I was in the middle of a meeting, and my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing. I ignored her call the first several times, but then I started to get worried. My best friend, Chrisette, was blowing up my phone. Her children are my godchildren. Had something happened? I stepped out and called her.
“What’s going on? Is everything okay?”
“Yes, everything is great. You’re going on a date,” she said.
“You are,” she replied with total certainty. “I just met this guy. He’s cute and he’s the managing partner of his law firm, and I think you’re going to really like him. He’s based in Los Angeles, but you’re always here for work anyway.”
Chrisette is like a sister to me, and I knew there was no use in arguing with her.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“His name is Doug Emhoff, but promise me you won’t Google him. Don’t overthink it. Just meet him. I already gave him your number. He’s going to reach out.”
Part of me groaned, but at the same time, I appreciated Chrisette’s takecharge approach. She was one of the only people to whom I could talk candidly about my personal life. As a single, professional woman in my 40s, and very much in the public eye [as California attorney general], dating wasn’t easy. I knew that if I brought a man with me to an event, people would immediately start to speculate about our relationship. I also knew that single women in politics are viewed differently than single men. We don’t get the same latitude when it comes to our social lives.
I had no interest in inviting that kind of scrutiny unless I was close to sure I’d found “the One” – which meant that for years, I kept my personal life compartmentalised from my career.
A few nights later, I was on my way to an event when I received a text from a number I didn’t recognise. Doug was watching a basketball game with a friend, and he’d worked up the courage to send me an awkward text. “Hey! It’s Doug. Just saying hi! I’m at the Lakers game.” I wrote back to say hi, and we made plans to talk the following day. Then I punctuated it with my own bit of awkwardness – “Go Lakers!” – even though I’m really a [Golden State] Warriors fan.
The next morning, I was leaving the gym before work when I noticed that I had missed a call from Doug. Even though I had suggested we connect the following day, I hadn’t expected him to reach out that early. But I found it pretty endearing, I’ll admit.
The voicemail, which I still have saved to this day, was long and a little rambling. He sounded like a nice guy, though, and I was intrigued to learn more. Doug, on the other hand, was pretty sure that he had ruined his chances. The way he tells it, he thought his voicemail had been disastrous and that he’d likely never hear from me again. But fate was smiling on us.
I found myself with a free hour for lunch – something that almost never happened. So I decided I’d give Doug a call. He answered, and we ended up on the phone for the entire hour. It sounds corny, I know, but the conversation just flowed; and even though I’m sure that both of us were trying extra hard to seem witty and interesting, most of all I remember us cracking each other up, joking and laughing at ourselves and with each other, just the way we do now. We made dinner plans for Saturday night in Los Angeles. I could hardly wait to fly down.
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