Here is the story of how Barrie and Michael met on JDate, in a back-and-forth essay, written for their wedding page:

Michael: Barrie and I met as all single, professional, busy Jews do: On JDate.  After a few failed relationships, and upsetting dates, I had all but given up on finding love in this world.  But before committing to a life of celibacy, I went on JDate and expanded my search options to Jewish women within 100 miles.  And there she was: this incredibly beautiful and adorable Jewish woman living in Louisville, KY.  It was a long shot.  She was way out of my league.  So, almost in passing, I sent her an email with only the phrase: “Well aren’t you adorable?”

Barrie: How could I not respond to that? It was so simple, so cute. He wasn’t trying too hard; he wasn’t sleazy. And since there was a time in my life when I wanted to be a rabbi, I was, to say the least, intrigued. I’m not sure exactly what I wrote back, but whatever it was, it was enough to keep him interested. Before I knew it (and we’re talking hours, not days here), I had his real email address and we were corresponding off JDate.

Michael: What she said was, “You’re not too bad yourself.”  Which was good enough for me.  After a few responses on JDate, I suggested we move offline.  What ensued next was novel sized emails filled with questions and answers to one another.  It became almost comically unbelievable how much we had in common.  And, as for the things we didn’t have in common, they were incredibly loveable.  I honestly have no idea how I found the time to write as much as I did, as my school year was wrapping up, and finals were approaching.  But I remember finding any possible moment to write her.  I found myself always waking up excited when I saw her email in my inbox, and going to sleep happy when I had sent one before bed.

success-barrie-michael-tmb2Barrie:  He’s not kidding about the novel-sized emails, by the way. I know because for our anniversary I took all of our correspondence and published it in a book, a 350-page book. And while the book was made up of all of our emails since we first starting writing, about 300 pages of them were from the first three weeks! But I am getting ahead of myself here. Each new email from Mike brought a new set of butterflies. I could not wait to meet him. At the same time, I was terrified thinking about it. There was no way someone so perfect for me over email could hold up in person. Still, I knew I had to meet this guy. Now ideally, it would have been nice to find a place about halfway between us so that if the date was a dud, neither of us had invested too much travel time. Unfortunately, if you know the landscape of Northern Kentucky at all, you know that between Louisville and Cincinnati there is nothing but farmland. Really, nothing. There was no halfway point so Mike, being the true gentleman, agreed that we could have our first date near me on a Tuesday.

Michael: When we were arranging the time and place for our first date, I was in Pine Bluff, Arkansas preparing to lead a 50-person Passover Seder.  The evening of the Seder, dressed in my suit, I decided to take a risk.  I took a “selfie” to send to Barrie.  Standing in front of the hotel mirror, I straightened my tie, flexed my muscles and sucked in my stomach.  I took three or four photos and forced myself to choose one to send.  I prepped the text with, “this is a gift for you, and a risk for me,” and sent the photo.  Having basically put myself out there, I headed to the Synagogue and began to lead the Seder.  I can tell you that I was preoccupied the entire time, and left my cell phone on the head table next to me so I could wait for her response.  It took a long time, she had to make me sweat, but finally, during the soup course, in came the most incredible picture of this cute, beautiful woman standing in front of a mirror, smiling at me.  Tuesday was simply not going to be soon enough.

Barrie: I knew Mike was waiting for a picture in response. After telling him that he had nothing to worry about in the looks department (I still have the picture he sent me saved on my phone), I promised him a picture in return. I told him it might take a while since I had some things I had to do. By “things I had to do” I meant try on twelve different outfits and take about seventy-six pictures. After running a couple “finalist” pictures by my mother, I finally sent Mike what he’d been waiting for. I held my breath waiting for a response. I also began drafting him an email saying that Tuesday was too far away and that if it was alright with him, I’d like for us to meet that Sunday. I told him I’d happily drive to Cincinnati since I’d never been there and on the off chance that the date was a flop, I could just play tourist and check out the sites.

Michael: When Barrie told me she would meet me in Cincinnati, I was, of course, grateful. But that also gave her an out if she were to come all the way up here, and it turned out she found me repulsive – if that were the case, I planned to happily tell her lots of places to spend the day in my city.  I picked a spot in my neighborhood, Hyde Park Square, for us to meet. It was a coffeehouse/wine bar called Awakenings, only a few minutes walk from my apartment.  At the risk of being presumptuous, I cleaned up my apartment as I had never cleaned before, just on the off chance I was that lucky.  I put on what I felt was the best outfit I had (a black polo and jeans), walked over to Awakenings, found a table, and sat there almost rocking back and forth in anticipation.

Barrie: Sunday came and I got in the car to make the 100-mile drive. I purposely parked about two blocks from the coffee shop to give me time to calm down. My heart was racing as I walked into Awakenings. There was Mike, looking incredibly handsome in his black polo. He stood up and gave me a hug, and to be honest, I didn’t want him to let go. When we finally sat down, my hands were shaking. He asked if I wanted any tea, but I knew that holding any kind of cup would just call attention to how nervous I was. Not that it mattered. I dropped my purse about two seconds later. Still, eventually my nerves began to settle. Four hours later, after moving from the coffee shop to a park bench, to another park bench, we had our first kiss and began falling in love.

Barrie and Michael
Cincinnati, Ohio

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