Meet Cute

We used to find comfort in the absurdity of how we met.

I was 19 and you were 18, both of us still learning the ways of the world. We had first met on a dating website, the summer right before your freshman year of college.

The wounds of my first breakup were still fresh, but we hadn’t talked about anything that romantic anyway. There was certainly an attraction, at least on my part, but we simply explored our mutual interests.

When the semester finally started up, I reached out and asked if you would like to meet, have me show you around campus. It was a purely friendly gesture, but you shied away.

Ten minutes later, I noticed you had blocked me.

This is a cycle I’ve become familiar with over the years. Instead of having the balls to just say “I don’t actually plan to meet,” gay men have the tendency to ghost. But to younger me, this was a fresh new wound. I had to have done something very, very wrong for you to do this to me. Why else would you completely close off all communication between us?

I beat myself up a lot during that following month.

We had a brief encounter at some queer meetup at a coffee house ran by a Methodist church. I have rarely felt more out of place. We didn’t speak to each other, just the people around us. I felt guilty for being there. I never wanted to go to another queer event on campus knowing you might also attend.

Eventually, you reached back out over Facebook, tried to explain it all away. A close friend of yours had gone through a traumatic experience and you couldn’t deal with all the people asking for your attention.

Oh, and my unkempt beard apparently scared you away…

The whole thing stung, but I kind of enjoyed the absurdity of it all. This would be a funny story I could tell years later if anything actually happened between us.

You finally let me show you around. We grabbed some awful food at Fat Sandwich, where I raved about Sufjan Stevens and a dozen other artists you hadn’t yet discovered. You were also appalled by the fact I had spent the night before playing a card game called Kittens in a Blender. Really, this was about as romantic as any first date could go, right?

For the longest time, this was a happy memory. Two awkward fools fumbling all the first moves yet still finding love with each other. You would joke about how embarrassing it would be to explain to our kids how we met, and it naturally came up at the wedding. It was as if you were saying, “And look. I almost blocked the love of my life before we even really met. How silly of me.”

If we could make it after all that, who couldn’t work out their differences and find true love?

But now all I can think is, wow. We really thought we were going to have a family to share this story with? We honestly thought this would be a forever thing?

So I guess meet cutes are only cute when everything ends happily.

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