Ilyse and I met first at a kissing booth. We didn't realize this until we met for the third time in ten days in October 2011.
After taking an evening to agree upon our common interests, it seemed to me that we were too far apart in our phases of life to match for long term partnership. I was in my mid-30s, freshly divorced and looking to start a family. She was in her mid-20s finding herself and developing her career in this expansive city of San Francisco.
In late 2011 we lived only four blocks apart, near Haight & Divisadero. We proceeded to run into each other often and increasingly it was of my doing. I was seeking her out because the wattage and fluidity of our conversation exceeded anything I had known on the dating circuit. She made me laugh readily and she is animated by such a lively spark.
Soon we were linking our lives together and showing up for each others' activities. We had fabulous adventures together out in the city; she was getting an MFA in Social Practice from the California College of the Arts, so she would invite me to public plazas where she would be encouraging conversations on a giant blanket of the world. In December I invited her to join me at an ngmoco:) / DeNA company party and we tore up the floor in a way I hadn't ever danced with someone before.
Just four months after we met, I tore up my shoulder getting out of her bed after too much alcohol. It was early on in our dating, but Ilyse looked after me costumed as a nurse! This nurse identity was also part of a performance called "Love is Contagious" - talking to patients at a health clinic about human affectious disease.
I find Ilyse to be an appealing mix of experimental and practical. She's down to do weird or challenging things, as long as we stay hydrated and wear sunblock. Sometimes our adventures end up in the news, like this article about the time we joined some friends walking 34.25 miles around San Francisco in 13 hours.
Ilyse worked as a canvasser for her first job in San Francisco, asking people on the street to connect with causes; she is a practiced communicator. She relishes civic engagement and being a part of local community; without her urging I'm not sure I would have ridden Amtrak from Chicago to San Francisco. Ilyse appears at the end of that film, running her own camera to document the journey, footage she later offered me for my video work.
Ilyse can be a sort of human love amplifier but unshielding my heart took some work. I was nervous about trusting someone and getting serious about a future in a long-term partnership after the failure of my first marriage. The stakes seem ever higher - at 40 I want to have kids and I want to provide a stable childhood for them. Almost mundane human desires, but also a difficult-seeming feat. How could I imagine that Ilyse and I would share some kind of indefinitely sustainable partnership? And be able to reconcile biology, timing, ethics and circumstances to raise future humans?
Ilyse made it easy to trust her over time, and trust myself with her. Our conversation was relentless, smart and amusing as we established our shared methods of making decisions and enjoying time. I believe Ilyse and I have an indefinitely sustaining life partnership because we communicate freely and take delight in each other. We have overlapping ethics and approaches to life. We just have a ton of fun.
Relationship is struggle, between yourself and the union, between two people, between ideals and reality. I expect my relationship struggle with Ilyse should be good-natured, entertaining and rewarding. Perhaps a sign of her trust, she's given me permission to write about her some on my web site. It's taken me years to reach a place where I feel comfortable speaking about my love for her online; I've been blasted before by my readers for misunderstanding intimacy. Perhaps they were right; I've got a lot to learn. I think Ilyse is a fabulous teacher.
So four years after we first kissed, Ilyse and I will meet to get married on 10 October 2015. I am so grateful, and so looking forward to this marriage to Ilyse Iris Magy. Once the two of us agreed that we should be engaged, I decided I wanted to get her a nice rock and properly formally ask her to be my life partner.
Maybe that sort of formal asking already happened at my 40th birthday party, Ilyse's masterwork of urban game design involving my family and friends and a trail of clues leading me to a surprise party:
thanks to Fabrice Florin for this video!
We were waiting for a family gathering to announce our intention to get married but I was so overcome with love after what she done to me I couldn't help but overshare in that video above.
Ilyse has her own site ilyseirismagy.com, focused on her public art practice.
justin's links by justin hall: contact