One of the things I ask every person I marry to tell me about is how they met their beloved. Some of the answers I get are downright vivid. You might assume that especially these ones would be consistent between the two people. This is not always the case, especially with regard to the ongoing internal monologue we all have going on in our heads.
Just listen to Steph: “My second semester of grad school, I had a Disability and Physical Activity class that I was so excited for because that’s literally my niche in the field I work in... I have a tendency to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, and I was coming from my assistantship on a different floor, so I came into the class a few minutes late. I remember I was wearing my work uniform and cheetah headband, and I came into the room hurriedly and saw AJ and thought, ‘Oh wow, now he’s handsome.’ He was wearing all white and a hat.”
Now, listen to AJ, and do keep in mind – and I hope you can hear the disappointment in my voice – that this professor did not have a copy of the Oxford University Press Dictionary of American Family Names in the classroom. This page turner clarifies that some names are shared by those of Germanextraction, not only those of Jewish ancestry. This will become highly relevant in just a moment: “Dr. Rowland, our professor, began roll call as she did at the beginning of each class. Sure enough, when we got down to the S’s, the name Stephanie Steiner graced my ears. And in that moment, the door swung wide open and in came Steph, in her disheveled frantic manner, stated ‘Present! Sorry I’m late,’ and took her seat. It was in that moment in looking at her, dressed in her Adidas capri leggings, Chicago Athletic Clubs employment shirt, Nike shoes, and a cheetah headband tying the ensemble together, that I knew that I was in trouble... I had found my Jewish Wonder Woman.”
AJ, this might be the worst time for this, but I think you need to know something...
Seriously, though, I actually like the fact that that was his thought, and not only because that and Black Panther were the only comic book movies I have liked in the recent onslaught of comic book cinema. It is because the characters in that movie sound like Steph’s description of her and AJ: “AJ and I are a case of opposites; furthermore, we come from opposite worlds.”
And, yet, the movie’s message is that if you are willing to take the time and do the work, the payoff can be unparalleled. Two people coming from two entirely different worlds can not only work together but thrive, make each other better as individuals, and together make up a team in which together they become even stronger than the sum of the team’s parts.
That is Steph and AJ’s story, in its essence.
That is why AJ, who still maintains Steph is his Wonder Woman, says, “She gives me the drive and purpose to be a better man and to wake up every morning with the intentions of doing Godly work that will have lasting effects.”
That is why Steph says, “He’s the best person I know. He’s made me a better person and encourages me in all aspects of my life. He’s my number one teammate and I’m lucky he’s on my team.”