It took just a moment to change woman’s mind on love at first sight

It took just a moment to change woman’s mind on love at first sight

BY LEAH HAKIMIAN

Cynthia looked at the waiter, leaned over to her sister and said: “That is the man I am going to marry.”

The date was Feb. 16, 2000; the city was Columbus, Ga.; the occasion was a charity dinner to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. Cynthia Greathouse, a pharmaceutical representative, lived 75 miles away in Montgomery. She had broken up with a boyfriend and came to the benefit as a favor to her sister.

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The waiter at Cynthia’s table, Aaron Vickar, was also just doing a favor. All the waiters were volunteers, players from the Columbus Cottonmouths, a professional hockey team. Aaron had been assigned to a different table but switched at the last minute as a favor to a friend.

For Cynthia, it was an instant click to this 6-foot-1, 190-pound guy. And Aaron was not immune to the beauty of this pretty blonde. At the end of the evening, the two left the dinner together, along with Cynthia’s older sister.

Though Cynthia hadn’t read the book “The Rules,” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, she was a traditional southern woman. When Aaron handed her his card, inviting her to call him, Cynthia turned the tables and gave him her card, suggesting that he call her. He accepted, he called, and two nights later, they had their first date.

Unlike his hockey teammates, Aaron was Jewish. He was also proud of it. He came from a committed Jewish family with traditional values such as helping charities. On their first date he told Cynthia he wanted to marry someone Jewish. To Cynthia, this was a non-issue. While being raised Southern Baptist, she always felt more of a spirituality than a religious affiliation. Before meeting Aaron, she had known only one Jewish family.

Anyway, both said they were not looking for a serious relationship. And yet they found they wanted to go on seeing each other. As time passed, Cynthia began thinking about the possibility of conversion. It was not a decision to be taken lightly.

After many hours of conversation with Aaron, her family and Rabbi Cytryn, she felt this was the right choice for her life. To Aaron’s delight, Cynthia converted the month before their wedding.

Then there was another celebration. Her dad’s 60th birthday. The date was Aug. 13, 2001; the city was Columbus, and in the same hall at the same table where Cynthia had leaned over to her sister a year and a half earlier, Aaron leaned down and proposed to Cynthia with the words “Be with me forever.”

Was this a case of love at first sight? Experts doubt whether love strikes like a bolt of lightening. Yet studies indicate that a layer of attraction can be established within the first few seconds of meeting someone. Dr. Stanley Woll, a psychology professor at California State University in Fullerton, believes that people are attracted to certain “emotional styles” that are gained from first impressions.

Cynthia did not believe there really is love at first sight. “It surprised me most of all,” she says, “that when I saw Aaron, I knew he was the one.”

Cynthia Greathouse and Aaron Vickar were married on Sept. 1, 2002. Aaron switched careers — from playing hockey to an investment adviser — and they settled in his hometown, St. Louis. Both had made a commitment to tradition. Aaron and Cynthia had their ufruf (when they are called up to the Torah before their marriage) at the Solomon Schechter Day School, Aaron’s alma mater.

As an investment adviser, Aaron advises “slow and steady.” In their family planning, Aaron and Cynthia are expanding quickly — they are parents of a 14-month-old daughter, Ansley, and are expecting twins. Mazal tov!