As many of my friends and family know, I spent many, many years trying to find my true beloved. I tried it all . . . Match.com, Jdate.com, It's Just Lunch, speed dating, singles parties, and on and on and on. Now that Nicole and I celebrate almost five months of marriage, I thought today would be the perfect day to reveal a part of our story not many know, yet was a crucial factor in bringing our two lives together forever. The Mathieu Factor.
I met Chris Mathieu many years ago when he auditioned for Comedy Sportz -- the improv group in which I frequently performed in. He was/is hilarious and his presence on stage made me want to be in that scene or game with him with every show. We could always count on him showing up in his signature sweatpants and flip flops and at least one "raspberry"-tongue-spit-take in a show.
The years passed and Chris's calling brought him to his last Comedy Sportz show before he moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams. I remember it was a busy time of year for me and my dating life was going nowhere as usual. It was sad to think I may never play on stage again with Chris and when I heard it was his last performance, I made sure I was at least in the audience to see him on stage.
Flashback . . . I briefly met Nicole at one of my Too Many Daves and the Brass SOULution band gigs about six months earlier. Our mutual friend J'ana McCaleb decided to bring Nicole to the gig at Sweethearts in Fairfax that night as Nicole's first night out after major back surgery. I was dating someone else at that time and so there was only a chance to buy her and J’ana a quick Miller Lite and a bit of polite conversation with Nicole before having to pay attention to my “girlfriend”. It was shortly after that gig that I broke up with that girlfriend.
So I arrive to watch Chris’s last show that Friday night from a late day at the office and found a seat in the back. The place was packed. J’ana had sent me an e-mail earlier in the week to say she may be attending because her friend Nicole was a friend of Chris. Wow! What a small world, right? Now, I had known J’ana for many years and knew the odds of her showing up at an event are not always good. So I didn’t expect to see J’ana and Nicole that night. I was happily surprised to see them sitting up in the 2nd row, so I went up to the row behind them and said “hi”. The both greeted me, but Nicole hardly made eye contact. I spoke to J’ana a bit and found out they were attending both shows (early and late) so I suggested drinks at a bar downstairs between shows. I went back to my seat in the back of the room and enjoyed a hilarious and belly-laughing show that was all about making Chris work his ass off on stage.
We went to Chevy’s for a few drinks between shows and I was lamenting my recent dating mishaps as I usually did with J’ana. Nicole was happy to tell me what a fool I was being and how utterly clueless I was when it came to dating women. I did my best to finish my beer and save face in time for the next show. The 3 of us return to the theatre and sit in the back of the audience (again the place is packed). I sat between J’ana and Nicole. Nicole was busy talking to many of her old classmates from grade school and high school in the rows in front of us. Nicole knew Chris through Brian Cooke and had met Chris through that circle of friends. I ended up flirting with Nicole throughout the show and trying to get her to laugh even though it was impossible to compete with what was going on on-stage. We departed with a hand shake that night and went our separate ways, but somewhere I felt reassured we would meet again.
J’ana had planned a happy hour for our small circle of friends the next night at a bar called Lucky’s in Alexandria. It ended up only being J’ana, Jeff Rupp, and myself attending, but J’ana mentioned that Nicole may show up later. Nicole did arrive soon after that and the flirting continued from the night before. There were a few sparks throughout the night and when we left the bar to say our goodbyes I hugged Nicole. That hug was the moment we both look back on as the moment our relationship began.
This love story would not have come true if it weren’t for Chris Mathieu. We celebrate Chris Mathieu’s birthday today by sharing our story and the video Nicole asked Chris to make us for our wedding rehearsal dinner as a surprise for me. Unfortunately, the restaurant where we had the rehearsal dinner was unable to accommodate our audio visual needs at the last minute so most of our family and friends have yet to view the video. Today we posted the video on YouTube for all to see. Enjoy. (If you are wondering about the groundhog thing, see my previous blog post here.)
Happy Birthday, Chris! Nicole and I celebrate you today and the gift you have given us.