(Or: an academic, blogospheric romance)
I haven't written much about Cosimo over the past couple of years, other than to note that he exists. Although this blog is more personal than it is academic (in the sense of focusing on a specific area of research or opining about Pressing Issues in Academe), it's my general policy to touch only rather lightly on the details of my personal life, especially those that don't have to do with my professional life.
As it happens, though, the two intersect here.
Cosimo and I first met several years ago, at a dinner stage-managed by a mutual friend at an academic conference. We wound up seated next to each other, and I took an instant dislike to him: he struck me as overbearing, loud, and just too much of a guy.
After the conference, I wrote a brief, eye-roll-y blog post about something he'd done that I'd found professionally objectionable. I couched it in general terms--I'd met this ridiculous person, who'd done this ridiculous thing--and my readers and I chattered back and forth in the comments for a few days about how very, very loserish that behavior was. Then I forgot about it.
Over the next year I ran into Cosimo a few more times at conferences, and eventually decided that he was okay: he was loud, yes, but also rather funny--without being one of those guys who has to be the funniest person in the room. And he seemed generous and supportive of his colleagues. We emailed a couple of times about professional matters and I assigned him to an outer circle among my work-friends.
Time passed. At some point I noticed that I had a new blog reader whose comments stood out in a variety of ways: thoughtful, funny, and rather more personal in tone than I'd have expected from someone I didn't know. From my site stats I traced him to an IP address at Cosimo's university.
I wondered if the new reader could be he, and I wondered if I should be uncomfortable if he were; I didn't know Cosimo well, and I'd been blogging about relatively personal topics recently. (And then, as now, I had no illusions that anyone who knew me in real life wouldn't immediately recognize me from my blog.) But I read back through my last dozen posts and figured, fuck it: I wasn't ashamed of anything.
That is, until I saw that he'd been going through my archives. And that he'd read that post. Three times.
Well, what's a girl to do?
This girl emailed him and apologized. And then took down the post.
We got into more frequent email contact after that, but still only in a friendly way: I'd been in a long-term relationship when I'd first met him, and by that point was dating someone else, and I still hadn't entirely shaken my negative first impression of Cosimo. Obviously, he was a decent (and, uh, gracious and forgiving) guy. . . but he was still kinda annoying, right? At least in person? I was pretty sure he must still be annoying.
Of course, I hadn't actually seen him in person for a long while. Then we went out for dinner one weekend when he was passing through town--and I had an astonishingly good time. And then there was a conference, and another conference. And by that point my latest relationship had ended.
We started talking on the phone, almost daily, sometimes for three or four hours at a stretch; I couldn't remember when I'd last been that excited to be getting to know someone, or that eager to do so. After a month I went to visit him.
And the rest, as they say, is unwritten blogospheric history.