The encounter with Matt put an end to my dreams of dating a guy whose main romantic responsibilities involved splitting a pair of headphones with me. Instead, I set out to find someone who didn’t think I was a horror-beast, burly or otherwise. This led me to Chris, who liked to use the word “jam” as a verb, as in: “Ben’s coming over to jam in a little while,” or “Let’s smoke a bowl and then jam some more,” or maybe “I’m going to jam that drumstick into your eye if you don’t put an end to your incessant fucking guitar noodling soon.” Sorry, that last one might be more representative of my own inner dialogue while enduring a session than of any actual conversation. Despite his propensity to spend hours working out clunky, Phish-inspired chord progressions, we liked each other a lot. He was kind, funny and handsome, and on our first date he said, “I don’t like the Smiths, but I really like girls that do.” We eventually moved in together.
In the summer of 2009, Chris patiently performed the mating ritual of waiting with me for a Moz show at a venue one town over from where I grew up. As we did crosswords in line, I recognized a smattering of faces from my first run of shows, including mealy-mouthed Darren, whom I promptly threw my arms around. He later took this photo of me with Morrissey’s longtime guitarist, Boz Boorer:
After the show, Chris bought me a shirt with the Years of Refusal album cover on it, which features Morrissey looking extremely cocky while holding a baby (I know, I can’t even), because he said he wanted me to remember how happy the show made me, and told me I looked beautiful when I covered up my splotchy, joy-tear-stained face with sunglasses on the way to the parking lot. No wonder I was willing to endure his unbelievably wack homemade prog rock for two years.