You thought you knew her. She was Boopsie from Doonesbury. The popular girl in class. Cheerleader in high school. The one whose favorite hobby was dance, because “it helped me to be social and it is good for coordination.” Of course she dated the quarterback of the football team.
But what happened to her after high school? Gee, who knows? Heard she married the football player and settled down. What’s he doing? Insurance adjustment, I think. Maybe we’ll find out next year at reunion.
Wrong. In a private box overlooking the playing field in Giants Stadium, Laurie Fortier, 22-year-old former cheerleader, the girl who went out with the quarterback, watches the scoreboard. With just over six minutes left in the game, her home team, the New Jersey Generals, is losing to the Tampa Bay Bandits by a discouraging 24-14. Suddenly Generals QB Doug Flutie, the man who makes football miracles, takes charge. After three erratic quarters, he seems to pull on his aura and passes for a quick touchdown. Then, with only 29 seconds on the clock and the defense again thinking pass, he calmly hands off to Herschel Walker for the game-winning TD.
Laurie Fortier touches the diamond ring hugging her finger and outshines its 1½-carat sparkle. She is still going out with the quarterback. The quarterback, the one with $6 million-plus of talent and wholesome charm. And, come August 10, she will have achieved the ambition of several dozen defensive linemen and maybe several million women: to bag Doug Flutie.
To the churchgoing bride (both she and Doug are Roman Catholics), the wedding seems as natural as Flutie’s on-field heroics. Laurie, who grew up in Natick, Mass. (her father is a retired transit employee, her mother a housewife), met Doug on the first day of class at Natick High School. In homeroom, the dark-haired lad twinkled merrily next to Laurie, peeked at her notebook to see her name and later politely opened a door for her. “I really liked that,” she recalls. At lunch Laurie ran over to her friends and told them, “I found mine.” Before long, Doug and Laurie went on their first date, a Boston Red Sox game. Later in the year, on the spectator bus to watch his brother Bill play in a high school baseball game, he asked her to go steady. “It was June 12, almost six years ago,” she says. “We celebrate it every year.”
Going steady with Doug Flutie is pretty steady going, admits Laurie. Neither smokes or drinks. (“We certainly don’t mind if others do, but we don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t taste good,” she explains.) On a free night, they are likely to be found munching burgers or pizza in front of the TV; he likes sports, natch, while she has a perverse attraction to evil Donna Mills on Knots Landing. Before Doug became such a magnet for autograph hounds, one of their favorite activities was strolling through the local mall. “She’s cool,” says Doug. “When I’m in a bad mood, after a loss, she lets it roll off her shoulders. She knows what I’m going through.”
Last Christmas Doug did manage to shake up Laurie. Expecting a ski outfit under the tree (and oblivious to the fact that Doug had been casually trying on one of her rings for size), she went over to the Fluties’ as she has for five years and instead found herself presented with a small black box. Inside was the ring. He told me he wanted to give it to me before he signed his contract so I would know that he gave it to me because he wanted to, not because he could suddenly afford it. I thought that was very nice.”
Since then Laurie has learned the meaning of double teaming: by living at home and working as a secretary at a medical products firm (she skipped college) and by being Doug Flutie’s intended, riding around in his garnet red Porsche (Boston College’s color) and meeting Ronald Reagan in the White House Blue Room. But she takes it all in stride, as she does his legions of female admirers. “Doug knows that 98 percent of the girls would want to date him only because he’s Doug Flutie, and he’s got money, and he’s this and that,” she observes. “He knows if something happened and he couldn’t play football anymore and they took all of his money away, it wouldn’t faze me in the least. I’d still be right by him.”
Still, Doug’s fat paychecks will soon liberate Laurie from the job market. “I don’t want a career,” she says. “I want maybe three or four children, to just take care of them and shuttle them back and forth to football games.” Not too far in the future the couple intends to buy a house in Natick to complement Doug’s two-bedroom condo in New Jersey. This presumably would make them easily available for high school reunions. As if everybody didn’t already know.