Romance in the Digital Age: A True Story

Here we are in 1997; we'd been dating for a few months. It's my favorite picture of us.
Here we are in 1997; we’d been dating for a few months. It’s my favorite picture of us.

When my husband and I were first getting to know each other back in the 1990s, we spent a lot of time emailing. A lot. After a while, I began to notice that all of the “timestamps” on my then-boyfriend’s emails ended with 37 – as in, his message had been sent at 08:24:37 or 12:54:37 or 01:10:37.

This amused me to no end, because 37 was and always has been my favorite number. “How crazy is it,” I said to him once, “that all your emails come in with that timestamp? It’s as if we were destined to be together!” (OK, I think I said something like that. I have a bad memory. Let’s go with it.)

To which he responded, “I’ve been doing that on purpose.”


“I sit and wait until the second hand reaches 37, and then I push send.” (See? We’re old. This was back in the day when you could do that. Or at least he could; I wouldn’t have known how to see said timestamp.)

He said all of this very matter-of-factly. No blushing. No sheepishness.

I thought it was the most romantic thing ever.

Yesterday, my then-boyfriend-now-husband came home and said a student had asked him in class why my husband always uses 37s in his coding examples.

“You do?” I exclaimed.

“Sure,” he answered, again very matter-of-factly.

“What did you say?”

He shrugged. “I told them it’s my wife’s favorite number. They laughed a little.”

Seventeen years later, and he’s still thinking of me and catering to my weird number fetish, even when I’m not there to know.

That’s true love, folks.

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