Bill and Jen: A Love Story
In separate conversations with Bill and Jen, a TLC producer asked the Little Couple about how they met. Read their responses, and and be sure to check out Little Couple videos as they celebrate 5 years of marriage.
Q: Can you remind us how you met each other?
Bill: Let’s see here…my first meeting with Jennifer was when we were ten years old. We were both in the hospital in Baltimore. She was in for surgery, and I was in for physical therapy. I remember that I was very happy when I first saw her but she was not in a good mood, because she just had surgery the day or two before. That was our first meeting; I remember it very, very, well. I even remember the room that she was in. Nonetheless, she didn’t remember me, at all.
Jen: When Bill and I met it was kind of…fate. We had so many close encounters all those times we met or almost met in our lives. The first time we met, which I don’t remember but he clearly does, was when we were about 10 years old in the hospital. Both Bill and I had the same surgeon growing up -- Bill's type of skeletal dysplasia, as well as mine, requires a lot of orthopedic surgery. Growing up he traveled from New York to Baltimore for surgery, and I traveled from Florida to Baltimore for all of our surgeries because our doctor was the best in the world.
One time we were in the hospital together. I was there for surgery and was not feeling very well post-op day 1. This happened to be one of those surgeries that I ended up getting really sick afterwards and required a blood transfusion because I lost a lot of blood. I was feeling pretty miserable, but Bill was there for physical therapy so he had already recovered from surgery -- his legs had healed and were in a cast. One day, he was creeping in the halls in his little chair and came into my room – so he tells me – and tries to strike up a conversation.
Apparently I was cranky and ignored him and said go away, which doesn’t surprise me. But, the reason I know it's all true is because everything he described about that day, me and the people in the room was perfect.
Q: Did you ever hear from each other or about each other after that hospital run-in?
Bill: When we were 21, Jennifer had studied with our physician, the orthopedist that did all of our surgeries as kids. She was preparing to go to medical school and wanted to study under him. He offered this internship to one person each summer; while there, she was told all about me, this guy living in New York.
Jen: Our doctor and nurse practitioner actually tried to set us up a few times, believe it or not. Both Bill and I were interested in going into medicine and we both shadowed our surgeon, but I never got to meet him because we did it at different times. They also told Bill about me, and we still never connected. So, another ten years later, when I was about 31 or 32 -- I should probably remember the exact year…I think it was my 32nd birthday, actually -- we officially met.
Q: You talk about meeting online though. How did that happen?
Bill: I registered for a website called datealittle.com, which caters to folks that are short in stature or people who are looking for people who are short in stature. We ran into each other online and that is how we connected. I wrote to her, but she wasn't paying the bill for her registration, so she could not read my email.
Then she wrote to me two months later and dropped me some generic note like hey, did we meet at a convention one year? I have not been to a convention since I was a kid, so I knew that wasn't the case, but I thought she was just throwing out a pickup line. I wrote back to her and I told her no, I haven't been to a convention in a long time, but I'd love to talk to her. So, we started talking on the phone.
She was a Neonatal Fellow at the time and still in training, so she was working long hours and not getting very much sleep. After about a month and a half of calls, she fell asleep on the phone one night -- at that point I decided she was either too comfortable or too bored. Either way, I needed to close the deal here because I was in love with her at that point.
Jen: I had signed up with this dating site geared towards little people, datealittle.com, very catchy right? He and I were both on this site but I was working really hard, 100 hours a week, as a trainee and not getting paid a lot.
Bill apparently emailed me, but I never got it. Three months later, I went online with my best friend and a glass of wine. We were both single at the time and we planned to go on and each email one guy. I had never done that before, never reached out to anybody. I was on the site but I looked more for female friends.
I searched all of the profiles for young men, my age, with good jobs, who weren't married, looking for love, and looking for people that I didn’t already know. I came across Bill's profile so I sent him a random email and said, "Have we ever met before at a Little People in America conference? You look familiar." That was my great pickup line.
Q: What was your first date?
Bill: I flew out to Pittsburgh, where Jen was living at the time. I rented a hotel room for the weekend and we had our first meeting at Starbucks. After I was vetted through that process, she felt comfortable enough to go to dinner.
Jennifer asked what I wanted to eat, so I suggested sushi. We both ordered a lot of food but we didn't touch any of it. The chef was so insulted he came out to us to see if there was anything wrong, but we had just talked for three hours.
When we left, we went up to the top of Emerald View in Pittsburgh; you can overlook the city there. I had my first kiss with Jennifer on top of that mountain, and that was that.
Jen: Bill was brave enough to come on my birthday weekend. I had just come off a 24-hour shift on Friday morning, so I went home, took a nap, then got up, got dressed and we met for Starbucks. That was the first mini-date because I was like okay, let me make sure this guy's okay before we move on to a dinner kind of thing.
We had the longest conversation ever in Starbucks. It was awesome. I knew right away that this one was great, so I went home, got dressed again, and we went out to a sushi dinner where neither of us ate anything -- to the point where the owners came out and they were like, "Is it bad?" And we said, "No, we're just talking so much." I had a wonderful time.