Ten years later, Howie Fetner ’96 is sleeping with his freshman year psychology partner. For current lonely undergrads, Howie’s story proves there is still hope for love at Yale.
Sometimes it just takes a little while.
As Yalies this Valentine’s Day pine away for their unrequited love across the table of their history section or wonder whether this year’s sweetheart will be the one, three Yale couples tell their story of love lost, found and tied into the matrimonial knot.
Howie Fetner first met Meredith Gershon ’96 at a New York reception for incoming students before their freshman year at Yale.
It was a fairly nondescript meeting, Howie said. The two exchanged pleasantries and didn’t see each other for a couple of months.
But upon coming to Yale, Meredith decided to take action.
Not content to stick to traditional dating tactics, she resolved to work her feminine wiles on Howie in the realm of the classroom. She didn’t go so far as to suggest that Howie take Repro with her, but settled instead for Intro Psych.
And it worked. As Howie and Meredith learned about the science of social interaction, their acquaintance grew into friendship and their friendship into love.
“[Meredith] chased me and pursued me for several weeks,” Howie said. “We were sort of just friends and then started dating.”
Howie said he owes the inception of their relationship to the stresses of a Yale freshman year.
“I remember this principle from psych: when people are in extreme situations, when adrenaline is raised, they’re more likely to fall in love or develop close relationships with people,” Howie said. “And there’s probably something to the notion that we were both thrown into Yale as freshmen.”
Meredith was his first serious girlfriend, he said, and before that first year was through, he realized she was the girl he would end up marrying.
“We were dating for almost exactly nine years when we got married,” Howie said. “Which is on its face an absurdly long time.”
Between the briefs
David Friedman LAW ’99 was 45 minutes late for his first date with Laura Appleman LAW ’98.
And from there, the evening just got worse. When they got to the movie theater almost an hour into the film, David explained, “She said, just to be difficult, ‘Nope, none of these other movies interest me.'”
So he drove her back to his apartment near East Rock Park, where they watched the one movie he owned: “Annie Hall.”
“It was a lights on, opposite ends of the couch kind of situation,” David said. “If the couch had been 2 feet longer, she would have been 2 feet farther away.”
David dropped Laura off at home, thinking the evening had been a complete failure.
But his roommates told him not to lose hope. After all, they said, she had stayed until 2 or 3 in the morning. And the roommates turned out to be right. Laura, David said, had simply wanted to “express cautious interest.”
Married in June 2001, the pair were able to emerge unscathed from what they have come to call their “first non-date.”
Out of the blue
When Lynn Oberlander ’87 e-mailed Gary Drevitch ’90 on Feb. 10, 1998, it had been 11 years since they had last seen each other.
Lynn had met Gary the summer before her senior year and his freshman year when they were working at a summer program.
“Lynn and I had met that summer and had gotten along, but there was no thought of dating,” Gary said. “There was no spark; there was no romance.”
Once in New Haven, the two saw each other only occasionally.
But something about him must have stuck in Lynn’s mind. Years after graduating, she saw his name on an alumni list-serve and sent him an e-mail.
The two agreed to meet for lunch, but Cupid’s arrow had not yet struck.
“Gary was a little stiff and very weird. His whole attitude was, ‘Why am I having lunch with this person?'” Lynn said.
Two months later, however, with destiny’s gentle prodding, Gary decided to invite Lynn for a drink.
“By the time we got to the end of that drink, something sparked,” he said. “I had drinks with two of my closest friends from Calhoun soon after my second date with Lynn. And I remember saying to them, ‘You know, I could marry this woman I was out with the other night.’ The guys were shocked to hear me say that, and I was a little shocked, too, but once I said it, it really sounded right, and pretty soon I was convinced it was a great idea.”
Nine months later they got engaged. They were married on Nov. 14, 1999, and Lynn gave birth to Benjamin Nathan Oberlander Drevitch on Dec. 4, 2000.
Even years after graduation, Gary said, there was something inherently exciting about being married to “a senior.” He remembers Lynn talking to a friend of hers from Yale soon after he and she started dating.
“There was a frisson of excitement,” he said, “It was kind of cool to think of these people, three years difference is not that large, but ooh, they’re seniors, and it was neat to be welcomed into that circle.”
But, Gary said, being married to an older Yalie does not come without its complications.
“The trouble with marrying a Yalie who is three years older than you, now you have reunions 40 percent of the time,” he said. “Every two out of five years is a reunion year.”
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