While most couples profess their undying love on Valentine’s Day, leave it up to Devium Co-Founder Corey Duffel and his wife Rachel Travers to celebrate their first meet-up, and their seventh wedding anniversary, on the REAL most romantic date--Halloween! Happy anniversary to the most intriguing couple we know!
DVM: How’d you two meet?
Corey: I’d invited a small group to what I thought would be a chill Halloween get-together-- listen to some tunes, drink some wine, carve some pumpkins. But you know how those things sometimes go--someone told someone, who told someone, and suddenly it wasn’t my small party anymore.
Rachel: …..And actually, I wasn’t even an invited guest. I was one of those crashers….
Corey: It was starting to be a rough night, because it was turning into one of those “people I don’t know are spilling wine on my new carpet” kind of nights. There was a girl there. She has bright red hair and glasses, and she was pretty quiet. I didn’t know much about her--just that she was the drummer in my friend’s band. A song was playing on the stereo, and she mentioned that she liked that band, which was a pretty obscure one.
Rachel: I think we might have been the only two people at the party who weren’t drinking at that point. We bonded over our love of alternative music, because he was playing this rather obscure English punk band called Theatre of Hate, and their song Do You Believe in the Westworld was playing. I’d never met anyone else who loved that band.
Corey: Music talk turned into movie talk. And that, as weird as it now sounds, turned into pomegranate talk.
DVM: Tell us more about the pomegranate thing.
Rachel: I saw that Corey had some pomegranates on his kitchen counter, and I was--and still am-- totally obsessed with pomegranates. I asked if I could have one, and as I was leaving Corey gave me a few, along with one of his B-list Troma movies, Toxic Avenger, because he thought I would like it.
Corey: Full disclosure-- I gave her the pomegranates as she was leaving because I was afraid she’d make a big mess in my kitchen if she started eating them at the house. You know how pomegranates can stain everything. I never thought I’d see my DVD again. And she had promised to make me cupcakes with her pomegranate stash, but I didn’t think there was any chance in hell that that would happen either. We didn’t even exchange numbers.
Rachel: What he didn’t know at the time is that I’m not the kind of girl who would steal some guy’s DVD. It was a loan. But I didn’t think I was his type: I was a book-ish musician whose comfort zone is at the very back of the stage. I didn’t have any romantic intentions when I sent him a MySpace message letting him know that I had thought the video was great and was ready to return it. And we’ve been hanging out ever since.
Corey: It’s so funny that Rachel mentions ‘types.” While she wasn’t a lot like the usual women I’d be with, she was extremely kind, and that’s what intrigued me so much. Here was this red-haired girl with glasses, dressing like an Indie grandma in her three-sizes-too-big cardigan and her flowery dress, and here I was, this skateboard rock and roller. She wasn’t trying to impress me. She didn’t know anything about the skateboarding world. And I was instantly attracted to her.
From the very first Halloween night Rachel has always made things more for me. More fun. More intriguing. She makes me think about things. If I were being totally honest it was kinda love at first sight for me. I was intrigued, actually enchanted, by this girl I had just met.
And by the way, pomegranates have a weighty history in literature and mythology. Oscar Wilde --of literary fame for his books, including A House of Pomegranates- is one of my favorite authors, so it was just right that we bonded over pomegranates and Halloween.
DVM: Was there anything that worried either of you about each other when you first met?
Corey: For me, it was that she was a few years younger than me, and I saw her as really innocent and pure--just a really, really cool awesome human being, and I didn’t want to screw that up. By that time I was 24 and had been in a lot of different relationships, and had been traveling around the world for skateboarding.
At first we just started building a relationship where we were just hanging out--getting to know each other, going on adventures, looking at starry nights, going on hikes and catching snakes. As we got closer I kept telling her “you might want to just leave now. This isn’t going to end well, and I’m just not that much of a good person, to be honest.” I was just trying to push her away.
It’s weird to try to explain. Here was a woman who was younger than me and I was technically more worldly than she was, yet I felt totally uneducated around her. I’m like Tarzan swinging from the trees, and she’s my Jane, keeping me grounded.
Rachel: I had no worries at all. I saw that he was truly a one of a kind person. That did it for me.
DVM: How did two wildly independent people end up taking the plunge and actually getting married?
Corey: Marriage is really important to me. I think it’s an important aspect of really sticking together, through arguments, through mistakes. My parents have been married for 46 years, and both sets of my grandparents were married for life.
Rachel: Up until Corey, I hadn’t thought much about marriage, though my parents have been married for more than four decades. For an edgy guy, Corey can be really traditional about a few things. He talked to my parents beforehand. And he planned his proposal around the anniversary of our first date.
DVM: What was your wedding like?
Rachel: Well, it was on Halloween, of course. It was very DIY. My mom made a black dress for me…
Corey: The dress was epic. And Rachel looked amazing…
Rachel: And all our best friends came. Corey had his nachos bar, and all the guests agreed that wings and a nachos bar were what every good wedding should have. Our wedding cake topper was two skeletons.
Corey: We met on a rainy Halloween night, and on the day of our Halloween wedding it rained right up to the last minute before the ceremony. They say that getting married on a rainy day is great luck, because a wet knot can’t be untied.
We are two really independent people, and still I can’t imagine my life without Rachel. She’s very untraditional. Yet we are both equally committed to our loyalty to each other, and working hard to make things last. Being in love is the best. I’m still really independent. I still go on my hikes, go on my skateboard trips, and she doesn’t want to join me most of the time, but when I’m away from her I’m still always thinking about her. It keeps me inspired constantly knowing there’s somebody I love when I get home, pretending to laugh at my terrible jokes.
I cast a big shadow, but really, Rachel is the awesome one, and I’m just the dude who got lucky. I think that if this ended, which it never, ever will, all our friends would end up being her friend, not mine!
DVM: And just so we can go full circle here, what happened with the pomegranates you gave Rachel?
Corey: Well if you know Rachel, you know that she’s always true to her word. She did end up baking me those pomegranate cupcakes. They were amazing.
Photos courtesy of Mark Owens.