Today is the anniversary of my first date with my boyfriend.
We recently befriended a couple who met more than 10 years ago when she worked at an ice cream shop. Emily was in high school on summer break and invited Martin, an out-of-town camp counselor, and his friend to hang out. Martin was painfully shy and Emily originally thought he wasn’t into her. Martin said he knew he would someday marry her.
They stayed in touch from opposite sides of the country, through high school and college relationships, with a phone call every few months. After Martin graduated college, he moved down to Florida while she finished med school. When Emily landed her first job in Pittsburgh, he came with her. I like to think they’ll live happily ever after with their storybook tale.
The story of how my boyfriend and I met pales in comparison. Though he laughs off my protests every time an online dating commercial comes on that we should submit our own cheesy video, we are a Match.com success story.
In the beginning, I tried the “We met, while scuba diving in the Susquehanna in January!” cover story before admitting the truth, feeling like I should launch into an unprovoked defense that I was not a stereotypical cat lady and he was not looking to make my skin into a coat when we both decided to try online dating. For the record, there really are people out there that do want to make your skin into a coat — or at least insert Photoshop cutouts of your face into creepy Microsoft paint drawings (yep, that happened).
Even though one in five relationships starts with online dating, there is a still a stigma against it. There is always someone who knows someone who met someone online, but it’s hard to actually take the plunge and try it for yourself.
On a recent girls’ night I suggested that a girlfriend who wasn’t having much luck meeting Mr. Right try online dating. Her response? “I’m not that desperate … yet.”
I’ll admit, online dating would not have been my first choice to meet my boyfriend. But the whole talking to people at bars, getting set up through friends or hoping to serendipitously run into the man of my dreams at the grocery store wasn’t working.
It was nerve wracking to make a profile. It was hard to answer questions about myself. It was weird to scroll through guys and instantly rule them out if they smoked, had kids or hated the “Jersey Shore.” It was awkward to wink back and forth and email with complete strangers.
My first conversation with Kyle was about “Wedding Crashers” and the inability of a good percentage of Match.com users to spell correctly. I liked him. Our first date was at a coffee shop. He ordered a mocha. He made me laugh.
I was nervous and somehow talked about all the taboo fist date topics. He was thoughtful in his responses about religion and politics and children (seriously, what is wrong with me, who brings that stuff up?). We talked for four hours before he walked me to my car in the snowy parking lot. We hugged goodnight. I think he liked me, too.
We went on our second date two days later and drank beer and ate cheese fries. When the new season of “Jersey Shore” started, he came over in a blizzard to watch it with me. I made him a valentine. He brought me soup when I got back-to-back sinus infections.
We fell in love. We moved in together. He won’t let me adopt this cat with a mustache, but, otherwise, things are good — really good. I write him notes to read with his morning coffee and call him Boo Boo. He always kisses me goodnight and, God bless him, he answers to Boo Boo.
The chances of an editor working in Carlisle and an air traffic controller working in Harrisburg striking up a conversation in a bar or reaching for the last box of cereal in the grocery store were slim.
I’m glad Kyle winked at me. I’m glad I emailed him. And I’m glad that
we can also live happily ever after, even if our storybook fairytale
didn’t start with a conventional “once upon a time.”