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.

Our Wedding

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:

Tristan's Wires

**SHUDDER**

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:

That’s right folks. My future husband had a Tasmanian Devil tire cover cautiously warning me to “Back Off!”
Are you kidding me?
All that could run through my head was, What the hell am I thinking? But, I couldn’t very well back out of our coffee date now, based solely on a few South Park figurines, the ensnared wires from hell, and a cartoon tire cover, could I? My co-worked gently nudged me down the stairs that morning to meet him.
We met in the lobby and I awkwardly shook his hand. Is that what people do on coffee dates? I don’t know. But, I was surprised to learn how chatty and interesting Tristan was. I was so nervous I was just trying not to fart. He was telling me his whole life story, and didn’t seem to notice. This is what a nice guy is like, I thought.
We kept getting coffee each morning, with a lunch thrown in here and there. His company was really nice, and I started to feel very comfortable around him really quickly. One day, I emailed him to see if he would actually want to go on a real-life date. Like, dinner and a movie or something. His response was red flag #3: I can’t, I have to move my grandmother’s couch.
Seriously?
I thought he must not have been interested, so I decided to stop pursuing him. Because, for real, that was the worst excuse I had ever heard. Come to find out though, he really did move his grandmother’s couch. Go figure.I think he asked me out again a few days later and I obliged.
We went on a few dates, the first of which was amazing because, a.) My parents showed up at the restaurant we ate at, and b.) We discovered we were born on the same day. (We watched Stephen King’s the Mist, which takes place on April 21, to which I exclaimed “That’s the day after my birthday!” and he replied, “Me too!” This exchange was, of course, followed by us pulling out our IDs to prove it.)
I think it was the 3rd date where I discovered red flag #’s 4, 5 and 6. Upon walking into his bedroom at the house he lived at with his buddies in Westbrook, I was greeted by a stuffed Kenny doll (again with the South Park) on his bed, a Lego-constructed Yoda on his dresser, and last but absolutely not least, a battery-powered Lego-constructed Monkey that could pull itself across the string at the flick of a switch, strung across his bed.
What. The. Fuck.
It was clear that Tristan was letting his freak flag fly, and he didn’t care who saw it. Not even me. My 21-year-old self would probably have turned around, got in my car, driven myself to Gritty’s and taken a big shot of Jager. But, I was 23 and more mature now. I had already overlooked Taz, so what’s a Lego Monkey?
The rest, my friends, is history.
As it turns out, Tristan is the kind of guy that just is who he is. He is a nerd. He likes computers and video games and anything that has an on/off switch. He wears Family Guy pajamas and likes to watch the X-files. We have Samurai swords in our garage, a skull stick (don’t freaking ask), and – yes – we still have Lego Yoda. (Lego Monkey got lost in the move…tear…)
Tristan is also the most respectful, sweet, generous, chivalrous, handsome, calm, smart, honest, funny (even when he doesn’t mean to be), and caring guy I’ve ever met. No matter what, he has always put me first. He can fix things around the house, anything, with the drop of a hat and the proper tools. He puts up with my shit. He lets me write blogs about his geekiness. He tells me I’m beautiful on my worst day. He gives me a quiet mind.

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.

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