Kat’s Adventures in Dating: The Apocalypse Husband

In light of the recent giant freeze in Texas that shut the power off to 69.69% of the citizens of Austin (yet again! This keeps happening!), I thought I would share the story of my Apocalypse Husband. Here’s the story as I shared it with Reddit (unfortunately) in February 2021. 

In the beginning of the pandemic, there was an understood extension of cuffing season as we all tried to find someone who could be our go-to while in quarantine lockdown. And so we had the Pandemic Boyfriend, brought on by Bumble or Tinder or whatever your dating app of choice was. Your Pandemic Boyfriend would come over to hook up once or twice a week, and you had cute charcuterie picnics together and watched Netflix and didn’t give each other the coronavirus.

But the utter disaster that is Austin this week has accelerated this need to a new level. It’s no longer light and airy cuffing season with binge watching and the occasional Zoom cocktail hour. No, no — this is now a matter of survival. Thus, I see your Pandemic Boyfriend and raise you The Apocalypse Husband.

The Apocalypse Husband also comes from Bumble or Tinder or Hinge or maybe even the outdoor patio bar down the street you went to when it was 80 degrees two weeks ago. He’s here to keep you alive. And you’re here to keep him alive. You give each other what is necessary — heat, light, unlimited data, a power bank, boiled water. You take turns going out into the tundra to find provisions. You handle each other’s crises.

Mine is named Peter. Before the recent unpleasantness, we had seen each other all of four times in the span of three weeks. We’d had drinks and good conversation. Peter is from out of town and will be leaving by the first of March (if not sooner, thanks Gov Abbott for scaring him off), so there was no way it was going to be serious.

But as of Monday evening, it’s been arguably one of the most serious relationships of my life.

Peter has contributed to my survival in the following ways:

– body heat (extremely important, especially at night, since my power went out at 2am Monday)

– provisions (he went back to his AirBnB to grab some bucatini and pasta sauce Tuesday — it was clutch)

– news updates from all the City of Austin utilities that are failing us entirely (his phone battery lasts a lot longer than mine)

– finding and shutting off the customer water line to my house when a pipe burst on Wednesday morning (he’s officially my knight in shining armor for that, really)

– allowing me to stay with him in his AirBnB after the water in my house was shut off and he got power back (which also means: a hot shower, good lord, I needed that)

– the use of his car so that I could get more stuff from my house when it became clear I wasn’t going to have water for quite a few days

I have contributed to Peter’s survival in the following ways over the past four days (that feel like five years):

– body heat + fantastic bedding (it was delectably cozy under the flannel covers even while my house fell to 42 degrees)

– a gas stove and good cooking skills (which means delicious hot breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, plus coffee and tea)

– candles (for heat, light, AND ambience)

– a power bank and a charged laptop so he could charge his phone (until his power came back on yesterday)

– a house that is decidedly Hygge (beats his cruddy AirBnB for style points, at least)

– bourbon (to make cocktails with — our one indulgence since all the chocolate is gone)

After four days of this, we’ve resorted to calling each other “honey” and “dear” and we’ve fallen into a decidedly domestic pattern. I cook; he provides food. My boss has been amazing about not asking me to work, so Peter works while I doomscroll Reddit. We both make plans about what we’ll do if (the power goes back off; we can’t boil water; armed invaders approach from the east). We have deep discussions about the nature of life and love and the human condition. Even with the power back on, we have not turned on the TV — after work, we have dinner and we talk until we’re sleepy. We even wrote a song about Ted Cruz. 

As soon as my water is back, this marriage is basically over. We’re both ok with that. He’ll go back to his Midwestern home and we’ll keep in touch on Facebook. But for now, we are facing the Austin Apocalypse together. I’d like to thank Bumble, AirBnB, and Austin’s (soon-to-be-ended) reputation as a great place to stay for the winter for giving me my wonderful Apocalypse Husband.

Verdict: Peter and I are still friends and we hang out whenever we’re in each other’s cities. When we said goodbye at the end of our Apocalypse Marriage, we hugged and he said, “This has been the best marriage I’ve ever had.” And I responded, “Me, too.”

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