EXCLUSIVE — Couple claims they’re engaged despite lack of evidence on social media. Could it all be one big hoax?
New York, NY — It’s a relationship story straight out of a third-rate rom-com. In early 2019, “Joe and Laura” didn’t bump into each other at a coffee shop. Or a gallery. Or a cousin’s wedding. They matched on Hinge (sigh).
Their first date? Breakfast in midtown. After sitting down to artisanal matcha lattes and probably avocado toast at Gotan Midtown (R.I.P.), they browsed rare art and books at the nearby Harvard Club. This momentous meeting, which went completely unannounced to their thousands of followers, launched a three-year social media drought that continues to this day.
Which begs the question: are they even really a couple?
Their alleged second date was a NY Rangers game. For Valentine’s Day a week later, Joe surprised Laura with tickets to the Westminster Dog Show. Laura one-upped him with surprise tickets to Hamilton. Date after date, they enjoyed countless Instagrammable moments yet left friends and family across multiple social platforms completely in the dark. They would cross the one-month mark with nary a photo of an appetizer, let alone a boomerang of them smiling over entrées whilst toasting glasses of champagne.
“Don’t get me wrong, we love seeing our friends’ photos, especially when they have cute kids, which is like…everybody. Except us.”
Laura lamented, “I actually do take photos, but then I get lost in conversation and forget to post them.”
“As soon as the food comes,” Joe added, “I just wanna eat. Not pose with plates while I’m hangry.” This quip continues to buck social content trends:
While Joe and Laura maintain a secretive social media presence, this investigative journalist managed to uncover exclusive footage of posts that would have been.
Parachuting into Paradise
Six weeks in, they vacationed in Miami. But you wouldn’t know that unless Joe or Laura told you face-to-face.
@ Joe: “That winter was miserable and we needed a quick break. I was a little hesitant to invite Laura cuz our relationship was still so fresh, but I had a feeling we’d have fun.”
@ Laura: “We loved Wynwood Walls, had a nice South Beach day, checked out the Miami Film Fest…it was awesome!”
“I’m going to Europe with or without you”
Six months in, they flew to Spain, padded around Barcelona and then spent a week in Sicily. Because why not?
@ Joe: “We thought about posting pics from there, but the time zone difference was… I guess we just wanted to savor the moment, ya know?”
After a bit of research, it appears their trip was… honestly it doesn’t even look like they had any fun.
Toronto for TIFF
@ Joe: “Oh, we also went to the Toronto Film Fest in late 2019. Good time, really fun city. Laura introduced me to free walking tours here. I was hesitant at first, but if you have a good guide they’re worth it.”
@ Laura: “Actually, our first walking tour was in Sicily. Remember you said this walking tour is going to be Si-silly?”
The Longest Year
A year into their still-Facebook-unofficial relationship, Laura knew Joe was the one: “He threw me a surprise birthday on the steps of the Juilliard lobby. He gathered all my besties and everyone sang a special birthday song. There were ukuleles and everything! And then we all watched a recital together. I was SO surprised and totally blown away…can’t believe I didn’t post anything about that.”
Perhaps their biggest “life moment” offense: Joe turned 40 and they didn’t put a single piece of content on one damn social platform.
@ Joe: “Dude, so that was a scary time, week three of COVID…we had a party planned but had to cancel. I just ‘liked’ everyone’s Facebook posts wishing me happy birthday. Then Laura and I went for a walk, I got Mr. Softee and some lady yelled at me saying I’m the reason people are dying. So that was my birthday.”
@ Laura: “The Zoom party was fun tho! I took a screenshot but lost it.”
Goodbye, Big City
Months later, fed up with quarantining, they drove across the country.
@ Joe: “First, we sublet our apartment to a dude on the Mets, then we left. Headed for Laura’s hometown, LA. Hit a bunch of National Parks along the way.”
@ Laura: “It was an epic adventure, but given the pandemic…we just felt like any pic of us would draw criticism.”
@ Joe: “Truthfully, I feel the same way about this article. I’m a white man in his 40s, I’m a prime target for cancel culture.”
@ Laura: “Oh, here are some photos! You paused cuz you were gonna ask, right?”
How many likes and shares did this duo ultimately refuse to solicit? How many meme-worthy photos sat idly by on their iPhones? How many times did they ignore the ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ mandate?
Then, Laura’s social media presence took a perilous turn. She forgot her Facebook password.
@ Laura: “Facebook locked me out for a year. It’s not like I posted anything…bad! Honestly, I didn’t really mind.”
Joe’s mother was reached for comment: “Are they on the Facebook? What’s his wall?”
Christmas 2020 brought yet another opportunity to post. Anywhere. But no.
@ Laura: “I made a calendar of our favorite photos. It was a holiday present. To myself.”
@ Joe: “Look, we emailed all our friends a card, ok? Laura’s dad took the photo at the Venice canals. I’m happy to share that one:”
@ Laura: “Oh yeah, we rescued a lab mix named Diamond! She’s such a nice girl, but she’s a little shy.”
@ Joe: “In spring 2021, Laura, Diamond, and I drove back cross country and that was…pretty cool actually. Especially since we got vaxxed just before we left LA. We hit up Yosemite, Bay Area, Napa, Tahoe, Yellowstone, Chicago to see my buddy…”
Joe kept talking but I’ll spare you the rest.
Laura and Joe’s families weigh in
It’s worth noting that throughout this interview, they both spoke very highly of each other’s families. While Laura’s family is welcoming of Joe, Joe’s family shows a more obvious acceptance and love of Laura.
@ Donna (Joe’s sister): “If they break up, we’re keeping Laura.”
While journalists like to get early scoops on stories this “sensational,” their (alleged) engagement back on August 7th made me question whether this story was even pressing enough to publish.
@ Laura: “I’m definitely not a morning person, but Joe invites me to the terrace at the crack of dawn (aka 7:30am), so I grumpily join him in my PJs, glasses, messy hair, with my tea. Joe says he wants to share a poem he wrote (we do that enough for it not to be odd), so he starts reading. I’m thinking, ‘Ooh, this is a really nice one!’… and then halfway through he chokes up and I didn’t catch a few lines but once he got on one knee I was like ‘OHHHH WAIT LIKE RIGHT NOW!?? Ok, yes!’ It was a beautiful moment—too bad we don’t have any photos. I did audio record Joe’s proposal but that’s kind of personal...”
As if a voice memo of a 40 year-old man rhyming at a first-grade level until he weeps could give this article some spice.
@ Joe: “Look man, we almost never fight, love our family and friends, adore our dog… isn’t feeling that ‘IRL’ more important than posting about it?”
Maybe. This is the social dilemma though, folks. Right?
@ Joe: “About the engagement, August was busy, man. September too. We took a family trip to Maine, then Laura got cast in a play in Syracuse...we’ve slept in at least 30 beds since 2019. After all this, we just wanted to settle somewhere.”
@ Laura: “Joe went to Houston and Mexico City while my mom, Diamond, and I drove cross country back to LA. It was fun and really special!”
Eager to end the interview (this being my least newsworthy story of 2021), I asked them if they’ve finally settled down.
@ Joe: “Nope, we’re in Ensenada for a bit. We’ll see after that.”
@ Laura: “Oh! And we just found a super sweet stray dog with an injured leg. We cleaned her up, took her in, and now she’s best friends with Diamond. But we probably won’t post about any of it.”
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