If there is one thing I would do differently, looking back at life, I’d probably tell my 14-year-old self to aim to marry a nerd. In the end, I did marry a nerd. But, this advice probably would have made my dating life easier.
I knew I was going to marry Tristan the first time I saw him. We used to work together at the Portland Press Herald. He doesn’t remember it, but I was in the lunch room popping popcorn. He walked in to get a cup of coffee with his coworkers from MaineToday.com, and we happened to make eye contact as he entered the doorway. His smile hit me right in the back of the knees.
I returned to my desk, burnt popcorn in hand, and told my coworker that I had just seen a cute guy in the lunch room. About a week earlier, I had sworn off dating anyone after a messy experience with a giant douche-a-saurus. Knowing I didn’t want to start dating anyone else, my coworker got to work playing matchmaker. Word made it through the grapevine pretty quickly that “someone on the 5th floor thought ‘that MaineToday’ guy was cute.” We did some investigative work, which included eventually finding out his name and checking out his desk while he wasn’t in the office.
You can kind of tell a lot about a person by the state of their work desk. Like, whether or not they have a girlfriend or wife – noted by the presence of family photos. If they’re a coffee drinker (mug), tea drinker (tea bags) or a water-only kind of person (water bottle). Are they fun? (Different colored pens, sticky notes, etc.) Are they obsessed with their dog? (Screensaver or PC wallpaper.) Whether they are messy or a neat freak.
Tristan’s desk told two stories. 1. He was a nerd… Red flag #1 being the prominence of his South Park figurines scattered across the bookshelf. Assuming he didn’t reenact episodes during “play time,” I decided to look past it. And, 2. He was a little messy and had a thing for tech-y gadgets. I could tell this by the amount of gadgets with cords, entangled and intertwined, strewn about. This would grow to be a bone of contention in our lives together… I can’t stand entangled cords and wires. Tristan loves any and everything that plugs in, resulting in our outlets looking like this:
Anyway, as I continued fact-finding to learn as much as I could about him to see if he was my type, Tristan started to pop up everywhere. One day, I left work early and unintentionally followed him down to the parking garage. I saw him get into a blue Jeep Wrangler, so I knew what he kind of car he drove. I started running into him every morning when I’d go to get my coffee…he’d either be behind me or in front of me in line at Dunkin’. We’d pass each other on the stairway almost every day. (Okay, now I’m starting to sound like a creeper… I wasn’t stalking him, I swear.) Unbeknownst to him, I was the girl from the 5th floor. Finally, out of sheer embarrassment, I decided to email him and ask him to meet for coffee. He agreed to go with me, but said he was on vacation the following week. We decided we’d met the following Monday.
The morning arrived, and I was nervous. As I drove into the parking garage, I noticed I was pulling in directly behind him. And that’s when I saw red flag #2, staring me in the face:
I’ve learned a lot from Tristan. Things like, what is means to belong to a WoW guild, how someone can pwn n00bs, and what the perfect vehicle is to make a getaway in a zombie apocalypse. But he has also taught me to be comfortable in my skin. And that I’m quite a nerd myself. He has taught, and continues to teach, me to stay calm and roll with the punches. He is my best friend. He’s my soul mate. And there is no other nerd I’d rather have by my side for the rest of my life.