How I Met My Fiancé

“So how did you guys meet?” It’s a question that almost every couple asks when they meet other couples. It is an icebreaker or a conversation starter. While my fiancé and I were at a picnic today with two other couples, this topic came up. One couple replied, “We met on OKcupid,” the online dating app. The other couple explained that they met at a purim party. “He was the tallest guy at the party,” she said while grinning. “How did you and Rae meet?”

It was August 2015 and my family was in Israel for my cousin Jack’s Bar-Mitzvah. We had spent the previous week touring Jerusalem and Northern Israel. The remaining five days of the trip were to be in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is a combination of Miami and San Francisco. Warm and humid with beautiful people, palm trees, and cool architecture. There are also a ton of high-tech start ups. During the summer, beach bars are full of people and the hotels are full. The restaurants have a waiting list for reservations. My family and I were staying at the swanky Carlton Hotel on the beach. I had a female friend living in Tel Aviv and she wanted to see me.

Saturday nights in Israel are like Sundays in the States. The work week is Sunday through Thursday and a lot of people like to stay in before they start their new week. Luckily, I was there during tourist season and plenty of bars were packed with people. My friend told me to meet her at Mila, a typical Israeli bar on Dizengoff Street. Sydney and Haley, my two younger sisters and my two cousins accompanied me to the spot. They were looking to have a good night out too. I immediately ordered a Stella when I got to the bar. My sister, Sydney was upset with me for not getting her a drink as well. The second I got my beer, I heard a familiar voice say, “Joey!” I turned around and there was my friend with a big smile.

She led me to her table and then I saw her. I was completely taken by her beautiful blonde hair. I remember it flowing in the Tel Aviv wind. I knew right then that I would have her. I’ve always been a sucker for blondes. It didn’t help that she was 5’10, had an athletic build, and a seductive smile. I introduced myself and ordered us three shots of tequila. I asked her, “Do you think I have a chance with any of those Israeli girls at that table over there?” She replied, “Not a chance.” I then asked, “Well what about cute blondes from Michigan?” My friend Missy punched me on my right shoulder and I unleashed a tremendous smile. A smile that might as well have given me my daughter right then and there.

After a few more shots and pleasantries, I made my way back to the hotel. For some reason, I didn’t ask for her number there at that bar. It was because my egotistical self thought my friend Missy was into me. She wasn’t and was far from it. The next day I texted her asking for Rae’s number. “I don’t know man. I don’t think she would be down,” she said hastily. I said, “Ok. Ask.” A few minutes later I had her number.

“Hey it’s Joey from the other night. I thought I would save you from Israeli men while I’m here in Tel Aviv.”

Rae ate the text up and that very night she met me at my hotel’s rooftop bar. After our drinks, we sat by the pool and later went in. I was completely enamored with her blue eyes. The same eyes my daughter now has. We would go on to hang out together again the next day and enjoyed each other’s company. Before I left to go back to New York, I gave her a gift. Inside the bag was a pack of Marlboro Cigarettes and an evil eye necklace. I also left a note that said, “It was nice seeing the tip of your iceberg.”

The view from the roof of The Carlton Hotel.