured if I could continue my conversation with Stu just a little longer while trying to attract the attention of the most handsome man on earth, maybe he'd come talk to me.  Surely, he is friends with Stu since they are in the same group, and this would be the perfect opportunity for him to approach us and say, "Hey Stu, what's up?  Who's your friend?"  With that in mind, I carried on the most awkwardly long conversation with Stu, all the while taking sideways glances at this good-looking guy across the way.  Stu and I talked about people we knew in common, the weather, how packed the bar was, and when the conversation had totally worn itself out and I had the perfect opportunity to exit the conversation and return to my group of girlfriends.....I didn't. 

I stood there through the awkward silences trying to come up with some more meaningless small talk allowing more time.  But I barely noticed because I was too busy batting my eyelashes and wiping the drool dripping down the side of my mouth.  In hindsight, Stu probably thought I was really into HIM to have stood there so long with a flirtatious smile.  And that good looking guy across the way did meet me eye a couple of times in the midst of his conversation with a few people.  And my heart jumped each time. I kept thinking he'd pick up on my signals and find a way to make his way across the table to come talk to me and Stu.  But he never did.  After I casually asked Stu if he knew all these people pretty well, I learned that the attractive guy and Stu didn't really know each other at all.  They were in different departments, but must have known a lot of the same people at work. 

Any outsider looking in would probably think Stu and I were an item, or just flirting with each other.  That would be no way for a guy to make an entrance into a conversation with two people he didn't know.  At least I told myself it was that and not the fact that he got creeped out by the girl who he caught staring at him.  Twice. 

And I was definitely not the type of girl to go talk to him!  No.

So I wrote that handsome guy off that night, finally returning to my group of girlfriends, succumbing to the fact that I just wasn't his type and convincing myself that guys that good looking know they are good looking and are usually jerks anyway.  He probably only dates blond bombshells, not petite brunettes.  And it was quite possible he had a girlfriend.

I forgot about him.


24 hours later, on the first Saturday of October, I had made plans with a girl I had recently met who lived in my condo building in uptown.  Jill was my same age, funny, single, and a lot of fun to hang out with and I was enjoying her friendship.  On this Saturday night, she had invited me to go with her to an Oktoberfest party at a German bar in Northeast Minneapolis called Gasthof's (short for a longer name, but I don't know how to pronounce nor spell it).  I had heard from previous year's that this Oktoberfest party was a great time--drinking out of the beer boot, polka dancing to accordion music--but I had never actually been before, so I was looking forward to a fun night.

We met in front of our building, got a cab and took the 20 minute ride across town, chatting the whole way about ex-boyfriends, and how we had each changed three times trying to figure out what to wear to a German tent party in October in Minnesota.  I had decided on jeans, my 4-inch heels, and a gold-ish tanktop. About 2 minutes from Gasthof's she said, "So we are meeting a few of my guy friends here.  One of my co-workers and a couple of his friends I've known forever." 

"Okay, cool." I said. 

And as we pulled up to the bar and I could hear the music playing and see the big beer tents she said laughing,  "And one more thing.  These guys all just got back from Munich and I guess they went to Oktoberfest and bought lederhosen!  So they told me they are all wearing them tonight! So keep your eyes peeled for some tall guys wearing lederhosen."

I almost fainted at that sound of it.  Tall guys who aren't afraid of dressing up in public, not caring what people think and just out to have some fun?  And in lederhosen, no less?  Right up my alley.  These guys must have great personalities.  I wonder if they're cute?  I knew it would be a fun night already!

And so I stood with my friend Jill, under the beer tent, scanning the crowd for her friends:  Tall guys in lederhosen.

To be continued....