Saturday, April 29, 2017

"A True Love Story..."

Jason and Tyler
New York City, New York

Love is Always Love

Originally published February 2014

Seven years ago when Tyler moved from North Carolina to New York City to join his boyfriend of several years, Jason, the proposal planning began. In the fall of 2012 after New York legalized gay marriage, Jason finally met his 2012 New Year’s resolution: to put a ring on it! From how they survived a long-distance relationship to their beautiful October wedding in 2013, meet a couple that both used the word “happy” to describe their partner for life. (Go ahead and swoon!)

How did you meet?

Tyler: Jason and I first met when we were both called back for the role of Emcee for our university’s production of “Cabaret.” I was nervous because Jason knew everyone there already and I noticed in the dancing portion that he was a much better dancer. Nailed those banana jumps.

Jason: I knew everyone because I had spent the prior year constantly working with the theatre company and we all knew I was supposed to be the Emcee. I lost out to Tyler, who knew every word to the songs and had been preparing for the role his entire life (probably). I hated him for being a better singer and for looking like Alan Cumming, who was obviously the most perfect Emcee ever. It would take two months of rehearsals and me being a bitch before any attraction occurred. I think it had something to do with his painted on abs.

Tyler: The abs were shadowed. I was thin as a rail.

There was a period of your relationship that was long-distance. How did make it through?

Tyler: For the better part of two years, Jason was traveling around the world with school and then moved to NYC while I finished school. The long distance was brutal. When Jason lived in New York, I tried to visit as much as possible. If I had a break from school, it was likely that I was on a plane. I think I was able to get through it by constantly reminding myself that being apart was a temporary situation. It wasn’t fun, but in the end it was worth it.

Jason: Ditto that. Trying to maintain a long-distance relationship when you are finishing college and starting a career is near impossible. I am still amazed we made it through in one piece. Moving to NY without Tyler was particularly difficult for me because New York was Tyler’s dream that I adopted. My life changed so dramatically, so quickly that it was difficult to maintain the same relationship we had when we were both in school. It was particularly hard getting used to the idea of sharing my closet when Tyler did finally get to the city.

New York and many states have taken great strides in gay rights regarding marriage, but there is still a long way to go. What do you hope for the years to come?

Tyler: Of course, everyone has the right to love without fear, judgment or persecution. It would be great if everyone felt that way.

Jason: I hope people will try to believe in love. Our country is moving in the right direction and I hope “gay marriage” won’t even be a thing in the coming years. I believe marriage is a right, not a privilege, and my hope is that even conservatives will someday realize that their religious beliefs do not apply to the rights of any person to marry the person he/she loves.

Jason, how did you decide to propose to Tyler?

Jason: The proposal began long before I actually bought the ring. For years, I have known exactly which ring Tyler wanted (Tiffany, obviously), so that was step one. As soon as Tyler moved to the city in 2009, I started putting money aside every month for our wedding. When New York legalized gay marriage, it was inevitable. Soon after that, I paid to have Tyler’s best friend, Jordan, ordained without his knowledge so he could marry us. (He eventually made it official himself.)

Everyone thought it was a hysterical joke, but I knew what I was doing. New Years’ Eve 2011/2012, our group of friends all wrote down our resolutions for the coming year. Mine was “put a ring on it.” I saved as much money as I possibly could and started looking for the moment. It needed to be a surprise and I wanted it to be at a NYC landmark. By Fall of 2012, I was getting antsy. Our 6th anniversary was approaching and Tyler made dinner reservations at Lincoln, the restaurant at Lincoln Center. It was perfect. The morning of our anniversary, I went to Tiffany & Co on 5th Ave, bought the ring and went to work. I never make plans, so our friends were very suspicious when I started texting them asking them to free their schedules that evening.

I cannot keep a secret to save my life, so everything had to be last minute. I met Tyler after work at Lincoln and dinner was absolutely wonderful. I tried to time our exit to make sure none of the performances would be getting out and led Tyler to the fountain to take photos. After some awkwardness pretending to take selfies of us in front of the fountain, I finally got over the fact that we were surrounded by teenage tourists, handed Tyler the ring box and asked him to marry me. He said yes! After an engaged high five, our friends came running out to celebrate with us. We then went across the street and celebrated with a few bottles of bubbly, of course. It wasn’t the most perfect or elegant proposal, but it was just right for us.

Tell me about your wedding. Colors? Themes? Favorite memories from the day?

Tyler: The wedding was fantastic. We had a small (or “intimate,” as they say) affair at the Chelsea Piers along the Hudson River. The color of the day was a dark purple with accents of gray, black and white. No particular “theme” other than “we hope this looks nice and people have fun.” One of my favorite memories from the day was waiting to go into the actual ceremony. My mom and I were sitting in a stairwell waiting to be told to enter. Long story short, there was a miscommunication and no one ever told us to enter, so we were just gabbing and laughing and enjoying the moment. Turns out it made an awkward moment waiting for the ceremony to start, but, hey, I wasn’t there so I don’t feel awkward about it.

Jason: While Tyler and his mom were having the time of their lives, I had 80 sets of eyes watching me and trying their best not to show me how concerned they were that I had been left at the altar. That minute standing up there by myself felt like an eternity! Also I should point out that our wedding was one year to the day from the day we were engaged and fell on our 7th anniversary. The day was full of wonderful memories. I remember being surprisingly calm leading up to the vows. I slept in, took my time getting ready with my friends, had some bubbly and was just so excited to finally marry the man I love. One of my favorite memories of the night was dancing with my grandma. Her and my grandpa were the only members of my family who came to our wedding and she was recovering from very painful surgery, so it meant the world to me to have her there to support us.

Tell me a little bit about what you love about one another. Give me three words that describe your partner and your life together.

Tyler: It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, how tired or stressed I am, Jason can always make me laugh. Three words: Handsome. Festive. Happy.

Jason: Tyler is beautiful inside and out and always does everything in his power to make me happy. Just thinking about him puts a smile on my face. Three words: Weird. Love. Happy.

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