Now there’s a question I don’t like. Not that I particularly enjoy questions about serious life things in general, I prefer to babble on endlessly about nothing in particular and spew factoids like my life depends upon it, but occasionally people seem not to realise this and so ask me the question. Not that I’m actually in a relationship now, but in every relationship I’ve been in, no matter how depressingly short lived they may have been, some poor sod has always found the time to ask “so how did you two meet then?” I don’t have anything against you if you’ve previously been the one to ask this, I’m not having a go or anything so don’t fret your pretty little heads.
Now perhaps it’s because I’m from a rather conservative upbringing where boy meets girl and prays earnestly about whether he should ask somebody he knows about whether he should pray about asking her out for coffee, that stories of how person A met person B are often quite sweet, if more than a little too vanilla; but does nobody else see how the question could potentially be problematic? In this glorious golden age of technobabble and e-love, it is only natural that a huge number of relationships begin, or at least are made possible, on the internet. Natural yes. Socially acceptable? Now there’s an odd little point. Anybody who’s ever met anybody from the internet will identify with the feeling that somehow, somebody somewhere disapproves of the fashion of your initial rendez-vous. It’s mental, but it’s still in the back of your head. Thus, when inquisitive friend X asks where I met my paramour, I invariably freeze for a second and weigh up my options. A) Come clean and say I met them on the internet B) Invent a plausible place in which we could conceivably have met and thus have to remember to tell the person in question that I told my friends that’s where we met and would they mind awfully if we just went along with this ruse for the sake of avoiding social awkwardness or C) Invent a blatant lie which is also a funny story that, by virtue of it being both funny and wildly untrue, dispels any further questioning and thereby avoids the question all together.
Having employed all three of these in the past, I can testify that A is a bad idea, B is a bad idea if you forget to cover your tracks, and C is a bad idea if the interrogator actually wants to know where we met. As unbelievable as it may seem, a beautiful story crafted on the spot about how our eyes met across the corridor of the International Space Station as it plummeted toward earth and how we spent weeks adrift in an escape pod lost in the Pacific Ocean where our love blossomed into the stuff of fairy tales and romantic novels, does little to deter a determined inquisitor. Shame.
And what really bugs me is why people actually want to know. I kind of accept that sometimes it’s just a conversation filler but when pressed for an answer (as I have been an odd number of times) I do have to wonder what the motivation is that drives the person to acquire such a boring snippet of knowledge. What does it matter if I met him on Grindr or picked them up in a seedy bar* and then didn’t mind them when the beer goggles came off? It changes nothing to what’s actually happening apart from to inject some little needed awkwardness into a conversation.
But meeting somebody on the internet is not even the only embarrassing location for a meet-cute. Just picture the scene: you’re old and grey with age and your wife/husband/whatever is sat with you in your favourite armchairs and all your grandchildren are gathered around you and one of them, the annoying little brat, pipes up with the question “Granddad/Nanna how did you and Nanna/Granddad meet?” [delete as appropriate] How will you feel if your answer has to be “Well sonny, it was a dark cold night and I was smashed off my face when I saw your nan across the dance floor and she was shakin’ what God gave her and I thought to myself “I’ve got to get myself some of that” and so I ground up against her for a good hour then we got out and went back to her place and your mum happened.” Talk about teaching life lessons too early.
That being said, I remember asking my granddad (though on second thoughts, it seems more likely that he told the story without much prompting) where he met my nan and, as I recall, the answer involves a dance of some sort. In my head, this has now morphed into a good old fashioned Rock n Roll jam fest with some Elvis blasting out and hips gyrating all over the place. Granddad saw just how good nan was at the Jive and it was love at first sight. Different time, same story.
* Now, just to clarify here people, I make no habit of picking people up in bars but as I’m sure some of you will revel in confirming, it has been known to happen *hangs head in shame*. But that’s enough about my dating habits. Go bother somebody else for their love stories.
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