It's true. We met on Craiglist.

On September 4, 2005 I (Katherina) posted the following ad on Craigslist:

Reluctant Valkyrie Looking For Love
Reply to: anon-95402343@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-09-04, 1:12PM
I just blew into town from Alaska by way of South America with a pit stop in California a few weeks ago. It's been a while since I've been romanced and I'm ready to be titillated.

I am looking for someone who appreciates the art of great conversation and knows how to turn me on with their brain (and their hands when I'm ready).

I am looking for someone who is into making it up as they go along and who places the value of a great story and a high adventure over an easy living and a healthy 401K plan. (Although you must be relatively financially stable and able to take care of yourself.)

I am looking for someone who knows how to take care of themself and enjoys nurturing others as well.

I am looking for someone who is flexible and adaptable and open to new experiences.

I am looking for a world of a person who won't be intimidated by the worlds in me. (When things haven't worked out romantically for me in the past, I have often heard, "You're too much woman for him," or "He couldn't keep up."

I am looking for someone who can keep up with me.

I am looking for someone to fascinate me, surprise me and inspire me because I love to be fascinated, surprised and inspired.

I am looking for someone who is soulful, all there, someone who at least tries to stay awake.

I am looking for someone who has many divergent (even contradictory) interests which make their life full of enriching experiences.

I am looking for a big strong handsome man. Physically, he'd be at least 5'10". I'm generally not attracted to men who are super skinny or very overweight. He'd be strong enough to pick me up and able to effortlessly pull me across the bed and into his arms and make me feel safe and loved. He should be between 29 and 38 years old (I want us to remember the same cultural clich├ęs from growing up.)

I am looking for someone who can really match me, who can look at me when I am switched on at full radiance without having to wear sunglasses and chain mail armour.

I am looking for someone who is all there, a good human being.

And who am I to ask for so much?

I am a blonde haired blue eyed reluctant valkyrie. I am 5'9" and height/weight proportionate. I don't know how much I weigh because I don't weigh myself. I am not petite; I'm a size 12, so not skinny, not fat. I wouldn't miss 15 pounds if I lost it. One of those horned viking helmets and a sheepskin loincloth would look real natural on me. Sometimes I am beautiful. Sometimes I am not. Physically, I'm a shapeshifter; that is, if you think I am beautiful, I become beautiful in your presence, if you think I am ugly, I can look like a real troll. I take good care of my body by eating well, exercising several times a week, taking lots of baths, and trying to remember to breathe.

I am well educated, a voracious reader and a culture junkie. Jumping out of a birthday cake can be a form of high art, going to a high falootin' lecture can induce a revelation or be about as stimulating as watching a rerun of Friends on TV. I am interested in just about everything.

I love to have great conversations but I don't need to converse about the big things all the time, just to know that you know they're there.

I have traveled extensively, lived in several countries and speak a few languages. When I travel, I like to stay in one out of the way place for a long time and really get to know the place and the people in it. I like to be involved.

I am happy. I laugh a lot and smile more than most. Partly because there's so much funny, beautiful stuff going on all around us all the time, but mostly because I am just tickled pink to be here, alive, well and kicking.
I have a big heart and love to love up my friends and my family. I like to make great things happen for the people I care about. I guess I just love nurturing people, inside and out.

I am equally comfortable in nature and in cities.

I currently make my living as a sculptor, writer and web designer. Past jobs include: museum lady, go go dancer, researcher, fisherwoman, A/V techie, gardener, giant nest builder, birthday cake jumper, typist and more.

I am a seasoned adventurer who knows from experience that adventures are happening all around us every moment and I am always up for diving in.

I am new in town and could use some new friends. I would like to go out on dates. And yep, I sure do need to get my pipes cleaned out.

Despite all the I, I, I's you see in this here posting, I am not overly self centered; I tend to put others' needs before my own, probably more often than I should. If you would like to meet me, write and please send a picture of yourself. Tell me a little something about yourself. I am game. Thanks!
Me

Joseph wrote to me on September 8, 2005:

(Joseph here. So there I was on my break at work flipping through the personals on Craigslist for entertainment. (Try it sometime, most of them are simple and dull but some of them are hilarious!) Then I came across Katherina's posting. Well this was something altogether different. I went back to work but I couldn't stop thinking about all the things I wanted to ask her. So on my next break a few hours later, I banged out this reply. I only had fifteen minutes so it was one continuous stream of conciousness blurt. I hit send immediately. I didn't even re-read it over once, no proofread, no spell check. I just sent it, poor grammar, typos and all so I couldn't edit it and sterilize it and hide myself.)

Well, hello. Your posting is so well done I find myself compelled to respond and yet oddly struck with writers block. I've only responded to a personal ad once before and never heard back so I'm a little trepiditious about baring my soul to a stranger on line.
 
You gave enough information about yourself that I know I'd like to meet you, like you I'm attracted to people who are interested and interesting. Great stories and great conversation and debate are a joy.
 
I'm interested in learning about almost everything. I read a lot, actually that gives me an idea how to give you some insight about me. I subscribe to a dozen magazines and read 3-4 more regularly. I read Willamette Week (our local alternate newspaper) every week, love the music info as I go to a fair amount of live music, I don't see as many live theater performances or art shows as I would like, but enjoy reading about it. I'm fascinated, intrigued, attracted to artistic types as I have what I call 'Salieri's syndrome' (I'll have to explain that later). I see beauty.
 
I love finding new interests, and I'm always up to play/adventure/try something new.
 
I take care of myself by eating really well about 70% of the time, and I'm pretty much compulsive about excercise. I am definately strong enough to pick you up and hold you like I mean it, when that time comes. I'm running a half-marathon this weekend. Actually I run and/or ride my bike in a lot of organized races.
 
I'm 5'10", 190lb. I would say kinda muscular but rounded ... not super lean. I think I'm reasonably attractive, but as you so eloquently put it, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
 
I'm going to be seeing a lot of music shows this weekend starting tonight (thurs) at musicfest nw, a local music festival ... 20 clubs, 200 bands or something, still working on my schedule of who I'm going to see over the three days, and of course I have to run on Sunday morning.
 
If you're up for it, I'd love to meet you and maybe take you with me downtown to see/hear/feel some music and find some good food.  I can be good tourguide for PDX!
 
I'm embarrased to admit I don't have a digital camera/photo of myself, but there are pix of me on the web if you're interested enough to look a little ...
 
Google "finishshots.com" and search under "recent races" ... select "hagg lake triathlon" and enter my last name " White "  first name is Joseph.
 
Hope to hear from you, there's so much more to learn about both of us ... and that's where all the fun is, isn't it ?
 
Joseph White
(503) 866-xxxx

I ignored this first e-mail from Joseph. (No picture! Who has the time to do that google finishshots.com business, I mean, come on!)

Then I went on a whole bunch of really bad dates.

(Joseph again. Well I didn't hear anything (How can this be?!) so I ended up going on a bad date or two myself. They were bad dates, but still pretty educational. I learned that I was being terribly optimistic by assuming that I'd get a response. One woman told me she usually got fifty to a hundred responses to every posting (and her posting was pretty mundane, but I figured I needed practice and I wanted a date for MusicFest NW.) Then I had some technical difficulty with my phone, and I convinced myself it was possible she had tried to reach me and my phone had failed me! So I thought I'd send one more email. My own hail-Mary. Again I wrote it on a short break without proofreading or edits, I just wanted to be honest and sincere without overthinking it.)

And then Joseph wrote to me again on September 12, 2005:

Hi. Sorry to pester you again, but I hope this message reaches you. I'm having a problem with my cell phone and I don't know if you've tried to reach me. My phone is sending and recieving text messages and I can make outgoing calls, but it's not receiving incoming calls. I wish I'd given you both numbers initially ... my back up number is (503) 267-xxxx ... the number I gave you originally is (503) 866-xxxx.
 
Of course I now realize that this is hopelessly optimistic of me but hey, I'm in. I'm relatively new to craigslist, and absolutley new to personals postings. Since I responded to your posting I've read a bit and spoken with a few people and I now understand that a beautiful, soulful and intelligent posting such as yours generates hundreds of responses.
 
I'm sure many of them are useless, hopeless, desparate, inappropreate or obscene ... and probably some of them are real contenders. Genuine competitors for the title ... I'd like to think I fall into the latter category.  
 
I don't want to lay all my cards on the table and give you a whole sales brochure on myself. I want to share my stories, history and such while learning about yours through two-way communication. I believe I'm a good communicator, and it only works with feedback, questions, etc.  It's so much more interesting and fun to enjoy each other's company than to read a biography.
 
However, in the interest of standing out from the hundreds of potential suitors (!) I'd like to tell you some things about how I perceive myself, my needs and what I have to offer.
 
This is a little difficult as although I am neither shy nor especially modest. It's difficult to write a compelling e-mail without sounding a little conceited, vain, or (insert un-flattering adjective here). Also, I wouldn't presume that we would connect, that you would like me or me you. That would be immature and rediculous without meeting. However, I'm interested in listening and sharing with nearly anyone, at least to see what I can learn, possibly make a friend, beyond that I'm open to follow my heart.   
 
Let me start by telling you that I really responded to some of the things you mentioned in your posting. That you were looking for someone who could (if I remember correctly) look at you when you were switched on, at full brilliance, without requiring sunglasses or chain mail.
 
That phrasing really spoke to me. There have been times in my life when I felt that I had a very powerful presence, that I was a force that could be felt. When I walked into the room heads turned, everyone smiled at me all day, people really seemed drawn to me and I felt that I was a positive influence (that they could feel) on many of the people with whom I had contact. I really connected to people, especially those sensitive to the energy around people. I can not only bear the brilliance, I bask in it. I LOVE being around people who's energy I can feel and who can feel mine. Sometimes when you're with the right someone, it's electric and can be so very powerful.  
 
You also mentioned among other things that you were looking for a big, strong, handsome man. Someone with soul, and someone who could talk about the big things, be aware and present.   
 
I'm not a really big man, 5'10" and 190, but I'm fit, and strong. I carry myself with confidence and self-respect and I've been told that I have presence. I keep my hair very short and wear a goatee. I usually dress pretty casually, but I am also comfortable in a suit. I believe I have personal style and good taste.
  
I've been told that I'm handsome and have a beautiful smile and eyes. (good grief, that part is hard to write). I do believe it, but I also know it's subjective. And like anyone I occasionally have my very bad days when I'd rather not see a mirror.
 
I have a good job that I am good at, my own home, etc. I don't have a ton of extra money to do everything I'd like but I'm certainly not struggling financially. I'm responsible and take care of myself and my personal business. I can cook, I clean, etc.
 
I'm comfortable being alone and I often go out alone to live music, movies, running, cycling or whatever.
 
I'm frequently invited as a third or fifth wheel with my friends or family and I'm comfortable in that situation.
 
I'm interested in a wide variety of things. I read a lot and I'm very active. I'm educated and reasonably well informed.  I believe the most important aspect of wisdom is an open mind. I'm interested in listening to opposing points of veiw, especially if they are well informed on the subject. I love good conversations whether they are funny, light, emotional or important. I'm a good listener.
 
Obviously, I could go on (and on) but what a bore without interraction.
 
From your posting I see you are beautiful, intelligent and soulful. You have interesting stories and even if the other things you wrote weren't so appealling, that would be enough.
 
I would very much like to meet you. Hopefully, I've given enough to stand out among the masses.
 
My e-mail is xxx@yahoo.com , my primary cell phone is (503) 866-xxxx (hopefully my technical difficulties will be resolved soon) and my other phone is (503) 267-xxxx.
 
Joseph White

And so I wrote back. I said something like, "Okay. Fine. I'll meet you. When?"

And he wrote this:

Hi.

Katherina -- Thanks so much for writing ...

I'm so pleased you are the type to read and honestly consider your responses with respect. Upon reviewing the notes I've sent you previously, I'm reminded that my writing always seems a little stiff to me.

I can come up with something fun, exciting, possibly even fairly original ... (Sea kayaking? Bobbing for apples? Scavenger hunt with a road rally club?)  But what I really would like to do is anything where we can talk, flirt and relax while we get to know each other.

At the risk of seeming mundane, I think dinner is my suggestion. My first choice would be to cook for you. My home is comfortable, reasonably clean and free of pesky distractions (I'm a professional multi-tasker, but I really want to focus on you).

If that would make you uncomfortable, I will be happy to take you (or meet you at) a nice restaurant, perhaps downtown, the Portland City Grill is nice especially if you haven't been. It's on the 30th floor of the big pink building downtown. beautiful views, great food and attentive service.

The best night for my schedule this week is Sunday, but if that creates a conflict for you, let me know what works and I'll try to make it happen.

Joseph

P.S. See?  Kind of STIFF!  In person I'm not ... really, I'm not !

I looked up his finishshot.com running picture thing to make sure he wasn't awful to look at and so I'd recognize him. It looked kind of like this one, but he was wearing sunglasses and had his head down.

Joseph Running

(And then he took me out for a fancy steak at the Portland City Grill, in the tallest building of Portland and made great conversation with me night (and he was super cute, too!).

Here is the first picture I ever took of Joseph about a month after we met:

joseph
See how happy and gooey and tired he is? That's what big new love working on a graveyard shift looks like.

and here are some pictures of our life together over the past five years:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kpetunia/sets/

5 years after we met, almost to the day, Joseph proposed to me, in front of me elated parents in the same place we first met. Here's that story:

http://www.kpetunia.com/blog/?p=115

And now, here we are, planning a wedding. Please join us as we make our happily ever after official!

 

 

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