Dear Readers,

To continue encouraging single people to get emotionally naked and find love, I’m sharing stories of how couples met. I also invite anyone who wants to take the risk that leads to love to join me on The Getting Naked Experiment (www.GettingNakedExperiment.com). Thank you for the stories!

Dear Harlan,

It was April 11, 1998. We were both hiking the same trail in the same park, but in different locations. The trail had three loops, and we passed each other, exchanging polite hellos. By the time we passed again on the third loop, I was two hours into my hike (and looked the part). He initiated conversation: “Are you from Maine?” I was wearing a University of Maine hockey T-shirt, but no, I was not from Maine. For some reason, I volunteered that I had just been at the Frozen Four in Boston (the week before) and had spent additional time with friends in Maine. He then explained he was a sports reporter and had followed the University of Minnesota Gopher hockey team. I shared that I had season tickets. Twenty minutes later, we were still talking about the previous season and blocking the trail. He asked if I wanted to meet him at a nearby town at a bar known for the burgers. For some reason, I agreed. At the bar, we enjoyed more conversation, good burgers and a Stanley Cup playoff game.

We agreed to meet again at the park the following week. But it didn’t go as well. The conversation was strained. He talked a lot about himself and didn’t ask about my interests. Still, we had a lot in common and remained friends, attending sporting events, movies etc. I had not dated much, but I had a balanced life — good friends, fun travels. He was divorced and not looking to go down that road again. About 18 months later, the millennium new year (Dec. 31, 1999) was on the horizon and he wanted a “date.” I declined because he did not necessarily want a date with me; he just did not want to be alone. There’s a difference. I was blunt, too: I was not interested in being a convenience date. We remained friends, and, on Feb. 14, 2000, we had our first official date. Within a year, he proposed to me on the way home from a Gopher hockey game (after he caught a stray puck at the game). We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in 2012.

Amy

Dear Amy,

Lesson No. 1: Do the things you love to do and you can naturally meet people who share common interests. Lesson No. 2: Friends can become the best partners. Lesson No. 3: The very best love stories are filled with rejection.

Dear Harlan Cohen,

It was my first semester in college. I auditioned for an all-female a capella group. I made it. That’s where I met Nina. One day, we started chatting after rehearsal. We continued the conversation and got tea together. We just clicked. I was already an out lesbian, but Nina was in a different place. After weeks of talking, sharing and flirting, we kissed for the first time. We are still in love and are still enjoying talking, sharing and flirting.

Singing With a Smile

Dear Singing,

The lesson: Do things you love to do with people who share the same interests and you can fall in love

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