In a “Netflix and Chill” society, it’s hard to believe romance is alive, especially via dating apps. How we went from expecting a prospective date to wine and dine us to giving him the opportunity to prove he can pay the one-screen Netflix membership fee and an electric bill is beyond me.
Two-and-a-half years ago, I swore off men, dating and the hope of ever being married after I watched a movie with a group of friends and a guy who "liked me" and led me on for 4 months, but couldn’t date me because “he was supposed to become a priest.”
Halfway into the movie, he was doing two things he’d never done at 19 years old: 1.) Cuddling, 2.) Holding hands, and one thing he had repeatedly done: 3) Screwing me over. See, he was doing 1.)and 2.) with another girl, while my best friend and I were sitting right there.
I went through a 3-month period where I blasted Taylor Swift songs a little too loudly, ate as many extra slices of pizza as I wanted, and focused my time and energy on my friends and family and guiltlessly, myself.
In the meantime, everyone was raging about an app called Hot or Not. Shallow before Tinder made shallow the norm, Hot or Not was a rating site that let you post your picture and have other users rate your attractiveness. It also had a dating component.
I thought, what the hell? Finding the hottest people around me, and letting them find me, might not be that bad an idea.
I was immediately hit with several messages, from “Can’t believe they let us use this app in prison, how’s it going?” to “You’re beautiful, let’s hook up.” It was mostly awful and I ignored most messages, but still checked the app for entertainment, until I was connected with a true hottie.
I did what any extremely awkward 17-year-old girl would do... I messaged him first, hitting him with a super-original “Hey!”
Lame, but I guess it worked. We talked for a few days before he finally asked for my number (I thought he’d never ask) and we kept hitting it off. Shortly after, we started FaceTiming to assure that we were who we said we were. We both passed the test.
I quickly realized I had quite the catch; funny, smart, considerate, down to earth, handsome, chivalrous, goal-oriented, compassionate and so much more. The only catch was, he lived 4 1/2 hours away.
For 3 months, we talked nearly nonstop before we were able to meet. Yet we fell in love long before that first date.
We finally met “officially” in March of 2014, where I met both Paul and his father for the first time, at the same time. Talk about weird. Paul was so nervous that he forgot to introduce me to his dad!
After we got over the shock factor of actually meeting, our first date consisted of going to the midnight premiere of Divergent, where we waited an hour for the movie start.
We later stargazed at 2 a.m. when it was 30 degrees (I don’t recommend). We shared our deepest secrets, our first kiss and unforgettable memories in the field of my family’s tree farm.
Paul and I became long-distance high school sweethearts, where we learned the countless difficulties of being away from the person you love, and how there is never enough time when you’re together.
We learned that missing someone isn’t about how long its been since you’ve seen each other or the amount of time you’ve talked. It’s about that very moment when you find yourself doing something, even the littlest thing, and all you can think about is wishing they were right there by your side.
Fast forward 2 years later, and we are currently adjusting to living 7 minutes apart instead of 4 and 1/2hrs.
Our future plans include putting our pet rock up for adoption in place of a puppy and traveling all 50 states together.
It’s been quite an adventure, but he’s still the “10 out of 10" guy I matched with 2 years ago, and after a few years of college, Paul has the most smokin’ bod I have ever seen. (Sometimes shallow works!)
More importantly, he challenges me to be a better person, even when it's the last thing I want to do. Over the past 2 years, we've experienced tragic family events, relationship struggles and some of our lowest lows personally.
Yet, it makes us stronger, and we love each other more each day. I truly could not have found a better support system in a significant other.
At times, I still enter panic mode when people ask, “How did you two meet?” because let’s be honest, meeting on Hot or Not isn’t exactly the dreamy love story that every girl longs for. I mean, I wish Paul had been dangling from a Ferris wheel, begging me to go on a date with him, but this is real life.
So as crazy as it sounds, I’m forever grateful for Hot or Not.