Friends tricked couple into meeting
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Catherine E. Toth
It took five months of e-mailing — and prodding from mutual friends — to prompt Jennifer Throneberry and Ken Rassmussen to meet.
Two months after their first date, they were engaged.
"Both of us felt it was too fast, but you can't let time determine it," said Rassmussen, 34, a computer operator in the Air Force. "You either know or you don't know."
Before they met, the two had each been single for years. At 32, Throneberry had practically sworn off dating. Rassmussen was divorced with full custody of his son, Lane, now 8. Dating wasn't a priority.
"I was so anti-men at that time," said Throneberry, now 33, a medical coder who grew up in Honolulu. "I was talking about being a spinster, about joining the convent. My mom had given up on me."
Then their mutual friends, Laurie-Lynn and William Horst, got involved and eventually married. The couple encouraged Throneberry and Rassmussen to meet up.
After hearing the glowing recommendations and seeing Throneberry's photo (friends arranged a swap of their images in April 2004), Rassmussen finally sent Throneberry an e-mail at work.
They began sending messages back and forth, but it was mostly forwarded jokes and chain mail. A few weeks into e-mailing, Throneberry sent Rassmussen her number. But he didn't call.
"I thought this was a waste of my time. He wasn't interested," said Throneberry. "But (Laurie-Lynn Horst) said to be patient, he's really shy."
Horst was right: Rassmussen was afraid to call her. As a single father, he didn't think many women would be into a ready-made family. "It was just one of those things that I never thought would happen," Rassmussen said.
Then in September, the Horsts tricked them into meeting.
After spending the day at Ma'ili Beach at a baby lu'au with Laurie-Lynn, Throneberry hung out at the Horst home, not realizing that Rassmussen was stopping by that afternoon. (The Horsts knew, of course.)
When he arrived, Throneberry — no makeup, her hair a mess — was mortified. "I thought he was going to think I was ugly," she said, laughing. She avoided eye contact and hardly said anything to him during his visit. Rassmussen was convinced he had no shot.
"I thought she was nice, just not interested," he said.
But she stayed on his mind, and a month later, Rassmussen asked Throneberry on a date.
She agreed, and the two spent the evening playing games at Dave and Buster's, eating dinner at Ryan's Grill and watching "Ladder 49."
After that date, they talked on the phone every night. Rassmussen would call her at exactly 8 p.m., after his son would go to bed.
"We just had so much fun," Throneberry said. "And we found out we had a lot in common." For example: Their dads were in the military, each is an only child, and they're each half-Asian. (He's half-Japanese; she's half-Korean.)
By October, they were in love.
"I was scared," Throneberry said. "I thought, no way this could happen this quickly. It was too fast."
On Oct. 29, 2004, the couple went to "Fright-mare — The Massacre," a haunted house at the Waikiki Shell. Taking a break from screaming, they went for a walk at Waikiki Beach, where they declared their love.
"We had the same expectations for a relationship," Rassmussen said.
Rassmussen proposed during dinner at Kyo-Ya Restaurant on Dec. 27 — Throne-berry's birthday. The ring was tucked in the tummy of a gray teddy bear from Ben Bridge Jeweler. When Throneberry pulled out the ring, she was speechless.
"I told her that I loved her like I've never loved anyone before," Rassmussen said. "I couldn't imagine my life without her."
Ten months later, on Oct. 29, exactly a year after their profession of love, the two were married at the Hale Koa Hotel, in front of 230 guests.
The couple live in 'Aiea. They enjoy spending time as a family.
"It's nice to have someone to come home to," Throneberry said, smiling.
Reach Catherine E. Toth at email@example.com.