Their future was written on the calendar
Establishing a common Google calendar may not be a standard marker of blossoming romance, but for Efrain Guerrero and James Jones it suited a more usual expression of engagement perfectly.
The two met in September 2017 through the Scruff dating app and had their first date at Rendezvous, a restaurant in Harlem, where they both lived. They had instant chemistry, as well as common experiences as people of color who attended Ivy League schools and worked in predominantly white professions. There was also a mutual respect for the “Real Housewives” franchise. A second meeting quickly followed.
“By month two we were boyfriends and had a shared Google calendar, and I think that’s when we knew we had a common future,” said Dr Jones, 33, professor. assistant for African-American and African studies at Newark, NJ, Rutgers campus. He graduated with honors from George Washington University and received a doctorate in sociology from Columbia. They still use the common calendar, he added: âIt’s very convenient.
However, when it came to sharing their feelings for each other outwardly, the process took longer, according to Mr. Guerrero, who is 39 and is the senior general manager of New York operations at KIPP, a network of charter schools. He graduated with honors from Harvard and received an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.
âJames is by nature a little more reserved, and I had to match that up a bit,â he said. “It was definitely me who said ‘I love you’ first,” during the first few months of the relationship.
When Dr Jones didn’t share the sentiment, Mr Guerrero didn’t flinch.
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âI felt I had to say it – I couldn’t hold it back – and I was okay with whatever came after that,â he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay, he’s not ready.’ This is fine. He shows his love in different ways, but verbally it is not the one that comes most naturally to him.
“It was really, really hard because I didn’t grow up saying ‘I love you’,” Dr Jones said. “We say ‘I love you’ by what we do.”
After about six months, Dr. Jones became more comfortable with expressing his feelings. The two moved in together after about a year and started talking about what might happen next.
“I was like, okay, it feels good, it feels good,” Guerrero said. âWe had a conversation: what do you think of the timeline? How many years does it make sense to date before you get married? “
The two married legally on September 12, exactly four years after their first date, in a ceremony with a dozen friends that took place on the rooftop of the Harlem apartment building where they now live. Jessica Lau, a friend who became Minister of Universal Life for the event, officiated. They had planned to get married in 2020, but postponed due to the pandemic.
In August, the two had a much larger celebration in Mexico City, with around 40 friends and family joining them in a cuisine-focused destination event that included a ceremony led by another friend, a welcome reception, family lunch and farewell brunch. All but two of their guests were vaccinated and they coordinated testing for the whole group upon their return home (everyone was negative).
Although Mr Guerrero felt he should be playing cool when the couple first met, Dr Jones, a longtime student of doing rather than saying, had no difficulty reading his actions.
“He drove me home after our date, and I was always like, does he love me?” said Dr Jones. “Then he kissed me and then I thought, it’s a good kiss. And he likes me.