I first met J two years ago.
It was six or so months into my relationship with AJ, but we got through the “honeymoon phase” (if you can even call what we had a honeymoon phase) long before.
I was hosting at a restaurant then. I went to the employee bathroom in the basement, passed through the downstairs lounge (which wasn’t open yet), and there he was—filling out paperwork at Table 62. Two other servers ate their breakfast next to him, asking where he moved to New York from.
“Florida,” he said. That’s when I first noticed the small, adorable gap between his two front teeth.
“And who is this?” I asked, alpha male of the restaurant, leaning over the table.
He introduced himself, but I later found out he goes by his middle name—even now, I’m the only person I know who calls him by his first name.
And you can call him J.
His eyes sparkled when he looked up at me. All I wanted to do was tousle his already messy hair.
Sometimes, when you first see someone, you know that they’re special. Special to you, anyway. It’s more than thinking they’re sexy, or that you want to fuck them, or that they’d look good standing next to you at a party. You feel that they’re special, even though you don’t know them, even though you haven’t met them yet. You build a fantasy around them.
He didn’t know that I had a boyfriend. He didn’t know that I was already afraid that I was unhappy in my relationship. He didn’t know that I found him incredibly attractive.
I didn’t know that he moved here with his boyfriend. I didn’t know that they were trying an open relationship because it wasn’t working out. I didn’t know that he found me incredibly attractive.
That’s the fun of it all: the mystery. We didn’t know the things that didn’t look good on paper. We didn’t know the things that did look good on paper, either. All we knew was the feeling we got when we looked into each other’s eyes, for the first time—my heart stopped.
I learned what a meet cute is from one of my favorite romantic comedies, “The Holiday.” Kate Winslet helps this random old man she sees in the street, who happens to be her next-door neighbor and used to be a screenwriter during the Golden Age of Hollywood. “Well, this was some meet cute!” he jokes after she drives him home, explaining that a meet cute is a scene where a romantic couple meets for the first time.
“I’m Ian-Michael,” I finally said, smiling. “Nice to meet you.”