What does Ari Swartz know about love?
“Be open to it,” he said. “But I also think it’s remarkable that the same thing that can complete you and lead you to fulfillment can also just roil your heart and make you feel miserable. There aren’t many other things that can lead to both extremes.”
Ari should know. The University of Indiana recording arts student and bouncer spent last Valentine’s Day in a relationship that was on its way to an amicable break-up. The split finally came in July, around the same time Ari adopted Dewey, his beloved four–year-old Rottweiler. Man and dog were on track to spend this Valentine’s Day together solo until Aug. 22, when Ari received a text from his ex:
“Are you aware that there is a flyer about you in Bloomington?”
He wasn’t, so she sent him a photo of a poster that had been taped to a telephone pole in People’s Park near Indiana University:
“WANTED. Owner of Rottweiler Dog!!!!! Last seen July 13 roughly 11 p.m. on corner of Kirkwood Ave. & Dunn. Wearing a trippy Lollapalooza T-shirt and is EXPECTIONALLY [sic] HOT! Dog’s name may begin with the letter D (unsure). Walks dog a lot, mostly at night. PLEASE CALL [phone number] FOR YOUR REWARD 😉 ”
“I was completely blown away,” said Ari. “After forwarding the picture to several friends, emailing it to my parents and some deliberation, I sent the number on the flyer a text message. I knew from the beginning I was going to contact the number, I just didn’t know how I would approach it.”
In this, the age of “catfishing” and other modern romance war stories, Ari proceeded with guarded optimism.
“I got the same response from all my friends, something along the lines of, ‘That’s awesome, be [bleeping] careful, dude.’ My mom surprised me by thinking it was a ballsy and respectable move.
“I assumed that some disease-ridden tramp had posted the flyer, and I would need to take precaution in my dealings with her. Surely nice girls don’t solicit sex to strangers by posting flyers around town?”
The next day, Ari texted the number on the poster. At the other end was Abbey Huettner, a Carmel, Indiana native who had been walking in People’s Park with friends during her IU freshman orientation weekend when they happened upon Ari and Dewey. The women had stopped for a minute to pet the dog and chat up the dude, then went their separate ways.
Abbey was smitten at first sight. As they walked, she made her feelings about the stranger known to her friends, who — what are friends for? — made and hung the WANTED posters all over the park.
After a few more texts and a mutual vetting, Ari and Abbey made plans to meet in the flesh.
“I contacted her the next day and ended up picking her up that night,” said Ari. “I was excited to see her because I remembered the group of girls and knew that they were all very attractive. She also sent me a picture beforehand. As soon as she got in the car, we hit it off based on our music taste.
“When we got back to my place we hung out and listened to music, and she spent the night going through my iTunes collection, which contains over 12,000 songs or 40 days of music. We talked about and listened to music for a few hours. There was an incredibly strong bond from the beginning. She was like a female version of myself.”
The lovers have been nearly inseparable since. Ari credits his new love with providing him with inspiration for his recording projects and schoolwork. Abbey sounds like she’s still smitten and more than a little blown away.
“It’s my freshman year of college; I didn’t expect to fall in love my first two days,” she said. “I was ready to party and not really settle down, so it wasn’t me trying to find love. It was my friends who set me up, and who made it happen.
“Things have been great; we’ll probably move in together in May, we have almost every aspect in common, and we have lots of mutual friends to go out with, so now it’s really natural. It escalated pretty fast, in a really good way.”