Once upon a time there was a graduate student. She worked very hard. When she wasn't in class or at fieldwork, she was studying or at work. In the summer, she worked full-time but she also had more margin for fun. She loved summer.
One weekend her best friend invited her to a friend's graduation party. It was held on the R's family farm and there was the promise of a cookout, live band, kegs, and camping. She couldn't say yes fast enough.
She and her best friend happily joined the festivities. She knew about a handful of people there and enjoyed meeting R's friends and family. She also enjoyed meeting the hot single guys in attendance. Let's be honest.
The afternoon gave way to evening and the cover band began to play. Mostly 80s songs. Everyone danced. Sheer perfection.
Within seconds, a guy came over and yelled, "I-L-L."
She looked at him in puzzlement. What song was the band playing? Was this the same thing as yelling "salt" during Margaritaville or "so good" in Sweet Caroline?
"What," she yelled back.
"I-L-L," he yelled again, intent on gaining some sort of response.
Ill, she mused. Well, this made no sense. Why would he yell about being sick?
"I-L-L," he yelled again.
This was getting weird.
"I don't know what you're saying," she yelled back. She was irritated because he was interfering with her dancing time. Nobody put this baby in a corner.
Finally, a friend whispered loudly in her ear, "you're supposed to yell back I-N-I."
"And this matters because...?"
"You're wearing a University of Illinois sweatshirt."
Ah, yes. The sweatshirt she'd adorned to stave off the chill. The same sweatshirt she'd "long-term borrowed" from her friend Clay months ago. He went to U of I. She did not.
But the yelling guy was intrigued by the young woman in the U of I sweatshirt who knew nothing of school chants or mascots.
They began dancing and talking and later, while they sat around a bonfire, he asked her out.
There were many factors against this pairing. It was not meant to be.
But she never forgot the time this most unsexy of apparel landed her a date.