We met in November 2016 through OK Cupid…kind of. Bertram saw Jason’s profile and wrote to propose a drink since, as he wrote, “I think we’d have a lot to talk about.” Jason wrote back, and…Bertram never replied. Well, truth-to-tell, he never really went back on OK Cupid, so had no idea Jason had replied.
Despite the silence, everything he read in Bertram’s OK Cupid profile really piqued Jason’s interest in meeting him. But all he had to go on was a first name and some tidbits from the OK Cupid profile–Bertram’s long residence in Seattle, his work in both theater and HIV education. A four-word Google search based on that information–Jason recalls it was something like ”Bertram Seattle HIV Education”–led him to the Rev. Bertram Johnson at the Riverside Church.
“Hi, I’ve been cyberstalking you after you didn’t reply to my OK Cupid note” struck Jason as an inauspicious opening line to reconnect. But he suspected that our friend Fred Davie would know Bertram, both because they’re each Gay, Black, Presbyterian ministers and because they worked across the street from each other. Jason explained the scenario and, sure enough, Fred knew Bertram: “he’s a wonderful, wonderful guy,” he assured Jason. “You’ll love knowing him.”
Fred got in touch with Bertram and encouraged him to contact Jason. Bertram recalls Fred saying something like, “this friend of mine saw your profile online and wants to meet you,” This had about as much appeal to Bertram as “Hi, I’ve been cyberstalking you,” but Fred quickly clarified, Bertram checked OK Cupid, and he dropped Jason a line.
We first spoke by phone for over an hour on November 2. By the end of the call, we had set up dinner for November 6. That dinner lasted three hours, included sharing food together, and led to another hour at a neighboring bar. We were both realizing something special was happening throughout that night, and that “something special” has only gotten richer, deeper, and better ever since.
Other Location: Williamsburg – Brooklyn
Photographer: Cinder & Co.