Today is our four year anniversary. Today is the last year that our dating anniversary won't be eclipsed by our wedding anniversary. Today is the last time when we'll celebrate this lucky happenstance meeting more than we'll celebrate the hard-but-oh-so-easy decision to bind ourselves together, legally and according to the customs of our religious tradition, despite whatever challenges life will throw at us. I haven't really talked about how Jason and I met on this blog, because in many ways it doesn't really matter. We met, we're right for each other, and we're getting married. But on our four-year dating anniversary, it feels fitting to think back on our how-we-met story.
Four years ago, luck and a free dating website brought us together. Although we'd both been on OkCupid and JDate (on and off - a person can only really take Jdate in one month stretches at a time) for a year or so, we'd never seen each others' profiles. One night, Jason was playing around with his search preferences and my profile suddenly appeared (he still doesn't know what minor changes he made, but we're lucky he did). He decided to email right away.
I battled with whether to reply because I had decided that dating younger men never worked. But his sense of humor, mastery of the English language (online dating is a testament to the need for education reform), a variety of cute, nice smile, representative photos (I had some interesting dates with men whose single photos were less than honest) his height (at 6'3" it meant he wasn't put off by my 5'9", unlike many other Jewish men), and some truly odd similarities in our profiles (in addition to some disconcerting parallels in our self-descriptions, OkCupid also rated us as a 95% match) finally overrode my concerns about our three year age gap. After finally getting over my superficial ridiculousness about age, I then nearly canceled our first date because of my superficial ridiculousness about a massive pimple that appeared two days before the date. Luckily, due to serious self-sit-down and a helpful lady at Sephora, decided I would be stupid to give him any flaky first impressions and went through with the Thursday night date. Ignoring the pimple was definitely the right decision.
It just felt good and comfortable from the first moment. We met for Mediterranean food at a cute outdoor cafe and he invited me to continue the date at an intimate concert venue across the street. Someone at the music venue's bar mentioned their surprise that it was just a first date. (I know, it's too chick-flick barfy to be true, except that it actually happened. And I wouldn't have shared it, except that those of us with online dating stories need to take our how-we-met romance where we can, okay?) After the date, I didn't have any of the will-he-call/does-he-like-me-as-much-as-I-like-him jitters that can lead to missteps in early dating: we both just knew there would be a second date. Beyond that, neither of us put any expectations on it: Jason wasn't really looking for something serious and I had been burned enough to want to take things slowly. All we needed to know was that the first date felt right.
After our fifth kept-feeling-righter-and-righter date, I disappeared on a two week trip to Budapest and Prague with a girlfriend. Jason showed up the weekend before my trip with 10 CDs that he had decorated with hand-drawn sketches (my ipod had just died, and I was grumpy about the more limited travel music on my old-but-still-functional CD walkman.) That's when I knew he really liked me. And that's also when I really really started to like him in the deep important ways, because it hit me that he was tall, smart, funny, cute, honest in his interactions, didn't play games, and entirely respected my independence. I barely noticed the men in our hostels and I found myself looking forward to making out with Jason when I got back to Los Angeles, instead of looking forward to making out with random cute guys in Prague.
We don't have any big-gesture romantic stories about how we met. There weren't any surprises or tortured turns along the way. It's just been a good-and-getting-better story since the first email. Four years ago we met by chance, and now we're celebrating the choice to be together. So, as much as I'll miss celebrating our official anniversary on September 21, I'm much too excited about April 3 to really mind. And anyhow, September 21 will always be a fabulous excuse for a nice dinner out.