in a sentence, i met vic nine years ago in the personals section of nerve.com. but that sentence doesn`t begin to do us any justice.
nine years ago i was in London working on a project, plagued by insomnia. when you`re only sleeping an average of three hours a night, you find yourself thinking of a lot of things. i realised that on the verge of turning 29, i was divorced, with two children i didn`t see enough of, i had ruined three good relationships and was lucky not to take the friendships down with them too, i wasn`t a prize catch and i was probably going to be alone for the rest of my life. i accepted that and decided it wasn`t something that should depress me, i should just work on fixing me and making myself happy.
i had never been a big fan of personals websites, but the project photographer came back from LA with a copy from the short-lived nerve print magazine and during one of my sleepless nights, i read the magazine and then interest piqued, i went to the website. the personal section was funny and irreverent and featured areas you had to fill out like, best and worse lie you ever told and blank is sexy but blank is sexier. it was fun and it didn`t have to be a meat market if you didn`t want it too. i wasn`t looking for a relationship and that was cool, there were other people on nerve that were looking email/im buddies as well.
i think you have two options when you meet someone online, you could lie like hell and soon or later, you`ll get caught or you can be brutally honest about yourself, flaws and foibles writ large and if they can`t accept that then all you`ve done is displace a few electrons.
each profile on nerve, had a two mandatories, a username and what amounted to a tagline. mine was a Raoul Duke classic “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro” and vic`s lured me in from the word go; “curiosity? poor cat.” i was hooked, i messaged her immediately with my email address and less than a day later we`d exchanged im addresses. for the next six weeks we im`d all day and at least two hours a night, talking about anything and everything. basically becoming friends.
about a week before the 2000 Olympic Games were scheduled to begin i was on a plane heading to Miami with a plan to rent a car, meet vic and another person i`d been chatting with from nerve and go see a long time friend in MS. i got to miami and couldn`t rent a car without a credit card, so i decided to continue my adventure by greyhound. i spent 22 hours on that bus endured strange people playing in my hair as i tried to sleep and arrived in Knoxville road weary and unwashed and wondered if this woman would take one look at me at the bus station and drive away, abandoning me to a strange city. vic didn`t she got out the car and smiled at me. if there was ever a moment when i fell completely and totally in love with victoria, that was it.
i was supposed to stay four days, i ended up staying almost two weeks. the following January i drove 11 hours to propose and we were married a year later, almost to the day.