Three years ago today, I had a date with a guy from OKCupid. I was in Columbus for the summer, interning with Kappa Kappa Gamma, and trying to go on awkward first dates to entertain my roommate and co-intern, Libbi.
My original plan was to let my date pick me up for dinner, because I was woefully naive about safely meeting strange men off the Internet. My boss Kylie advised me to meet the guy at the restaurant, not because she was that worried he would kill me, but just in case he was boring. So I called my date, made up a lame excuse about needing to run errands, and suggested we just meet for dinner.
We both arrived at about the same time at The Old Mohawk, a cute restaurant in German Village. I recognized him by his red collared shirt and jeans. I wore a black sundress, a silver key necklace, and silver dangling earrings, with my makeup done and my hair pulled up. He went in for a handshake, but I laughed and gave him a hug, “We’ve been emailing almost daily for three weeks. That deserves a hug!”
To be honest, I was a little nervous. Giddy? Absolutely, but still nervous. I hadn’t had much dating experience, and I wasn’t entirely sure how a date with a guy from OKCupid would work out. As a feminist, I’ve always felt that women shouldn’t expect men to pay for dates. But with my complete and total lack of dating experience, I had no idea how to handle the check issue. Would I insult him if I asked our server for separate checks? Did I do that stupid dance where I tried to pick up the check? I literally talked this over in detail with Libbi, who had both been a server before and had gone on real dates with real men. She prepared me for multiple scenarios, so I would know the most gracious way to respond.
It seems silly now, the amount of time I spent preparing for every single bill scenario, but I was trying to figure out at 24 what most people learn in high school and college. How exactly do you participate in the strange American dating rituals while staying true to yourself?
Our server brought us a single check, and placed it closer to my date. We were deeply immersed in conversation, either about gender inequality in the workplace or about oil storage tanks. My date quietly handled the bill without interrupting the flow of our conversation. When a natural lull in the conversation arose, I thanked him for dinner as graciously as I could. We talked as long as we could, considering his long drive ahead.
Before we went our separate ways, I hugged my date and thanked him again for dinner. I spent the rest of night in a semi-permanent state of giddy excitement over this guy from OKCupid.
I’d like to pause here and remind everyone reading that I was worried about how to handle the check, but I thought it was totally okay for a random guy from OKCupid to pick me up at my apartment.
This was not my first time meeting up with someone from the popular online dating website, nor would it be my last. But out of my limited albeit quite varied OKCupid experiences, this first date would be the only one to change my life.
If you haven’t figured it out already, that guy was my husband.
I can’t believe Dan has been in my life for three years–more than three years if I count our weeks of exchanging OKCupid messages. It feels like both forever and like no time at all. Granted, it took me about four weeks and a four-hour skype date to even think about dating him long-distance, and we didn’t officially become exclusive until mid-October.
But regardless of the exact timeline of our past, our present is what matters now. I fall more in love with Dan every single day, and I feel so incredibly blessed to call him my husband.