With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought I'd take this opportunity to reflect on the role that Star Trek has played in our relationship.
When Jay and I started dating eleven years ago (time has just warped right on by!), Star Trek wasn't much more than a pop culture reference for him. That isn't to say that he wasn't into science fiction. I think the first time I ever spoke to him was to verify that he was, indeed, wearing a Red Dwarf t-shirt. I didn't know it at the time, but the surprise and wonder that flashed across his face when he realized that someone else in the room was familiar with one of his favorite British TV shows marked the beginning of what would become a now almost nine-year marriage.
The two of us as young lighting design students at Boston University. Photo Credit: Eric Watkins
At the beginning of our relationship, we celebrated our shared fandom by working our way together through the entire library of the Red Dwarf series, which has continued to grow over the eleven years since we started. Eventually, we realized that in addition to enjoying interests that we already shared, we also enjoyed learning about and celebrating the fandoms that were unique to each of us.
Jay wanted to know more about this Star Trek thing that my dad and I kept referencing (Dad and I have been known to hold conversations entirely in either Star Trek or Ghostbusters quotes). Thus, assimilation began.
Dad literally presented Jay with a sign that read: ASSIMILATED during our wedding toast.
I held my breath through each episode of The Original Series, not sure what my response would be if Jay determined that Star Trek was not for him. It was nostalgic for me, having grown up watching it with my dad and sister on VHS tape. I didn't care that it had been filmed in the 60's and it showed. I could forgive it for its faults--including its 1960's era portrayal of women--because of what it had given me. Jay didn't have that background.
He loved the show, anyway. As lighting design students we bonded over the early color TV approach to lighting and makeup, which drew directly from effects utilized on the stage. Jay recounted during our Star Trek: Las Vegas panel in 2019 that he had fallen in love with Star Trek because it tells stories. It has certainly become a part of ours.
After finishing TOS Jay asked me, aren't there other Star Treks? I knew about the Animated Series, and vaguely recalled that there had been a couple of other shows on during my later childhood that I had never watched. My entire experience with Trek had been original Trek. I wasn't sure if I would even like the others.
Jay couldn't get enough, though. So we started watching The Next Generation, which led to watching Deep Space Nine, which led to... you see where this is going. I have now seen every episode and movie ever made. Jay is missing a couple of Animated Series episodes, but we're working on that.
Soon you couldn't tell which of us had been the original fan--almost. I've still got Jay beat on the TOS episode titles and quotes. But I must admit, he put together an astonishingly good Tribble Trivia game when we hosted The Vendor's Haul in November of 2020. We even subtly incorporated a little Star Trek into our wedding, drawing inspiration from the delta shape, paired with a sharp angles which referenced the Klingon aesthetic (I love Klingons) for our monogram.
Dad made us a sign with our Star Trek-inspired monogram for the wedding reception.
I think it was Jay who suggested that we attend our first Star Trek convention, not long after we were married. We were living in Boston in 2014, when Creation hosted the Official Star Trek Convention there. We bought Jay his first Star Trek t-shirt at that con, and I learned what cosplay was. It was our first foray into the fandom together in public. We had a blast.
Here we are at our first ever convention. I'd thrown together my first ever attempt at cosplay using clothes from my closet and some theatre gaffer's tape. I'm holding a metal Spot that I welded for the occasion.
One convention led to another, and soon we were hopping into the shuttle pod for a trek to Mission New York. We even started giving each other Star Trek gifts.
Me with a bat'leth scaled to a Klingon my height, handmade by Jay.
Given my love of Klingons, you might think it's a little funny that our small business makes Tribbles. To us, though, it makes perfect sense. Tribbles were my first Star Trek love. They brought me into the franchise, which I in turn shared with Jay. Science Division and our App-enabled Tribbles are the melding of my childhood nostalgia with my nerdy, loving, perfectly imperfect partnership with Jay.
It's something that we started and built together, and it keeps Star Trek at the center of our relationship. We have plenty of other interests, and other things that bring us together. Star Trek, though, has become something truly special for us. It isn't just something that I brought into the relationship, it's something that has been both of ours since the moment we started "Encounter at Farpoint."
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for us to get back to our TOS rewatch.