After Bamboozle, our friends in Monty Are I played the afterparty at the School of Rock, where I can't even begin to count the many things that happened (nor should I), but at one point my boyfriend at the time, Steve, did introduce me to Jesse from Motion City Soundtrack. I remained quiet, again. When we left and I was talking to Erica, I said, "Oh, Steve introduced me to Motion City's keyboardist," Erica said, "I wouldn't even know what that guy looks like." We laugh about this, a lot. One of the reasons that Erica and I became fast friends is because we liked a lot of the same bands. We had taken a trip up to Worcester a few months before Bamboozle to see Motion City play at the Palladium, where we cemented our bond bouncing around and singing to their songs.
Cut to January 2007, and I'm meeting up with my now ex-boyfriend Steve, at our usual Tuesday night bar back then - Black & White. You should know that in January 2007, I had my own personal "Anti-Dudes Month" crusade after being burned by a rather worthless specimen of the male species. I declared a non-dating clause into my life for one month. Anyway, Steve walks in and we catch up, and I notice Jesse in the corner of the bar and I tell Steve. Steve engages Jesse in a conversation and then introduces me again. This time it sticks - kind of. I start talking to Jesse about what he's doing in town and we talk about how Motion City is recording their next album in New York with Adam Schlesinger, Eli, and Ric Ocasek. I decide to introduce him to my bestie Jiscilla while I talk to another dude there. Twenty minutes later I turn around and Jesse has taken off his button-up shirt, his tie, and baseball cap and put them on Jiscilla. They're flirting, and I'm smiling. They exchange info and we all head home for the night.
A week later, in February, the girls and I are at a Cartel afterparty; I had just met the band while shooting their music video for "Say Anything (Else)" (see it &me! here). At the party, I ran into Jesse, who was meeting up with MCS' booking agent, who also booked Cartel. I decided to tell him the truth - "I love your band. I was at one of your shows before your Epitaph debut. I have gone to nearly every concert you have played in New England. Just wanted to tell you that." He laughed and said he was on his way out, and then I made sure to tell him that Jiscilla was about somewhere, and went on my way since I was kind of on a date that night. I had no romantic intentions for Jesse at all (I think that's obvious with my decidedly uncool confession), but the next day I messaged him and we decided to keep in touch in case anything fun came up, and we'd let each other know.
The next week I was out with my friend Mike to see Evil Dead: The Musical, when I got a text from Jesse asking if I was doing anything. We were, in fact, going to Brooklyn to meet up with Erica and Jiscilla, then heading to Royal Oak and then Capone's to meet up with the beloved Team Couch boys. I told him as much, and when I got to the apartment I asked Jiscilla if her phone was working because Jesse texted me. I was confused.
I texted Jesse back about our plans and that Jiscilla would definitely be with us. I was, clearly, a little thick on the subject (who wouldn't be?). Anyway, Jesse met up with us and the fun continued into the night. He stayed mainly by Jiscilla's side, but we were all having fun. At one point, in the little dug-out room at Capone's, I leaned over to my friend Megan and said, "Jesse's a lot of fun...and I know he's into Jiscilla and they're really cute and whatever, but...I call second dibs." We laughed about this line then, it seemed so absurd.
Jesse teaching me to tie a cherry stem with my tongue. Honestly, looking back at these pics. I maybe should have gotten a clue that he had a thing for me, too.
That was Friday. On Sunday Jesse came back out to Brooklyn to chill at the Alligator Lounge with us, and Jiscilla was not in attendance. Jesse was legitimately this fun, gregarious presence that guaranteed a good time. We figured out we were going to the same shows and parties that week, too, so we'd be seeing each other a lot. Erica and Jesse bonded over playing Buck Hunter, and once while they were doing that I went to the bar to grab a round when a guy struck up a conversation with me. He was nice enough, so I told him I was in the back room with my friends if he wanted to talk. He came back briefly and we exchanged e-mail addresses or something like that. Later that night, Erica told me that Jesse had said, "This dude's ruining my game." I definitely went to bed confused that night.
The next Tuesday, Erica, Jesse, and I made plans to meet up before the Matches show. After work, I met Jesse at the studio where they were recording with Adam & Eli. They played me some snippets of songs that would become Even if it Kills Me and I was definitely trying to hold it down and act cool, even though I was really excited to be listening to it. Jesse and I got in a cab and headed downtown to meet up with Erica for dinner. There was a lot of traffic that afternoon, and Jesse and I sat in the cab, alone together for the first time, and the conversation didn't stop. For some reason we were telling each other things we considered important, or relevant to who we were. I had this need for him to know me, and I think he felt the same way. We also laughed and joked and I felt completely comfortable. It's hard to explain that cab ride, but I know that when I stepped out onto the sidewalk, things were a little different. I believe my thoughts went something like this: "Oh crap. I like him. Oh crap. Oh crap. Squeeeeeee."
That night we ate dinner with Erica, rocked out at the Matches show, and went to Black & White. I had to come clean towards the end of the night. Erica and I were about to leave and I told Jesse, "By the way, I like you. Just letting you know that." He smiled imperceptibly, we hugged and I said goodnight.
The night I told him I liked him.
I talked to Jiscilla the following day, a little scared that she might have a real big problem with me crushing on the fellow she had been flirting with. But as fortune goes, she said if I genuinely liked him I should go for it. And so, Jesse and I continued to hang out with our group of friends nearly every night. Soon after, he asked me out on a date for Tuesday, February 27th, 2007. He wanted to take me to his favourite Italian restaurant, Lil' Frankies.
One year later, he took me there again for our anniversary, and he proposed spending our lives together, and as you know, I said yes.
So, if you were to say that back when I was in college and staring at Motion City for the first time, that the guy making me laugh with his keyboard handstands would be The Dude, I wouldn't believe you. If you told me that that guy who brushed me off coolly was the one who would design me the perfect, handcrafted engagement ring I wear every day, I wouldn't believe you. If you told me that that man whose band I loved, that man who hit on my best friend, that man whom I couldn't seem to keep anything from - that he would be the one I would would be walking towards down the aisle? I wouldn't believe you for a second.