Our First Public Appearance

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.

Even though most of Bradford society, the artistic subculture in particular, was already well aware of our budding relationship, it was as if Stef and I going to a performance of the play Driven To Abstraction in the final days of February was some sort of coming out party. It was our first “public” appearance as a couple and it felt odd, like the beginning of a major transformation in my life. We’d just come to see a show, but somehow, in some little way, we were the show.

Perhaps because I was so famously single, so famously inept in matters of relationships, the fact that I’d snagged a well-adjusted, accomplished girlfriend was somehow big fucking news. For the duration of our Bradford careers, I did get the feeling that Stef and I were some sort of Bradford super-couple. Dancers and theatre-folk (of which I was a member) didn’t generally mingle, except in courses they were required to take together. If I recall correctly, whenever dancers had to get involved in a Bradford musical theater production, it was big fucking personal relations fiasco.

So, when we showed up for the show that night it was an event. The always unhappy Chris Clark had a smile on his face and a girl on his arm, and it was a girl they all liked. Nikki and Heather T. were in front of us in line and sat near us and several others smiled when they saw us come in together, congratulated us on getting together as if it were a wedding, and it was just altogether odd.

But not altogether unpleasant.

I felt suddenly like the big man on campus and that was a feeling I never thought I’d ever experience. It was an unexpected perk of finally finding the woman of my dreams.

The show wasn’t bad either. It was odd, but not bad.