Three years ago today I met Ben. We refer to it as the night of our “first unofficial date” because neither of us approached the meeting with romantic aspirations.
Up to that point, I was passing my days in Long Beach, while he was hustling in St. Louis. We were not only strangers, but strangers who had 1,800 miles, 26 hours and two time zones between us.
The World Wide Web changed that.
Ben and I became pen pals of sorts. We sent a handful of messages and realized that we were similar in several ways, but one in particular: We were love-haters.
A couple months passed and Ben informed me that he was coming to Los Angeles for a photography assignment. He wrote saying that he’d like to meet in person, and tried to convince me to skip work on a Friday so we could instead hang out, talk, eat and laugh. But I dismissed his crazy proposal and went to work, offering a compromise to see him another time, when I didn’t have to sacrifice a day’s pay to meet a random, possibly dangerous, guy from the Internet.
And I kept my promise.
For our first unofficial date, I met Ben in Downtown Los Angeles. We walked over to The Standard Hotel, where we had two beers and two hours to talk about work, our childhood, our families, music â€” a lot about music â€” and ambitions. We ate, and we laughed.
So, he kept his promise, too.
I said it to myself three years ago, and I’ll say it again today: I don’t remember anything being as effortless as that night with Ben. It was simple. It was real. It was fresh and comfortable. Despite salty outlooks on romance, we each had a feeling that this time this love would be too big to hate.
And here we are â€” three years running.
Whether it was coincidence or kismet, I am thankful.