This week I celebrated a very important anniversary. Just three years ago I fell in serious "like" at the Apple store with a special guy whom I now fondly refer to as the "Apple Guy."
As one who writes about the intersection of love and technology, I've written several articles on finding love at the Apple store since that special day we met in the summer of 2009. The Apple store is actually at the top of my list of places that I recommend singles go to meet interesting people.
As I write this, I wonder, was it fate? Were we meant to meet? It was rather unlikely, as it had been my very first time at the Apple Store in Century City in Los Angeles. Normally, I attended training sessions in Santa Monica, Calif. The Santa Monica store didn't have any convenient time openings, so I decided to expand my ZIP code and cast a wider net. Off to Century City I went.
My relationship with the Apple Guy started out as a simple flirtation and developed into one of the most loyal and devoted relationships I've ever had. The Apple Guy has escorted me to charity events and concerts, attended my book signing events, sent me poetry, reviewed my press releases before they were submitted, purchased every copy of a magazine of which I was featured in, watched most of my television appearances, helped me write an acceptance speech when I was received the WOW award, let me cry on his shoulder when my father was ill, and has been there for me unconditionally as my biggest supporter. The best part is, the feelings are mutual.
So how did the Apple Guy and I connect at the world's most popular computer store? Quite simply, I had signed up for a one-on-one session where I needed help in editing a FOX TV appearance using iMovie. The Apple Guy was sitting next to me taking his private lesson on his brand new iPhone. Single-focused, I had no idea who else was sitting at the table. At the end of the lesson, a gentleman smiled at me and asked, "Why do you still have a BlackBerry?" And so the conversation started, and continued. We talked for hours and hours. Through the course of conversation, I found out that he had purchased a parcel of land to build his first commercial property, which had been previously owned by my late Uncle. We talked about popular culture, world affairs, and the different non-profits that we were both Board members of. We were out in the real world and connected in a meaningful way.
Before we left the store, the Apple Guy promised to purchase my book and even thought of some ideas on how to help widen my distribution through Universities and help further my career. By the time I got home, I received the first of hundreds of emails affectionately sent from the Apple Guy.
Subject: About Today
You never know who you might meet at the Apple store. I'm going to mobilize and see what ideas and connections I can come up with for you.
It's funny but I've been coming to the Apple store for 1 1/2 years and have not spoken to a soul except, of course, to my trainer.
You now have my email address so feel free to email me.
The next day, the Apple Guy drove to Barnes and Noble to purchase my first book, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Although he had never ventured into online dating, by midnight he had finished reading it. His second email arrived in my inbox with his daily and witty update about life, books, and music, along with a book review.
A few days later we were dining under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl for the annual Smooth Jazz concert. I was greeted with an iTunes CD the next morning in my inbox with The Best of Dave Koz, the headliner at the previous evening's performance. It was an Apple-style courtship and my inbox on my MacBook Pro was happy to receive his daily emails and ongoing iTunes surprises.
When my iPhone app of Dating Expert was released in March of 2010, my dear friend the Apple Guy had these words to say:
Okay, so I checked with Apple and they confirmed to me that of the over 100,000 apps they have approved, yours was the only app awardee that does not own an iPhone. Feel free to use my iPhone either tomorrow or Tuesday. It might be worth a bowl of lentil soup!
Three years later, I can honestly say that my life has been enriched from this loving friendship and that we're both there for each other, no matter what. He sends me photos and emails from his travels from Burma to Machu Picchu to stay in touch. Not a week goes by that I don't hear from the Apple Guy. Together we strategized as to whether I should upgrade to the 15-inch new MacBook Pro with the Retina display. He helped me with my iPhone 4S battery problems and has become my real-life hero.
Although our relationship never developed romantically, as we stayed in the "friend zone," the level of friendship and intimacy that I share with the Apple Guy is something which I very much cherish. Together, we celebrate our birthdays with surprise outings, accompany each other to plays and lectures, and he's become my most trusted and loyal friend. We're not Facebook friends and he doesn't tweet, but he doesn't miss a beat to my heart.
I'll always remember Gloria Vanderbilt telling me, "You never know who'll be on the other end of the phone when it rings." To keep up with today's digital times I'd like to go on record as saying, "You never know who you'll meet at the Apple Store when you walk through the door."
The Apple Guy and I have shared so many strings of moments together and we know that our journey together has a shelf life that will never expire.
Happy Anniversary to my special friend, The Apple Guy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyal friendship and devotion.
For those who are single, if you've gone on a wonderful date with someone, don't wait days to connect. Send a text or email if you've enjoyed their company. Think about surprising him or her with an iTunes song delivered to their inbox the next morning. Start creating your own digital memory book as love, music, and technology are a winning combination for Dating in a Web 2.0 World.
Be open to all the possibilities and don't discard someone if you don't have instant chemistry. He or she doesn't have to be "the one." A lifetime of friendship with someone often surpasses a romantic relationship that runs its course. If you happen to be in the Apple Store, look around you, smile at others, and pay attention. Your next love just might be an iPad away.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is an online dating and cyber-relations expert, social media strategist, and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. She's writing her second book, The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web.