After getting out of an eight-year relationship that went nowhere good, I found myself happy being single. There were all these things in life I wanted to explore and no longer felt held back. During this period I made an exciting list of all of the fun things I wanted to go out and do. Despite enjoying the single life, this list is exactly what led me to my husband Bryan.
I had always been a fan of Bryan’s band, and knew that he was a great artist as well as a tattoo artist by profession. So naturally, I added getting a tattoo by Bryan to my list. Funny enough in retrospect, I often see a pattern now of people getting a tattoo after a big life change. Once I met Bryan for my appointment I found him to be fun, very nice and respectful. He seemed a little nervous and made a lot of small talk. After the tattoo he asked if we could hang out. The offer was great, and I had originally presumed he was not available. I came to learn that Bryan, also seldom single, had just gotten out of a five-year relationship, so the timing had worked out beautifully for both of us. I explained that I already had plans that evening with my girlfriends, and I was not going to ditch them, but maybe another time soon.
There was a little back and forth trying to find time to meet, and we agreed to get together after he got out of work at 9pm. This led us to our first date at Bradley Beach’s Thai Restaurant, Bamboo Leaf, as it was the only place open at that hour for dinner. I borrowed a beach cruiser from his garage and we rode off to enjoy our summer evening out. I remember I had an odd new phobia while dating, as I had rarely been single in my adult life, where I had trouble eating in front of new people. I even remember Bryan remarking how I don’t eat very much during our meal. On a side note, a good friend later advised that I try sitting next to the person instead of facing them to ease my eating anxiety. This worked out great for me, and oddly enough to this day, it is the preferred way Bryan and I sit down at a meal, as both agree it’s nicer to be closer to each other. That evening we had lots of nice things to talk about, and we took our date to the beach. There we had our first kiss on a lifeguard chair. Shortly after Bradley’s finest asked us to get down. We felt like star-struck teenagers.
It didn’t take long for us to know we were utterly wild about each other and wanted to get married. So we didn’t seem like complete crazy people, we waited a year to get engaged, and then took another year to plan an amazing wedding. We love Bradley Beach! It’s where we fell in love and we’re happy to call it home as happily married humans. We commonly enjoy seeing other couples at our beach enjoying the sand, sea, and evening stars, just as we do.
Nicole D.C. Kienlen