Roo and Nate's Wedding Blog

Holy crap, we're getting hitched. How did this even happen?

Carrot Cake

Or: The Hookup

Or: Why Life Isn’t and Shouldn’t Be Like a Romantic Comedy

Nate’s and my official courtship started over carrot cake, as has almost every major milestone of our relationship.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one for mincing words or circumlocution and our relationship is, at least in part, a product of my desire for extremely clear communication.  I try to say what I mean and mean what I say. There’s a tendency to assume that men are very clear communicators and women are not, but in our relationship, much like our wedding and hopefully, our marriage, we’re tossing out all the things that don’t make a great deal of sense. And not talking about the shit that is going on is one of those things.

So when Nate and I had been meeting for a swing dance class and coffee and carrot cake afterward (or more often, working our way through Au Coquelet‘s jabillions of italian soda syrup flavors) for awhile; after we had disentangled ourselves from our prior relationships; after we had been going over to each other’s homes and just as often crashing (platonically) in each other’s beds for months; and just before we went on a trip to Chicago together, Nate and I were sitting in the coffee shop, sharing a piece of carrot cake, and laughing about some of the hijinks we planned to get up to in Chicago.

To something I had said, Nate replied, “Well, it’s not as if we’re dating yet.”

If this were a romance novel (with which I have unfortunate and embarrassing love affairs) or a romantic comedy film, one of two things would have happened:

Option 1:  We would have stared across the table at each other, forgetting that last little piece of carrot cake that prior to this moment we had been carefully taking little pieces of, until it was just a tiny speck of frosting, trying desperately not to be the one who ate the last bite. Our eyes would have met and we’d lean across and kiss each other, knowing, without words, that this was the moment that everything would change!

Option 2: I would have changed the subject and pretended that nothing happened. Later, over a pint of ice cream, I’d have carefully and cautiously dissected every word of the conversation and quoted High Fidelity at myself while I determined what Nate had meant when he said, “yet”.  I probably would have called my Best Friend ™, who would have given me terrible dating advice while simultaneously proven that she was more of a whore than I could ever hope to be. (Unless she was the ugly best friend, in which case she would have given me slightly better advice, but would have been jealous of me. Later she’d try to undermine my relationship, but the power of love would have persevered and I’d have forgiven her perfidy because I’m a better person.)

Fortunately, this is not a romance novel nor a romantic comedy. Instead, I placed my hands down on either side of the plate, leaned forward, and said, “So, I can’t help but notice that we’re moving in this direction.  Are you interested in pursuing this? Because I am.”

Given that you’re reading this on our wedding blog, you may take it as given that it all worked out from there.

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How We Met

Nate and I probably met a couple of times before we actually met.

Nate went to college with his best man, Matthew Marovich.  Matt is a brilliant guy, funny, sweet, talented, and prone to hysterical ranting and raving, usually while muppet-flailing.

Matt and I met through our Renaissance faire guild while we were both in college (although going to different schools), although I made it down to Santa Cruz a few times to hang out with him.  He swears that we hung out while he was hanging with Nate.  There is photographic evidence that Nate and I were at the same parties at the same time, but for whatever reason, we didn’t quite ever connect.

And then in August of 2008, Nate and I really met at a renaissance faire that Matt and his (then fiance, now) wife were working with me.  They had dragged Nate along to guest with our guild, and had evidently spent the entire drive to the faire site warning Nate that we’re a hard group to break into, but just be friendly, helpful, and respectful, and maybe, just maybe, we would warm to him. Maybe.

It’s a thing about working faires the way we do, which is to say that we work really hard and play only slightly harder than that. Our guild likes people who are useful before they are nice, and in the division between “nice” and “interesting”, we’ll almost always pick “interesting”.

Nate is unusual in that he is genuinely kind, has a wicked sense of humor, and is competently helpful.

Sometime on Saturday while I was tipsily wandering around our faire yard and after Nate had cheerfully acquiesced to being a beast of burden for the Ladies ™, I asked him to pick up a chair or bring us a drink, or something equally useful to someone who was wearing more velvet than any human being rightfully ought to. After delivering whichever slightly ridiculous request the Ladies had made, I pointed at his chest and said, “I like you.”

I am known for not liking many people and certainly not enough to want to spend time with them intentionally.  When I meet people I like, I  don’t believe in dicking around with half-assed looks from afar or wondering if they like me, too. I liked Nate, so I told him then and there.

Later that weekend found us working hard shoulder to shoulder and exchanging email addresses. Soon after we discovered that we have similar hobbies, and a friendship was formed.

Nate and I were both dating other people at the time, so our relationship started with a friendship.  We were both trying to identify what we wanted in our lives and it was sort of inevitable that when we both finally found ourselves single at the same time, we looked at each other and realized that the answer to that was waiting right there.

Wedding Ridiculosity

Getting married is an exercise in absurdity.  The wedding industry is full of people who are convinced, utterly convinced, that you want this to be your special day and that no day before or after will ever be as special. With all of these professionals pushing this image and all of these brides buying into that image, it’s a recipe for drama, disaster, and pure comedy.

Witness one of the wedding coordinators we met with when looking for venues.  We were very clear that we were a non-traditional couple (as much as we can be when we appear to be a white, heteronormative couple) with some sort of crazy ideas. Every time we broached one of those ideas, the very nice lady would sort of twitch then immediately say, “Well, what most couples do is this,” and no amount of patient explaining that we thought that was very nice, but not for us would convince her otherwise. For obvious reasons, we chose not to go with her or her venue, but Nate and I got a really good laugh out of it, anyway.

This sort of utter sincerity on the part of the wedding industry is one of the reasons that when I’m trolling wedding websites looking for ideas on stuff, I am taken aback by the fact that they blithely tell me how important it is to have Save the Date cards (STDs). It is, after all, the duty of the bride to give her friends and family STDs as soon as possible.

And they manage to do this with an entirely straight face, no winking or nudging anywhere.

Wedding industry, I’m disappointed in you.

Shared Context

Being the sort of nerds we are, Nate and I have a lot of catch phrases that we use in our lives.  These are phrases that allude to other conversations and act as a sort of short-hand in our day to day existences.  Rather than relate an entire story that we’ve already told each other a million times, or worse, we were both there for, but don’t really require an entire rehashing, we now have entire conversations with nothing but punchlines.

In a weird way, this is one of the ways that we know we’re good for one another.

This sort of behavior is common among our friends.  Among geeks, it’s common to reference movie quotes or obscure song lyrics that will only make sense if you have shared context – everyone has seen that show or movie or knows that band or was there for that moment.  In the same way that our generation talks about where we were on 9/11 and our parents’ generation talks about where they were during the moon landing or JFK’s assassination (one of the ways in which we establish our shared context), it is common for geeks to talk about the Princess Bride or Holy Grail or the Goonies with many of the same reverent tones.  But because we have all seen those movies, we don’t need to ask whether we remember them; they are indelibly part of our cultural context.  We establish that by shouting, “Inconceivable!” or inquiring after the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

Shared context is the cornerstone of understanding.  Nate’s and my understanding of one another is filled with pop-culture references, past conversations with one another, and characters we’ve pretended to be during the course of the games we’ve played together and separately.  It’s not that we don’t have important conversations about politics and economics, religion and social policy.  It’s just that even those conversations are filled with lines like:

* That guy? Fuck that guy.
* I’m thinking about cheese.
* And that’s when the fight started.

It’s the code of nerds and more specifically, our special, secret code that we share with one another and our closest friends.  Newcomers know that they are not yet part of the club because they haven’t been invited into our in-jokes.

I don’t think that Nate and I are particularly alone in this.  Many couples have their shared jokes and weird quirks known only to each other.  However, Nate and I have acknowledged them and made something of a study of them. Occasionally when we  realize we’ve made one of those jokes or had a conversation that code breakers would be scratching their heads over as seemingly no actual information was conveyed, one or the other of us will stop, look at the other, and say, “I love you,” which in itself is code for, “We have just successfully had a meaningful conversation that would have been impossible if we did not think in some fundamentally similar ways and had the shared context to understand one another. And that’s pretty fucking awesome.”

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