Today, Jess and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. We had a lovely day, which began with finally checking out the breakfast special at our neighborhood tavern. It was surprisingly good, and I’m pretty picky about my pancakes.
We couldn’t completely avoid the intrusions of real life, so we spent part of the day running an errand to UPS and picking out a new tree for Friends of Trees to plant in front of the house.
After that, Jess setup our new Apple TV. She’s been talking about wanting it for months, and we both agree, it’s pretty awesome. Our TV comes with built-in apps, but for some reason, Netflix runs badly and looks like crap, and Hulu Plus won’t play any shows from ABC. I made popcorn for lunch and we fired up an episode of Dexter.
We’re three episodes away from the end of the series. Nothing says romance like popcorn and Dexter.
After that it was time to head out for our fancy dinner reservation at Andina. This was our second time there. Our waitress was a little more interested in being fancy and showing off her accent, than actually giving us useful information about the menu items, but overall it was a nice meal.
Sometimes I play a game in my head, where I try to guess, if we were on a Newlywed-style game show, how Jess would answer questions about me, like, “What is Kronda’s most annoying habit?” So I told her about it and asked what her answer would be. I guessed wrong, but I was close. 🙂 Luckily we both had a lot more to say about what we love about each other.
Though we do get irritated with each other on occasion, rarely do we have actual ‘fights’ or even huge disagreements. I attribute this to the fact that in addition to being highly compatible, we are both pretty direct and also have good communications skills.
We stayed for dessert and ordered the mousse to share. Not one but two food runners came to our table and tried to give us the passion fruit cannoli instead. I joked to Jess that maybe the server felt the passion between us at the table and felt the cannoli was more fitting. 🙂
Last year, on our 7th anniversary, I posted a few thoughts about marriage.
This year, I thought I’d write about how we met.
Before Jess, I dated another woman in the late summer and fall of 2005, until she dumped me after three months on Thanksgiving, in the middle of spending the holiday at the beach with her friends. That sucked.
I spent some time being bummed out, but I didn’t want to mope around, so instead I started the Church of Waffles, in which I invited 20 or so of my friends to brunch on Sundays, almost every weekend for the entire winter. I figured if I couldn’t have a girlfriend, I could at least enjoy my friends. COW was a big hit and it was a good winter.
But then I started thinking, maybe it was time to get back out there. I really didn’t want another three year dry spell like the one that had occurred before I met the warm up girlfriend. So I did what any modern person does when they want to date.
I went to the Internet.
At the time, Just Out, the local queer paper, was still around and they had just started offering a dating site on JustOutPersonals.com. I spent a Saturday night creating my profile and searching the site for likely prospects.
It wasn’t long before I found Jess. She had recently moved to Portland from Washington D.C. I don’t remember exactly what her profile said, but my general impression was that she seemed honest, outdoorsy and well adjusted.
I wrote her an introductory message.
She wrote back within a few days. I replied asking if she wanted to go to Gay Skate, an event that happened once a month on Monday night at Oaks Park. It was also sponsored by Just Out. She agreed and we made plans to meet. I used my standard strategy for meeting up with people I have never met: I told her, “I’ll be the Black one with no hair. Just wave when you see me, and I will come over.
In the meantime, I went on a couple of completely forgettable dates with women I didn’t click with at all.
When the big night came, I invited about 10 other friends to Gay Skate because A) I didn’t have a car and needed a ride and B) in case things didn’t go well I could signal for rescue.
I hadn’t been skating in years, but everything at Oaks Park was exactly as I remembered it. I laced up my rental skates, feeling the familiar pinch that always happens along the side of one foot. My friends wished me luck and I skated out onto the rink to get my sea legs.
Before I had completed a full lap, I saw a woman standing by the front exit near the lockers and she waved to me.
To this day, I don’t know why, but I rolled over right into her arms and we hugged before we ever even said hello.
For the rest of the night, we skated around, talking about first date get-to-know-you things. Except I’m not sure how we got on the subject of kids, but I ended up letting her know right off the bat that I like other people’s kids but wasn’t interested in having my own. I pretty much decided that around age 9, and have never wavered. So at least that was out of the way. Most of the rest of the night covered much lighter topics.
I showed off my one skating trick which is shooting the duck and managed not to fall on my butt. I completely ignored my friends except for a few brief moments while Jess was in the bathroom. I skated over to my friend Erica and told her, “My skate date is such a hottie!”
At the end of the date, we said our goodbyes and agreed we had enjoyed ourselves and should meet again. With all my friends there waiting for me, there was no first date kiss.
Soon after our first date, I called and invited her to come and see some friends of mine play at a little neighborhood bar near my house. She said yes.
Between the yes and the date, I managed to catch a nasty cold. The gross, phlegm-y kind where I felt like there was a walnut in my throat and was constantly coughing up nasty gunk.
I knew that Jess was a nurse, and exposed to sick people all day long, and also that she worked 12 hours shifts. As much as I was looking forward to seeing her, I would have felt terrible if I got her sick.
So reluctantly, I called her a few days before, and confessed my germ-ridden state.
“I will totally understand if you want to reschedule,” I told her.
Surprisingly, she didn’t want to. “But,” she said, “we just won’t get too close.”
I hung up the phone, thrilled, and thought, man, she is totally into me.
I have never been so glad to be right about anything.