How I Met My Husband:
A Zine Love Story

I was a big zinester in my twenties.  It was a great excuse to continue writing after I graduated from college and left the structure of creative writing behind.  Cul-de-sac was a zine I started with a friend about growing up in the suburbs.  It was filled with hilarious tales of childhood woe.  The zine did quite well, landing in the top one hundred zines list two years in a row in Zine World magazine (Zine World zine?).  One of the places cul-de-sac was sold was a store called Quimby’s in Wicker Park, Chicago.  One day I received an email at the cul-de-sac email address.  It was from a guy living in my neighborhood in Chicago, inviting local zinesters to a zine release party at his loft.  The guy, Matt, said he thought cul-de-sac was funny, and he referenced one of my articles (the one about my obsession with the banjo player from Deliverance).  I was intrigued, so I wrote him back.  Through a series of daily emails, Matt and I got to know each other during the few weeks leading up to the party.

            Matt and I never said where these emails were leading (although I did give him a survey, asking him questions about what celebrity he most looked like and if he did, indeed, have hair).  The fact that both of our zines spoke explicitly about our romantic exploits (pre-dating each other) made it unclear what either of us wanted.  Still, I was way excited about meeting Matt in person.  He told me the famous people he thought he looked like were Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz) and David Duchovny (of The X-Files).  Plus, not only was he a local, charming zinester, but he had a REAL JOB – not easy to find in a hipster boy.

            The night of the party – February 12, 2000 (I remember the date because it was my Grandma Bess’s birthday) – I was insanely nervous.  The party was huge – lots of people, artwork, and zine readings.  It took me many minutes to get up the nerve to find Matt.  Eventually I introduced myself to who I thought was Matt, but was actually his friend Chris.  Matt was sitting next to Chris.  So cute! 

            We spent some time together at the party, although he spent much of the evening playing host and wrangling his drunk friends (btw, for all of those reading, I don’t drink.  At all.  I’m not just saying that).  At the end of the night, I asked if he would be my valentine (V-Day being only two days away).  He said yes, confirmed by an adorable email (I believe he said I was a “sweet tater”) and we’ve been together ever since.

            I hope this romantic tale inspires you to get your own writing out there.  You never know who may be reading it.



Copyright 2011 Julie Halpern