Johnny and Alex met on Grindr. Johnny ghosted Alex for a month, initially thinking to himself “this person is a catfish.” After a month, Johnny messaged Alex back. They had their first date at the O'Keeffe studio on O street. Alex brought over a bottle of wine. They talked and listened to music from 8pm to 4am. These long dates happened throughout the summer of 2019. And, well, the rest is history! See below for an excerpt from Alex's graduate school reflection journal about the first date: "I still vividly remember the first date. I arrived at Johnny's apartment at 8:00pm, sharp. We faced each other on the couch, a few feet apart. I sat with my legs crossed; his were entwined over the ottoman. He was gentle, engaging, intelligent, and a total sweetheart. Together, we shared a bottle of Gnarly Head wine, talked, and watched music videos for 8 hours. I left at 4:00am, giving him a soft, warm hug on my way out. As I walked back to my apartment, I stopped halfway across the pedestrian bridge near Memorial Stadium and gazed at the waxing, crescent moon. I closed my eyes as a smile swept across my face."
Johnny and Alex did a non-traditional engagement. On November 24th, 2022, they mutually proposed to one another at “the lake” (the O’keeffe family cabin in South Bend, NE). Before exchanging rings, they shared reflections on—and intentions and commitments for—their partnership. The moment was captured by a close friend, Elyxcus. Later, on December 3rd, 2022, local kin and chosen family celebrated their engagement. Johnny’s parents, Tim and Carol, generously hosted the occasion.