Not every date is a real-life version of Before Sunrise, but even if your equation doesn’t include the Seine and Ethan Hawke, you can find romance just about anywhere.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, FAJO Magazine asked a few notable people in the fashion and beauty industries to share the stories and outfits behind their most memorable dates. From an apple-picking trip gone awry to an invitation for a living-room slow dance, these stories remind us that sparks can fly even in the most unusual places and, in some cases, lead to lasting love.
Michelle Easton, senior publicist at rock-it promotions
What I wore: Worn jean shorts, a cute tee and TOMS Classics shoes.
The date: Johnny, who is now my husband, is a gentleman. He asked for my phone number, and he called me (instead of texting). We went on a little road trip to African Lion Safari. There were so many animals, and they were so close to you — an ostrich bit our side mirror. It was so silly and fun, we were laughing the entire time.
Johnny has the best smile and a comforting laid-back vibe. We had instant chemistry; right away, it felt so natural and easy to be around each other but also so exciting. It’s like we are best friends (but friends who want to kiss each other . . . a lot).
On the way home, we stopped at this huge, beautiful sunflower field/farm, we got out of the car and took some photos — and then Johnny picked a giant sunflower for me to take home. It was so sweet and romantic!
Jen McNeely, founder and editor-in-chief of Shedoesthecity
What I wore: I think I arrived in leggings, snow boots, my puffy Roots winter coat and a floppy knitted toque.
The date: My date was with the very charismatic and charming Jamie Drummond. I was curious to get to know him better and had a strong gut feeling that we’d hit it off. I sent him a Facebook message asking if he’d join me for a slow dance in my living room. I also thought he was eccentric enough to respond to my specific request.
Although I invited him to mine, I was lured to his apartment for our first tête-à-tête. I sat on a couch, he sat on the carpet. I sipped tea, he drank a beer. He put on some Arthur Russell, and we chatted late into the night.
Since that first date, we’ve spent a summer living in a loft in Montréal; travelled to Stockholm, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Céret, Barcelona and New York; moved in together; completed a home renovation and had a baby boy.
David Dixon, fashion designer
What I wore: A Ralph Lauren button-down with a tie, slim khakis and penny loafers.
The date: I was 18 and a first-year fashion student at Ryerson. I met my first boyfriend at a dance club a few months earlier, and he asked me out for Valentine’s Day.
My first “love” was nine years my senior and the complete opposite of me in so many ways, but that is what made it so intriguing. He invited me to dinner and drinks.
From the first time we met, I was so attracted to his presence. He was a tall, strong and silent type with a shaved head and tattoos, kind of like Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. Despite our differences, our chemistry was electric and the conversation was so comfortable, everything from world politics to pop culture.
My favourite moment of the night was saying our good night as he walked me to the subway. He took a ring off his finger, gave it to me and said, “I want to be with you wherever you are . . . will you take this?”
Today, after so many years, [the ring] remains one of the three pieces of jewelry that I wear. We had a colourful relationship, and we remain friends despite our life changes and [geographical distance]. There is nothing better than when two people connect, be it for a brief time or a lifetime.
Matthew Collins, hair stylist
What I wore: Black jeans with dress shoes, a leather and canvas blazer from Serpentine in Yorkville and a black and grey dip-dyed shirt.
The date: My date was with Bree Powell — who is now my fiancée — a super babe. We are getting married this year, on September 16. I can’t wait!
We were at the Colour Trophy, a massive hair-industry gala. It was getting late, and I didn’t see her at the party but was hoping she would show up. Finally, when the night was almost done, I went to the bathroom and saw her out front with her friend. I went right up to her and told her I had a massive crush on her. She then said the same to me. Immediately, I asked her if she wanted to leave and get food.
She has the most beautiful face and eyes; I feel like they look right through me. When I first met her, I had a hard time looking into her eyes — I felt like I was being way too obvious with how much I was into her. We were both smitten and googly-eyed over each other. I had the craziest butterflies ever and basically knew at that moment [that I had] met my future wife.
Samantha Diamond, executive director at ROI Relations
What I wore: Lululemon pants, old runners and a tank top. I was going for the “apple-picking-as-a-sport” look.
The date: I had been dating my boyfriend (now husband) for a couple of years. He was living in Boston doing his Master’s, and I was there for one of my bi-monthly trips. He wanted to celebrate me being there and told me he had planned a fun date and to “just go with it.”
We went apple picking in a town outside Boston. There were bikes, trains and a tractor involved. Dan is a last minute–kinda guy. He was busy looking up bike rental and train schedule information on his phone for the first hour of our day. Well, long story short, we barely made it onto the train at both ends of the trip and ended up biking back with 30 lbs of apples hanging from our handlebars. There was a lot of frustrated sighing and loud-voiced “discussions” about directions.
Justine Iaboni, blogger at jetsetjustine.com
What I wore: A striped blue and white Ralph Lauren shirt, faded red cut-off shorts with roses embroidered on the front pockets, and white ballet flats.
The date: My date was with Alexander Liang. We are now madly in love and live and work together. He asked me to dinner under the guise that we were both hungry. We went to a local Italian restaurant (so cliché). It was pretty empty, it was raining and it was wonderful.
I first noticed that he was tanned and kind. We were already friends, so it was those awkward subtle suggestions that we could be more than just friends that kept the evening interesting. He said one day he’d buy me a Cartier Love bracelet . . . I took that as a good sign.
Angie Sakla Seymour, owner of Angie’s Models & Talent
What I wore: A purple jumpsuit, with slits on the side of each leg.
The date: I knew he [my husband] would ask me out and he did. He asked me if I would like to go for dinner with him for Bahamian food! I noticed that he had a great body, hair and smile . . . It was instant chemistry. Hot!
My favourite moment was when he did the toast. The key to a great date is being yourself.
Christopher Paunil, fashion designer
What I wore: I’m pretty sure it was all black with several layers as Toronto was in a deep freeze at the time. I do remember I had red shoelaces in my boots — that’s what I told Mike to keep an eye out for prior to meeting for the first time.
The date: My date was with my boyfriend Mike. We are still together, and it will be a year on February 21 since that first date. We were both nervous, so we agreed to meet outside of a pub that we both had been to. It was packed and very cozy inside, very pub-like: loud music, food and beer.
Mike told me to look out for a guy wearing a red jacket, so that was the first thing I noticed. That, and he was cute
. . . and looked nervous. The conversation flowed smoothly and felt easy — we had good chemistry. In the middle of our conversation, we just started holding hands. It was very organic and felt natural.