The pair had developed a morning routine of jockeying for the school’s best parking spot before classes began, along with an agreement that the victor would drive the other person to their car across campus at the end of the day.
“I drove Jenny to her car because I’d won the race that day,” Matt, now 26, recalls. Before Jenny disembarked, Matt asked her to be his girlfriend. They planned a dinner date at Clyde’s followed by a movie in Georgetown.
Soon, dates became routine. Matt became a frequent face in the bleachers at Jenny’s basketball games, known for his enthusiastic chants of “Go Jenny Klein! Go!” And Jenny, even with her fear of roller coasters, agreed to a date at Six Flags. Luckily for her, a sudden downpour put all roller coaster rides on hold.
Matt knew that for Jenny, who came from a tight-knit family that included two younger brothers, making a good impression with her parents and siblings would go far. As Matt was invited more and more to Klein family dinners, he and Jenny’s brothers, Andy and David, would recap Monty Python sketches. And for Matt, an only child, the feeling that he was becoming family was palpable.
“It’s something you always laugh at and do with your family,” Matt says. “But I saw a whole other side of Jenny that I didn’t see at school.” And, he adds, “I kind of envisioned us doing that.”
Not discounting the difficulties of a long-distance relationship, the pair decided to give it a try when both left for college. Matt headed to Middlebury College in Vermont, while Jenny stayed in the area at Georgetown University.
“From the beginning, I’d felt this was right,” Jenny says. “And we were mature enough to take it seriously,” Matt adds. The two remained exclusive throughout the four years of college, both traveling on weekends and holidays to see each another.
The strain of infrequent visits was tough, both admit, but they developed a system for coping, talking at night and texting during the day, even to the point where Matt’s friends would make comments about his attachment to his phone.
But late night phone calls and weekend visits were also moments for planning and speculating about the future. Both had picked up cooking as a hobby while in college, and soon Matt began receiving cookbooks as gifts from family and friends who anticipated the two would move in together after school.
The summer after graduation, the pair settled into a small apartment in Clarendon before moving to Dupont to pursue law degrees. Other than sometimes having to do more laundry than usual, Matt says the transition from living apart to living together was nearly seamless. At that point, he says, “we knew we wanted to stay together for as long as we could.”