She Found Love in a Surprising Place: A CD Pile

In the summer of 1992, Niffer Marie Desmond and her friend Caitlyn Meeks hosted a late night radio show called “the Bucket Sisters” at University of California, Santa Cruz, where they were undergraduates. On the show, they played CDs that were stacked on a shelf in the campus studio.

One night, they stumbled upon a CD called “Lo Fidelity, Hi Anxiety” by Paul Allen Petroskey, whose artist name is Weird Paul.

Typically, they would play a couple of songs from each CD. But this time, they played the entire album. “I thought to myself, ‘I have to see if I can find more of these,’” Ms. Desmond said, “‘and I want to meet this guy.’”

Though she kept the CD and listened to its 25 tracks often, she was unable to look for more of his music — until 1998, when the internet became more accessible. “That’s when I started searching for him,” she said.

Yet it would be another eight years, in 2006, that she finally found him on Myspace — or rather, he found her. On her profile, she had listed Weird Paul as one of her favorite musicians. Mr. Petroskey, who has released 33 albums and consistently played and live-streamed shows, had used a Myspace search tool to see those who had listed him as their favorite musician. When Ms. Desmond’s profile popped up, he decided to send her a friend request.

So it was there that they began chatting about their many shared interests, such as wordplay and “The Muppets.” They talked by phone and mailed each other music and videos. Still, she was living in San Francisco and he in Pittsburgh, so an in-person meeting wasn’t possible — that is, until the following year, in January 2007, when Ms. Desmond traveled to Butler, Pa. to visit her aunt.

“I hadn’t seen them in a while, so I decided to go visit,” she said.

“So she fabricated a plan,” Mr. Petroskey added, jokingly. (Ms. Desmond insisted, with a laugh, that she didn’t.)

They met in person for the first time at her aunt’s home, an hour north of Pittsburgh. “I rang the doorbell, and she opened the door and ran out and gave me a big hug,” he said. “I almost knocked him over,” she added.

For their first date, they went to Mr. Petroskey’s house and built a fort with blankets and chairs, “like kids do,” Ms. Desmond said, and they watched a film.

She stayed at his house for a few days, and a week later, asked him if he wanted to make it official. “She picked me up, spun me around in the air and said, ‘Do you want to be my boyfriend?’” Mr. Petroskey said.

The two bonded over their “specific and aligned interests” and their “strong inner children.” “It’s been hard in my life to find partners that understood me, and I understood them,” he said.

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“He calls himself ‘Weird Paul,’” Ms. Desmond said. “How many girls want to go out with ‘Weird Paul’: a weird guy with a bowl cut? But I like weird, and we have the same obscure enjoyment of weird things.”

Both artists, they have always supported each other in their creative endeavors. When they first met, Ms. Desmond was a web designer, so she built his website. Mr. Petroskey, 52, continues to work as a musician, and Ms. Desmond, 53, is currently a curator of vintage Japanese wares for her Etsy shop, KimonoSoul.

The couple maintained a long-distance relationship for a year before Ms. Desmond moved into his house in Pittsburgh, where they still live today.

It would be another 12 years before Mr. Petroskey proposed, in November 2020. “I wanted to wait until I could really afford to buy her a nice ring and afford to have a wedding,” he said. “During the pandemic, I finally was able to start to support myself through making my art in a really strong way, because I started livestreaming on Twitch.”

On the night of the proposal, they were enjoying a local one-night getaway at the Parador Inn in Pittsburgh, and he hid the ring in a washcloth while they were talking a bubble bath together. “I pulled it out and I asked her to marry me,” he said. “She was very surprised.”

The couple wed on Jan. 20 at the Byodo-In Temple in Oahu, Hawaii, before 26 guests, who were asked to test for Covid beforehand. John Marvel, ordained by Universal Life Church, officiated in an inflatable yellow submarine costume to match the theme of the wedding: the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” The couple decided on the theme after watching the documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” and reminiscing about their love for the band as children.

They chose the location of the wedding based on one of Mr. Petroskey’s songs from 1995, “I’m Gonna Go to Hawaii,” which mentions the island Oahu. Ms. Desmonds father had moved there in 2019 “by some beautiful chance,” she said.

So, “when we thought of our marriage a couple of years later, it made so much sense to come here and make Paul’s dream come true,” she said, while “getting married at the same time.”

“I don’t have any words for the kind of love we have,” Ms. Desmond said. “But it was perfect that we had this magical experience because you didn’t need words for that.”