I met my wife, Kim, tens years ago yesterday, at the 24th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival. This photo is from our first date, a few days after that. (Kim is fond of selfies — this was the first of many!)
Kim and I have a good how-we-met story.
I was new to Vancouver and the festival, recruited late by the massage committee to replace another massage therapist, and I showed up for the first time on Saturday morning without any orientation.
I met Kim at lunch on Saturday. I had been a reluctant bachelor for years, and I had a keen eye for fascinating women. Kim was such a woman. I liked her instantly. But she had a companion, a tall and handsome man named John. They were so comfortable together that they could only be married. So what else is new? The good ones are always taken! But this was a particularly disappointing case. I moped around all afternoon, catching glimpses of them having a wonderful time together and resenting the fates.
On Sunday morning, I was released from misery when I learned that John and Kim were not a couple, but just best pals since the fifth grade. Furthermore, John is gay — as gay as they come, gay as a goose, gay gay gay. Hallelujah! I spent the rest of the day flirting recklessly with Kim every chance I had. I also made a point of getting to know John: impress the woman by getting along with her friends, right? I gave them both a shoulder rub at the mainstage event on Sunday night, of which I remember nothing whatsoever except how wonderful Kim smelled.
At the end of the day, I asked Kim for a phone number, and got it. I also asked John. It seemed like the friendly thing to do, seeing as we’d all gotten on so well.
When I left the festival, Kim and John met and talked. John proudly announced to Kim, “A man gave me his phone number tonight.” Kim then also proudly declared that a man had also given her a phone number. And both of them marvelled at this coincidence, and were genuinely pleased with themselves and happy for each other for a moment until they realized that they were both excited about the same man.
A great debate about my sexual orientation immediately began, and expanded to include the entire massage committee. Was Paul gay or straight? Had he been flirting with Kim all day… or with John? With some difficulty, they concluded that I had to be gay, and Kim went home, crestfallen, even as I was calling a friend and telling her that I thought I’d met the love of my life. It was another couple days before Kim was able to confirm my sexual orientation by the experimental method.
A nice denouement: early the next morning, I realized that I had, in my excitement about the festival, completely forgotten to attend a workshop that I had bought and paid for. An expensive oversight that I will be grateful for to the end of my days!