But I did have Los Angeles, which I was in love with—I'd run around with my Canon, snapping palm-studded cityscapes. I posted them on Flickr, the photo-sharing site, where one day I noticed an artful picture of a Vespa scooter taken by a man named Neal. I clicked on the star icon. Neal returned the favor, liking and commenting on my work. The comments were faintly suggestive. We started talking on Gchat. In the weeks that followed, I spent an irrational amount of time gazing at his self-portraits. It all felt absurd: I had a crush on some guy from Flickr? Who lived in Northern Ireland?
Then again, a little absurdity never hurt anybody. One day, I e-blurted something about my "Internet crush on you." Neal's response: ":)"
He suggested we meet. We did. Two years, a half-dozen transatlantic flights, and a big move later, Neal and I are married. We live in Belfast and visit Los Angeles when we can. And while our love isn't always picture-perfect, it does come pretty close.