A Fumbled First Kiss and the Encouragement of a Stranger

In 2019, Daniel Kneip Andrew made a deal with himself. He was between law school and his new job at a law firm and he decided to go on five dates. He had some time on his hands and would soon be busy. But after four lackluster meetings, his “expectations were at the lowest point,” Mr. Andrew said.

Online dating had been tricky for Monica Magda Pastor, too. “I was ready to throw my phone into the Hudson,” she said. But then, in October of that year, Mr. Andrew and Ms. Pastor matched on Hinge.

A few days later, the pair met at Shade Bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and their chemistry surpassed both of their expectations.

“I just felt like I’d known him my entire life,” Ms. Pastor said. “I don’t think we even covered the questions of ‘where did you go to school, what do your parents do.’ We were just having a conversation.”

They later accounted for those details: Ms. Pastor, 30, was raised in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College and is a senior digital strategy lead at Google, working from the New York City headquarters in Chelsea and from home, also in Chelsea.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Mr. Andrew, 33, was raised in Westport, Conn. He received a bachelor’s degree in government from Claremont McKenna College, a law degree and a Master of Laws degree in taxation, both from N.Y.U. He is an associate with the private clients group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he works in the Midtown headquarters.

But, despite their early ease, Mr. Andrew felt that a romantic moment was nearly fumbled on their second date about a week and a half later. After dinner at Alta, a restaurant in the West Village, he felt that he should try to make a move for a first kiss before they reached the West Fourth Street subway station a couple of blocks away. After one block, he abruptly turned to her and went in for the smooch.

The pair agreed that the move wasn’t unwelcome, “just unexpected,” Mr. Andrew said. Given the “incredibly awkward” interaction, Mr. Andrew said goodbye to Ms. Pastor feeling a little uneasy.

But, after Ms. Pastor left, a man on the street approached Mr. Andrew. “I thought I was going to get mugged,” he said. Instead, the man “said ‘Hey, I just saw what went down and you got it.’” Then he “disappeared into the night,” Mr. Andrew said. “This stranger gave me the confidence I needed to go on a third date with Monica.”

A third date followed, along with others, and in February 2019, Mr. Andrew told Ms. Pastor he loved her while in line at Joe’s Pizza in the Village. Ms. Pastor returned the sentiment a few weeks later.

In March 2020, when the first wave of Covid was crashing into the city, Ms. Pastor decided to spend time with her family in California, and Mr. Andrew went to visit his family in Connecticut.

After a few careful mid-pandemic visits, the couple eventually reunited in New York and, in the fall of 2020, Mr. Andrew moved into Ms. Pastor’s apartment in the London Terrace Gardens building in Chelsea where they still live today. They had talked openly about marriage throughout their relationship and, in May 2022, Mr. Andrew and Ms. Pastor went to look at engagement rings in the diamond district. She chose a sapphire flanked by diamonds.

The London Terrace Gardens building, its staff and their neighbors were important to the couple. During Covid, they often had lunch together in the garden. So in July of 2022, Mr. Andrew staged a proposal in the courtyard.

The couple were married Oct. 28 at Current, a venue at Chelsea Piers at a Halloween-costume-optional wedding. It was officiated by Rabbi Zachary Plesent of Temple Israel in Westport.

Ms. Pastor said she had been nervous before reading her vows, but the moment came with a sense of peace. “There was so much clarity in what both of us were saying to each other,” she said.

Mr. Andrew’s father, John F. Andrew, who was an editor at The Wall Street Journal, died when Mr. Andrew was nine months old. Some of his father’s former colleagues were in attendance at the event. “That meant a lot to me because I didn’t know my dad,” Mr. Andrew said. “They supplied a lot of memories.”

Then, during the reception, the couple performed a duet of “Wild Thing” by the Troggs for their guests with the Hudson River visible beyond the pier. “We just lit up the crowd,” Ms. Pastor said.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com