For about 5 years, during, and after college, I worked as a bouncer at a bar in Bowling Green, Ohio called Uptown/Downtown. It was the most popular bar/nightclub in town.

One night, while working, I’m talking to some girl that I’m messing around with when another bouncer walks up to me and says, “Have you seen the new bartender?”

It was Brenda. She’s wearing an Uptown/Downtown T-shirt and Daisy Dukes-type, cut-off denim shorts.

I look over at her and say, “Yeah. She’s pretty hot.”

The girl I’m standing next to happens to work with Brenda at her second job as a Supply Manager at a nursing home. She says, right away, “That’s Brenda. She’s racist.”

So, I’m automatically like. “Really? Well. Fuck that bitch, then.”

It’s closing time and all the employees from the bar are headed to one of the bouncer’s apartments for an after-hours party. As we’re walking toward the door to leave, I look over and see the bouncer, whose apartment we’re going to, walking with Brenda, the new bartender. He motions to me, when she’s not looking, like “Look. I got the hot, new bartender to come to the party.”

Still thinking she’s racist, I’m like, “Good for you, man.”

During the party, a few of us sneak off to a back room to smoke some weed. Brenda is part of the group. I’m not happy about that. The room is extremely small and not well lit. It’s me, several other muscular, bouncer-types, Brenda, and maybe one other girl who worked at the bar.

It was Brenda’s first night and she didn’t know any of us, so she kept asking if someone could open the door a little. I’m shooting daggers at her the entire time, thinking, “Why did Dave even invite this racist bitch?”

Every time she says something I jump on her. “Why? Is it too dark in here for you?” That type of shit.

During this time we learn that we live in the same apartment complex, and I realize that Brenda is the hippie chick that my roommate and I would always see laying out in a bathing suit with her sister.

Eventually Brenda says to me, “Why are you being such an asshole?”

I was livid and I wanted to tell her off, but I bit my tongue and decided it was time to leave.

The next night, I come to work and, at some point, early in the night, Brenda and her best friend come up to me and say, “Are you gonna be around at the end of the night?”

Me: “Why?”

Brenda: “So you can give us a ride home since we live in the same complex.”

Now I’m confused, but, still thinking she’s racist, I blow them off.

It’s the end of the night and, wouldn’t you know it, Brenda comes up with her best friend and says, “Can you still give us a ride?”

I was supposed to go over the other girl’s house that I was messing with at the time, but, for some reason, I said, “Yes.”

I think it was that something seemed off. She wasn’t acting like someone who was racist, and there was something intense going on between us. Annnd, she was attractive in a weird, Earthy way that was different from all the high-drama-girls that I was used to from the bar/nightclub. I’ve said this before, but she came off like the kind of girl who would fight back against the killer and ultimately survive at the end of an 80s slasher flick. Like a mixture of Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part 2, and PJ Soles.

So, I give them a ride. We get there. I park and start walking toward my place, on the other side of the complex, when Brenda says, “Aren’t you gonna come in?”

Now I’m like, “Da fuck is going on here? Is this some kind of set-up?”

But I decide to go in. Brenda’s best friend wanted to watch “Sleepless in Seattle,” and finish off the jello shots that they had made earlier. Not exactly my idea of a fun night, but, I go along with it.

The next thing I know, I’m waking up on the couch, hours later, snuggling with Brenda. We were fully clothed, by the way. I bring up the shit about her being racist and she’s completely horrified that someone would say that about her. Turns out the other girl was just jealous. The next day, Brenda hunts the girl down, makes her apologize, and makes her admit that she had made up the shit about Brenda being racist. I was like, “Damn!”

We were together every day after that. It was intense. Five weeks later we got into an argument over something petty. I said to her, “It’s not like we’re married,” to which she replied, “I would marry you.”

She looked deadly serious. It stopped me cold. I’m like, “Are you serious?” and she said, “Yes.”

Funny thing was that I felt exactly the same way. It was strange.

We gave ourselves a week. We asked each other every day, “You still want to get married?” and both of us said “Yes,” each time. So, a week later we eloped without telling anyone.

Then the shit hit the fan.

That was 24 years ago…