Barack and Michelle Obama
Photo: George Burns/Harpo Inc.
My First Date With Michelle
Barack Obama, U.S. President

I met Michelle in 1988, after my first year of law school, when I took a summer job at Sidley & Austin, a law firm in Chicago. A year earlier I had been working as a community organizer in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, and I struggled with the decision to go to a large firm. But with student loans mounting, the three months of salary they offered wasn't something I could pass up.

Michelle worked at Sidley, too, and, in the luckiest break of my life, was assigned to be my adviser, charged with helping me learn the ropes. I remember being struck by how tall and beautiful she was. She, I have since learned, was pleasantly surprised to see that my nose and ears weren't quite as enormous as they looked in the photo I'd submitted for the firm directory.

Over the next several weeks, we saw a lot of each other at work. She was kind enough to take me to a few parties, and never once commented on my mismatched and decidedly unstylish wardrobe.

I asked her out. She refused. I kept asking. She kept refusing.

"I'm your adviser," she said. "It's not appropriate." Finally, I offered to quit my job, and at last she relented. On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.

I had known those student loans were going to get me a great education, but I had no idea they'd get me my first date with the love of my life.

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