Aay Preston-Myint, 32, and Colin Dickson, 28
Years together: Nearly two and a half
Occupations: Colin’s a metal fabricator and woodworker; Aay’s an artist, SAIC instructor, bartender/server (Analogue and the Charleston), and an organizer of the queer dance party Chances Dances.
Aay and Colin shared their first dance floor at Parlour on Clark, a meeting soundtracked by DJ Swaguerrilla, a friend and future collaborator of Aay’s. They didn’t swap numbers then, but neither wasted time in perusing the other’s OKCupid profile the next day. As Aay puts it, “He asked me what I was doing the next Thursday . . . which was a big Thanksgiving dinner at my house. Our first date didn’t just have a third wheel, it had 20.”
The pair was nominated as a power couple by their friend Brook, who describes them as “two powerful, intelligent, wonderful, adorable, and real people in love, setting examples as artists, magicians of community, queer activists, and style icons.” —Kevin Warwick
How long have you been together? Is marriage in your future?
Aay: Two and a half years, almost. We technically are not legally entitled to marriage until June, but I wouldn’t consider marriage a demarcation of when our relationship became deeper, more committed, or “official.” That is weird and sort of gross to me, honestly. Don’t get me started on the sociopolitics of marriage as a queer person . . . or as a breathing person, for that matter.
Do you cohabitate? If so, is it as blissful as we all imagine?
Aay: Yes, we do. I’m a very private person who needs a lot of space, so for the longest time I never really considered living with a partner, much less in a one-bedroom apartment. We did an obnoxious amount of processing beforehand. We’re trying to be really good at identifying when one another needs support versus distance. It helps that our schedules are opposite on a lot of days, so we have a good amount of time to ourselves.
Colin: It’s been great to live in the same space and work to fulfill our ultimate aesthetic desires. We know we need more space, but our amenities make up for some of the spatial constraints.
Is there mutual interest in each other’s profession or is work typically left at work?
Aay: In terms of my teaching and his metalworking, there’s artistic connections between those two things, but we try not to bring too much of that home aside from the usual checking in. We work on our own projects (whether for art or home improvement) together, so that ends up taking the bulk of our shop talk. Also, Colin likes to visit me when I’m bartending, which I think is cute. He’s my favorite customer.
If we followed you guys around for a weekend, would we be, like, totally bored?
Colin: If you’re bored that’s your problem! Stop following us! We like just about any kind of food and good drink to go with it. We’ll certainly be letting loose at Chances Dances, [the monthly DJ night focusing on women-made music] Crimson Glow (hosted by Claire Arctander and Latham Zearfoss), and [the R&B-grooved queer dance party] Slo-‘Mo (hosted by Tess Kisner and Kristen Kaza).
In which Colin recalls first meeting Aay
(Looking for love at first sight? isawyou.chicagoreader.com)
When: November 18, 2011
Where: Parlour Bar on Clark
I saw a: Man
I am a: Man
You were in the far corner by the DJ booth (assuming you knew them by your playfulness). I saw you start dancing and after my drink I made my way out there. You knew what you wanted and knew how to get it! I think you’re a great dancer and an amazing kisser. Sorry I vanished before we could exchange numbers, I’d love to see you again.
Who picks the music or has control of the radio and why?
Aay: I do. Colin has literally one record (Infinite Lives by our friends Bastardgeist).
Colin: Aay has control of the music, he’s the DJ (Nina Ramone). I’ll put on talk radio and he’ll usually ask me to turn it down.
The better cook of the two?
Aay: I guess I’m the better cook because I have more experience (both formal and informal), but Colin has been teaching himself. Especially baking—his pie-making skills are almost as good as mine, which I am secretly annoyed about. But who doesn’t want more pie?
Colin: Aay is far more proficient in the kitchen, but I’m a good learner. My pie crust is better than his now.
Your go-to restaurant when you don’t feel like putting forth any effort? Your go-to when you feel like putting forth maximum effort?
Aay: If we are totally exhausted, we’ll walk to our nearest beer/burger spot, Small Bar on Wellington. The staff there is awesome and always pick the most interesting beers. When we want to feel maximum cute, we’ll go to Fat Rice. The food is the closest thing to what my mom used to cook growing up, but fancier.
What’s your significant other’s most adorable, precious quality? Their most superficial attractive quality?
Aay: I mistook Colin for a Pisces when we met (we’re both very stubborn Aries), because he likes to help people so much. You can tell how much satisfaction he gets from it. It almost creeped me out when we first met, but obviously I love it now. And I think he has a cute body. Is it weird to say that in public?
Colin: The amount of dedication put into his career, art practice, publications, event organizing . . . the list goes on and on.
Who’s winning at a game of Jeopardy! and why?
Aay: I am. My brain absorbs trivia like a sponge. This is not necessarily a good thing or an attractive quality, mind you, but it is why I’ll win.
Colin: Aay, he went to the genius magnet high school.
If we were to compare your Netflix queue against the other person’s, what would that tell us?
Aay: That I pay way too much money just to watch a couple episodes of Bob’s Burgers and My Cat From Hell every now and then. Before they gave you separate users on one account, Colin was always mucking up my preferences with stuff like Mythbusters and Murder She Wrote (all that soft focus and expository dialogue helps him fall asleep, I suspect).
Colin: I stole his account and filled it with Murder She Wrote . . . and documentaries.
What pet peeve about your significant other have you grown to find strangely charming over time?
Aay: That’s a hard one. Maybe the way he uses strange words or sometimes mispronounces them . . . like “cattywampus” and “acrosst.”
Colin: His extremely loud sneeze. His procrastination.
Which of you is more likely to carry on a 15-minute conversation with the mail carrier, oblivious to the fact that he or she is trying to get on with the route?
Aay: Definitely Colin. He gave our new mail carrier chocolate when we moved. Maybe it’s midwestern hospitality. But it works—our mail carrier is extra nice to us now.
Colin: I know Ms. Brown is busy! I don’t keep her waiting, but I do love to chat.
Of all the famous couples throughout history, which do you think you guys are most like?
Aay: There’s a quote that we both love from John Cage about how he described his relationship with Merce Cunningham—this was as close as he ever got to coming out in public. He said, “I cook, and Merce does the dishes.” That’s pretty much us in a nutshell. Or maybe Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren.
What are your thoughts on being nominated? Would you have ever thought of yourself as being one half of a “power couple?”
Colin: Flattered and a little self-conscious. I’m just doing my thing with my boo, being open and honest, continuing to build strong relationships with our friends, support all their talents, and work really hard at the things I’m good at. We make a pretty good team, he’s the love of my life. It’s powerful shit. I’ll be embarrassed when this goes to print.
What’s on the horizon for this power couple?
Aay: Maybe it’s the winter talking, but I just want a fucking bomb, expensive vacation together. I see us on a boat. On the horizon. Other than that, I have everything I want from this guy right now.