How We Met: Stephanie’s Perspective
Several months after my move to Pittsburgh, a friend of mine asked me to look over their online profile, and it made me curious about who was online in Pittsburgh. Late one night, I haphazardly tossed together a profile and activated a free account. After just a week, I was ready to shut it all down. The constant messages from puppy-esque undergrads and “hey baby”s from gold-chain-wearing men twice my age only confirmed my decision to stay out of the dating game. That night, however, I got a message from someone called Ryan who didn’t fit into either of the aforementioned undergrad or gold chain categories. He was my age, looked normal, was active in his church, and liked cats. That was a good enough start for me, so I gave him my email and said to send me a message since I was shutting everything down. That was 4th of July, and when my parents (who were visiting) asked if there were any new guys in my life, I blithely replied, “Oh, no, I’m not interested in a relationship right now.” Famous last words.
Throughout our first couple of messages, I still thought it would be a fun distraction, maybe a couple of nice dates, but that was it. I didn’t realize we were getting into a rhythm, nor did I realize how much I was beginning to look forward to these emails until they suddenly stopped coming. A whole 24 hours went by in complete radio silence while I fumed–I thought he liked me! It wasn’t until the next morning rolled around that I realized that not only had I not gotten any emails from him, I hadn’t gotten any emails from anyone. It wasn’t radio silence, it was a problem with my phone which prevented it from notifying me of new messages. When I logged on to my email from my computer, there it was–a bright, shiny message that had been waiting for all along. I’d never been so happy to have a technological problem in my life.
We continued to email even more frequently, and I began to realize this wasn’t as much of a toss-away fling as I thought. When the topic of U2 came up and he invited me to the concert, I suggested dinner first. That day at work, I could barely concentrate. I zipped out to change in the bathroom as soon as I could physically get away from my ringing phone, but I almost turned around several times on my way to the restaurant. What whas I doing? I didn’t want a relationship! I was supposed to be practicing being on my own! I was still unsure as I waited nervously in the lobby.
All that changed, however, when Ryan walked through the door, smiled, and shook my hand. Immediately I felt something settle inside me, and it was the best first date I had ever had. We talked for hours, and not once did I feel I had to monitor what I was saying or hide any part of my personality. I was so thrilled about the whole thing that I was on the phone with my parents before I had even left the parking lot.
On the way in the U2 concert, Ryan mentioned he had tickets to another concert in March, if I was interested in going. I said we would have to see how August went first, but I was secretly flattered he was thinking so far ahead in the future. I was still nervous about making a commitment, but with each sideways look and smile, it was getting easier to imagine.
That night, as we sat entranced before the pulsing lights and anxiously tried to avoid touching elbows, knees hands, or any other body part, Bono invited a couple to dance on stage. He said that great love stories begin with U2, and it turns out he was right! And turns out it was on God’s time, not mine. What a blessing.
How We Met: Ryan’s Perspective
When I received a notification on OkCupid that someone had viewed my profile that day on July 3, 2011, I had no idea what was about to unfold. OkCupid is a free online dating website which I had been a part of for over a year, but never really treated seriously. I wasn’t finding anything on there and was getting to the point where I was going to close my account and try other sites. Well that evening, everything changed. I viewed Stephanie’s profile (though I didn’t know her name yet at the time) and really liked everything that I read. We had a lot in common and shared similar core values. But something compelled me that night. Over the past weeks I had realized that my profile wasn’t an accurate description of me (writing an entire profile about yourself is awkward and harder than it sounds) but I lacked any motivation to change it because I was thinking that the online dating thing just wasn’t for me. Reading Stephanie’s profile changed that. I re-wrote my entire profile the right way that actually reflected my personality and sent her a message saying that my profile had been pretty lame and that I had recently re-written it. The next day, she replied to my message saying that she was going to be getting off of the dating website but she gave me her e-mail address so that we could continue talking.
Everything was going great as we talked for a couple weeks. I immediately felt comfortable talking to her and enjoyed our e-mail conversations. I found out that one of her favorite bands was U2. I had an extra ticket to their concert, which was coming up two weeks later. I invited her to the concert with me, and we decided that we should meet before the concert, to make it less awkward as a first date. On July 22nd, we went out to dinner on our first date. I was nervous going in but all of that slowly faded as dinner went on. I felt very comfortable around her in a way that I hadn’t felt before on a first date. We stayed and talked in the restaurant for hours! The U2 concert was the following Tuesday and was a lot of fun. Bono said something that night that we have remembered ever since. He said “great love stories start with U2.” At the time we both tried not to make eye contact when he said that because it was still the second date, but that has stuck with us throughout our relationship.