Just as other couples do upon meeting new acquaintances, Kyle and I often get asked how we met. The short version is that we met online. The long version is recounted below in this blog. Kyle and I love to celebrate our dateversary and, I speak for myself here, it means a lot more to me than our wedding anniversary. Since I’m in Kabul this year and can’t celebrate our dateversary with Kyle, I’m putting our first date down on paper (I think there’s a version in my diary, too).
In 2011, before I moved to Washington, DC, my best friend was getting ready to move to Munich. She told me she purchased a Groupon voucher for a new online dating site called howaboutwe.com. The voucher was for a 3-month subscription and it was going to expire at the end of the year before her 6-month assignment in Munich was supposed to end (she’s still in Munich to this day), so she gave me the voucher. I didn’t do anything with it until November 2011. Thanksgiving weekend to be precise. I was a temp at a non-profit with a Monday to Thursday schedule and I spent the rest of my time job searching for a permanent job. That weekend, all was quiet on the job hunt and the group house I was living in at the time had emptied out (all four of my roommates were visiting their families for the holiday). So what to do? I decided to finally use the voucher.
Between Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas, I went on dates with three guys whom I had met through the website. One in particular seemed promising. We had gone on three dates in December, but after Christmas things quickly lost momentum. After that, I was almost counting the days until the end of February when the 3-month subscription was due to expire.
In early January 2012, the website was just a fun distraction for me during my downtime between my job search, dead end temp job, and my volunteer work. I continued to receive some hits and messages from guys I wasn’t interested in. I also got some views but no follow-up, but of course I had to check out their profiles, too. One of those views was from Kyle. His profile photo was of him in a black polo shirt, carrying a backpack, and wearing a pair of black shades. The photo didn’t show much of his face or physique, but I liked his date ideas so I clicked on his proposed date for smoking hookah. (Later on, he told me it was a photo of him in Israel.) To my surprise, he sent me a message almost right away to ask me out. We made plans to meet at Soussi in Adams Morgan after work.
Although I loved Adams Morgan (it reminded me of the West Village) and I love hookah, I was just not feeling it that day we had planned to meet. It was a cold January day and I was emotionally spent. Two hours before we were supposed to meet, I almost canceled on Kyle. So here’s how I talked myself into going: 1) I didn’t want to stand him up; 2) I only had a month left on the subscription so I might as well get some more use out of it; and 3) I was already dressed for the date.
I underestimated how long it was going to take me to get up to Adams Morgan from downtown and showed up 15 minutes late. (Months later, he told me that he thought he was going to be late because he had left his wallet at work and didn’t realize it until he was halfway home.) My first impression of Kyle was, “He has nice eyes. I wonder why he hid them in his profile picture.” Over hookah, we quickly learned that both our families moved around a lot, although his was far more nomadic than mine. He was studying abroad in Germany in summer 2005, at the same time I was on my Semester At Sea voyage going around Europe (Germany was one of the European countries I didn’t go to). We learned that we both love to travel and we have a strong interest in the world in general.
After hookah, Kyle proposed we go get dinner. It was the perfect opportunity for me to test him. I suggested Nepalese food across the street. If he said it was too “strange,” “foreign,” or “ethnic,” it was an automatic deal breaker. However, he agreed and he later told me that he had actually been to the restaurant before and really liked it.
After dinner, he had to walk back to the U Street metro which was on the way back to my house. I thought I knew a shortcut but got us lost instead, leading us east to Meridian Hill Park instead of south to U Street. (Much later on in our relationship, he told me that I was taking us the wrong way, but he didn’t want to tell me at the time.) On the way, we discussed Chinese food and I told him about a place in Chinatown that my cousin had recently recommended to me. He said maybe we can check it out next time. I was surprised that he was planning our second date already, but being the pessimist that I am when it comes to dating, I didn’t get my hopes up.
When we finally got to the U Street metro, Kyle asked me if it was okay if he didn’t walk me all the way home. Admittedly, I was disappointed, but I didn’t tell him that.
So, kids, that is the story of how we met… plus our first date.