From time to time, I have received requests to tell how the Duchy came about.
There isn't much to tell from the external perspective--our courtship would make an exceedingly boring movie. And I'm not given much to blabbing my emotional vagaries all over the internet (or anywhere else, for that matter). So what is left to tell?
Somehow DOB and I never managed to meet in person early on, even though we went to the same law school and can even document having been in the same room at the same conference at the same time. After our first debate, in the fall of 2000, we chatted occasionally, DOB still under the impression he had gained during his "opposition research" that I was a middle-aged married woman. Mostly we talked about politics and public policy. Sometime in late 2001 my real age happened to come up, much to DOB's astonishment and my amusement, since I had no idea he had been so misinformed.
I had meanwhile decided that there were no guys out there who would meet my specifications (I only had a few, but they were mutually incompatible). Also I had never been overtroubled with suitors--or even troubled at all. Not being short on self-esteem, I attributed this to my excess of intelligence, or perhaps an unconscious skill at sending off stay-away vibes, rather than to any personal deficiencies. But the result was the same. As I had my dream job and a comfy living situation, it didn't trouble me for too long.
Then DOB challenged me to coach a debate opposite him again. DOB's side won again. But this time I could blame our failure on the debater, who didn't listen to me much anyway. I spent a lot more time chatting with DOB. Somehow, by around the end of the debate or shortly thereafter, I had come to realize that (a) he actually met my incompatible requirements and (b) I wanted to devote the rest of my life to making him successful. Executive assistant or perhaps Vice President would do if nothing else offered itself, but as his wife I could also see that he was properly fed and went to bed on time. However, he gave no signs that he had considered the latter possibility.
So I spent the next several months offering such help as was suitable for an upperclassman to offer, such as proofing his senior paper and offering bar preparation advice. He was absorbed in a political campaign and the final months of law school, but we still had time to become very good friends in a political and philosophical kind of a way. Such good friends that my parents, who were getting a pretty good idea of the extent of my interest, at least, thought it was high time things either progressed or we stopped wasting time.
In May of 2002, His Majesty introduced himself to DOB by sending out an email with an ultimatum: come meet in person, or stop talking to her. I was not pleased, not being at all sure how DOB would receive this. Fortunately he decided our friendship was worth the cost of a plane ticket. At least of a cheap one. Also, to his surprise, his parents thought he should come meet me. At this point we had never given any indication of personal interest, had only spoken once on the phone, and had only seen very grainy snapshots of each other. (The one DOB had seen of me, I was wearing my 250-lb brother's full winter gear. Not a flattering pose.)
So after he finished the bar exam that summer, DOB flew up to visit my family for the weekend. (Internet Safety Tip for Young Ladies: When first meeting in person a guy you've met online, take along your father and a few brothers who spend the summers bucking hay and the winters chopping wood.) It was a short weekend and there was always a younger sibling or two around. It was enough. DOB apparently didn't pick up any of those stay-away vibes, and he had never found me too smart. Just smart enough.
But we still didn't say anything to each other. DOB flew home and discovered things were in order for him to pursue matrimony much sooner than he had thought. He gave His Majesty the chance to check him out for a few months. His Majesty finally ran out of ideas and suggested we start actually talking to each other. We did so. His Majesty later had cause to regret this suggestion, as the phone line was unavailable for the next several months.
There wasn't much suspense after this point, which is what makes for romantic tales. We both knew we would marry each other, and it was simply a matter of working out the logistical details, specifically finding a job and a place to live. Also it was nice to see each other a few more times. All that kept us busy up until a surpassingly beautiful summer morning two years ago today, when we got married in a wedding that was far more romantic than one would expect.