We’ve been together as a couple since 2019. I met the love of my life when I was still struggling with my sexuality. On November 10, 2015, I walked into the Pret a Manger above Union Square. I was going to meet with a group of people interested in forming a comedic improv group. Still, I only knew the person organizing it, so when I arrived early, I grabbed a sandwich and headed up the stairs to wait for them to arrive. My now-fiancee says that she got there early too.
She saw me sitting across the way and was instantly drawn to me but assumed she’d never see me again. Then, the person organizing the comedy group arrived and called us both over to the table. Virginia and I joined the same improv team that day, and from the moment I met her, I was in awe. She was out and had confidence and made me laugh so hard. I was drawn to her, too. We flirted like crazy, and finally, in early 2016, she asked me out, and I said yes.
We went on our first date. A wild date that evolved from dinner with just us to playing beer pong in a bar with a seemingly gay male couple to following this couple to a dance party to realizing that these men weren’t gay and had been trying to hit on us the whole time. It was hilarious and spontaneous, and at the end of the night in the Union Square station, she gave me a kiss goodnight which made those two men realize WHY we weren’t interested in dancing with them.
But after that night, I panicked. Was I ready to dive into this? I was overwhelmed and I felt so many feelings. Still very much coming to terms with my sexuality. I ended things and told her I wanted to be just friends.
We’d see each other on and off over the next few years. We dated other people. I went on to date someone who was emotionally abusive, and later, I dated someone who was emotionally unavailable. I finally realized wanting to be loved by someone fully available isn’t selfish, so I ended things and prioritized myself and my feelings in ways I had never done before.
Then in the summer of 2019, Virginia reached out to invite me to a party. I couldn’t go, but I really wanted to see her. So I asked her for coffee. When I walked into that coffee shop, I got butterflies. She looked so good, and I left with a bright red face from laughing so hard. We made plans to see each other again for dinner, and once again, I was in stitches and felt so comfortable with her. I texted her that night to ask her if it was safe to say that that night had been a date and, if so, if we could do it again sometime. She responded, “Definitely safe, dare I say, welcomed even,” and we made plans for more dates.
When we first met, I think I subconsciously knew how important she would be, and didn’t want to jump into anything until I was ready. I’ve become more confident than that scared, anxious, self-conscious girl I was in 2016. She makes me feel amazing and that I’m worthy of love and partnership. Timing is everything, and I’m so grateful that I had my second chance with the love of my life, my future wife.
Tell us about the planning process for the proposal.
We talked about getting engaged but decided to keep how we’d each propose a secret to the other.
Planning to propose to Virginia required some planning, especially because I wanted to do it on a weekday when she was working to propose on the exact day we met six years ago, on November 10, 2015! So I contacted her boss to ask her if she’d help me by encouraging Virginia to take the day off, and I’m so glad her boss agreed to help.
A few weeks after I proposed, Virginia and I went for a walk by the water in Dumbo, another spot we used to frequent for “outside time” in the early days of the pandemic. She played off the walk so casually that I didn’t suspect anything. However, she proposed that day and surprised me back.
Tell us about the engagement ring experience.
We shopped for rings together. Virginia’s ring was from a retail jeweler, and it’s actually two rings in one. It was the first one she tried on at that store, and she knew it was the one right away.
I, on the other hand, struggled to find something I liked. As if her ears were ringing, Virginia’s mom reached out. She asked if we would be interested in using Virginia’s great Grandmother’s diamond and two emeralds from her mother for my engagement ring. Having an heirloom ring felt unattainable to me, as I’d only ever heard of it being between heterosexual couples. But, I was incredibly moved by the gesture, and when I put that ring on, I knew it was the one. It’s an honor to wear two different generations of my fiancee’s ring on my finger every day. Also, Virginia is using her Grandmother’s ring as a wedding band. So, there’s a long matriarchal lineage represented; great Grandmother, Grandmother, mother, and now us.
Photography by Marilyn Lamanna Photography