Only 19 at the time, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, I somehow stumbled upon JDate. I wasn’tnecessarily looking for a serious relationship, but what teenage girl would pass up the opportunity to “shop” for Jewish boys online? After just days of being on the site, I checked my inbox to read the following message:
“I just want to tell you that you are the cutest girl on JDate and you know it is not just some pick-up line since you are all the way across the country.”
Most girls probably would have concentrated on the obvious fact that the guy lived across the country, but I somehow could not resist the blonde from New Jersey in the thumbnail picture I was able to see. Clicking through to his profile, being young and naïve I accepted the compliment and figured I would play some Jewish geography. Not even five minutes into our conversation we figured out that his cousin and I sat next to each other every day in our Hebrew class in Arizona.
Phew. I had just learned it was safe to continue talking to this cute boy across the country whom I had the smallest likeliness of one day ever meeting. But our flirtatious messages soon transformed into hour-long phone conversations. After mere weeks of speaking, we decided to finally meet the person who was on the other end of the phone. How was this possibly going to work? I had just finished my sophomore year of college, with two more years to go! Luckily I was on my summer break and, what’s more, I needed my tonsils removed. How could those two possibly connect with one another? I spoke to my parents about going home to Texas for the summer to have my tonsillectomy, which meant I would have the whole summer available for Jeff to come visit me.
Check. Plan worked. I flew home for the remainder of the summer and, sure enough, Jeff booked his ticket down South. Yes, his parents knew and, yes, my parents knew. What were they thinking??? The weekend of my 20th birthday, Jeffrey flew down to Dallas for the weekend. As if we had known each other for years, we spent the best weekend together. It was going so well; he met my entire family that same weekend! As the weekend concluded and I took the teary-eyed drive to drop him off at the airport, it felt that we were back to where we started—on different sides of the country.
We immediately began planning my visit up to New Jersey and his next visit to Arizona, trying to figure out how to make the best of the distance. The answer to that was to go the distance! My best friend was moving to New York City to begin the fall semester of college. She asked, without the need for much convincing, to move and be her roommate. I agreed and convinced my parents to let me transfer to the East Coast. I would soon have the best of both worlds: to be near my best friend and the boy whom I wanted to be my boyfriend. August soon approached as I made my move to New York. If you’ve been keeping a timeline, you’re right to think that we spoke, met and moved within 8 weeks of our first message.
I was on JDate for about 6 months and went out with many girls until one day I was online and bored. I decided to message a girl in Tucson, Arizona. What was I thinking?! She responded and, in addition to having a handful of mutual friends, also knew my cousin very well. After countless emails and hundreds of dollars spent on phone bills, I decided to book a ticket to Dallas, Texas. Even after our weeks of conversations, the four-hour plane flight seemed like eternity. As I stepped off the plane in Dallas, Texas, I was immediately smoldered by the 100-degree temperature and thought to myself, “What is a Jersey boy doing in Texas?” After minutes of waiting for a shuttle van (since she refused to pick me up from the airport), I asked the driver to blast the air conditioning.
We finally arrived at my hotel where Sarah and I would meet for the first time. The weekend could not have started on a better note; I was upgraded to a presidential suite and as I unpacked by bag while communicating with Sarah on the phone, I had the first sight of her while she pulled up in the parking lot; black sports car, sunroof open, wearing her oversized bug-eyed sunglasses (she thought she was cool). Although I had a great weekend, I found myself confused as to why I put myself in the position to fall for a girl across the country.
Yes, everything happened so fast, but we continued speaking and decided to give the relationship a proper try. Within weeks, Sarah transferred schools and found a place to live in Manhattan. Never did I think that the cute girl on the screen across the country, whom I messaged out of impulse, would one day be my wife.
Four years passed before either of us knew it and on Sunday, October 17th 2010, Jeffrey took me to Central Park and asked me to marry him! Of course I said “YES!” (but only after a different initial reaction that can only be described as the shock of something so wonderful finally happening!)
We are now enjoying our life as an engaged couple. When it came time to pick our wedding date, we battled between a few options until we finally flipped a coin. Once and for all, June 26th 2011 won.
One night, as we were sitting on the couch, I had an epiphany. Running to his room, I immediately opened the very girly scrapbook I had made for him in our first few months of dating that included all of our e-mail exchanges and pictures.
I was right. Lo n’ behold, June 26th 2006 was the very first message Jeffrey had ever sent me on JDate.
Sarah and Jeffrey
Paramus, New Jersey