My wife and I met while we were serving together in the United States Navy. Unlike virtually every one of the hundreds of women aboard the aircraft carrier on which we served, she was intelligent, reserved, curious, and was adept at recognizing a jerk at first sight. I, of course, was one such man so identified. Nevertheless, I had a captive audience, and for the next nine months I focused whatever effort didn't go into my job on the ship into convincing her that there was more to me than a sailor with high standards and a low threshold for nonsense. That very long, chaste courtship was the best investment of nine months I have ever spent in my life.
I recognize quality when I see it, and the first time I saw her she had a book in the back pocket of her uniform--a positive indicator in my book! She was not just a reader, but downright bookish. Oh yes, I struck the jackpot! Girls in the military who are avid readers are about as rare as unicorns. So after some weeks of casual "getting to know you" chit-chat in the passageways of the ship, I lent her a novel I had just finished reading: