Seattle Dating Scene features readers’ thoughts and stories about what it’s like to date in Seattle. For our next feature, follow this promptTrying to settle an argument with your significant other? Need some guidance on where to have a socially distanced date or need any other advice? Send in your questions to be answered by our columnist Marina Resto, who runs the lively @Dating_in_Seattle Instagram account.

By Thursday, Feb. 11, please email your questions to dating@seattletimes.com or submit them via Instagram direct message to @dating_in_seattle, and they may be answered by Marina in a future edition of The Mix.

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Happy Anniversary, Tell Us Your Story

We asked readers to submit stories about how they met their significant others. Here are some of your success stories! 

Answers have been edited for spelling and clarity.

Lisa and Ken

“We met in Pullman while working at the grocery store in the center of town. Ken stocked shelves. I was in the deli. His calm demeanor and big blue eyes caught my attention, but I was already engaged. I graduated that school year. He came over to the deli to say goodbye and I remember being deeply sorry that I wasn’t going to see him again.

About 18 months went by and I returned to Pullman for homecoming. As my friend and I sat in the stands at the game, I saw Ken walking up the aisle. We chatted briefly, just long enough for me to let him know that I was no longer engaged.

Later that day, I decided to visit my brother, who was working at the same store where Ken and I had worked. Such luck! I found my brother, who was having a conversation with Ken. Ken and I spent the next couple of hours catching up. He confessed that when we saw each other at the game he’d somehow gone up the wrong aisle. As someone with a keen sense of direction this was perplexing to him. Months later, we decided it had been the Fates working their magic to bring us together.

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As the weekend came to an end, we returned home. I was a new teacher living with my parents in Kirkland. He had just returned from Germany and was living with his parents in Spokane. We spoke by phone for the next few weeks. Then he was offered a management job at a restaurant. He could work in Spokane or Seattle. Yes, he chose Seattle.

We spent the next few months dating. He even helped me move into my first apartment. At one point while we were unpacking a box, I stopped and, without even knowing what I was going to say, I looked at him and told him we were going to be together a long time. I was as surprised as he was by what I said, but he didn’t disagree.

Christmas arrived and he gave me an ornament. He’d had ‘Ken and Lisa, our first Christmas’ engraved on it. Despite my earlier comment, this was a bit unnerving. We hadn’t spoken about any kind of long-term commitment. I wasn’t sure what to make of this gift.

The restaurant had a policy that upon finishing the training period, the new managers would be transferred out of state to gain experience. Knowing his training was ending, I figured it was going to be time to say goodbye. Instead, without telling me, he quit his job and began waiting tables. We became engaged a year later. I still joke that I had to say yes when he proposed because I had unintentionally influenced his career decisions.

After 26 years of marriage and three wonderful children, there are no regrets. And that first ornament still hangs on our Christmas tree, surrounded by the ornaments Ken gives our kids and me each year.”

— Lisa

Valerie and Pat

Valerie and Pat bonded over their love of bowling — and now own a bowling alley of their own. (Courtesy of Valerie Johns)
Valerie and Pat bonded over their love of bowling — and now own a bowling alley of their own. (Courtesy of Valerie Johns)
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“In the late 1970s, at my best friend’s request, I joined a bowling league at Skyway Park Bowl. I got my name on the high-score board that season.

Pull tab vending machines had come in and I decided to try my luck. I pulled a $50 winning ticket. I was 19 years old. The man at the front desk was the ‘pro’ at the center. He had to take my ID, and when he saw my name he said, ‘I was wondering who you were. I saw your name on the high-score board.’

Then in the 1978-79 season, a spot opened in the ‘Reno League’ which followed my league. The secretary asked me to join. I did, and the ‘pro’ was also bowling in that league.

We started talking each week and he ended up asking me out. Pat took me to a lovely restaurant in Redmond called the Velvet Turtle. He ordered an artichoke to share, my first one ever. Now I grow them in my garden each year. Two years later, we were married on Feb. 8, 1981, and will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this month.

[Editor’s note: Valerie and Pat now own their own bowling center.]

Unfortunately, with the coronavirus, we were shut down for nine of the last 11 months. It was frustrating for us when gyms were allowed to be open. Bowling is the main exercise for many of our customers. Everyone wears a mask and follows all of the rules. We were allowed to open again Feb. 1 with two people per lane. It’s quite a change from five per lane, but we are happy to be open again. Even though we lost a lot of money during the shutdown, we did get to enjoy time doing things we used to do, like reading the Sunday Seattle Times, doing the puzzles and exploring our beautiful state.”

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Valerie

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Come hang out with our Seattle Times dating team in this pre-Valentine’s Day event

Come hang out with The Seattle Times dating team at this virtual pre-Valentine’s Day event on Feb. 12. Watch the fun or join in and pitch your friend! (Nancy Zhang / YouShouldDatePPT)
Come hang out with The Seattle Times dating team at this virtual pre-Valentine’s Day event on Feb. 12. Watch the fun or join in and pitch your friend! (Nancy Zhang / YouShouldDatePPT)

Got that single friend making it through months of quarantining alone? Virtually pitch them for a (socially distanced, COVID-19-safe, and/or virtual) dateor just hang out and watch other people pitch their friends! Check out more info on our Feb. 12 virtual event here: st.news/datingppt

Here’s the monthly “Seattle Dating Scene” lineup:

  • First week: “Dating Question of the Month” — Readers respond to a dating-related question we’ve posed.
  • Second week: “Happy Anniversary, Tell Us Your Story” — Have an anniversary coming up this month? In under 500 words, tell us how you met your significant other, and send in your story and a photo.
  • Third week: “Best Date/Worst Date” — In under 250 words, tell us an anecdote from the best or worst date you’ve been on.
  • Fourth week: “Ask Marina” — Marina Resto, who runs the lively @Dating_in_Seattle Instagram account, answers reader questions about dating — or finds a special guest to answer the ones she can’t!
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