Moderator: Well, here we are on what Dutch and Wood consider their real anniversary, more important even than their wedding anniversary. Ten years ago today they . . . Well, I guess we'd like to get some details of why you two consider this an anniversary. Wood, how did you and Dutch meet?

Wood: Let's see. The first time I remember seeing Dutch was early in the fall of our freshman year of college. I was in our dorm's cafeteria, and one of my friends was talking to a couple of people I didn't know, one of whom was a guy wearing a very ill-fitting tuxedo. She called me over and introduced me to the guy in the gigantic tuxedo. It was Dutch, who stood there jerking his head around and twitching. He had on a nametag that identified him as one of the very few kids at our university who had a full scholarship. The jerking and twitching made me think that he was mentally impaired and some sort of a "special friend" among the scholarship winners, but I now realize that it was all an elaborate dance to avoid making eye contact with anyone. He still struggles to look people in the eye. So yes, when I first met Dutch, I wondered if he was mentally retarded. I also thought he might just be brilliant.

Dutch: I'd seen Wood about two dozen times before that. Any honest guy will tell you that when he moves into a new scene he figures out who all the hot girls are within five minutes of being there. Wood was the hottest thing I had ever seen. First time I saw her she was wearing a green shirt that made her red hair look amazing. She had an eyebrow ring and tattoos. Yum. We ended up getting married just a few yards from the spot where I first saw her.

But, when we started to really get to know each other in February, I had a girlfriend.

Wood: That's right, he did. I remember that. A few months after meeting Dutch, I noticed him again. I was walking up the hill from our dorm to the main campus, and he was in front of me, holding hands with a girl. And I remember thinking, "Awww, how sweet. That guy has a girlfriend." I could also see about 4 inches of his underwear, because he sagged his jeans so low that at least half his butt was hanging out.

Dutch: I was totally one of those white guys.

Wood: It was complicated for him to walk up the hill. He had a heavy backpack, he was holding this girl's hand, and he had to keep pulling his pants up every couple of steps. He didn't want to let go of her hand or slow down, but his pants were just barely staying on his body.

Moderator: What happened to this girl?

Dutch: Oh, she was a sweet girl. But she had an ex-boyfriend with a prosthetic hand who threatened to kill me. Things didn't work out.

Wood: It was more of a claw, wasn't it?

Dutch: I guess it was kind of a gnarled fist.

Wood: Eventually Dutch and I started hanging in an awkward trio with one of my best friends who lived down the hall. Her hair was redder than mine. We both had crushes on Dutch, but we didn't admit it to each other.

Dutch: It was awesome.

Wood: One weekend in March I went home for my cousin's baptism. From my parent's house, I called this redheaded friend, and to my absolute horror, found that Dutch was in her dorm room. I was sick to my stomach and sure that she was putting the moves on him. I knew right then how badly I wanted him.

Dutch: I found out that night that the other girl was a hardcore Republican.

Wood: Yes, her politics saved me. I'd already farted several times in front of Dutch, which I'm sure repulsed him, but at least I didn't lecture him about the free market.

Dutch: I think the other girl's version of putting the moves on me was reading from a paper she'd recently written about how the decline of American morals mirrored that of ancient Rome.

Wood: We haven't mentioned a big part of the story yet: his entire first year of college, Dutch was a teetotaler. During the year that I was doing kegstands in a frat house called the Legion of Doom, Dutch didn't drink a drop of alcohol. He was like a Mormon without the Utah voodoo.

Dutch: I made it through high school without drinking, not because I was strong-willed or anything, but because I wasn't cool enough to hang out with anyone who could get alcohol. I never had the opportunity to just say No. One time when I was 17 I did have a sip of boxed wine that was leftover from a party my parents threw. And I did go to Lollapalooza 1994 with a whole bottle of codeine from having my wisdom teeth yanked out the day before. That was pretty great.


Wood: It was obvious that we both had crushes on each other, and in the last two weeks before the end of the school year, Dutch had multiple opportunities to try to kiss me. We rode bikes at night across town to a rock show, we stood outside of a party talking awkwardly while people smoked cigarettes around us, and we stayed up all night studying for finals in my dorm room, and each time, I put on my best squinty-eyed, kiss-me-now face, but nothing happened. Here was a boy I had seen argue passionately with a room full of drunk hippies at a house party, but he was too scared to give me a kiss.

Dutch: I did do other things to try to impress her. Remember when I threw my bike off the roof of the dorm?

Wood: Yeah. And I remember the time you got all tough and swore at the guy who prank called my room.

Dutch: And the night before the last night of school, it was pouring rain and Wood and I went out and ran in the downpour and got all muddy and we had a moment in the stairwell on the way back in that should have been a kiss. I went back to my dorm room with all that intensity of our inevitability sparking in my mind. I couldn't sleep, and I plotted how I knew it would have to go down. For years we have struggled with this part of the story, the illicitness of it. Ten years later it seems so innocent.

Wood: Dutch told me that he wanted to drink alcohol for his first time on the night before we had to move out of the dorms, and I happily accepted his plea to get him some beer. Finally! I thought. We sent our "source", a fratboy from the Legion of Doom house who was dating one of my friends, to the liquor store with requests: some vodka and a sixer of Jack Daniels coolers for me, and two 22 oz bottles of Molson Ice for Dutch.

Dutch: I believe I asked for a deuce-deuce. Or a 40oz of St. Ides. I was totally one of those white guys. Whatever it was, I know I drank it out of a paper bag.

Wood: That's right. You did.

Dutch: I will add that Wood drank her Lynchberg Lemonades through a fucking beer bong.

Wood: That's right. I did.


Dutch: It was the last night of the schoolyear, so all the guys on my floor were throwing a huge party.
It's funny how ten years later, I can still remember the giddiness of those moments. How even though I've been kissing the same girl for ten years, I've kept inside me somewhere exactly how it felt to rush towards the first one, to get past the tipping point of doubt and walk through one of those en suite bathrooms that connected the dormrooms and to have us both reach out for each other's hands and then suddenly find ourselves pressed up against each other, pressed up against the wall and then sitting on one of those dorm chairs making up for weeks of not kissing, making out like there wasn't enough time to make up for what what we'd missed.

Wood: There wasn't. The next day we were moving out of the dorm and returning to our hometowns. And the next year you weren't coming back to school, but going to Ireland.

Dutch: That part sucked, but made it pretty intense.

Wood: And the whole time there was a party going on around us, but we didn't even care. Occasionally someone would come in and say, "Holy shit, Dutch and Wood are making out in Keith's room," and we'd smile at each other. People took pictures of us in each other's arms, and gave them to us later. I woke up the next morning with Dutch in my bed. Eventually he had to leave to get started with moving out, and I wondered for a second if anything would come of it. If he'd have the balls to make it work.

Dutch: I came back up. I actually met her in the stairwell where we'd had our failed moment before. I didn't fail her this time.

Wood: Then we moved out. Dutch's mom came to pick him up. I packed my car and drove with friends back home.

Juniper: Mama.

Dutch: I cried like a fucking baby the whole ride home. I felt so cheated by my own hesitation. It felt like I'd had one of those dreams where all kinds of amazing, wonderful things happen and then you wake up and none of it's true.

Wood: But before leaving town, I stopped with friends at Pizza Hut. And then I called you from the pay phone.

Dutch: You did.

Wood: And then you came and met us.

Dutch: I did. And we sat next to each other and held hands under the table.

Wood: And that's how all this began, ten years ago.

Moderator: What are you going to do to celebrate?

Dutch: What we do every April 19. We're going to get drunk and totally make out all night.