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A couple finds love while waiting in line at the post office.

Fred wasn’t going to miss his opportunity.

He had made eye contact with Lisa while waiting to be called up to the counter at the post office and thought she was cute. But the clock was ticking: soon one of them would have their number called and the chance would be gone.

“I was thinking I’d better say something, because this is somebody I’d like to know,” he told Meet Cutes NYC.

After catching her eye again, Fred approached Lisa and asked her the fateful question that would kickstart a relationship that has now lasted nearly 40 years: “Come here often?”

Here’s their story. 

How’d you two meet? 

Lisa: We're going back a while now, we've been married 37 years. We met at a post office. It was the first post office in our area that had a take-a-number system. So you didn't stand in line, you just kind of took a number and sat on a bench. I was sitting on the bench, he walked in, walked by me a few times checking me out, and then decided to sit down next to me.

And then he threw me what he calls his “rad” pick-up line, which was “Come here often?” I have to say, as corny as it is, I got a kick out of it. And we sat there and talked for a few minutes while we waited for our numbers to be called. I had given him my business card because I was in the temporary staffing business and he said he needed a receptionist in his office.

And then, when my number was called, we said our goodbyes and I went up to the window. And like two seconds later, he's standing right behind me and he hands me his business card. He says, “Here's how you'll know me when I call.”

What were your first impressions of each other?

Fred: Here was this cute girl in the post office just sitting there waiting to be talked to. Like Lisa said, we were sitting on the same bench. We glanced at each other a few times and I knew I had to say something quickly before one of us had our numbers called. And that’s when my “rad” pick-up line came to mind. I was thinking I’d better say something, because this is somebody I’d like to know.

Lisa: He was pretty handsome. He was a sharp dressed man, suit and tie. He looked good and I could tell he was checking me out and it kind of made me laugh. And then when he threw me his pick-up line I figured he had a sense of humor. 

What happened next? 

Fred: I waited about three days and gave her a call. Lisa wasn’t in the office, but her secretary answered the phone and said “Can I take a message?”

I said “This is Fred…” and I paused and she goes “Oh so YOU’RE the one she met at the post office!” And I knew right away I had scored big time. I knew I had obviously made a great impression if she came back and told her secretary about this cute guy she met at the post office. And of course Lisa, when she found out what her receptionist said, wanted to fire her for giving it up right away.

Lisa: I don’t like that part of the story!

Were you expecting Fred’s call? Had you forgotten about him?

Lisa: I wouldn’t say I’d forgotten about him, but I wasn’t sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. But when he did call, it was nice. He asked me out to drinks. 

What did you do for your first date? 

Lisa: We went out and met for drinks at this really nice place that doesn’t exist anymore. And we sat and talked for a couple hours. And then as we were leaving our drinks, he invited me over to come to a little dinner party he was having with some friends. That’s kind of when the relationship really started. 

Fred: I was putting myself out there. I was cooking dinner for six people. Lisa’s a fabulous cook, but I didn’t know that at the time. I think I made a good dinner. It was pasta with shrimp and broccoli. 

What’s it like meeting someone’s friends while on a first date? 

Lisa: I thought it was kind of fun. It took a little pressure off of the awkwardness of getting to know someone right away. His friends were nice and there was a lot of laughing and drinking wine and cooking and eating. I love getting to know people over a meal. It was a very fun first date. 

Fred: I thought she had a great sense of humor as well. It was a fabulous first meet. I just knew it was gonna go well. And in fact, after we started seeing each other, within six months our friends started asking us when we were gonna get married. 

How did things grow from there? 

Fred: Lisa and I were exclusively dating pretty quickly. We met in April, and in December Lisa asked me if I’d like to come back to New York with her to visit her family for the holidays. That's a big thing, flying across the country to meet your girlfriend's family.

So I said “Yeah, absolutely.” I had a feeling that this was gonna develop into the one for me. I’m from a big Jewish family and Lisa’s from a big Italian family, so it’s very similar. And at Christmas dinner in the basement with everybody, her dad asked me a question he'd never asked any of her days or her boyfriends before, which was: “So Fred, what are your intentions?” So Lisa knew that I had her father’s approval. He had never asked anyone that before.

Lisa: In front of 40 people!

What’s the secret to meeting someone in a public place? 

Fred: You just have to make eye contact and smile. The best thing you can do is offer some kind of a compliment, like “I love your nails,” something to break the ice. It doesn't have to be in a bar. In fact, I hate going to bars and meeting women there, it can be fake and phony and I'd rather meet people in everyday situations in everyday life. It's very easy to meet people that way. 

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Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.