By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
Venus: I thought we were just being friends, but I was sending out all the wrong signals. We broke up before we started dating, and Lynette went back to her dorm room and cried and broke a glass.
Lynette: After college, I had the idea that this group of friends, since we were all in the arts, really needed a free weekly newspaper because they didn't have one in Duluth. Then we just started hanging out again.
Venus: We sat and talked for like an hour, and I explained how she was really having to take on a lot of issues if she wanted us to have a relationship.
Lynette: You wanted to be friends, and you were concerned that if we dated we would lose that. In the end we decided to try. Then a couple months later, he asked me to marry him.
Venus: Lynette really has to take the credit for it. I don't know if anybody else would have put up with me.
Lynette: No. Nobody would have.
Venus: When I think about it, it was really strange. Like two planets that kept passing each other in orbit. I transitioned during that time. It was not an easy ride, but I think what we did was learn how to survive and find the things that we'd seen in each other way back then. —Jesse Marx
E. KATIE HOLM
THE PAST TWO YEARS have been a whirlwind for Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard. They moved to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles, started a successful Midtown Global Market stall (the Left Handed Cook), parlayed that into opening a Korean pub (the Rabbit Hole), had a baby, and got married. But the only thing Thomas (then a chef for a Los Angeles hotel restaurant) knew about Kat (a student at UCLA) when they met for their first date four years ago was that she fit his Match.com parameters.
Thomas: I searched for "within 5 miles," "tattooed," and "Korean." I was like, there's no way I'm going to find anybody with that criteria. But she was one of the first profiles I came across.
Kat: He did message me first by the way. I did a three-day free trial, and in three days I met my husband.
Thomas: The first date was one of those awkward, don't-know-what-to-expect kind of things. I think the first thing she said to me was, "Oh, you're kind of cute." I was like, "Thank you, I think?"
Kat: The first thing he said to me when we got out of the car was, "Oh, you're tall."
Thomas: She did actually tower above me. She was about four inches taller. I was so nervous that my conversation was pretty awkward that night. And as soon as we got to the bar, Kat could sense it was awkward and she disappeared and came back with Irish car bombs. I was like, "Okay, right on." I think that was the turning point for me. —Hannah Sayle
E. KATIE HOLM
LIBERTY LUCKEN AND ERIN KEYES have a lot on their plate. During the week, Lucken shuttles between Brooklyn and St. Louis Park as vice president of sales at Sony Music's Epic Records, and Keyes, a lawyer, works as the assistant dean of students at the University of Minnesota Law School. They're also parents to a three-year-old daughter, and ever since Liberty proposed to Erin at her 39th birthday party, they've been planning a wedding for October. When they first met, the night before Thanksgiving 2004, it was at the insistence of scheming friends.
Erin: I had been pretty recently out of a very long relationship, and had pledged a year of no relationships or dating or anything. My friend said, "You should meet this person named Liberty Lucken." I was like, "Hold up, number one, not interested in meeting anyone right now, and number two, what the hell kind of name is that?"
Liberty: I'd been out with some friends and said to them, "Do you know anybody nice, who knows what they want to be when they grow up, and is pretty funny, and intelligent, and it'd be really great if they're hot?" A friend of mine said, "I swear Erin Keyes is single."
Erin: It's the night before Thanksgiving, and I have to get up the next morning and drive to grandmother's house we go. Some friends were all heading out to Fuji Ya, and I decided to be out and about. By 9:30, I'm getting ready to leave. My friend Barb said, "No, you can't leave, Liberty just got here."
Liberty: I was out some place else on a date, and I kept getting these nonstop texts from my friends, like, "You have to come to Fuji Ya, Erin Keyes is here." I'm like, "I'm going to stay right here," but after I drop my date off, I go to Fuji Ya.
Erin: I'm standing up literally putting my coat on, and I look over to the doors and there's three people coming in around the same time. The first one I'm like, "Mm-mm," the second one, no, and then [the woman] who turns out to be Liberty walked in. I thought, "It would be rude not to say hi." Five minutes turned into five hours. After two more bars, we ended up at Barb's house, sitting on the couch having conversation and trying to avoid getting pooped on by Barb's pet chicken. —Olivia LaVecchia