I met Paul for the first time.
It was Labor day weekend 1999. We actually met about a month before online via his personal ad on Love @ AOL.
It was a rough time for me. I was going through an ugly divorce from my douche bag soon to be ex husband. My BFF and I went to the county fair to eat a bunch of crap and take pictures in the photo booth like we had since we were 11.
On the way we passed one of those fortune teller huts and decided to have our palms read.
She told me I was going to meet a man who was a musician and into computers. That this was the man I would marry at 27 and be with for the rest of my life.
I was technically still married at the time and called biscuits and gravy on the whole thing.
Then we saw Tom Waits with his family and my BFF swore he was checking me out in my short shorts.
So about a week later I typed in California and Tattoos as my search words on aforementioned dating site. I don't know why. I pretty much just bought make-up and clothes on-line. I had never been in a chat room, IM ed, or answered a personal ad. I didn't even have a computer at home, just in the shop.
Paul's photo came up right away. I was like "damn, this guy is HOT!" so without thinking about it, I wrote him note saying something like:
"Hi! I own a body piercing shop and have lots of tattoos. I also have 2 evil dogs and a soon to be ex-husband. I don't have a scanner, so I can't send you a picture of me (cause this was before digital cameras, ya'll) , but my friends think I'm cute. Oh, and I was on the cover of Tattoo Flash magazine. So write me back if you want"
I never really asked what he thought about my letter. I didn't know how to play it all cool and everything, I was like what the eff, I'll just be myself.
He sent me an instant message a few hours later and I spent the rest of the night online with him, blowing off my friends and their hanging out at the bar plans.
He lived about 6 hours away. We emailed, wrote real letters, and talked on the phone everyday. He was in school at the time, so Labor day weekend was the first chance he had to come up. My Evil Sister drove me to the airport to pick him up. She wanted to check his bag for severed heads as everyone knew that the Internet was how serial killers picked out their next victims.
As we waited, his flight started to empty out. My sister kept pointing at all the fat, balding business men getting off the plane and shouting "Is THAT him?!"
He was almost the last one. I saw him and he had flowers for me and I swear my heart almost stopped. And it was love for real.
This was our wedding day in 2002. I was 27.