How We Met
We were both first year students at Exeter University when we met in a local pub on the 24th of March 2010.
7 years, 5 homes, 1 country move and countless adventures later Chris planned a helicopter tour for his aviation loving girlfriend. He got down on one knee on the helipad and asked Maja to marry him, to which Maja replied “Yes!”
But if you were to ask about the details of how we first met you would get a very different answer depending on who you ask. Therefore, to give you the full scoop, here are both versions.
How the bride met he groom
I was 19 years old and celebrating a friends birthday in the fancy UK establishment commonly known as The Wetherspoons. We had dressed up in our newest outfits (I thought my metal studded t-shirt was very chick at the time) and were in the middle of a discussion about how we didn’t like the clothes all the British guys we knew insisted on wearing.
-What’s with the flip-flop and gilet combo? My friend asked
– Or the spikey hairdo? I replied. Seriously they just don’t know how to dress here.
Suddenly I spotted a tall boy, his brown hair perfectly side-parted and the top button of his stripy Ralph Lauren polo shirt undone.
-… Except that guy! I said.
To my surprise, the tall stranger made his way over and joined our group. It was Wednesday, or as the students liked to call it “sports night”, meaning all the University sport teams were on their weekly night out.
-He must be one of the rugby guys. I said.
My friend nodded in agreement. – “He certainly has the built for it”
Two ciders later my friends had to go to the bathroom, conveniently freeing up the two seats next to me. I locked eyes with Ralph Lauren boy, and a wave of confidence (or was it the sangria?) came over me.
With a big smile, I gestured at the seat next to me and said, “I think you should come sit next to me”.
I stared at him in disbelief as the beer dripped from my chin onto my clothes. With a shrug of his shoulders, he mouthed a “Sorry” and I stormed off to the bathroom.
-What happened?! My friends had come out of the bathroom cubicle and found me desperately trying to dry my wet clothes under the hand-dryer.
-That guy just poured his entire beer over me!!!
I couldn’t believe it. The only logical explanation was that he had chosen a not so subtle way to get his message across: “Not interested”. But why? He didn’t even know me, how could he be so sure he didn’t like me already? I was furious.
– He must be the biggest a-hole I have ever met! I told my friends. How can he just decide I’m not good enough just like that?
And right then and there I realized… I already had a crush on this boy. Something about his arrogant dismissal appealed to my competitive side and I found myself eager to take on operation Get Ralph Lauren boy to like me. Game on!
Ten minutes later I emerged from the bathroom, having successfully dried my outfit and used half a bottle of perfume to mask the beer smell. It was time to trade the pub for a club and as we began walking towards the town centre I casually positioned myself next to him. Making light conversation between strategic hair flicking, eyelash bashing, perfectly timed laughs and continuous comments of how I just loved golfers. I was on my A-game and I could tell it was working. Until suddenly…
-“I have to go catch up with some mates, bye!”
He was gone. Probably to go meet up with some other girl, I thought. I arrived at the club deflated and annoyed, but decided that since he was so rude it probably wasn’t worth it anyway. An hour of dancing later I was at the bar waiting for my drink order when suddenly…
– Would you like a hand with that?
He was back! I tried to mask my excitement as I remembered that in the three hours I had known him he had already poured a drink over me and left me for another girl. I wasn’t going to give him a third chance. Was I?
– I can carry my own drinks, thanks. I said dismissively and walked away, whilst feeling betrayed by my hips for nonchalantly swinging little extra wide. (My friends later told me I looked like I was trying to write the number 8 with by butt).
Throughout the rest of the night he stuck to my side like glue, offering to hold my bag whilst I danced, carrying my drinks and even copying my SClub7 dance moves. I wasn’t sure if he was being nice or playing a game, but I was enjoying his attention.
At the end of the night he offered to walk me home and the competitive side in me did a cartwheel; Touchdown!
As we walked back to my student accommodation I learnt that his name was Christopher Davies and that he was from Wales but had grown up in a little town in north of England. He loved Disney and some restaurant called the Harvester and he really loved playing golf. I also realized I didn’t need to pretend to laugh at his jokes, he was actually really funny.
– I really like him! I thought. And then I panicked! He was walking me home… After years of reading the dating tips in comso magazine I knew that if I kissed him on the first night he wouldn’t call me again, and I really wanted him to call again!
We got to my door and before he could take a step I turned to him and said
– “Well it was lovely to meet you, thanks for walking me home” Then I slammed the door shut before he had even had the chance to reply.
I went to bed proud, I had played it perfectly. I thanked cosmopolitan for their excellent advice and fell asleep, already thinking I might have found a perfect guy.
That was until I woke up the next morning and discovered 12 missed calls on my mobile! 12!! All from him. I was confused, apart from the beer throwing and going off to meet another girl he had seemed like a great guy but this was a little creepy. Then I remembered that we had agreed to go on a date that evening. Crap! Ok he might be a little strange but at least he was cute… right? My memory was a little fuzzy after all the Bacardi Breezers so I did a quick Facebook search and found his (at the time) not so flattering profile picture. “He is not cute enough to be this creepy”. I immediately messaged him and cancelled our date, making up some excuse about a society meeting.
That evening I headed a poker night with friends, relieved that I had dodged the awkward date.
I had just sat down at the poker table when…
-Didn’t you say you had a meeting?
I was busted. I tried to give him some excuse about it being cancelled but he just shook his head at me and took a seat at the games table. I felt awful.
Four hours, a lot of laughter and numerous apologies later Chris and I were the only people still left in the poker game and we were at a deadlock. I was just about to give up and call it even when he said:
-If I win this hand, you will go on that date with me.
Without hesitation I folder my cards and pretended to loose.
How the groom met the bride
Wednesday the 24th of March 2010 started like any other. Miss Economics 101 to play golf with the university team followed by copious amounts of alcohol to celebrate another university win. Or so I thought…
Around 6pm I had a call from my mate Robin inviting me to drinks with some of his football friends. Most Wednesdays I would have said no due to the weekly golf social, but there was something about that night which made me change my plans and accept Robin’s invitation.
I arrived at the Weatherspoon an hour later ready for a big night out. I did a quick round of introductions and was particularly intrigued by the American rock chick sat at the end of the sofa. She had introduced herself as Maja. She was pretty and had a great smile, but I was a little taken aback by the metal studs on her t-shirt. Still, I wanted to get to know her. I was on a bar stool close to Maja when her friends got up to go to the bathroom. Immediately she looked straight at me and said;
– You should come and sit next to me.
Wait, did hear that right? Is that the same girl I have been checking out since I got here? I thought.
I stood up ready to say something cool like “Yea I should come sit to you, shouldn’t I?” *wink* But I was so nervous that instead I tripped off my barstool spilling my full bottle of beer all over the sofa and, to my horror, all over Maja. Crap!
I didn’t even manage to get my apology out before she had ran off. The guys couldn’t believe it. I had messed up my opportunity big time. How could I make this up to her? I felt both awful and embarrassed.
After the longest 10 minutes of my life, she re-emerged from the bathroom, now like a women on a mission. Not only did she now want to talk to me, she seemed more keen than ever! I finally realised where I had been going wrong, you have to mark your territory with a beer to get a girl! Who knew?
We left the disaster that was the Weatherspoon behind and began walking to the club in town. I started talking to Maja trying to make up for my earlier mistake of ruining her outfit and making her smell like imported German beer. She seemed interested in what I had to say and was still smiling at me. I was thrilled to find out that she actually liked golf, but more importantly, she liked golfers! I mean I could not believe that she was speaking to me let lone flirting with me. I was winning!
As we walked, I remembered I had promised to drop by the golf social, so I left Maja and the group. I only had one drink with the golfers before realizing I really quite liked this girl already. More importantly, she had seemed interested in me too! This was a rare opportunity for a 19 year old student, so I called Robin to find out where they were and went to find her.
I quickly spotted Maja by the bar and made my way over. I knew I might have to put in some work to get her, so I spent the evening trying to help her as much as I could to make up for earlier mistakes. As the night went on, I realised that not only did this girl like to dance but she really loves to dance. How strange for a rock chick to like S Club7, I thought.
At the end of the night picked up the courage to offer to walk her home (I mean I am a gentleman after all). As we walked, I quickly realized she wasn’t a rocker at all, but somehow metal studs were now in fashion. She also wasn’t American at all. We laughed the whole way home and I thought we were really hitting it off. Until in the singular occurrence of panic from Maja in our 8-year relationship, she turned to me at her doorstep, said Thanks and swiftly slammed the door in my face. I was left standing two miles from home with no money for a taxi and no idea of where I was. For the third time that night, I had to phone Robin and get him to guide me home using google maps. It took 40 minutes.
We had agreed to go to see a movie at the cinema the next day however, after a number of calls (more than I would like to admit), I had not heard from the elusive Maja. Facebook proved futile in contacting her and I assumed that she had decided against the idea. My assumption was proven right as I received a Facebook message saying that she actually had a review with her international mentor and had to cancel our date. This excuse was questionable at best.
I now had a free evening so I called Alex (Froggy) who I met the night before seeing what they were up to. I found out that he was organising a poker night and that he was happy for me to join. As I arrived to the poker night I looked across the room and saw the same Maja that was meant to be at her international meeting… I walked over to her ‘oh I see international meeting’ I said.
As the night went on and the game drew to a close, it came down to a head to head between Maja and I, at which point I said
‘If I win this hand you will come on the date that you promised’.
Then I went all in!
how they asked
“You underestimate me!” Chris said.
“No offense, but I highly doubt it.” Maja replied.
We had been dating for 8 years now, after meeting in our local University pub back in England. By now we had survived 4 house moves, multiple monopoly nights and even a year of long distance whilst Maja studied in Hong Kong. We had moved to Dubai together a few months prior and Maja was certain that it was only a matter of time before Chris proposed. She was also convinced that she would be able to see it coming from miles away, and that a surprise proposal simply wasn’t on the cards for her.
“I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.” He winked at her. “If I ever decide to propose, that is…”
A few months later, Maja was in the office when she received an email from Chris’s work account. “Morning! I said we would go to this, hope that’s ok?” It was a forwarded email from Chris’s boss inviting all the employees with partners to their annual summer party. The date was 23 June and the location was Atlantis. Details were to follow but it would be a full day event starting with team activities and followed by an awards ceremony. “Sounds great”Maja replied.
During the weeks that followed, Maja met with some of the girls from Chris’s office for an occasional coffee. They were discussing what to wear to the event and raving about how good last years party had been. They explained that the day normally starts with speeches and formal mingling so wear something business-casual to start but bring beach stuff for later. Maja was really excited.
On the morning of the 23rd Chris was unusually quiet but when Maja asked him if he was okay he explained that he was nervous about the awards as he was hoping for “Best new starter”, so she didn’t think any more of it. The event invitation had said to meet at 9am by the helicopter centre close to Nasimi beach, from which the whole team would take a shuttle to the “secret event location”. As most of you know, Maja a huge aviation geek so she had really been hoping that this meant we would be going on a helicopter (this was literally the top item on her bucket list) but both Chris and the girls from work had on numerous occasions explained that we definitely weren’t.
We arrived just before 9am and the lady greeting us said “Oh are you here for the corporate event? You are an hour early”. Maja could have sworn the invite said 9 but Chris checked his phone again and said “She is right, it says 10”. “No problem, you can wait in our VIP room” She said and escorted us through.
“What’s the point of meeting here if we’re not going on a helicopter?” Maja was sulking. “How do I know, I didn’t plan it!” Chris replied.
A few minutes later the lady reappeared with a big smile and explained that they had received a last minute cancellation on their morning helicopter tour. It was starting in 15 minutes and they had 2 spare spaces which she was happy to offer us if we wanted them. The tour was only going to last 25 minutes so we would be back in time for the 10am shuttle to the company event. “We will take the seats!” Maja almost yelled at her. Next we are walking (or in Maja’s case practically running) onto the landing platform towards the helicopter. We were halfway there when the lady called us back.
“Mam, we need to take your picture” She said. “You can buy them when you land” Of course! Maja knew she’d probably have to pay a fortune for the photo afterwards but this wasn’t one of those silly novelty photos you get at Disney land, this was a helicopter! She wanted every photo she could possibly get.
Chris put his hand around her waste and we smiled at the camera with the helicopter and Atlantis as our backdrop. Maja was still focusing on the camera when she noticed that Chris’s hand had come of her waste. She looked up at him and realized that he had turned to face me with a huge, cheekey smile on his face. He produced a little box from his pocket, and Maja knew instantly that he had proved her wrong. Chris got down on one knee, wiped a tear from his eye (he still claims it was sand), and asked Maja to marry him. Obviously, she said yes.
It was the best day Maja could ever have wished for. After Chris got back off his knee and the aircraft engineers had stopped cheering we took our seats in the front of the helicopter (which he had obviously booked in advance). We flew over all our favourite places in Dubai and Maja got to ask the pilot a million questions about the controls. Chris later explained that a helicopter proposal had always been the obvious choice, because if Maja had said no chances are I wouldn’t have gotten to go on the fight. In his eyes the helicopter was basically his insurance to guarantee himself a yes.
Needless to say there was no office event that day (his entire team had played a part in the surprise). Instead we headed to Al Qasr where he had booked us in for a beach/pool day, including lunch at Pai Thai. We loved Al Qasr so much that we eventually went on to book it as our wedding venue! When we returned home around 6pm Chris told Maja she had 1 hour to get ready because there was still one more surprise to come.
We arrived at the Burj al Arab for dinner around 7.30pm. Maja was handed a long stem red rose on arrival, “This is from your fiancé” the hostess said, and our dinner table was decorated with a heart made of rose petals. It was super cheesy, but she loved it. The meal was followed by a reservation at Skyview Bar, also in the Burj, where we were greeted with; “Your table is ready for you Mr. Davies, and may I say, future Mrs. Davies”.