Sarah’s Side, written with love by Sarah
On November 8th of 2015, Sarah’s two best friends took her out for dinner. In fact, that’s all Sarah had wanted, was the company of these two amazing women and some killer Indian food. They sat eating in a tiny restaurant in their hometown, and they both asked what she really wanted for her birthday.
“I’m ready to fall in love,” she answered. It had been nearly six years since Sarah’s last serious relationship had ended, and the time, she felt, had come. She was ready. But the issue was that she was over 30, didn’t drink, and had anxiety about meeting people. What was a woman to do?
Tinder. Of course. It was the perfectly rational dating app to try.
Swipe left; nope. Swipe left; same. Nope, left, nope, left, nope, nope nope. This happened for a couple of days, going on while Sarah rode the bus to and fro from work, while she was bored, while she watched Metalocalypse. No one appealed to her Spidey Sense; a lot of these guys, most of them, looked like drinkers, looked sketchy, looked… unappealing. No info on their profiles, and party-pictures or pictures that didn’t show much of who these men were or how she’d match with them.
While at work one afternoon, though, about three days into trying Tinder, Sarah received a new kind of message: HK has Super Liked Your Profile! For a moment, she was puzzled; it was the first message of that sort that she’d received. So, boink, she checks out his profile in return.
He didn’t have a photo of himself. Instead, there were Fight Club references, American Beauty. HP Lovecraft. Horror. Tattoos. Genuinely intrigued, Sarah swiped right to match with him. Then she finished work at nine in the evening and took her buses home from her job at Sephora. Boom, crash, Metalocalypse and bedtime.
In the morning, Sarah woke up to make herself a cup of coffee and found an articulate and loquacious message of introduction from HK, and found herself smiling, further intrigued, and answering. They communicated back and forth through text for a few days past their match, and then HK asked The Question.
“Would you like to meet for coffee?” To which Sarah’s answer was an enthusiastic yes. Truth told though: she was nervous. HK had seemed so well-spoken, so nice, so complimentary, what on Earth could be wrong with him? Everything she’d found out so far was exciting, fun, and they had a massive overlap in interests: music, literature, pop culture, just to begin.
Well, Sarah was at her girlfriend’s house chilling out and listening to music. After a quick consult where discussion of exit strategies and safety were discussed, Sarah set out for Queen’s Pizza where they’d agreed to meet up.
HK — Ken, as Sarah had found out he’d preferred to be called — pulled into the lot next to where Sarah was waiting and rolled down the window of his van.
“Yeah, but I’m not getting into your van unless you offer me candy first,” Sarah returned smartly, and they both laughed.
That was it, that was the moment, right there. The ice was broken.
They talked the whole ride to Mulberry Café, the whole time they were there — minus the three minutes that Ken walked away like a gentleman so Sarah could dig a walnut out of a back molar — and the whole way back to her building to drop her off. They left the café and were asked by someone who was down on their luck for help. Ken helped and Sarah was touched by the fact that it wasn’t just change, but enough to get a proper meal. But Ken had prior family plans and had to peace out, so without an end-of-date kiss which Sarah had really hoped for, they made plans to see each other again.
Not half an hour later, Ken messaged Sarah again to let her know that he’d misunderstood and was free again for the evening. Would she want to get together again?
Give me half an hour so I can clean up, she texted back, and whirled around the room she rented, making the bed, picking up scads of laundry both dirty and clean, glancing worriedly at her cellphone as time ticked closer to Ken arriving. When he did, her room was entirely presentable, and what a relief that was. He tapped on her window to let her know he was there, and they grinned and hugged and he’d brought coffee. A sure-fire way to Sarah’s heart.
A movie was put on the television — Snatch, to be specific — and the conversation picked right up where they’d left off. Sarah couldn’t stop smiling at him, he was so handsome, so exciting to talk to. He was interesting, intelligent, hilarious.
Finally, she thought f*ck it, and kissed him.
Six weeks later they moved into their first home together, and Sarah has loved Ken with every breath since.
Ken’s Side, with humour and great narration:
Some people say that Ken is a complicated man, and that no one understands him but his woman. Some call him the space cowboy, while others refer to him in hushed tones as the gangster of love. Nobody calls him Maurice. Well, there was that one guy, but it was a case of mistaken identity that ended with the tearful reunion of Maurice and the other fellow, whose name Ken doesn’t remember ever knowing, or, he admits, may have forgotten. After all, none of us is as young as we once were, and the memory, they say, is the first to go.
What was I talking about?
Ah yes, Ken, and the story of how he moved his finger in an upward motion and forever changed his fate.
Picture it: Hamilton, 2015, a cool November day, and Ken, having just recently emerged from a 10 year marriage that ended amicably, was looking to meet new people, and was told to try this dating app called Tinder.Yes, Tinder. And it was everything Ken figured it would be — a collection of yoga instructors of all ages, looking for that guy who’s not just looking for a hook up. Yet Ken would not be deterred. He’d find that girl who was neither into yoga, nor opposed to just hooking up for a few awkward minutes in the Wimpy’s parking lot, parked behind the dumpster to avoid suspicion. Ken’s M.O. was neither classy nor dignified, but Sarah didn’t seem to mind.
Nah, I’m just f*cking with you.
The truth is, Ken nervously navigated Tinder, swiping and swiping and swiping through all sorts of people who he’s sure were quite lovely, but who intimidated him with their holiday photos, duck lips, and glamour shots. Ken had been out of the dating scene for over a decade, and was just looking for coffee with someone he could hold an intelligent conversation with. Or, rather, with whom he could hold an intelligent conversation, for anyone who was cringing at the grammar in that last sentence.
Just a series of pictures on a screen, but instead of her profile being a carefully constructed vanity piece, full of filtered fantasy photos, it showed a cross-section of a down-to-earth human being. Ken read her profile. They shared interests. So he swiped up (see aforementioned comment about how Ken moved his finger in and upward motion and so on…), indicating that he’d like to talk to her.
So they started talking. Just launching into conversations about films and music and just how many angels could actually dance on the head of a pin, assuming angels exist, and that they can dance, and that something catchy is playing. I mean, you can’t just throw on some Leonard Cohen or something and then ask a bunch of celestial beings to boogie down, do the Electric Slide or what-have-you, can you?
Certainly not, at least that’s what Sarah said, and so Ken’s interest was piqued at the meeting of two such strange minds.
One day, Ken sent Sarah a message asking if she’d like coffee, and coffee they did. For several hours. And when the coffee was over and Ken had to leave, all he could think about was more coffee. After that day, every opportunity that arose for there to be coffee, Ken would coffee with Sarah, and the truth of the matter is, those two crazy lovebirds are still on that first coffee date. Coffee, the extended dance remix. May their cups never be empty.