Three years ago, I met my sweet, loving, completely adorable boyfriend online. When people ask me how we met and divulge my digital secret they give the head tilted, “No way, really?!?” As if to say, 'but you guys seem so normal and put together, you had to resort to on line dating?" and then I’m like, "um yeah we are totally like one of those vommy i-met-the-love-of-my-life-on-match.com-commercials". Really, we are.
It was pretty text book: emails were sent, profile pictures carefully studied for evidence of photoshop, text messages exchanged, obligatory ‘lets meet for coffee just to make sure you’re not a serial killer' was had and then it was time for our real first date.
You can imagine the commercial: A folky mostly guitar based singer-songwriter trying to be hipster tune plays as emails are exchanged….I walk into the coffee shop in my cutest ‘I hope I don’t look like I’m trying too hard’ outfit, he’s sitting there pretending to read something then he sees me, his face lights up when he realizes that my pictures were real…conversation is easy and light…laughter, coy looks, a hug good bye…then it cuts to the epic first date…we have dinner in Malibu, over looking the ocean, there’s candlelight, more laughing, clearly sparks are flying, the song reaches the verse about maybe, possibly, most certainly falling in love…but at this point in my commercial, rather than the voiceover guy trying to convince you, the viewer, that you really can meet a totally normal, hotter than you would think person on match.com and fall in love just like us, I lean over and mention to my handsome, intelligent and perfectly normal date that I’m crazy on paper…Bipolar to be exact.
Before I go confirming the rumor that ALL girls online are crazy, let me just say that, in my defense, I did not blurt my crazy business all over the place out of nowhere. We were deep in conversation, not light fluffy convo, but lets be real and talk about life convo. It was a process…a long, effortless, inquisitive process whos end can only be blamed, oddly enough, on the LACK of alcohol. How is this possible you may ask?? Well as you may or may not know, I do not drink (it just does not mix well with the crazy). But when you meet someone the answer to “why don’t you drink?” is not that simple. I was comfortable with my crazy, I had it on lock down, I had no problem talking about it, but I also understood that there was a time and a place for those conversations to happen and no one likes the girl who vomits her entire life story at you with in the first 5 minutes of introduction. So in anticipation of this I tried to go with 'easy and light' answers to questions about my lack of adult beverage consumption. That being said, when you are on a date with someone that you met online and you are 29 and three-quarters and you don’t drink, it’s usually for one of two reasons: A) you never have because you grew up in a crazy religious cult or B) you have WAY to much because you’re a raging alcoholic. In my case neither was true, but the process of explaining that without going the 'vomit my life all over' route is really difficult. 'Easy and light' can go down-hill quite quickly. For example...
“Well I just came to a point in my life where I needed to make better decisions and revaluate what is important to me and so I decided to quit drinking” which could be interpreted as “This one time I showed up to thanksgiving dinner and it turned out to be an intervention…for ME”
OR “Yeah I take a medication that does not mix well with alcohol” which makes you just sound like a disease ridden carrier monkey who has god knows what AND a pill problem.
Either way I end up having some splainin to do. This is the moment where I just go ahead and say it and hope for the best.
If you think about it, those moments exist in the beginnings of any relationship. The ones where you realize that you have to reveal something that is incredibly real and personal and then that revelation will inevitably lead to questions that have answers that are less than ideal. There is a lot of baggage that comes long with the statement “I’m Bipolar”, but you know what, there is just as much baggage that comes with the statement “I’m Jenn and I’m 29 and three-quarters and I have a cat”. Sometimes you just have to say it like it is and see where it lands. I did just that.
Right as we were finishing dinner, he looked at me and said “I think we are going to be friends for a really long time”. I smiled and said that I hoped so, but inside my brain, I was like Aww man, the friend card?!?! Really Jennifer Ann? Really?!?! You had to bust out the crazy, on the first date? Well played. Enjoy your life with your thousand cats.
And just as my internal convo was getting to the part where I am certain that I am a cat lady who will die alone, he smiles and suggests that we stop and get some dessert on the way home. Over fancy pants gelato and coffee across the street from my place, we talked and laughed for another 2 hours…besties in the making. We walked back to my place and I offered for him to come in and see this piece of art that I had told him about earlier in the evening. Not weird at all right? After all, we are going to be PALS. So you can imagine my complete and utter surprise when he leaned in to kiss me as I was going on and on about my art. A sweet simple first kiss – I still get all fluttery in my stomach when I think about it. To this day he gives me a hard time because apparently no guy just wants to come in and “see the art you have been talking about”.
So there you have it, I wasn’t joking, we are totally a vommy i-met-the-love-of-my-life-on-match.com-commercial, complete with sappy tune and happy ending. To me, that is the craziest part of the story.