We all hope to meet our soulmates in a wondrous fashion; a halting moment as two sets of eyes spy each other across the ballroom of a grand gala, or perhaps a wounded soldier falling for an earnest nurse in charge of their care. But let’s be real, not everyone is blessed with the coincidental serendipity that leads to a charming meet-cute. Heck, it's more than likely that one day we'll have to make up something fanciful in order to cover up meeting on Tinder. For now, let’s swipe right on these unappealing and unromantic—though at least amusing—stories of matches made maladroit.
1. A Drink After Work
I was working at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents. There was a riot on campus. It took two shifts of staff to get the kids quieted down and back in bed. We were supposed to get off work at 11 PM, but were there until 1 AM. A guy I was working with was friends with my roommate. So, after we got off, I said, "I'm going home to get drunk. Want to come?"
That was 42 years ago. We've been married for 37 years and have two adult children.
2. A Longer Ride Than They Expected
I was recently at a wedding for two people who met on a rollercoaster. Specifically, Six Flags had put a call out for volunteers to be the first to ride some new rollercoaster of theirs (and be in promotional photos, etc.), and these two people had both put their names in and gotten picked. They were both by themselves, and they ended up seated next to each other.
When the promotional pics went up on Facebook, they found each other in the comments and started chatting. They went out on a date, and the rest is history.
3. Punch-Drunk Love
Not me but an old friend. Back in the 70s, my friend Shirley was at a bar late one night. She was making a phone call in the back room on a payphone, and some drunk idiot came stumbling in and took the phone from her. He hung it up, then proceeded to make a call to someone else. She stood back and SMACKED him in the face. He fell flat on the floor and busted out laughing.
That’s how they met; a short bar fight I suppose. I always loved hearing that story when I drank with them. She passed away a few years back and was a very sweet woman.
4. Crazy in Love
I met my wife in 1989 in a psychiatric hospital. We’ve been married for 29 years now. There’s not really much to it...my grandfather suffered a stroke, and back in the day in the old country, there was a wing in the psychiatric hospital just for stroke victims (I think there still is). She was a nurse; I came to visit.
Nothing really happened there. I was actually actively ignoring her, but by chance, we went to the same bar later that night and things just clicked. Still happily married 29 years and two adult daughters later. It's just funny to see the look on people's faces when we tell them where we met...especially when we leave the details out.
5. Walmart Love Story
I met my wife working at Walmart as a department manager in my early 20s. She just gotten hired as a cashier. Nothing super romantic about that. She was definitely the most attractive woman at the store, so all the employees were talking. I didn't even really have the courage to ask her out. I slid her my number on the receipt after I purchased something at her cash register, and asked if she would like to go out.
This was only after a friend of hers confirmed that she was into me. Thank god she said yes. I was sweating bullets. The rest was history.
6. Old School Dating App
A young woman had lived in small-town Wisconsin all her life. This was long before the age of the internet, so there was no such thing as a dating website. Now, my great uncle had just been discharged from the military. He'd moved to Colorado, and he was looking for someone to settle down with. I don't exactly remember how it happened, but he found the young woman over a phone call, and as they called each other more and more, they began a long-distance relationship.
Eventually, they decided to make it official. That's when, without ever having met my uncle, and having never left her small town in Wisconsin, the young woman packed her bags and moved to Denver to live out the rest of her life with him. Now they're one of the happiest married couples I know. My great aunt is a cool lady!
7. Support Call
I was 14 years old, and she was my friend’s sister. Somehow a rumor got around that she had died, so I called to check on my friend. While on the phone, he asked her, "Hey sis, did you die?" And then was like, “Nah she's good.” She texted me a few minutes later, saying it was sweet that I called to check on them. 11 years later, we’re still going strong.
8. Forbidden Love
Probably the story of how my parents met. They were both in the military, and they were stationed at the same base, but they were out at a civilian pool with their respective groups of friends. They both had nothing on them identifying that they were in the military, nor their ranks therein. They started flirting, and they agreed to go on a date.
Come date night, they're both leaving the post at about the same time, and they happen to see each other. It was then that they both realized that not only were they stationed at the same base, but that my dad was about five ranks higher than my mom, and they technically shouldn't have been going out on a date. Of course, being in their early 20s and not the best at making good decisions, they went on their date anyway.
9. Car Troubles
Okay, I'll share my story. We are still pretty new as a couple, so time will tell if we get a happy ending. We met on Tinder and set up a date. It went well, drinks and dinner somewhere (I can't remember at the moment), but the end of the date was really memorable. I'm taking her home, and I get rear-ended. It's a Lyft driver, and he is deaf and mute. So, we are talking by furiously typing into our phones. We end up calling the cops. They take four hours to arrive.
In the meantime, we are sitting in the car, talking. I offer several times to take her home, but she insists on staying. We end up making out in the car with this guy furiously signing to someone over FaceTime behind us. Cops arrive, take care of things and...the car won't start. So, queue an Uber and luckily, he has jumpers. Battery has completely given up on us.
I get her home in the Uber, it's like 1:30 AM, and she insists on taking me to get my spare battery. So, she's driving me around town, and we get back to my car by 2 AM when she wishes me luck and says goodbye. I definitely thought I'd be ghosted, or get the courteous, "not working out" text, but she let me have a second chance and we've been dating since then!
10. It’s Not Crazy if it Works
Met my girlfriend at a New Year's Eve party. We were both super drunk. I may have blurted out my life story too. I came back with her to her apartment. After sobering up, I made a decision I still can't quite understand to this day: I decided to get naked and crawl into her bathtub. I passed out, but woke up with a blanket on me, and a pillow under my head...She sent me a message asking if I was ok.
I asked her out for coffee. The rest is history, I guess.
11. A Florida Love Story
Met my husband on Plenty of Fish. I had an account my friend and I used to troll people on when we were bored (used my own picture), and he seemed decent so I told him what was up with my account. He thought it was funny and asked me on a date. The day we scheduled to meet up, my appendix exploded and I was in the ICU for two weeks.
Okay, so we rescheduled once I got home. His GPS directed him to my house by driving through a river (we lived in Florida at the time so mud and alligators were a concern). He then stopped and got his car stuck in the mud when he realized that the road was ending. The police had to come save him and they ended up escorting him to my house. We still laugh about it.
He's from Canada and was new to Florida, so the day we met was a very wild ride for him.
12. Dungeons, Dragons, and Dating
We both joined a group to play Dungeons & Dragons together. He was a halfling rogue, I was a human barbarian. In the first session, he climbed on my shoulders to spear some foe in the throat. Then on my next turn, I attempted to assist him up onto the roof of the small hut next to us. I rolled a natural 1 and basically punted him into a wall for some ridiculous amount of damage. Oops.
We've been married for five years, and have two kids (Well, almost—I'm very pregnant right now).
13. A Screw to Remember
My parents have a pretty great one. My mom was a 19-year-old intern at this big company. She was tasked with inventory for a warehouse. She found a box of screws with no part number, and she asked around for days about it. Nobody knew anything about these screws. She was getting frustrated. Finally, somebody directed her to go see this particular guy who was kind of famous for being a reclusive, if brilliant prig.
She walks into his office, holds up a screw, and asks him, "I've asked everybody, but no one knows. What IS this?" My dad looks at her and says—absolutely deadpan, "It's a screw." She called him a jerk and stormed out. They were married five years later. Their 40th wedding anniversary is next August. They also got engaged in a Taco Bell.
My parents are not great at romantic stuff.
14. One Man’s Trash...
One of my friends told me about how their parents knew a couple who found each other around a garbage truck. So basically, one day a guy went to take back his metal trash can from the street, but there was a big problem. The garbage worker had accidentally made a tear in the trash bag and ripped it open, spreading trash everywhere in the street.
So, the next week, the upset man waited for the same workers to show up to get some explanations. Turns out, the garbage worker was, in fact, a woman of the same age (which was really rare in those times, 70s-80s). Charmed by her uniqueness, the dude decided to share his number. They dated, and we all know the rest. Not the nicest way to meet someone if you ask me, but quite a nice story.
15. Taco ‘Bout Embarrassing
I was eating tacos in a mall food court. He walked by me and I thought he was cute, but then I started choking on my taco, and he looked at me weird and walked away. My friend went and got his number for me. This was seven years ago. He told me he thought I was laughing at him. Thanks, Taco Bell!
16. Choke Hold at First Sight
I always go with the sweet lovey-dovey story; that my husband and I have been best friends since we were 11 and 12 years old. The truth is, the first day I met him, I choked him out. He was sitting behind a couch with his back to it, and I reached over the back and grabbed him. I don't know why I did that, just a stupid kid thing, I guess.
But apparently it worked, we are 28 years old now and have been married for three of those years, even though we have been a couple since 17 and 18.
17. Wild Wings, Wild Night
She first met me while dating my best friend, and I was with another girl at the time. Years later, my best friend convinced me to hang out with her. He called her up and invited her to Buffalo Wild Wings, where he and I were hanging out. Since we had both already eaten, we walked across the parking lot to a bar. I played darts with friends while drinking and talking to her a bit.
Then after the bar closed, we went back to our cars, started making out, decided there wasn't enough room inside, and made love over the hood of my car in Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot at 4 AM. It was a magical night we'll tell our grandchildren about one day.
18. There’s an App for That
Tinder! I had been dumped a few weeks earlier and wanted to just do me, and not worry about anyone else for a bit. Well, that got old fast, so I downloaded the app and started swiping. We matched about a day later, and spent a few days texting through the app before she gave me her number. Then about a week later we met up for drinks.
I was poor at the time. I had just started a new job and missed the first pay period, so we had one drink and then I made an excuse to leave because I couldn't afford anything more. We walked out and I gave her a hug saying bye, and that we should meet up again soon. We will be celebrating our two-year anniversary in December!
19. Puppy Love
My dog got her dog pregnant. I don't know how those two met, because he's often chilling in my fenced backyard (without a leash, only a collar with my number in it), so he must have escaped, had a good time AND come back all in under one hour. One day she called me and yelled at me for not neutering him and letting him roam freely.
I yelled back at her for not spaying her dog and told her that my boy isn't walking around the streets freely. We had a big argument about everything—my dog is the only one who could have gotten her's pregnant, so I couldn't just do nothing. We talked it out, and fell in love shortly after the puppies came.
20. Move Aside
I was at a party in Tokyo, and I was sitting down talking to this girl for a good 30 minutes. I really thought she was cool. Then she dropped her phone, and when she bent over to pick it up, a girl on the other side of her pushed her to the ground, and slid in her spot. The newcomer said, "Hi, I'm Ellen." and began talking to me.
I am now married to this creature.
21. A Series of Unromantic Events
I met my wife at trivia at a local restaurant. She was cute, and we met among a group of friends. I found out she was working at Subway. She was a senior in high school, and I was a freshman in college. I stopped by that Subway one day with the intention of flirting and managed to a little bit...until I realized she was buttering me up to get a ride home.
Excited, I eagerly agreed. Then, I found out she needed to get home to get ready for a date with another guy. We met again when she came to my university later that year. I was going to a comedy show with Carlos Mencia, and I was hammered drunk. Lo and behold, I stumble drunkenly into a group of girls, and I nearly topple her over.
We proceed to have a great night, and everything from there was history. Not particularly romantic though.
22. Boat Proposal
The best story I've heard was about an awkward friend of a friend. He was really bad at meeting women. He typically got too nervous to act normal, made poor, anxious choices, and generally didn't have luck in that realm whatsoever. So, he finally lands some dates with a girl, and this one time (he's somehow coerced this same girl out a few times, but she's a bit anxious/nervous herself), they went out in a small boat on some lake one night.
While they were out there, he decided to propose to her. And she said no. So, now they're out there on the boat, with that awkward situation to live through. Well, I guess they just fell asleep, or they somehow got stuck, but he wakes up many hours later. He’s still in the boat with this girl, and she tells him that she thought about it through the night and she wants to change her answer to yes!
I actually don't know how things are now between them, but to the best of my recollection, they did marry.
23. From Roommate to Mate
I dated his roommate. We technically met on my second date with said roommate at a dive bar, but I don't think he said more than two words to me after introductions. He was trying to be respectful to his roommate. We almost didn't get together because it's not cool to date your friends' exes. I did not dump the roommate for my husband, we dated less than a year and just weren't compatible long-term.
I think we'd been broken up like 4-6 months before I got together with my husband, everyone was living independently by then. There was a little drama at first, but we've been together 10 years, married for five. Still friends with the roommate, his wife is perfect for him, and our kids play together now. Still, not very romantic.
I was involved in a group activity, and there was this cute girl among us. We smiled and would have brief comments to each other. I asked some guys for her full name. Eventually, I found her phone number and we had some good conversations. We kept smiling and saying hi when we would hang out in the group. Then I called and asked her out.
I went to pick her up, the apartment door opened, and my stomach dropped: my date was the OTHER strawberry blonde in my group! Same hair, same look, a little shorter, but also very cute. I almost said "Oh, it's you..." I certainly thought that. The date went well. My roommate and I laughed for a half-hour when I got home. We've been married for years now!
25. High-School Sweethearts
I was shy in high-school. Senior year, I decided I needed to take initiative or I'd end up graduating without having had a girlfriend for my entire high-school career. I made a list of three girls who I wanted to introduce myself to. The next day, one of the girls was behind me as we all gathered around the door to wait for the bell to ring at the end of our last period of the day.
I turned around and asked her if she knew what the homework was (I knew there wasn't any). The bell rang as she was trying to answer, so we kind of had to start walking together for her to answer me. Then we started talking and ended up walking to our cars together. We did that for the rest of the week, then I asked her to see a movie with me that weekend.
Now we've been together 12 years, are married, and have two daughters.
My ex and I actually have a pretty good story of how we met. It's my last semester of college, and I'm taking this Sociology class just for the fun of it. I actually missed the first class because of travel and weather mishaps, but I'm there for the second one. And that's when I see her for the first time. She's wearing a leather jacket, a nose ring, and thigh-high leather boots; she's cool. Needless to say, I'm hooked.
Next class period, she sits closer by me, and four of us get assigned to a group project. Then the next day I'm with my cousin at the drug store, and I run into her. I try my best at flirting. It goes terribly as I'm a nervous wreck, but at least we talked outside of class. Then we don't see each other for a while; I skip class one day, and she skips the other. I sign the attendance sheet for her though, so the next time we're in class together, I tell her that.
That class period, she asks to sit next to me. I jokingly say in my flattest voice, "No." She seems really confused for a split second. As I realize what I've done, I scramble to tell her I was just kidding, and ask her to sit next to me. We talk a little more, and I realize I really like her. I was going to ask her out the next class, but she skipped and the next one ended up being the first test.
The class after that, we get our test scores back. Her and I got the same exact score for the same exact reason (we both thought the essay section was "answer one"). At this point, I'm convinced it's meant to be, so as soon as class is over, I turn to her. My mouth was open about to ask her out, when she beats me to it. "So, do you want to go grab a drink some time?" she asks. Long story short, we end up going back to my place that night, bear our souls to each other, and fall in love.
I miss you Ashley.
27. The Grandma Alibi
I messaged her sister on AIM and asked about her. I wasn't really interested, but one of my friends bet I couldn't get her to go out with me. Well, we ended up talking all night on the phone. Then again, the next night. Then again. Then the weekend hit, and I asked to stay at my grandma’s house overnight because my grandma lived close to her. I snuck out of my grandma’s house and went to hers.
I snuck into her window and its one of my favorite memories. We didn't really know each other outside of a few all-night phone calls, but I felt something. We ended up watching The Fox and the Hound. When the soul-crushing movie ended, I didn't kiss her, although I wanted to. I climbed out of her window and went back to my grandma’s.
Currently married 11 years with two kids. I don't consider a bet to be romantic, but it’s funny how things work out.
28. The Love Equation
He was moved to my algebra class in the second semester of our junior year. The only seat available was the one behind me. Our teacher was an idiot, so I would read books while she lectured, and he would put his head down and nap. We taught ourselves after the lecture by learning from the textbook. A week after he joined our class, he did the most annoying thing ever.
I was clearly nose-deep into my book, and he tried to start up a conversation. "What are you reading? Is it an interesting book? Oh, you're just going to show me the cover but not say anything? Ok, great talking to you." He then put his head back down and took a nap. After this, every day he would try to interrupt me while I read, and I would always give him a dirty look.
I eventually started to talk to him, and he asked me out towards the end of the semester. He said he ended up liking me because I didn't act like the rest of the girls (I laughed when he was choking on M&Ms and tried to trip him after interrupting my reading for two weeks). We got married on our ten-year anniversary of dating, and have been married for four years now.
Last year we had our son, and we still like annoying each other.
29. Runs in the Family
He was my oldest sister’s husband. I was around 15 when they first met. Fast forward five years and they get a divorce. Keep in mind, I didn't really have a relationship with him while he was married to my sister. I only knew his name, and the fact that he was my in-law, and that's about it. We never talked besides the usual hello and goodbye during the holidays.
Two years after the divorce, we bump into each other at Rite Aid. That night, he adds me on Facebook and we chat. Very casual, "How is your family doing?" type of conversation. We eventually stop talking. One night a friend invites me out, and he happens to be at the same bar. We hit it off. We have been dating for three years and are moving in together in a month.
We are honestly made for one another. My family accepts it, as my sister has moved on and is now happily married to someone else and has two children. It's a crazy story. But I wouldn't change him.
30. Ricochet into My Heart
I was in high school, walking down the crowded halls chewing on a Bic pen lid, when I saw my friend up ahead of me. I removed the lid from my mouth, and whipped it at him. Perfect shot, nailed him right in the back of his stupid head. The lid then bounced backwards into the face of a very cute (and now very angry), girl. She turned around ready to unleash havoc, caught eye contact with me, and went beet red.
I apologized the next day for hitting her with said lid, and we have been together for 13 years now. Engaged as of last year.
31. Happily Ever After Meal
My parents met in a McDonald’s drive-thru. They were both passengers, and my mom’s friend slightly rear-ended my dad’s friend’s car. The guys got out to confront the ladies, and ended up asking them out.
32. Hate at First Sight
We met in college. Actually, he was in my very first class upon returning to school after a two-year hiatus. My first memory of my partner was him muttering his frustration after I didn't hear him call my name to pass the attendance sheet around. I actually kind of hated him, I thought he was condescending and rude.
I actually told him to get up from a table where I was sitting with friends when he sat down (Admittedly a rude move but I really didn't want to be around him). One day I was killing time between classes with a mutual friend, and he showed up needing advice about girl problems. Our mutual friend left, and he and I ended up talking for well over an hour.
That was the day I figured out he wasn't actually a jerk, but whoa, did I have to get under that outer layer. We both dated other people for a while, but became best friends...two years later after breakups and soul searching, we got drunk on 1$ beers and he finally made a move. Celebrating our fourth anniversary next month.
33. Wiser with Time
I was at a bar with my brother and some friends of ours. One of my brother’s friends, "Justin," called to find out where we were. I had never met him before. My brother handed the phone to me so I could give directions. While on the phone, Justin told me how sexy my voice was, and how he was excited to meet me. It was a total turnoff.
When he arrived, he ignored me until he got drunk. At the end of the night, he asked me to go home with him. I did not. We didn't see each other again until about two years later. In that time, he grew up a lot. He asked me out on a real date. I said yes. Our wedding anniversary was last month.
34. Small Town Romance
He showed up with my snowplow guy to get my vehicle out of a snowbank, in my own driveway. I stood there with the shovel as he walked over, grabbed it from me, and did the fastest shoveling ever. He handed the shovel back to me and gruffly said, "You better be able to drive now," and got in the plow truck and left.
He is a bit of a gossip hound and asked my plow guy who I was. Then he looked me up on Facebook to ask me out. Oh, small-town romance!
35. The Cost of Love: Three Euros
We were at a party organized for geology students from different universities to meet each other. He (a fourth-year student at our university) didn't have much cash with him, and jokingly exclaimed that, "Darn, I can't buy more beer now." As I (a second-year student) heard him say that, it just happened that I needed to get rid of a bunch of small coins I didn't want to carry around.
I told him he could have three euros, as I had my own drinks. He was very thankful (although he wasn't serious with being upset about not being able to drink more), and introduced himself. The next night, he paid me back although I had told him he didn't have to. We didn't talk at our coffee room for weeks after that, but somehow, I got a huge crush on him a month after the party.
Then I told him about my feelings after another month of us subtly flirting with each other. Now we've been together for almost a year.
The story of how my parents met came to mind. My mom was at a bar when she was approached by a drunken aggressive man who kept trying to hit on her. In a desperate attempt to get rid of him, she approached a random stranger she saw sitting alone by a bar stool. She put her arm around him, and sat on his lap, and said, "Sorry sir, I'm taken, and this man is my boyfriend. Isn't that right?" towards the stranger.
The stranger was my dad, and he played along. She stayed the whole weekend at his place, and before they knew it, they were married.
37. Serendipitous Spillage
At my sister's college graduation party, this cute girl spilled what was left of my drink. She cleaned it up with a paper towel, while I got a wet paper towel to wipe the floor so it wouldn’t be sticky. She says, "Hmm you know how to clean—I should keep you around." 22 years later, I'm still cleaning up after her, and she is still keeping me around.
The rest of the story: three months later we were pregnant and married with a kid, before we even knew each other for a year. Our daughter is in her third year attending college where my wife and I first met.
38. Backup Plan
My parents met at a bar in college. My mom was with her sorority sister, whom my dad was attempting to hit on. When she turned him down, he leaned over to my mom and said something to the effect of, “How about you?” 28 years later and she still gives him crap for it.
39. Karaoke Skills
I was on a crappy group date with some woman from OK Cupid who just wanted a person to pay for her drinks for the evening. My wife was stood up for a date. We ended up at the same bar, and I sang a Smiths song for karaoke. She said, "Who's the idiot singing The Smiths at karaoke?" Saw that the idiot was me, and approached me.
With reckless abandon I bluntly suggested we make-out behind the bar; so, we did. Went home with her, and going on six years later we are married with a house and a dog.
40. Meme Master
The Facebook comment section. One of my favorite meme pages posted a quality meme. I commented. My comment went viral, and my husband was one of the many replies. He then proceeded to shoot me the most random message. We started talking, he came to visit a few times during that year, we got engaged, married, and now I'm pregnant.
Did things happen fast? Yes. Do either of us have any regrets in regard to our actions? Absolutely not.
41. Let’s Be Frank
I was the designated driver for a night out at the local club. It was getting late and everyone wanted to party more, but I was getting hungry. Outside the club, this guy always had his hot dog cart set up, so I went outside to get a couple. The club didn't allow outside food or drink, so I just sat on the curb—which turned out to be an absolutely terrible idea.
She came out drunk as a skunk with her friends, took a few steps, and then puked on me. My hot dogs got ruined too. Her friends really weren't in any condition to drive either, so I called an uber and asked the driver to let me know they got home safe. She called the next day, incredibly apologetic, and asked to make it up to me.
We decided on dinner, and she showed up at the restaurant with a new shirt and a pack of franks (hot dogs). We both laughed hysterically, got talking, and here we are. I always say she had a very unique method of picking me up.
42. A Text from a Stranger
A mutual friend of ours gave my number to them without my prior knowledge. They were in the military and stationed several thousand miles away. I hadn’t even heard of my future partner before, much less met them. Their first text to me was the creepiest message I’ve ever received. It was something like, “I’ve been getting to know you over [friend’s] shoulder for a while now. I just had to talk to you for myself.”
We just celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. Well, it did take a lot of cajoling on the part of our mutual friend, and I was young and dumb. The latter probably had the most to do with it, as I probably wouldn’t take the same path now. The mutual friend vouched for the character of my now-spouse, who also apologized for being creepy.
I was initially angry that my number was given to a perfect stranger, but I ultimately had a lot of trust in the mutual friend and knew that they wouldn’t risk my safety. We very much had a close friendship where they viewed me as their younger sibling. I finally agreed to talk to the creep and get to know them as friends, and then developed feelings for them over time.
The distance and the fact that they didn’t know my exact location made me feel a little safer about the possibility of being harassed if things went south. The rest is history. We all still joke about it actually. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a “pick up method” though.