All the Way Thru
Photography by Rob Howard
Ariel, communications director: I was in an electro-queer band called Tayisha Busay, and in September 2010 we opened for MEN in D.C. at this annual festival Phasefest. I’d heard of [Samson’s old group] Le Tigre, but I couldn’t tell you any of their songs. But it was for the better because then I didn’t know who JD was. Nothing happened that day; we just exchanged numbers.
One day she called me and said MEN was looking for opening bands for their tour. We show up at soundcheck the first day in Boston and she sees me and jumps off the stage and runs over to me and gives me a bear hug. That was probably the first time we touched. At that moment I was like, “Oh, that’s what I feel.” We started dating in March 2011 and we’ve talked every day since.
JD, Musician: It’s so good for me—with my crazy, eccentric, creative life—to be with somebody grounded. For our first anniversary, I drew 365 hearts on a piece of paper, one for each day we’d been together. We have that framed. For our second, I put 730 hearts on a T-shirt to signify two years. The gift for a first anniversary is paper, for the second it’s cotton, and the third is leather. We’re coming up on three years in March… so that’s 1,095 hearts I need to put on leather.
I barely call her by her name. I call her “Smash” and I’m “Smush.” We have smash written on a piece of paper on the refrigerator, and underneath it says atwt. I also got a tattoo that says atwt, which stands for “All the Way Thru,” a song I wrote about Ariel. It is my first love song—I was finally able to write one. As soon as I wrote it, we started to say “ATWT” to each other all the time: before one of us is going into a hard meeting, every time we get on an airplane.
“For our first anniversary, I drew 365 hearts on a piece of paper, one for each day we’d been together. We have that framed.”