If you’ve been following my blog and/or life to any degree in any capacity, you most likely know about my boyfriend, Matt. He is the sweetest, kindest, most caring person I know, and he’s also my best friend. But what you may not know is the story of how Matt and I met – and let me tell you, it is quite the tall tale!
Okay, so maybe that’s a (weird) exaggeration. But it definitely is interesting!
Personally, I love stories about how couples met because I think it’s so difficult to meet people in this day and age. After graduating college, I was pretty much a lost puppy. I would go out in the city with friends, but I felt like any guy I met in a bar was super creepy. Why is it that nice, normal people are never the ones to come up to you in bars? The answer is, because nice, normal people already have friends and friends-of-friends to hang out with and date!
I, like many before me, fell victim to the classic New-York-is-full-of-so-many-people-but-I-can’t-find-anyone-normal mindset. So naturally, being a millennial, I did the one thing that I figured could solve this issue – I downloaded dating apps.
I had briefly downloaded Tinder in college, but mostly just used it to swipe through the profiles of strange Rhode Island men with even stranger profile pictures (as pure drunken entertainment). I never got far enough into a conversation with someone to consider meeting them in person.
But as a recent college grad in a new (huge) city, I felt like it was time to give the apps another try. Having heard good things about Bumble, I gave it a download, set up my profile, and starting swiping. Generally, guys seemed much more normal on Bumble than Tinder (although not sure if that has to do with the app or the area I was in). I had some good conversations – and yes, even went on one or two dates – but nothing really came of it. Personally, I HATED dating. I’m initially really shy, and definitely an introvert, so putting myself out there and making small talk are basically my least favorite things to do.
So, time went on and the dating app life lost its appeal. I let my Bumble conversations dwindle and began only using the app to casually swipe when I needed a mental break at work. I’d swipe left, I’d swipe right, I’d get matches, but I stopped messaging people. The way Bumble works (in case you don’t know) is the girl has to message the guy first. The thought behind it is that will weed out the creepy guys you don’t want to talk to. Why you would match with them in the first place is beyond me, but in general it makes it easier to find actual normal dudes to talk to.
Anyway, I was about eight months out of school and still having trouble adjusting to post-grad life. I had a job but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. My best friends from school were up in Boston or down in DC. I felt pretty alone most of the time and was having trouble accepting that this was essentially how the next forty years of my life would go – waking up, going to work for ten hours, coming home, and going to sleep. Yes, eating and working out (sometimes… maybe) would potentially be included in that routine as well, but it was still the general idea that my life would consist of going to work all day for five out of seven days of my week that scared me.
Life has a funny way of working out, though.
So like I said, I would mindlessly swipe from time to time, but I typically would ignore my matches. But, being the “thirsty” and relatively “basic bitch” I that was (ah who are we kidding… still am), I had my Instagram handle in my Bumble profile bio.
One day I was on Instagram and happened to check my notifications. This doesn’t happen a lot – at the time I think I had about 4,000 followers, so I keep my notifications off so my phone doesn’t unnecessarily blow up when I post something. But for some reason, that day I checked. I saw a guy had followed me and I happened to click on his profile.
Matt Marko. Hm, interesting name. I wasn’t sure what ethnicity “Marko” was, but I saw after only a few scrolls that he was pretty cute. He’ll get the follow back.
Like clockwork, a few hours later I saw I had a DM. Yes, he slid into the DMs.
M: Hey Jill, how’s it going?
J: Hey there, it’s goin alright how about yourself
M: Going well. Just having some lunch with co workers. Really wish today was a national holiday haha
J: Ugh agreed, a ton of my friends in Mass get to work from home today. So jealous, I’m struggling [Note: it was the day after Superbowl Sunday. I don’t think I was actually hungover, but thought it sounded pretty cool if I was.]
M: Haha well then we can be on the struggle bus together. You’re from Mass?
J: No I’m from Jersey but I went to school in Rhode Island so almost all my friends are up in Boston
M: Oh nice where’d you go? I’m from CT so I’m pretty close to Mass and Rhode Island
M (again): *don’t live there now but grew up there […so I know he didn’t live there currently. That he was LOCAL!]
[…and the conversation continues and is completely uninteresting and relatively cringey, but then…]
M: Any plans for the long weekend?
J: Yeah I’m actually going to DC! I’m pumped, I haven’t been since I was 11 or so hahah but I’ve heard it’s so fun. My roommate from school just got an apartment down there
M: Sweet. I have a good friend who works for the Capitals down there and he wants me to visit this month. Why don’t you text me… [phone number]
And BOOM. Phone number.
Just like that, the ball was in my court. And so, being me and being completely unaware of how to play hard to get, I’m pretty sure I texted him immediately being like, “Hey it’s Jill!” So young, so naive.
It turns out that we had matched on Bumble (thanks to my mindless swiping). I hadn’t messaged him (and the girl has to do so in 24 hours or the match runs out and disappears) so he had “extended me” (aka extended our match and the amount of time I had left to message him, which you can apparently only do once a day), and I still hadn’t messaged him. Oops. In my defense, I never even saw the match! So, that’s when he resorted to the Instagram follow. I thank my lucky stars every day that I (thirstily) put my Instagram handle on my Bumble profile.
We texted for a few weeks, having relatively consistent conversations. If I do recall, they were fairly in-depth, paragraph-long exchanges each time. However, Matt was always the one to end the conversation. We’d be texting consistently, I would send a paragraph in response to his, and then… crickets.
But then without fail, the next day (or a day later, although he swears it was typically the next day) he would text me again, starting a new conversation and disregarding his total lack of response to the last one! I was beyond confused. He now admits that not answering me was actually super hard for him and that he did want to write back right away, but he was “playing the game.” Aka, playing hard to get. And as much as I hate to admit it, I think it did work to a degree. Let’s face it, everyone wants what they can’t have. And I wanted him to respond to my last text, gosh dangit!
Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Long story short, we texted for a few weeks. Then, one Friday after work I was on my way home from the gym. I had just been gettin’ my workout on at Planet Fitness – you know, a typical crazy Friday night in New York City. I’m not sure if we had been texting, or if he just hit me up out of the blue, but basically Matt straight up asked if I wanted to hang out that night.
Mortified, I put my hand to my sweaty forehead and slicked back ponytail. It seemed completely out of the question – I was disgusting.
I told my roommate at the time my dilemma. She shrugged and told me I might as well go for it – I had nothing to lose and I should take him up on his offer if I liked talking to him so far. Going against all my introverted instincts, I hopped in the shower and made myself moderately presentable as quickly as possible. From there I made my way into the city to American Whiskey, a bar near Penn Station where we had agreed to meet.
I remember being nervous, but not as nervous as I would expect myself to be. To put it in perspective, I get nervous calling my dentist’s office to make appointments over the phone. But upon arriving at the bar, instead of texting him that I was there (as he expected me to do), I walked in and saw who I assumed was said “Matt Marko” sitting at the bar. In fairness, he was probably the only person under 40 there. I walked up to him and – well, I think I blacked out at that point because I don’t really remember our first interaction but I must have said something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Jill, sorry if I’m still sweaty.” Not really, but I wouldn’t put it past me.
We ended up having two or three beers and talking for a few hours. He told me how he had once gone to a college visit with his older sister and stolen several bagels and kept them in his sweatshirt pocket. I think that’s when I first knew I loved him. (Fully kidding, but in truth that is the story that stands out most from that night.)
It was a nice time and we parted ways at a reasonable hour. He was going to get the A at Penn and I was heading over to my friend’s apartment in Kip’s Bay to go out that night. But guess what – I LIED. I was absolutely not going out, I was going straight home and going to bed. But you know, I wanted to seem cool and/or young and/or vibrant.
In any case, that is the basic story of how Matt and I met! From there, we started going on dates for a few months – technically “dating,” I guess. But not “officially” “dating” – that happened in July later that year. (Sidebar: on our third date, Matt took me to the CIRCUS! It was the last time the elephants would be performing – EVER. He texted me on a Wednesday and asked if I wanted to go to the circus that night because it was something to do other than just get a drink. I appreciated that reasoning. Plus, I enjoy elephants.)
That’s pretty much it, and the rest is history. So, yes folks, it is possible to find love on Bumble – or, technically, on Instagram.
To quote the late, great, and undoubtedly wise Yo Gotti, it truly does “go down in the DM.”