I realized recently that I’ve spent a staggering amount of time in the last couple of weeks fretting about cupcakes and flowers and linens, and almost zero time reflecting on our relationship and the time we’ve spent together or contemplating the part after the wedding, when Joel and I are actually married.
So I decided to do that here. I warn you in advance – this is kind of a long one. (So long that I’ve actually decided to split it into multiple parts. I’ll post part two next Monday.)
(I suspect that most of you reading this already know the story (or as much as you want to know) so I’m not offended if you skip this and check back later this week for more talk of TV shows and books.)
Part one of the story begins on August 10, 2010.
I was sitting in my living room, watching TV and playing on the internet. The computer I had at the time was a couple of years old and the Ethernet jack was loose, so the computer had to be very precisely placed and not jostled or I’d lose my internet connection. This was annoying, but not unbearable (and PS – that computer gave up the ghost about a week after Joel and I met in person, so connecting us was its final act.)
Anyway, I’d created a profile on an online dating site months before, but had only been using it in earnest for a couple of weeks. I had reservations about meeting boys online, but so far, I’d just exchanged a few messages and chatted a couple of times. It was low pressure. It was also really fun.
So on that particular night, August 10th, I was chatting with one person – it wasn’t very interesting, and fiddling with my computer jack was occupying more of my attention – when I received a chat request from another guy who’d sent me a message for which I hadn’t yet come up with a clever reply.
That guy, of course, turned out to be Joel.
I don’t actually remember much of that conversation. I remember we talked about movies, and I remember typing, deleting, and recomposing most everything I wrote. We chatted for, I am not kidding, about two hours, and afterwards, we exchanged our personal email addresses.
In the world of online dating, this is a pretty serious move, right?
We emailed back and forth for a couple of weeks, and then moved to text messages. One of the questions on the profile of the dating site where we met was “do you have any pets?” and we each had one, so we told each other funny cat stories quite often. He asked good getting-to-know-you questions, and was very low-key, no-pressure.
By the way, I had a very old Blackberry back then that didn’t always send my texts and sometimes cut off texts I received (it gave up the ghost about a month after we met. Sensing a pattern here?) Anyway, one night about a week after we’d started talking, we were texting back and forth when he asked “do you want to see a picture of my c” and the text cut off.
I was so worried that this seemingly nice guy had suddenly moved in a very unwelcome direction, but then I got the rest of that text: “at?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I would love to see a picture of your cat.”
At some point, he finally asked if I’d be interested in meeting up for coffee sometime. We made tentative plans to meet on a Monday evening, but both of us had other things going on beforehand, so that didn’t end up working out. I remember wearing a new pencil skirt that day that I’d bought for work, and so many of my coworkers told me it looked good on me that I’d worn it all day. I was so disappointed at 9 o’clock that night when our plans to meet didn’t work out and I’d been wearing that cute skirt all day for naught.
We made plans for lunch the following Sunday. That didn’t quite happen, because restaurants in West Seattle don’t open as early as we’d planned to meet (I had plans later in the day, because, in all seriousness, when you meet someone on the internet, you meet in a public place and make sure someone knows to expect you later. Just in case.)
We ended up getting coffee at Café Verite (that’s the one also known as Cupcake Royale.) I was mortified that everyone sitting around us could tell we were on our first date. I was so nervous. I barely talked.
Which meant, of course, that Joel talked a lot. I liked him right away. He was funny and told interesting stories and seemed really sincere. He asked a lot of questions, mostly to continue conversations we’d had in email. I felt very at ease (well, as at-ease as I was going to, considering the circumstances.)
After a couple of hours, we parted ways, and only about an hour after that, I got a text message from him, asking me on another date.
To be continued …