How They Met

Twin Cities couples on the moment they found love

C: For the record, I did not ask you to be in the band with me as an excuse to start dating you.

J: I know that! 

Abby & Orin

Abby and Orin Rutchick decided to turn their domestic partnership into a professional one four years ago, when they co-founded the Mpls Photo Center, a combination gallery, studio, and school.

Abby: I first saw Orie at a party. It was the '70s and it seemed like there was a party every weekend. He had long brown hair down to his shoulders — I love long hair — and he had and still has really big blue eyes. I was smitten right away. Are you remembering any of this?

Orin: I'm liking that first part. Just you bringing this up it's like falling in love all over again. I saw Abby right away on the other side of the room, this dark-haired, dark-complected girl in this suede miniskirt. After that we were inseparable.

A: Not exactly. We were introduced by a friend and we talked briefly, and then it wasn't until the second time we met, at a party at Orie's house, that the conversation went further. The third time, he invited me to go bike riding. He knew that I liked to ride my bike around the lakes.

O: We saw each other and did something together probably every day for two years. But actually, when we met I was going through the process of a divorce from a woman I was married to for about a year and a half, who I had married very young and it wasn't working out.

A: What he's trying to say is that he told me after two years that he didn't want to see me anymore.

O: Well, I realized I was making a commitment and wasn't ready, and got in hindsight really rude and pushy and finally it just ended.

A: I was ready but he was totally all of a sudden not wanting to be in that kind of relationship. I left him alone then. I was like, I don't need this.

O: But I had her stereo at my place and she came to pick it up, and she had this blue and white seersucker shirt dress on. I saw her and immediately realized that she was the one. That's when she moved in and we decided to get married. It was the suede miniskirt and the seersucker shirt dress.

A: It continued and it's been 35 years. We have two children and three grandchildren, and we're in our fourth year of working together, so now we meshed our lives again around what we do.

O: Abby, I love you.

A: I love you too. 

Rico & Sarah

Sarah White and Rico Simon Mendez met over a decade ago at a club where he was spinning records. He didn't like Sarah's "limp handshake," and she thought he looked like a priss. Fast-forward three years to a brisk evening in January at the Lounge. Says Sarah, who peeped Rico and his business partner meeting about record label business while she was was serving up cocktails: "Yeah, he first approached me about his label, saying that he wanted to work with me as a singer, and we..."

Rico: No, I first said, "You smell good."

Sarah: Well, yeah, that's right. We met at the Lounge, and he was not my type. But he said I smelled really, really good. At that point in time, I thought I was kinda a local hip-hop star, so I couldn't believe that he had the nerve to talk to me that way. So, of course, I fell in love with his whole vibe. He was very forward, so he approached me about doing music with his label, and we ended up performing together at the King and I shortly after, which was our first time hanging out.

R: I was playing percussion and DJing at the Lounge, so I would see her all the time. I asked her out on a date about a week after that first performance at the King and I .... But before that, I was drawn to her because she was unique. At first, I didn't know she was a musician, but when I found out she was a singer, I was trying to holler at her, I mean, I was actually being for real with her about wanting to work with her ...

S: Mmmm-hmmm ...

R: I really was, and um, her character and style just attracted me, so I thought that I had to ask her out.

S: My first impression was that he was really pretty. I had never really dated a pretty guy before. He had such a worldly vibe, and you could tell he had been traveling. His music was so diverse, and he was very direct. And passionate with the things he did, like playing the drums until his fingers bled. I loved that passion and his energy. It was undeniable to me that I had to get to know him more. 

Betsy & Gary

For Minneapolis City Council member and mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges, arranging a first date with the man who turned out to be the love of her life may have depended on her friend's new shoes. Needing Band-Aids, her pal was late to former NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center CEO Gary Cunningham's leaving-for-another-job party at the Monte Carlo back in 2007. It was love at first sight, and two years later, Hodges and Cunningham tied the knot.

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