It was cold. What is it that they say? “Bone chilling?” Yeah, that was about right. And it was windy as all hell, too. It was as if God had looked down and said “Ya know what, Gabriel? (one of his main angels) I haven’t messed with J for a minute…watch this…” I mean, I knew that the area I had deployed to was known for its cold and windy winters but good Lord. Overall though, I didn’t have too much to complain about. Things had gone well with flying in and my initial planning, and at the moment I was off to my first meeting.

The person I was meeting had no clue that I was meeting them, but hey, such small details were meaningless in the grand scheme of things – yeah, OK. What’s that you say? How does one hold a meeting with someone who isn’t hip to the fact that there is a meeting taking place? Well my friend, today is your lucky day because this – much like the time one of my lovely daughters asked me if Pennsylvania was near Philadelphia – is what we call a teaching moment. You are about to get a broad – VERY broad – lesson in the art of the bump.

OK by show of hands, who here is married? Ever dated? (That plastic “friend” you keep inflated in your closet does not count sir, put your hand down.) OK so for the rest of us, unless you are inhumanly good-looking á la BK style (though I am positive that he has had work done – I will get the proof!!) we know that it is not a simple endeavor. Much like this current operation, there is some planning that goes into it. Let’s place the potential love interest into the role of the potential asset.

You spot them, “assess” them (find out what you can about them and their hoped for willingness and ability to be with you, or in the case of the asset, spy for you), “develop” them (work your charm, hopefully leading to a series of dates or meetings before you pop the question or ask them to commit espionage), “recruit” them (ask them to spy, get their yes, then in most cases begin paying them) “handle” them (manage the relationship and flow of intelligence) then either turn them over to someone else or terminate the relationship.

So back to dating and marriage. Simply put, apply all of the above to meeting, courting, dating and possibly marrying that special someone and you, my friend – are a spy. OK, not really, but you get the gist of it. Today, my part of that tango was the meeting. I had a general description of the guy that I was meeting – headquarters had provided it – but other than the fact that he would be wearing a beanie with a particular logo on it, didn’t have much else.

The meeting spot was a mix between a Starbucks and a Whole Foods, so we both had a good reason to be there, and he didn’t have to stand around in one place looking suspect while waiting for me (in this case, he had no idea he was waiting for me anyway, so it worked in my favor.) In the case of dating, it could be a supermarket, bar, or your best friend’s backyard Fourth of July cookout. Whatever the case, the stars and planets have aligned and you and that person are in the same space and time – wow that was deep – so now what?