Jared + Joshua  - 2015 EnGAYged Wedding EXPO Giveaway Finalists!


Jared + Joshua


Read Their Love Story!

Perhaps this is less of a love story and more of a “small world” story. Or, maybe it is just a love story. Maybe the force of love is so strong and so fast and so broad, it makes the world smaller. If you don’t believe that love is the only force that can alter the course of the universe, then you haven’t heard our story. Now, we don’t transcend dimensions or create a time paradox, but in a strange way, it’s like the world bent and shifted to create serendipity.


So, now that I’ve set up the story like an episode of Star Trek, here’s how the love of my life and I met.


I had come out to my parents in early 2009 – I was 19. Of course, like many, I had known for a long time, but never told. Amongst the initial shock from my family and the tireless explanation to friends, I had also just lost my job. It was a very difficult and emotionally painful time. Thankfully, both of my roommates were very supportive and understanding. We got along as if nothing about me had changed. At that time, they also worked at a coffee shop in town. Seeing that I was in need of employment, they helped me attain a barista position at their store. I was hired fairly quickly and began work with a surprisingly large group of my friends - they apparently all worked at the same coffee chain.


Here’s where it starts…

A friend of mine, Hillary, who worked at my store, told me that she worked for a community theater. She said that maybe becoming active in local theater would allow me to meet like-minded people…and potentially a date. I said I might try it. But as soon as I spoke, a customer pulled through our drive-thru that Hillary knew- convenient timing in our conversation. It was a guy. He looked about my age, was staggeringly attractive and ordered the same drink I would always get: a cinnamon dulce latte. Something hit me. Not sure if it was cupids arrow or a wave of love-nausea, but there was a substantial change in my demeanor. Perhaps my jaw dropped. I saw him and he glanced at me for a moment. Him. He was the one. He drove away with a smile and I immediately asked my friend about him. She said, “He does theater.”


I called the nearest community theater about auditions the next day.


It’s funny, because as soon as the dust settles from the whirlwind of “coming-out”, it seems like everyone is trying to set you up with someone. My friend Rob told me several times to come over to his house for his Wednesday “Wine-Nights”. He said, “There’s a guy I want you to meet. You’re gay. He’s gay. You guys would get along great.” As if “being gay” is the only component of a compatible relationship. I would occasionally accept his invite and show up to meet this “guy”, but this “guy” was never there. Rob’s excuse was always, “Well, he couldn’t make it tonight.” Or “You just missed him.” Apparently I was always late to the party. My friend Troy, who worked at the same coffee chain, would sometimes say, “I know a guy. He’s gay. I can set you two up.” I don’t know what it was about my straight friends, but they always had a raging desire to be my gay matchmaker. I guess it could’ve been worse - at least they were trying. I would kindly tell Troy, “Thanks for the offer, but I’m okay for now.” Not too long after I had been hired at the coffee shop, my roommate Blake was going to be transferred to another store. He could only be transferred if he had a reliable way to his new location. That mode of transportation very quickly became me, and I began giving him rides on a daily basis. The first day I gave Blake his ride to work was the day I saw him again. Hillary’s friend: him. I couldn’t believe it. He worked at the same coffee shop as my recently transferred roommate. He was standing behind the counter serving drinks, looking handsome. I thought to myself… “There’s no way.” My roommate asked, “Can you pick me up later?” I said, “Absolutely!” For weeks I would drop off and pick up my roommate, but I never had the courage to go inside the shop. I was so incredibly nervous at just the thought of seeing him, or having him see me. My head couldn’t even wander to the thought of asking him out. I was by no means a stalker, but I would only see him from outside – from those few seconds it took for Blake to get in or out of the car. I would build these scenarios in my head – ideas for how I could ease into simple conversation with him, but I couldn’t fathom any of them working. I didn’t even know if he was gay. How embarrassing would that be? When Hillary told me about him, she just said, “Who in theater isn't gay?”


I suddenly transformed into some sort of C.I.Gay operative. I told Blake to get some information on him - see if maybe he wanted to come over and hang out (as if that’s not the creepiest thing in the world). I would pick Blake up after his shift and ask, “Did you see if he wants to come over?” My friend Blake, the butchest, straightest man I know would always say, “I did! But it doesn’t work if I ask!” Needless to say, he never came over.


I had really taken what Hillary said to heart. Maybe I could make theater a hobby again. I had been involved in theater in high school, but never gave it another thought after moving away from home. I hadn’t found a theater to work at after searching for weeks. There are tons of professional and community theaters all over Oklahoma, but I couldn’t find the right one. Strangely enough, a long time friend of mine, Charlotte, called in August of 2010. We had known each other since I was 13. She was directing a show…at a theater. I had never thought about calling her, but the world/universe/God/whatever didn’t need me to call. She said that the lead actor in her upcoming show had tragically suffered a heart attack, and wondered if I could replace him. I accepted without hesitation (or rather, slight hesitation from the looming curiosity about what gave this previous actor a free trip to the emergency room), and I began rehearsing the show a week later.


During rehearsals for the show, I caught up with my long time friend and director, Charlotte. She had no idea I had come-out, and was ecstatic when I broke the news. “So are you dating anyone?”, she eventually asked. I said no. I told her I had been on a few dates, but nothing had really worked out. “You know, there’s this really cute guy I was going to give your part to before I called you. He couldn’t do it because of work conflicts, but I think he’s single.” Once again, another attempted set up. This was getting old.


“Thanks, but no thanks.” I said. “I think he works at the coffee shop over on 2nd Street. Don’t you work for the same place?” Suddenly, I perked up. Suddenly, I became very interested. Suddenly, I wanted to say “Thanks.” “I work at the 15th Street store. But my friend works at the one on 2nd Street. What does he look like?” She pulled out her phone and showed me a picture. My heart stopped. I couldn’t believe it. The picture was of him.


I swear you could make this stuff up, but a fictional story wouldn’t lend itself to this level of ridiculousness - just seconds after seeing the picture, my friend Hillary walks into the theater. She was just as surprised to see me as I was to see her. Out of all the theater she could have worked at, it just so happened to be this one. “Oh my god!”, she said. “You’re in the show? This is the theater I work at!”


I immediately switch the focus from the surprise of seeing her and bring him up. “Who, Josh?” She said. There was now a name to the face. There was now a name for him. The show opened in November and things were going great. Of course, there were no new developments in the “Josh” department. I still, after knowing his name, where he worked, and at least two of his friends, could not work up the courage to talk to him. I would pick up Blake, I would see him…but I still did nothing.


So, the show was nearing the end of its run. It was December 12th, 2010 and we had one show left. I was prepping myself in the dressing room for the top of the show, and Charlotte burst in, “He’s here!”


“Who’s here?” I asked.


“Josh is in the audience tonight!”


My blood ran cold. I developed a sweat. I was having trouble breathing. My good god, is this what gave the previous actor a heart attack? The potential love of his life in the audience?


 “Don’t screw up.” Charlotte yelled while leaving my dressing room.


I had never been so nervous in my life. I had performed the show nearly 20 times, but that night was different. That night I was performing for Josh.


I performed the show. It ended and I saw him after, waiting in the lobby. It was usual for audience members to stay after the performance and congratulate the actors, but he was waiting patiently by the door…like he was waiting for me. It was the moment of truth. I was about to talk to him.


We talked. And we talked so easily. I couldn’t believe I had been so worried. It was the easiest thing in the world. I was talking with him. Maybe it was easy just because it was him.


But that was it. That’s where my journey ended, and my journey with him began. We haven’t spent a day apart since that day.


Looking back at our story, it’s nothing short of magical.


All of the friends that tried to set me up with “a guy”, had been trying to set me up with Josh. Josh was the “guy”. My friends, Rob & Troy, had both attempted to set us up, either at a Wednesday “Wine Night” or some other get-together. The “guy” was always Josh.


We both found out years later that even more of our friends had been trying to set us up. Josh found out that I was “the guy” that all of his mutual friends were talking about. When Josh met my parents, my mom remembered him. Talk about shocking. She had seen him perform at a High school drama competition she judged years ago. She said the only reason she remembered him was because I was in the same drama competition…and she thought Josh would be who I’d have to face off for 1st.


I asked Josh if he thinks we would have ever been together if it weren’t for our friends trying to set us up. He said “Of course. Nobody set us up. We found each other.”


He was right. Every opportunity that someone gave us to meet, we either turned down or missed. He came to the show that night to see “the guy” that got his role. Nobody invited him, or told him there was “a guy”. I had avoided talking to him at the coffee shop for months. Was it because the timing was wrong? Or was it because, maybe, in the back of my head, I knew we’d talk? I knew we’d be together.


Perhaps love is actually a living thing. Moving and shifting whatever it needs to bring two people together. Or maybe, it was just us. Maybe that first time I saw him and said he was the one was the instance that fueled such a momentous, yet seemingly simple chain of coincidental events.


We don’t know if anyone else thinks our story is magical, but we certainly do. And we thought a love as magical as hours, deserves a magical wedding.



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