Words by Joe and Rohan, as told to Amber Marlow. Photos by Bailey Q Photo.
How did you two meet?
Joe: We met as all star-crossed lovers do: with a super like on Tinder. It was early December of 2015, and I had given up on love completely and/or decided to take a more honest approach to dating. As such, my profile included a confession about sweating profusely and aggressively shedding layers on the subway on my commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan. “How do people not immediately take their winter jackets off upon entering the L train?!?”
He, apparently, was the only person in my five mile radius who could relate!
Rohan: I did super like Joe! Not to diminish the significance of that moment, but it was the first time I had used Tinder, and Joe's smile got me. We matched there, but we ALSO matched on OkCupid the same week. That’s where I saw Joe’s immediately relatable anecdote of sweating on the subway.
I’m a scruffy guy who sweats, and seeing such a handsome guy profess to something I often feel embarrassed about was so refreshing.
He had a few photos that drew me to match with him again on OkCupid (for good measure). The first was a photo of him crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with a cheesy grin and cheap neon glasses that I later dragged him for wearing. The second one was a photo of him surrounded by his friends at a bar, where everyone else was smiling, but he was doing a “blue steel” face. At that point, I knew he was silly and was more intrigued. The third photo was a thirst trap: a beach swimsuit photo. I can’t say I wasn’t drawn to that photo either. In the end we matched on OkC, and he responded, “oh hello Tinder!” We then started texting.
What was your first date like?
After messaging back and forth, we planned a date at Sofar Sounds in a Bushwick loft that he had gotten tickets for on a Tuesday. That weekend, I had a big night out planned with friends for a queer-friendly dance night. Joe was actually going that night too, and texted me that he might see me there.
At the bar, I heard "Are you Rohan?"
That was the first time I saw him, and was instantly attracted to him. He looked even better than he did in his photos, and he had that wide grin of a smile that I still fall in love with.
We ended up dancing and kissing the whole night.
For our first real date at the Sofar Sounds, we brought our bottle of wine and sat on the floor of someone's loft, listening to three amazing acts. In each intermission, Joe and I connected more and more.
One thing that stood out, and that we sadly immediately connected on, was the loss of his sister and the loss of my mom. Without saying anything, we both knew how each of us felt, and I could immediately relate.
Beyond his humor with a few silly jokes, he was extremely attentive at listening, and I knew he had a really kind soul. Joe claims that I asked him what the most interesting meat he had ever tried was, and that's when he knew I was "different".
After the performances, we stepped out on the rooftop of the building, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. We kissed, and I could tell that moment was something special. We took the subway back, and I got nervous and decided to get off at his stop to walk him home. I wasn't out at the time, but I wanted to give him a kiss goodbye. After looking around the corner for passersby, I sheepishly gave him another kiss. That was the end to a beautiful winter city night.
What are your favorite traits in each other?
Rohan: I love Joe's joy of life/silliness, and appreciate his constant patience in dealing with me. The photo of him walking across the Golden Gate Bridge with a cheesy grin is still what resonates with me when I think of him when we're apart. It exemplifies his care-free spirit and real joy for things he cares about and the people he loves.
He once famously quoted himself on the WAG dog-walking app as a golden retriever in a past life. It sounds silly, but he very much expresses qualities of one. He's so loyal, happy, and loves to cuddle. He's always enthusiastic about the trips we take, the friends he gets to reconnect with, and the relaxing nights we get to enjoy. He always knows how to brighten my day, no matter the hardship I'm going through.
That leads me to the second thing about Joe: his patience. I am someone who sometimes takes things seriously. When I'm having a rough day or overthinking something, Joe always knows how to un-wrench me from the closed clam I become when I want to shut down. I always admire that, and am so grateful to have him in my life.
Joe: One of my favorite things about Rohan is his boldness. He chooses to take an active approach to life like few people I’ve known. This applies to all elements of that life, from pursuing daunting professional opportunities and “casual” weekend trips to London or Mexico City to embracing radical acts of friendship and hospitality. It can be exhausting, expensive, and unsettling even, to join him along for the ride, but I consider myself lucky.
I also love his physical presence. He's cuddly, affectionate, and warm. As someone who struggles with anxiety, it makes a big difference to me. He's the best “spoon”, and I love having him by my side.
Hey there, my name is Bailey! I am an artist, business woman, wifey, nerd, Brooklyn-ite, and matcha fiend who’s endlessly curious about the world around me. I strive to make the world better by capturing love authentically, spreading positivity & happiness, and supporting organizations that are doing the work to preserve our planet & enrich the lives of marginalized communities. With my whole heart, I unapologetically embrace inclusivity & all forms of love.