1. Cora and Will, Craigslist
Cora and Will met on Craigslist, but not on the dating section — they found love on the “free stuff” section.
“I’d just moved to New York and didn’t have any furniture. Plus, I hardly knew anybody. Will posted free movie tickets that he won online,” says Cora.
During their email conversation about the tickets, she noticed in Will’s email signature a link to his graphic art and illustration website. She complimented his work, which led to a Skype conversation where they discussed art and why she moved to New York.
A week later they agreed to meet at a coffee shop. Cora waited for 50 minutes, and almost left, before Will arrived. “I actually had to run most of the way to meet her because I took a cab that got stuck in traffic. I got out of it early and ended up walking in the wrong direction.”
Cora claims that there were “no sparks at all. He seemed like a cool guy, but I just got out of a crazy relationship and was not interested at all to meet somebody in a romantic way.” She was mostly looking for friends. Will agrees he felt no spark but admits that he “did check out her legs when she wasn’t looking.”
After hanging out a few times, Will was helping Cora assemble furniture at her apartment and she asked him to stay for dinner. “I realised for the first time that I didn’t want him to leave, I enjoyed spending time together and having him around. So I told him and he stayed.”
They quickly after began dating seriously. A few months later, Cora was pregnant. Six months after that, they got married at Brooklyn City Hall. They now have two children.
2. Katie and Edison, Omegle
In 2012, Katie was a photo student in Atlanta. She was at school, waiting for a photo processing to happen. Bored, and alone, she visited Omegle, a site similar to Chatroulette that connects strangers at random. There were two ways of communicating on the site: video and text. “I didn’t want to do video,” says Katie, “because you never know what is going to show up.” She kept messaging random people until she found Edison, who was living in New York.
Initially they talked to each other because they were bored. “I think we were both kind of making fun of each other for being on the site. The first thing we talked about was Vampire Weekend,” she says.
Their first date was when Katie flew to New York to visit Edison. He picked her up at LaGuardia Airport. “It was really good,” Edison says of their first meeting. “I admit I was a little scared.” Katie says their first meeting was awkward and surreal. “I was quiet. I was trying to keep calm so that I looked cool. I wanted to appeal to him so much.”
After seven or eight months of dating, Katie moved to New York to live with Edison.
3. Alice and David, OkCupid.
Alice, 40, messaged David, 46, on OkCupid back in the summer of 2011. He responded a few days later. Alice had wanted a bicycle and David’s profile indicated he was good at helping people pick out bikes. “She mentioned she was looking for a bike,” he says. “She wasn’t very specific. I made some suggestions of bikes, kind of baiting to see if she’d want me to go along and look.”
Instead, Alice went ahead and just bought one of the bikes David suggested. “David offered to check out the bike for me.” They met up in person and become serious fairly quickly. They rode bikes to Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn, for their first date.
“Two months later, Alice asked to move in. Five months after we met, we were living together,” he says. They did a lot of outdoorsy stuff together, but not so much now after the birth of 5-month-old Max Mercury. When he was 2 months old, they took him out for a road trip.
4. George (left) and Steve, Craigslist
George and Steve found each other on Craiglist’s “men looking for men” section. In their first conversation, they realised they lived on the same block in Harlem, N.Y. They met up the next day and started hanging out.
George says of Steve: “He was very kind and gentle, good-looking and tall. And he had a wicked sense of humor.”
Steve credits George for transforming him into an animal lover. “I was never into [animals]. He had an animal kingdom made up of a dog and a cat and now I love animals like crazy.”
After three years of dating, they moved in together and got married at City Hall. “We did the discount marriage, which was just the way we wanted to do it,” says Steve. They said they may someday do a more formal ceremony but would rather spend money on more “important things.”
They both love the beach and swimming in the ocean, which explains why they moved from NYC to Florida in August, to a place with an ocean view. The couple have never been shy about explaining how they met. They also found their dog, Monster, a Maltese-terrier mix, on Craigslist.
5. Jack and Renee, JDate
Jack, 75, and Renee, 74, met on JDate, the Jewish singles site.
Jack was struck by an image of Renee lighting a religious candle; faith is very important to both of them. Jack was reluctant to date someone in Manhattan, as he was living in Long Island, but Renee won him over. Plus, the parking space at her co-op on the Upper West Side helped seal the deal.
The pair were married in 2009 and have been living in Manhattan ever since. They have a rich and active life full of family activities with their extended families, as well as group events through their temple.
6. Sal (left) and KJ, OkCupid
KJ is a shy, 25-year-old comic book artist living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She turned to OkCupid because she felt “not very personable,” but discovered that many used the website to get a little too personal: “Most just wanted to hook up,” she says.
Sal, a 20-year-old student and programmer living in Newark, N.J., signed up to OkCupid last summer and two weeks later found KJ.
For their first date they got lost trying to find Vanessa’s Dumpling House in Chinatown. “She’s a little shy, and I’m a little awkward,” says Sal. “We were feeling each other out for the first hour of the date.” After making it to Vanessa’s, they went to a Sugar’s, a café on the Lower East Side. “That’s where the date really took off,” says Sal. They ended up spending so much time together that Sal only got a few hours of sleep for work the next day.
Sal really fell hard for KJ. “I scared her a little bit, I think,” he says. “Yeah, a little bit,” admits KJ. Sal explains: “I’m not big on having lots of friends, but when I meet someone I like, I tend to latch onto them really quickly.”
And he won KJ over by offering a digital rendition of a literary classic. “I think she decided to date me because I had a little Hamlet game that I made for a [school] project. She’s really into Shakespeare so she gave me a shot.”
7. Mariela and Tiago, Tattoodatingsite.com
Mariela is a 21-year-old self-taught photographer who moved to New York in December 2011 from the Dominican Republic. Tiago, 30, has worked as a finishing carpenter since he was a kid.
They found each other in cyberspace thanks to their shared love of tattoos via Tattoodatingsite.com. “[The name] is that blunt,” says Mariela. “When you go there, you think it’s a spam website.”
The site appealed to Tiago due to his frustration finding like-minded people in his Queens neighbourhood: “I wanted to meet people and where I live there aren’t many people with tattoos.”
Mariela thought Tiago was cute. They began talking on Skype and then met in person. On their second date they shared some ink time together. Tiago got a previous piece polished off, while Mariela had an eye inked onto her forearm. After just two weeks of dating, they moved in together. After four months, they got engaged. Now the two share matching tattoos: the word ‘love’ on both their hands.
8. Nikki (right) and Malliha, Instagram
It all started with a photo on Instagram. Browsing through pictures, 27-year-old Nikki saw a photograph of 28-year-old Malliha.
“It wasn’t just that she was pretty and beautiful. It was just an amazing photo. I was taken aback,” says Nikki. She saved the photo and used it as the screensaver on her tablet. Nikki then saw Malliha again on a hair-themed blog, without realising it was the same person because Malliha had sunglasses on in her Instagram photo.
Nikki added Malliha on Instagram and Malliha wrote a comment on one of Nikki’s pictures. Malliha thought if Nikki didn’t write back she would call it a day. Nikki didn’t respond, because she didn’t see the comment.
The pair then met at an event. “We linked at the event and from there we hit it off,” Malliha said. Nikki didn’t realize she was dating the girl from her screensaver until one day when Malliha showed Nikki a bunch of her photos.
“We have so much in common it’s scary. We have the ability to reach each other’s minds.” They have been together over a year and a half. In their free time they love to visit pet stores. “We really want a pet but we can’t get one right now, so we live vicariously through visiting shops.”
9. Suzanne and Shawn, Match.com
Suzanne, 36, and Shawn, 38, met on Match.com. In mid-March 2013, Suzanne put Shawn into her “interested folder” on the dating site. Shawn took notice and also noticed that their profiles were similar. They both liked arts and crafts. “My profile I said, ‘I like bees and butterflies,’” Shawn says.
After a week of chatting they met up at a record store. Suzanne saw dog pictures on Shawn’s profile so she asked him to bring his dog too. “We hit it off immediately. No nervousness. It’s like we’d been hanging out forever,” says Suzanne. “I knew at that point that she was the girl I was waiting for,” says Shawn. The two listen to records every night and love to record shop. They have recently been collecting African world music compilations.
After living on the outskirts of Boston and getting tired of the city, they have now moved into a small house together near the woods, having met just months earlier.
Jena and Gina hope to turn these pictures into a book, with short essays for each couple. Find out more about the project here.