i saw you

How Mik Byskov and Court­ney Ju­kich found each other through the pages of the Ge­or­gia Straight

The Georgia Straight - - Front Page - > BY KATE WIL­SON

It was Hal­loween of 2015 when Court­ney Ju­kich first saw Mik Byskov.

That night, she’d booked a slot to ride the Haunted Van­cou­ver Trol­ley Tour. Re­galed with grue­some tales as they sped past land­marks like the Fair­mont Ho­tel Van­cou­ver, Stan­ley Park, and Moun­tain View Ceme­tery, Ju­kich and her best friend spent the evening gig­gling at the hor­ror sto­ries. Even­tu­ally, they pulled up to the last stop—the Van­cou­ver Po­lice Mu­seum morgue. There she caught sight of a “cute pathol­o­gist” who would change her life.

“I’d been do­ing this act­ing gig with my room­mate at the time,” Byskov tells the Straight over cof­fee, seated op­po­site Ju­kich. “We were the fi­nal part of the Trol­ley Tour, and we would per­form a 20-minute skit full of ter­ri­ble puns. One of us would play a doc­tor and walk the vis­i­tors through an au­topsy on a dead body. The other per­son would play the corpse, and we would switch it up to keep it fresh. That night, I was the pathol­o­gist.

“I re­mem­ber see­ing this girl, and she seemed re­ally, re­ally ex­cited,” he con­tin­ues. “A lot of the scene is im­prov, and she was great at in­ter­act­ing. She was wear­ing a big hat, and I was talk­ing about spilling blood all over it. There’s a part where I’m meant to scare peo­ple, so I leaned over and said: ‘Are you com­fort­able get­ting soaked in blood and gore?’ She was just like, ‘Ab­so­lutely.’ I re­mem­ber re­ally want­ing to talk to this girl some more, but the act ends with me dy­ing. It was sad, be­cause I was just ly­ing on the floor as ev­ery­one walked out. I just thought, ‘Well, that’s the end of that.’ ”

The next day, Ju­kich placed a three-sen­tence ad on the Ge­or­gia Straight’s I Saw You blog.

“I was the over-en­thu­si­as­tic girl who jumped at the chance to head into the au­topsy,” it read. “You were the cute ‘pathol­o­gist’ who lead [sic] the tour. Drinks?”

The Straight’s I Saw You col­umn be­gan run­ning in print in 1993 and is now pub­lished on­line as well as in the pa­per. The fea­ture gives in­di­vid­u­als who felt a ro­man­tic spark with a stranger a sec­ond chance to con­nect by log­ging on to the web­site and writ­ing when and where they met. If a reader iden­ti­fies him­self or her­self as the per­son in the de­scrip­tion, they re­ply to the post and the two can email back and forth. It re­mains one of the most pop­u­lar sec­tions of the Straight.

“The I Saw Yous was the only non­creepy way I could think of con­tact­ing him with­out ring­ing the Van­cou­ver Po­lice Mu­seum and say­ing, ‘Hey, who was the cute doc­tor?’ ” Ju­kich says with a laugh. “I had no ex­pec­ta­tions that it would work out, but I felt I just had to put it out there. I wanted to know that I did ev­ery­thing I could to try and reach him.

“I got an email a few days later,” she con­tin­ues, “and we went out for the first time the next day.”

The pair be­gan their re­la­tion­ship with a date at Mer­chants on Com­mer­cial Drive. It was pour­ing rain. Byskov was wear­ing a new pair of shoes and his best jeans, and both were soaked by the time they sat down. He per­formed a magic trick with a pack of pro­mo­tional cards that Ju­kich had picked up, and they drank craft cock­tails. They split the bill and he walked her home. They kissed at her door.

Two years later, the cou­ple found them­selves ready to take their re­la­tion­ship to the next level.

“With her, I was the hap­pi­est I’d ever been,” Byskov says. “It seemed right to pro­pose.”

The ac­tor, a fan of the the­atri­cal, turned once more to the Straight’s I Saw You col­umn. Byskov placed an ad that re­versed his girl­friend’s phras­ing, and con­tacted the ed­i­to­rial depart­ment to make sure his post ran at the top of the fea­ture.

“You were the over-en­thu­si­as­tic girl who jumped at the chance to head into the au­topsy,” it read. “I was the ‘cute pathol­o­gist’ who led the tour. You posted an I Saw You ask­ing to grab a drink. It’s been the best two years of my life. Will you marry me?”

“She made me a re­ally cool photo cube for our one-year an­niver­sary, and one of the sides was the orig­i­nal ad,” Byskov re­mem­bers with a smile. “I used it as a ref­er­ence when I was writ­ing what to say. I liked the idea of the sym­me­try of the be­gin­ning of the re­la­tion­ship and the start of the next step. You al­ways hear about peo­ple propos­ing at the spot where they first met. I felt like it would be a fun way to do it.”

With the post se­cretly com­ing out in the pa­per the next week, the cou­ple took off for a hol­i­day in the Cook Is­lands. Byskov car­ried the ring— a piece from a New York jew­ellery store—on the plane at the bot­tom of his bag, in a lit­tle box tied with a rib­bon.

The edi­tion of the Straight came out on the Thurs­day. He took a screen­shot of the ad on his phone and saved it. To­gether, the pair climbed to the high­est point on Ai­tu­taki, an is­land sur­rounded by crys­tal-clear water and white sand, where Ju­kich and Byskov could see the ocean in panorama. Whales were breach­ing just beyond the reef.

“I used a Go­pro for the trip, and it had a lit­tle cam­era case that came with it,” Byskov re­calls. “The ring box was about the same size, so I put it right in the case and zipped it up. I was tak­ing pic­tures but not re­ally fo­cus­ing on what I was shoot­ing. I said, ‘Oh, babe, can you grab the cloth for the cam­era lens from the bag?’

“She went to get it, and in the mean­time I was try­ing to pull up the Straight post sneak­ily on my phone,” he con­tin­ues. “Then she goes to the bag and says, ‘It’s not in here.’ I said she should look a bit harder, be­cause she was star­ing right at the ring box but it just wasn’t reg­is­ter­ing. So I came up to her and handed her my phone. I said, ‘Oh, look, there’s a pretty cute I Saw You in the Ge­or­gia Straight.’ And then it clicked.

“At first she yelled ‘No,’ out of sur­prise,” he says with a laugh. “Then she said, ‘Yes. Yes, a mil­lion times.’ ”

With their wed­ding date ten­ta­tively set for Hal­loween this year— their three-year an­niver­sary—the pair credit the I Saw You col­umn as a unique way to reach out to in­di­vid­u­als across the city.

“I have friends in their of­fices who read it and they’ll say, ‘I know that guy,’ and pass it on,” Byskov says. “The thing about I Saw You is that you’ve al­ready had that ini­tial in­ter­ac­tion be­fore. You see on­line dat­ing pro­files and you won­der whether some­one might be cat­fish­ing you. When you’ve al­ready had that ini­tial meet­ing point that you can re­late back to, the worry isn’t there.”

“Peo­ple def­i­nitely pick it up,” Ju­kich says of the Ge­or­gia Straight, laugh­ing. “We had about 20 copies of the pa­per brought to us by our friends and fam­ily. Hon­estly, we’ve col­lected so many that we don’t re­ally know what to do with them all.”

Court­ney Ju­kich turned to the pa­per to re­con­nect with an ac­tor she spot­ted at a Hal­loween show. Mik Byskov photo.

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