In these days of modern love, where everyone is meeting their significant others on Tinder or Bumble or through swiping right and left, it's easy to forget that there was a time, not too long ago, when online dating was a foreign practice that was somewhat looked down upon by people who found love the old-fashioned way.
This became increasingly clear to me when I stumbled upon one young man's internet love story, which stopped me in my tracks. In a now-deleted reddit post, a 29-year-old man penned his story of how he found love in probably the most unsuspecting of places: the DNA and genetics testing kit known as 23andMe.
When he begins his post, his reservations are obvious. "This is a throwaway account," he writes. "I'm not from Alabama. This isn't common in my family," he later disclaims. But his story is an interesting one that's not entirely unsalvageable, and not entirely incestuous — unlike these siblings who found out they were intimately related after over a year of dating.
"I got the 23andMe ancestry test as a gift for my birthday," his story begins. "My results came back several weeks later in December, and I was looking at the 'Relatives Map' when I noticed I had a relative living close by."
This surprised our narrator because he had moved across the country and most of his family was back in his home state. According to the DNA results, the person he identified was "a third or fourth cousin," so he messaged her "because I thought it was pretty cool that I had a relative living so close to me."
The two seem to have hit it off when they were talking because, before long, they were meeting in person. "We decided to meet up at a local coffee shop after some back-and-forth to learn about each other's families and find the shared relative," he writes.
"I'm a pretty awkward dude, so I would have never met in person if it wasn't for the fact that we were similar in age and had attended rival high schools in our home state," he goes on to explain. Almost upon first glance, the two immediately hit it off.
Though they didn't manage to figure out their shared ancestor, the two did forge a friendship. "I asked if she was visiting any of her family for New Year's," which was just around the corner, our narrator writes. He was curious whether she might be able to find out more about her family lineage so they could figure out how exactly they were related.
As it turned out, this woman had just moved to the area for a new job, so she wasn't planning on returning back home for the holiday. Since they'd talked about New Year's for so long, he "felt bad" and decided to invite her to his friend's New Year's party.
Flash to the party: As with most New Year's affairs, it was really big. "She didn't know anyone else there so I hung out with her most of the time," he writes. "We talked a lot and actually had quite a bit in common, but I noticed she was drinking a lot more than me."
"Next thing I know," he continues, "she kisses me. Even though I was less drunk than she was, I was still drunk and I reciprocated." "NOW LET ME BE CLEAR," he writes in all caps. "Nothing happened for the rest of the night. We left separately."
Flash to the next morning, when he's getting all these texts and calls from his kissing cousin. First, she invited him to coffee again. Next thing he knows, they're "meeting up almost every day and we've been texting all the time." Most recently, she invited him to dinner at her place, and he "stayed over."
Our narrator thinks "this means we're dating now, but I just can't get over how we met. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to tell my friends or family. I don't know what to do."
People in the comments section were more encouraging than judgmental, which is refreshing for reddit.
"23andme also says that me and my boyfriend are fourth cousins," writes one person in an effort to comfort our distraught and newly in love narrator.
If you ask me, just say you guys met on a dating app, or on an app online. The second one is technically not a lie, and everyone does it these days. No one will ever find out you were vaguely related and several times removed.