The world needs more asexual love stories, because the first asexual love story we ever saw was our own. From a disastrous first date to a life-threatening car crash, learn how our chance encounter online ended up fulfilling a mysterious fortune and lead to our happily ever after.
[dog lightly snoring in background through first half of recording]
Courtney: Hello, everyone. Welcome back! My name is Courtney. I am here with Royce, my amazing spouse of seven years. Together, we are The Ace Couple.
Courtney: Now, it is no secret. Dating while asexual comes with its own set of…shall we say, unique challenges. One of the first questions we tend to get asked, when people find out that we are both asexual and happily married, is “How did you guys find each other?” I may be a little bias [sic]. Because I am quite fond of us. But I think we have a very, very good love story. A romance for the ages! Today we are going to share that story with you.
Courtney: The short answer is boring. The short answer is, “We met online.” On the internet. But the full story is so much more beautiful than that! But, that is where we’re gonna start, is online dating.
Royce: You were pretty new to online dating when we met. Having been strong-armed onto a platform by one of your closest friends. I had been on one site or another for several years at that point, because...the whole concept of meeting a stranger in public never made sense to me? That was the only way that I met people, was– Unless I happened to be in the same place. Like college, or whatever, in the same friend group. I just didn’t go out and meet people. So, dating sites were pretty much the only way that I dated. The main one that I used was ‘OkCupid.’ Which...we have done a little bit of research recently, and have found that that site has changed quite a bit.
Courtney: It’s gotten...perhaps, even easier...for asexual people to meet on there? [jokingly] I guess what you could say is that dating THESE days is so much easier for you young ones– you chilluns out there– than it was in our day!
Courtney: For those of you not in on the joke. That is…purely because we are NO such things as elders in the ace community. But I personally have been called an “elder ace” online...on more than one occasion...from the younger generation. Because the ace community is...
Royce: Very young?
Courtney: They’re very young. They’re also very hungry for...older aces to look up to. I suppose we are older than some, but we are–
Courtney: We are not elders yet. Although, things have changed substantially since we got married seven years ago.
Royce: Mostly in that the number of inclusive options have expanded dramatically. At the time that we met. I think my main profile selections were heteronormative. I found that most of the insights you would glean on a site like OkCupid were not in the rigid profile settings. They were generally either in a well-written profile, or in the...write-in answers that people would write about themselves when answering questions on the platform. In my case, I did mention a little bit about asexuality on my profile. But I don’t believe I had a confirmed statement. It may have been something that I revised a couple of times, as in “I might be asexual,” or “on the asexual spectrum.” I think I shifted between listing either “asexual” or explicitly “heteroromantic asexual.” Or possibly “gray asexual,” at one point, when those terms weren’t as clear?
Courtney: Well, I can answer that question. At the time I found you, it was a definitive statement. It said “I am heteroromantic asexual.” ’Cause that was a very key reason why we got connected in the first place. But I will not...get ahead of ourselves.
Courtney: Royce having experience, time, meeting multiple people online, was drastically different from my experience dating online. I was very frequently in relationships. I was very often meeting people in the real world. So, for a long time, I had no use for online dating. As an adult, I found myself single for the first time in a long time. And I had recently gained this absolutely incredible friendship. We were absolutely inseparable, she and I. She was a person who was very, very eager to meet a lot of people. All the time. Online. For dating purposes, for friendship purposes… It was ALL new to me. But I would frequently go over to her home...for parties, for board game nights... there would always be brand new people. A lot of them were very, very cool. I remember asking her at one point, “Where do you meet all of these great people?” She said, “Well, I meet most of them online!” Her website of choice, at the time, was OkCupid. She said, “You really should try it!”
Courtney: To be perfectly honest, I had no interest in trying to date at that period in time. I was newly single. I was kind of enjoying being single. And really, having come out to all of my friends as asexual... I knew what challenges that presented in dating. I wasn’t exactly eager to throw myself back into that. Plus, I had this new, fantastic friend group. Those friendships really felt like...enough to me, at that time. I didn’t feel like I was looking for something more. But, after a few conversations. She said, “You know, OkCupid has an option to say you’re just looking for friends! I know it’s got a rep as a dating site, but you can look for friends there!” She actually grabbed the laptop, and started setting me up a profile. Against my better judgment– I was still not sold on the idea. Meeting people online still did not sound particularly good to me. I was very much living in the stone ages, in terms of the internet and technology. I did not really have internet at my home. I did not have electricity...
Courtney: ...for a period of time. So I was not exactly eager to go online to meet people– she got me set up on this profile. She answered some questions for me. We got some pictures up. And I just let it set [sic]. For a very long time.
Courtney: I wasn’t logging in to look for people, but...it’s also no secret that, when you are a young woman. On a dating site. You get a lot of suitors!
Courtney: You really, really do. I was very quickly inundated with messages from...mostly a lot of straight guys. I don’t particularly like straight guys. I would maybe, OCCASIONALLY try to respond to a couple of them. Those conversations went nowhere fast. So, I was not encouraged. But my very, very supportive best friend...being on this website herself...would occasionally send me links to different people’s profiles.
Courtney: I should note that I was living in South Dakota at the time. One day, she sent me a link. To a profile, for a gentleman who lived in Kansas.
Courtney: The first thing I said to her was, “Why on earth are you sending me a link to someone in Kansas?” She said, “Well you’re not using this to date anyway. It really helps to have friends all over the place. What if you want to travel to Kansas one day? And you already have a friend there, that you can crash on his couch?”
Courtney: This was the beautiful, beautiful energy of this friend.
Courtney: This fellow... I’ll be honest, he was relatively good-looking. I don’t have a very strong gauge of aesthetic attraction. But, he had very long hair. Which is of importance to me. So I did end up talking to this person for a few messages. I could tell he wasn’t quite right for me. When I asked him his name, he told me his name was Shadow. I was like, ‘Okay, Shadow. I can get behind that.’ I’m kind of a goth myself. We’re both edgy folks. I don’t mind chosen names at all. But he said, “All my friends call me Shadow, because I have a tattoo that says ‘shadow.’” He sent me a picture, and...shoulder blade to shoulder blade. Big, edgy, bold… The kind of lettering you’d see on a metal band. It just said, “shadow.” And...look, I am not trying to judge Mr. Shadow. I can get behind chosen names. But when someone has a tattoo of their own name...on themselves...that large and prominent… Shadow was not for me. There was also nothing else of substance to the short conversation we had.
Courtney: But I remember distinctly, when my friend sent me the link to Shadow’s profile. She said, and I quote, “I found your new husband.” I’m sure it was mostly the hair. MAYBE there was something written in his profile that she knew would be appealing to me. But, I remember that distinctly. Now–
Courtney: I still had very little to go on! But one day, I was so. Bored. Out of my mind. I thought, ‘You know what? What the hell. Let’s log into this website, and let’s actually give it a shot.’ So the very first day that I logged in, completely of my own accord. The very first face. That popped up. I kid you not. Was Royce. Royce, who was living in Kansas. Who had very. Long hair.
Courtney: I saw that picture, and I went ‘Ooh, look at that hair.’
Courtney: I clicked on it. I looked through all of the other photos. Every single one, I was like, ‘That is FABULOUS hair.’ I was thinking, looking at all of these beautiful hair photos. Still thinking, ‘I’m probably not going to contact this person. Royce is in Kansas. I’m probably not going to be couch surfing in Kansas anytime soon.’ So I started to read your profile. Unlike most men and male-presenting people on that site, you had actually written a lot of things. Very thoughtfully. So I was reading real facts about you. I saw that you had a job that you liked, [jokingly] which was unheard of to me– in South Dakota, everybody hates their jobs–
Courtney: I thought, ‘Well, that’s pretty cool that you like your job’ I saw that you had pet snakes. I am very fond of snakes myself. One snake– I don’t know why I said snakes-plural– you HAD a pet snake.
Courtney: We have two now. But you only had one at the time. I used to be a zookeeper, and working with the snakes was one of my favorite animals.
Courtney: So I’m reading a bunch of things that we have in common. Still, far from my mind that I’m actually going to...start a conversation with you. Just a little intrigued. I scroll all the way down. One of the questions in the profile is, “What is the most private thing that you’re willing to admit?” THAT’S where you said, “I am heteroromantic asexual.” I about fell out of my chair. Because I had never met another asexual. And here I was, already utterly enamored with your profile. Certainly your hair! To see that you were asexual? I don’t think I clicked that...“chat” or “send a message” button so fast in my life – well, I know I didn’t, ’cause I didn’t do it for anyone else! You were the first person I reached out to unprompted.
Courtney: I didn’t know where it was gonna go, but I wanted to ask what your snake’s name was. And I wanted to know if you had a top hat. Royce, you responded to me pretty quickly! We got to having a conversation. It did not take long– I think we were only talking for...it had to be under an hour– it was a matter of minutes before I forwarded the link to your profile to my friend. I said, “No, THIS is my new husband.” I believe she also messaged you that night? Or, perhaps, the next day?
Royce: Yeah. Oddly enough, she ALSO asked me if I owned a top hat...
Courtney: ...which, at the time, you did not!
Royce: Or any hat.
Courtney: Which is also very funny, because I did not tell her to ask you if you had a top hat. She did not know I had already asked you that.
Courtney: She just knew me very well. She knew my type was the top hat type.
Courtney: But really, starting that very first night. We quickly grew into this habit of speaking with each other, nearly ’round the clock, save for when we were at work, in the office. We were talking pretty much all the time. Then there came the question of...when and how are we going to actually meet, in person? We did some video calls. We were texting constantly. But you were still in Kansas. I was still in South Dakota. Although, a very wonderful opportunity came up.
Courtney: I had recently quit my job as a...[dramatically] department lead at a banking call center. I had gotten a job managing a store at ‘Things Remembered.’ That’s a shop that has special occasion gifts – we do engraving. In order to train me on the engraving, and my general management position, they wanted to send me to Omaha, Nebraska to get training. Nebraska is THE halfway point between Kansas City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I was already going to be a lot closer to you than normal. Being between jobs, waiting for my first day to start at the next one, I had a couple extra days. So I thought, ‘What the heck. I’m going to go down, and I’m going to visit Royce in person. We’re going to spend a weekend together before I need to go up to Omaha, to start my new on-the-job training.’
Courtney: Overall, I would say that that first weekend...was perfect. But the first night? The first meeting? [laughing throughout] Was kind of a disaster!
Courtney: First of all, I was very late. Arriving. Which is something Royce is NEVER going to let me live down.
Royce: I have always been very punctual. Part of that may be a bit of anxiety around schedules. I think that, when something is coming up that is scheduled, I...can only really think about the clock, and needing to meet that time. So, we were going to meet out at a local park. I was at the park a little early, because I was more familiar with the area. I waited for some sort of communication– a call, a text, whatever– and nothing came for a while. I paced around. Walked around the park. It started to get really cloudy, and a little stormy. Once the rain actually started to come down, I made it across this particularly large park back to my car, and tried to get a hold of Courtney, only to find out that... At that point in time, were you lost in some other area of Kansas City?
Courtney: [embarrassedly] I was hopelessly and utterly lost!
Royce: I tried to ask, “Hey, do you need some help?” Not overtly saying, ‘Umm. You’re like two hours late to our first meeting, and I just got rained on.’ Just, “Can I help guide you in this direction?” And–
Courtney: It should be noted that I did not have a smartphone. I did not have any means of internal navigation. The drive from Sioux Falls down to Kansas is, more-or-less, a completely straight interstate shot. So I didn’t even think I needed to print out MapQuest!
Courtney: I thought, ‘I’ll just remember the two turns I need to make.’ [strained] And...that was a mistake.
Royce: Yeah. Those two turns got you into the Kansas City metro area. Into the wrong quadrant of the metro area.
Courtney: ...yeah. I was already running very late, because I needed to stop for gas at one point. Not having a smartphone where I could flip open, like “Where’s the nearest gas station?” I looked for a road to turn off on, off of the interstate. I turned off on it, but there was no gas station anywhere NEAR the edge of the road. There were signs for a city called Oregon? I thought, ‘Well, I just need to get there. Surely they will have a gas station!’ but it was astonishingly far away.
Courtney: I was getting to the point where I was afraid I was gonna straight-up run out of gas before I found anything. But, I did find a very small little town. It had a service station, complete with a little old man. With his very sleepy bloodhound at his feet.
Courtney: He got out and gave me gas. It was an experience, to be sure. But it set me WILDLY behind. I did miss one of my turns. I somehow managed to find a narrow bridge, with a sign that said “Narrow Bridge,” and…[flustered] I had no idea where I was.
Courtney: It was an ordeal.
Royce: I asked her, “Do you need help with directions?” and she said, “No thanks, I’m fine.” And so me. Sitting alone in a park. In the rain. In my car...
[Courtney laughing embarrassedly throughout]
Royce: [teasing] ...paused for a moment and said, “Are you SURE you don’t need directions?”
Courtney: You make me sound like a monster. I had no idea that you were already at the park. I assumed– wrongly so, clearly– that I was going to text you when I was there, or about there. ’Cause you lived pretty close! I did not realize you were literally waiting there. So...that was bad of me… But I really didn’t think I needed directions! I’d stopped at a gas station to ask...how to get to the park. Someone had told me directions. I was on the side of town where there is...glass and bars on the windows... And it was fine! I got directions! I just didn’t have a smartphone. Which would have made everything a lot easier.
Courtney: I do believe, at one point, you did finally tell me that “It is raining here, and I’m going home.”
Courtney: You said, ‘Meet me there. Here’s my address.’
Royce: At that point, you’re also on the other side of town. My apartment was closer to both of us than the park was. And we obviously weren’t going to walk around in the park at this point.
Courtney: That is true.
Courtney: So now, finally realizing exactly how awful it was that I was just...boppin’ around for so long...I was starting to think, ‘Oh no. This is a disaster. Royce is gonna hate me after this.’ But I showed up at Royce’s apartment. And you, my love, surprised me. With a top hat!
Royce: [teasing] It was only hinted at. Not so subtly. Very, very many times.
Courtney: I never actually imagined that you were going to go and buy yourself a top hat to wear when we first met. That was exceedingly sweet of you.
Courtney: We are many hours past when we thought we were going to meet. It is well into dinnertime. By this point. Which...leads into disaster number two...
Courtney: ...of that first meeting day.
Royce: There happened to be a Chipotle within walking distance of my apartment. That made for something very quick and easy. We went in. It was a little bit busy. I had gotten food from there enough times to know my order, and didn’t really think much about it, because it’s a common enough chain. We got in. I started going through the line first. I turned back to see Courtney, completely overwhelmed by the situation– it was a little difficult to hear– but I’m trying to get through. Place my order.
[Courtney giggling throughout]
Royce: Looking back, concerned, as Courtney is not really processing what is being said from the other side of the counter. Only to hear her get to the main section of...the burrito. The ‘meat’ or ‘other stuff’ part of it.
Courtney: I had never been to a Chipotle before. Never once. Had I seen. Such a franchise! It was all very quick, going through the line. I am vegetarian. There were options for me, as a vegetarian, but...they were very quickly trying to get me through the line. I had apparently missed my opportunity to...order veggies.
Courtney: Royce must have noticed that this was probably an unusual choice, for someone who wasn’t about to order meat. Because...
Courtney: ...you turned to me and said, “Don’t you want veggies?”
Royce: [rapidly] I believe there had been a conversation prior to this where we had looked at the menu, made sure that they had a vegetarian option, and it was already established that you were going to order veggies on your burrito.
Courtney: Do you have any idea what question they actually asked me...before I said this?
Royce: It’s been far too long since I’ve walked through a Chipotle.
Courtney: I think they were already asking me for salsa. ’Cause we were near the end, and I hadn’t gotten any veggies. So I think they were like, ‘which salsa do you want?’ And Royce had just asked if I want veggies. So– absolutely flummoxed– I looked at this poor guy, and I was like, [weakly] “I would like veggies?”
[Courtney laughs embarrassedly throughout]
Courtney: Royce had to STIFLE a laugh. That guy had the strangest look on his face. We had to back up the line, back up the order. It was. Horrible. ...I wasn’t even ordering a burrito. I was getting a burrito bowl! So I was getting a vegetarian burrito bowl, with no veggies. And they were like, [sarcastic], “Alright. Do you want salsa on your RICE?”
Courtney: All that out of the way, we finally get back to your apartment. And things are just not goin’ well! Yet clearly, somewhere in your heart of hearts, [teasing] you must have been thinking, ‘Wow. This is The One!’
Royce: Late start aside, I thought things were going fine. Of course, I wasn’t the one embarrassed in a fast food chain, so...
Courtney: The rest of the weekend really did...go incredibly well! We really, really connected. There was definitely...for me, as an asexual woman– I mean, I’d already started to get to know you really well, since we were talking so much– there was definitely still this little moment in the back of my brain. Where I was like [nervously] ‘Alright. The first night...staying over...’ This little pang of fear, like ‘I really hope that Royce hasn’t been lying to me this whole time. Isn’t going to try to...’ ...“pull some shenanigans” that first night. But no, you were very respectful. We both had very similar limits. We were going at a pace that, I think, was very comfortable.
Courtney: I do know, at one point in that weekend, I started crying. We were both on the couch, and I just started crying. You asked why I was crying. I said, “It’s because I’m so happy.” And then YOU started crying. That’s the moment that I knew...
Courtney: ...that this was really going to be forever. I left that weekend feeling happier than I’d ever felt in my entire life. We immediately started making plans for the very next time I could come down and visit. Since I was now the manager of a store, I was in charge of everybody’s schedules. I was scheduling myself intentionally for four 10-hour days in a row, so that I could take off a long weekend to come down and see you.
Royce: But then disaster struck.
Courtney: Disaster! A disaster that far surpasses the rainy park, and the Chipotle!
Courtney: One evening. It was pretty late at night. It was late enough to be very, very dark. Perhaps around 10 pm, when this all...began to go wrong? I was driving down. I had now gotten very comfortable.
Courtney: I knew exactly what turn I was supposed to make, ‘cause I wasn’t makin’ that mistake again! ...Actually, I think you sent me home with a spare smartphone that first weekend!
Royce: I did. I had recently changed phones, and hadn’t gotten rid of the old one yet.
Courtney: So Royce sent me home with a smartphone. While I was driving on this dark, pretty well deserted interstate. I felt, like, a “chonk” in the back of my car. The back of my car sank down very quickly. I started fishtailing. Before I knew it, my car was rolling. I rolled several times, across the interstate. My car struck a concrete barrier on the side of the road. Then rolled a couple more times into the ditch. And...that. Wasn’t. Great. I was fine. I was completely okay. Save for the fact...that my brand new smartphone, that Royce had just sent me home with recently had been COMPLETELY thrown. Ejected from the vehicle. Nowhere to be found.
Courtney: I did not have a phone to call. There were VERY few cars coming by on this interstate. I was...bloody. I was COVERED in shattered glass. I had to try to make my way out of the car. I couldn’t get out on...the driver’s side, so I actually had to...crawl through...the passenger side window to get out. I was wearing a dress. My shoes had flown off– I was wearing flats. They were...gone– somewhere. My tights were. Shredded. All to hell. Glass everywhere. I didn’t even know where my wounds were at this point, but I was bloody everywhere.
Courtney: I got immediately to work, like ‘Okay. We don’t have a phone. We need to call for help.’ I threw on my hazard lights on my car, but I was away from the street a little ways. I stood on the side of the street, trying to flag down cars...for an EXCEPTIONALLY long time. There were so many cars who were just passing me by. SO many cars had passed me by...
Courtney: ...and it was SO late. SO dark. That I got to a point where I was like, ‘Alright. I am going to be here all night if I can’t get one of these cars to stop. I’m losing a fair bit of blood...’
Courtney: ‘...and Royce has no idea where I am.’
Courtney: It got to a point where, as soon as I saw headlights coming over the horizon, I would walk into the middle of the interstate. Start jumping, and waving my arms around, to make sure that they saw me once the headlights hit me. Then I’d need to hobble and limp to the side of the road again, when they...weren’t slowing down. So that wasn’t great! [sarcastically] Where’s that midwestern niceness I hear so much about?
Courtney: Eventually, a very kind semi truck driver noticed me– and, probably, my car– and pulled off on the nearest off-ramp, and came back to talk to me. He said, “An ambulance is on the way!” That’s the first thing he told me. I was like, [sheepishly] ’Oh. You know, I don’t know if I need an ambulance? I mean. I guess we gotta report this, but...can I use your phone? I’m going to see my partner, and...” He was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, absolutely...’ he goes, ‘...but...go sit down?’
Courtney: He gave me the most pitiful look. He’s like, “You need to sit down.” I was like, [defiantly] “No. I’m fine!” Walking around barefoot, in shredded tights!
Courtney: He lends me his phone while we’re waiting for the ambulance and police to arrive. That’s when YOU got a good scare.
Royce: I got a call at 11 at night. I picked up my phone, and the only thing I could hear were...sirens in the background. I listened to that for a moment. I tried to speak, couldn’t hear anyone on the other side of the line, so... I believe you hung up. I tried to call back. No answer. Tried again. No answer. Waited for a moment to see if we were crossing lines. Got a call back. Still sirens. This time, your voice came through. You mentioned that you were about an hour away from where I was, and had just been in a big car accident.
Courtney: Yeah. I’m pretty sure it was “Don’t worry. I’m fine! [strained] ...but my car is totaled.” It was at that point that the police and the ambulance had actually arrived. They were here, ready to speak to me. I’m still just boppin’ around barefoot. I’m like, ‘Hey. Anyone seen my shoes?’
Courtney: The police were horrified. They were like, ‘You need to sit down.’ ‘You need to go get into the ambulance.’ ‘You need to stop walking around. You are barefoot, and there is broken glass everywhere.’ And I’m looking at all of my bloody wounds. I’m like, ‘Broken glass? I’m not worried about broken glass. I mean, look at me. I’ve seen worse!’ They didn’t find it amusing at all. They were like, ‘Clearly. You are traumatized. Clearly, you have a head injury. You are in shock...’ They were not having it.
Courtney: I sat in the ambulance. They got me cleaned up. I had a very, very deep puncture wound in my knee, and I had a slash across...where my thumb connects with my hand. If that was any deeper, I could have lost my thumb. That’s where most of the blood was coming from, were those two places. They very much wanted to take me to the ambulance, but... [jokingly] We live in America. Ambulances are expensive! So I outright refused. But, the police officers really didn’t want to let me go. Anywhere. That wasn’t...either, the police station...or the hospital. I was not at all interested in either of those two options.
Courtney: Luckily, by this point, the very kindly tow truck driver had arrived to haul away the remains of my car. He had overheard that I was very much trying to say, ‘Just take me somewhere...a convenience store or something...where I can sit and wait. For Royce to come pick me up.’ This tow truck driver said, ‘Oh, yeah. I can take her down to Speedy’s. There’s a convenience store right next to the tow yard. I don’t mind none.’ They were reluctant, and hesitant, but they...wrote me up SEVERAL bogus tickets. And sent me on my way. All of those tickets got dropped. They tried to cite me for...sleeping? Falling asleep while driving. Reckless driving... They tried to fine me for the concrete barrier. That got smashed. They wanted me to appear in court. To determine how much I had to pay to release that concrete barrier. Which is funny! We’ll get to why that’s funny later.
Courtney: Back to the tow truck driver. He...was so nice, and so. So funny. They had to saran wrap my car...
Courtney: ...to keep it in one piece. To tow it away. He kept sayin’, [reverently] “Y’know. I am just so. So thankful that you are here in my truck tonight. Because, I gotta tell ya, I tow a lotta cars that look like that, but never ones where the driver walked away. You really must’ve had a guardian angel sittin’ with you in that passenger seat tonight. I’m just so grateful that you’re here.” He was very, very nice.
[Courtney giggling throughout]
Courtney: We get to Speedy’s Convenience Store in Saint Joseph, Missouri. The tow truck driver looks at me, and he says, “Hm. Why don’t you wait here while I go in and explain the situation, darlin’? ’Cause...you look a sight.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m sure I do.” He goes in ahead of me. Explains to them that ‘we have a car crashee [sic] here. She’s gonna be hangin’ out while she’s waitin’ for her ride.’ When I walked into that store, that was maybe the most piteous look I’ve ever been given...was the cashier at that convenience store. He deflated when he saw me. He said, “Do you want anything? Can I get you something?” I was like, “Honestly, I just want a cup of coffee.” He said, [sternly] “Go sit down”– pointed to a chair and a table in the corner– “Go sit down. I will get it for you.” He was very nice. He brought me a cup of coffee. He said, “On the house. You’ve been through enough tonight!”
Courtney: At some point between that... I had to, of course, borrow another phone to tell Royce where exactly I was. Where I’d be waiting. At one point, I did walk into the...bathroom of this...convenience store. I was glittering. With glass. I was SHINY. I really did look a sight, with all my tattered, shredded clothing. When I finally saw Royce walk through that door. I don’t think I’ve ever seen...a look with that much pure concern, just MELT into...relief.
Courtney: When you saw me. It was really, really sweet. I’m sure you were still...VERY upset and concerned. But, I saw a panicked look on your face before you actually saw me. I saw that melt away. The look in your eyes, something I will never forget. The first thing you did, was embraced me closely. You just held me. Didn’t say anything right off the bat. [lovingly] Then you started picking little shards of glass out of my hair. I thought that was very sweet!
Royce: Some of them were large enough to be of mild concern.
Courtney: And so you brought me home!
Royce: ...after stopping by a CVS to get some bandages.
Courtney: No, the CVS was closed. Yeah! It was late enough...that, what you did, was...look up when the nearest CVS opened. In the morning. And you set an alarm. Early, to make sure you could get there right when they opened. You left, and you got bandages– all without waking me up, too! You let me sleep– but you set that alarm. You went. You got bandages, gauze...and you got my favorite cereal! Which, I didn’t even realize you remembered that I off-handedly said that my favorite cereal is Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds.
Courtney: So I wake up to you, coming home with all of these first aid supplies, AND my favorite cereal. I thought that was...the kindest thing
Courtney: That was very much our “In sickness and health” moment. I don’t think I have ever had a partner who has been that...attentive, and caring...when I’ve had a medical concern. You helped me dress my bandages...my wounds...even though they were...kind of A Lot!
Royce: Generally, I don’t have too much of an issue with blood. There have been a couple of instances where something has made me lightheaded. There is something about the puncture near your knee. It was this...dark shade of red, where I couldn’t see the end of it. I couldn’t tell how deep of a hole that was. Looking at that...did something. I remember feeling very lightheaded all of a sudden, and had to step away for a moment.
Courtney: It was pretty gnarly. It was a DEEP hole!
Courtney: But, even though that messed with you a little bit, you still helped me re-dress my bandages. That was...very sweet.
Courtney: Another thing that stuck out, was that you were very good about keeping my friends back home in the loop. I remember you messaging people...having phone calls...with my friends up north. Making sure that they knew what happened, and that I was okay. When I told my friends how you had been taking care of me, and how you had gotten my favorite cereal. That was the moment where THEY were saying, “Yes! This is the keeper!” “This is the one for you!” It’s always important to have friend approval when your friendships are as close and important as ours were. That was very nice and reassuring.
Courtney: That was the weekend. Where we decided to...make our commitment. Where we decided, it’s time to move in together. [jokingly] Part of it may be, ‘You don’t have a car to be driving anymore, and I dunno if I want you drivin’ that much!’ Another part of it was, we have seen enough of each other. We know that this is it, for us. This is...wonderful. Not only did we quickly have to set to work trying to figure out how to get me back home to South Dakota– luckily, my mom was able to come down and pick me up– but we also made very rapid, aggressive plans to move me down. We had...was it just a week? Was it two weeks? It was a VERY short period of time. We said, ‘I will be living down here.’
Courtney: Before my mom did...show up to drive me back home...we went up to see my car. In Saint Joseph again. Because there were some items in there. There were some things in the trunk. I wanted to see if there’s anything in the back seat. I was packing to stay for the weekend, so I had some clothes and things that were strewn about. Boy, that trip to the tow yard was interesting. We found that car. Nearly all of the windows were busted out. The windshield had a wiper go through it. The one fully-intact window, someone had written on it, “SHE WALKED AWAY!” That was...so impactful, because by this point, I knew I was also leaving Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Which is a place that I had experienced...MANY abuses in my past. It was not a happy place for me. I already was feeling a little lighter, that I was leaving. I thought, ‘I’m walking away from my old life. From South Dakota.’ But I also...I quite literally walked away from what could have been a fatal car accident! so that was really quite something.
Courtney: My mother and I stopped at the concrete barrier, to see it utterly smashed in pieces. In daylight, it was wild to see it. ’Cause it was. In pieces!
Royce: That has become somewhat of a tradition, since then, for friends and other people. To look at the concrete barrier as you’re passing. Because, even though they attempted to charge Courtney for it, we believe it’s still there. Right?
Courtney: It is still there! It is still there. I had a friend confirm it, just a couple of months ago. Seven and a half...
Courtney: ...years later. That concrete barrier is still. Smashed. In pieces. Right where I left it! That is MY concrete barrier!
Courtney: So now, with aggressive plans to try to get down. I get back up. I get back home. I need to...quit my jobs. I was going to try to find a new job down here, as well. I was, on top of other jobs, a dance teacher. The dance season was going to be starting really soon. I thought, ‘If I don’t get a job teaching dance before the season starts, I’ll have to wait a whole other year.’ So, I started immediately applying for dance jobs.
Royce: That was one reason for the accelerated schedule. If we didn’t do something quickly, it was going to be...most of a year, ‘cause you couldn’t break the teaching season.
Courtney: That was a big part of it, yes.
[Courtney giggling throughout]
Courtney: I had to get another car. My car was totaled, I had to get a new one. Had to figure out how to sell the house. When I say house... So, I lived in a trailer. It was horrible. I had quite literally, at one point, needed to duct tape. The outside of my house, to try to keep it in one piece after a major storm. It was an ordeal.
Courtney: Lots of things to figure out, in just a couple of weeks’ time, but…phew. We did it. We made it work. I plowed through all those things I needed to do. We figured out what we had to do to move my larger things...my furniture...down. We got to work.
Courtney: You came up to help me move...to pack up the pod. I had purchased my new car...my new used car...probably a day or two before you got into town to help me. This was truly. THE weirdest thing. You were driving around with me. We were doin’ some odds and ends, getting everything in place. I had stopped by a coworker’s house– someone who was teaching with me at the dance studio– because I wanted to get some copies of some old dance videos that I did not have. I wanted to make sure I got those, before I left the state, so I could have them. While I had left the car, you started pokin’ around...
Royce: I got bored and opened up the center console.
Courtney: At the bottom of this center console– which I had not opened yet. It was a used car– the only thing at the bottom. Was a single fortune, from a fortune cookie. That said, “Traveling south will bring you great happiness.” [reverently] Ahh! Can we take a moment, please! I kid you not. That was...The Sign. Everything was right. All was at peace with the world. Needless to say, I kept that fortune from that fortune cookie.
Courtney: The one other moment. That weekend of the car crash. That really confirmed for me. That this, that you, were all I really wanted. Was when you told me that my attitude towards getting…[jokingly] horrendously maimed...in the car crash, reminded you of a character from a webcomic. Named, ‘Nimona.’ I had not heard of this comic before. But you were insistent that I was just like Nimona.
Royce: I had recently finished reading Nimona, on recommendation from a friend. There were a couple of...relevant panels. Of her getting stabbed, and shrugging it off, that seemed very applicable.
Courtney: [jokingly] It’s just a flesh wound! It’s fine! You suggested that we read it together. It had always been my dream, to have a romantic partner who would read with me. So we crawled and snuggled under a blanket. Pulled up this webcomic on a tablet. And we took turns reading aloud. Since it was a comic, and there were different characters, and it was all through dialogue... We each took a character, and acted it out, and read aloud to one another. That was really something special. We still, to this day, read aloud to one another. Sometimes it’s novels. Sometimes it’s manga, or webcomics...
Courtney: I think you mentioned that after I was really, really hell-bent on going to the farmer’s market that weekend. We had originally planned to go check out the farmer’s market. You assumed that we weren’t gonna do that, now that I was...injured.
But I was like, “No! I wanna go to the farmer’s market!” I remember you saying, “Courtney. You’ve got puncture wounds. And gashes. And...”
Courtney: “...bruises. And scrapes all over your chest.” I was like, ‘Oh, it’s fine. I’m fine. Let’s just go to the farmer’s market. It’ll be great.”
Courtney: Clearly, we had. Every. Coincidence. That I think we possibly could have had. We had every single ounce of luck. Our story is going to be near-impossible to replicate. So, I never quite know how to answer the question, when people say “How do you meet another asexual?”
Royce: Well, it involves a car crash, and some public embarrassment, and a...series of other events...
Courtney: [dramatically, while laughing] First, you smash the concrete barrier. Then you read webcomics aloud!
Courtney: What it really all comes down to. I think. Is...being very open and honest about. Who you are. What you want. What you’re looking for. Had Royce not said, “I am asexual,” I probably wouldn’t have even reached out. I did not even think I was looking for a romantic relationship. It turns out. I, personally. Just needed another ace in my life, because dating allosexual people...[strained] did NOT go well. For me. Don’t get me wrong, there are SOME ace-allo relationships that...are perfectly fine, and healthy, and wonderful for those people. But, I know there are plenty of people out there who do want a romantic relationship, and might prefer it to be with a fellow asexual.
Courtney: Online is great. Maybe going a little outside of your own region, since we WERE, technically, long-distance. For a short period of time! A lot of that’s going to come down to what area you’re in. Are you in a big city? Are you in a small town? If you’re open to outside relationships...long-distance relationships... That can definitely be a bonus. Do make use of the sites that have more options now. Now, if you go to OkCupid. You can pick that you’re asexual. You can pick demisexual. I think I even saw them have a few more microlabels on there, like ace flux. I don’t know what all there were – I just looked for a moment. But, there are sites that are starting to give you microlabels. I can’t personally attest for asexuals.net, but that is a website that I’m aware of that is exclusively for ace spectrum people. I really do think it is easier now than it has been. It’s certainly not...a walk in the park. [teasing] Maybe a rainy walk in the park, alone!
Courtney: It is easier than it has been. I suspect it will only continue to get easier. If you or I were on a dating site today, we COULD put asexual. We could even put more gender variation. More microlabels. I certainly do not identify the same way I did when we met. I think you’re the same. And I don’t think I even had mentioned on my profile that I was asexual. I didn’t want the brand of harassment that came from that, on a website where you couldn’t specifically seek out other asexuals.
Courtney: So, it was by the grace of the ace gods that we found each other! And by the power of the disencookied [sic] fortune.
[silence, then Courtney laughs]
Courtney: If y’all could see the look Royce just shot me! Alright. I think when Royce starts givin’ me that look, Courtney’s gettin’ a little silly, and it’s time to wrap it up. At any rate, I hope you all enjoyed listening to our asexual love story. We’ll talk at you guys next time.