Love in the Time of Internet Dating

This will be posted on the morning of 4/18, also known as our wedding anniversary. It has been nine years since we got married, although we’ve been together for about 13.5.

I seem to post the following on a regular basis, probably every year, every time we have another anniversary either for our wedding or our first email exchange (see below). It’s even been immortalized in print.

I wrote this for my own benefit, which is something I seem to do a lot, and being able to revisit it regularly is a big deal.

It’s funny, I don’t really think about those first few days, weeks, and months after contacting Nicole for the first time with any kind of excitement. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fond memories, but they don’t give me a thrill which is actually a good thing.

Because if it gave me a thrill then I think that would suggest a context in which our every day lives don’t give me a thrill and that’s not true. Anyone who’s been in a relationship for a long time knows that it changes over time, but Nicole still thrills me. I still get goofy excited when I see her, maybe not every single time, maybe not as much as I should, but still often.

When we have the energy and the time, we have inspired moments together. That’s the best way to describe them. They’re inspired. They are moments in time that can’t exist anywhere else. There’s the thrill, even now, 13.5 years later.

This is from a longer piece on my relationship with Nicole, that was in “I Pray Hardest When I’m Being Shot At,” which is nearly as much of a love story about Nicole and I as it is about my grandparents.

If I remember correctly, I left all of these bits out of the book, though.

I just checked, and the document this is excerpted from is almost 70 pages long.  I am a crazy person.

Anyway, here you go, a little insight into how Nicole and I met…


I Hold Out Hope

“Hey,” said Brandon in his usually upbeat, somewhat innocent manner.

“Brandon,” I said.

This is the relationship we had: I was mean to him.

I mean, I wasn’t literally mean to him, but I joked around in a very mean fashion.

I knew he could take it though, or else I wouldn’t have done it.

“I just got a message from some guy telling me I’m cute and funny.”

See, he said things like this and it was impossible for me to not be mean to him.

It was impossible.

“I take it he’s never met you,” I said.

“On Friendster,” he said, which is funny because the assumption here is that I not only knew what Friendster was, but I knew how it worked.

But it was a safe assumption to make.

“You’re on Friendster?” I said as I typed the address into my web browser.

I wasn’t doing anything work related, anyway, and this gave me yet another source of distraction.

It was hard work finding ways to spend so much free time when I couldn’t leave the office.

I pulled up the Friendster page and logged-in – as I said, I not only knew what Friendster was, I was well aware of how it worked.

Hell, the last girl I really dated I met on this thing, but that didn’t last too long.

Still, it was an interesting system, particularly for those of us who had a hard time braving the Los Angeles social scene.

“Add me to your friends’ list,” said Brandon, so I looked him up and added him to my friends list.

“Isn’t that a great picture of me?”

By this point, though, I’d quit listening to him.

I was now scanning the people in his friends list in hopes that they weren’t all gay men.

They weren’t.

In particular, one photo caught my eye.

The name above it was Nicole.

So I clicked on her.

“Hello,” I said as the page loaded, “who’s Nicole?”

“You should send her a message,” said Brandon, “she’s totally chill. You’d get along with her.”

So I did.

And this is what I sent:

Date: Sunday, October 24, 2004 11:42:00 AM

Subject: Hello


Brandon said I should send you a message. It happened much like this:
Brandon: Some guy I don’t even know sent me a message on Friendster telling me I’m cute and funny.
Me: You’re on Friendster?
Brandon: Yeah.
Me: Let me add you to my friends’ list.
**I look up Brandon.**
Brandon: Isn’t that a good picture of me?
Me: Yeah, it’s fan-freaking-tastic, Brandon.
Brandon: Isn’t that a good description?
**I ignore Brandon and scroll down the page to his list of friends.**
Me: Hello. Who’s Nicole?
Brandon: Nicole! She’s a girl I used to work with.
You should send her a message.
Me: Okay.
It dawns on me, however, that this could be the worst conversation starter ever. But I hold out hope.

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