His Dating Profile Listed Reasons Not to Date Him. She Was Intrigued.

Joseph Schneier and Allie Brashears under the canopy, as Trenesa Stanford-Danuser led the ceremony before 130 guests in Glen Head, N.Y.

Joseph Schneier posted his profile on OkCupid in 2016, but admits that he wasn’t really looking for love back then. “I wasn’t sure of my gender. I was very androgynous,” said Mr. Schneier, a 40-year-old technology entrepreneur who also wasn’t sure he wanted to start dating again. “I put up the most depressing profile.”

Mr. Schneier, born Joanna, is from Israel. He moved to the United States in the early ’80s with his family, then to Ukraine in 1994, and back to Israel in 1996. He later returned to the States, spending time in California and Connecticut before solidifying roots in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, in 2004. From the time he was 19 until about two years ago, there were two marriages, two divorces, three children, and one identity crisis.

“I considered myself bisexual for years,” he said, “but began taking steps toward transitioning in 2015.”

Friends were “nagging me to date,” he said. “My profile said, ‘I don’t want to talk to you if you do any of these annoying things.’ Anyone who emailed me I deleted. I thought, why are you contacting me after what I’ve written, something must be wrong with you.”

Allie Brashears, 42, wasn’t looking for a relationship either when she joined OkCupid around the same time.

“I’d been in several relationships with men and women,” said Ms. Brashears, a biology professor at LaGuardia Community College. “I was frustrated I wasn’t fully transitioned. So I joined OkCupid to meet queers in the city.”

Ms. Brashears, born Jake Alexander, grew up in Chicago. By the time she was 12, she and her five siblings had moved with her mother and stepfather 11 times.

“My brother would be playing with cars and I’d be playing with My Little Pony and dresses,” she said. “It created a lot of tension in the fundamentalist Christian community.”

She came out as transgender at the end of graduate school, moved to San Diego, and by 38 started hormone treatment.

“There was a lot of blowback at work and I felt my job was in jeopardy, so I stopped the hormones and grew a beard,” Ms. Brashears said. “It was a miserable experience so I applied for a new teaching job in New York. I got it and in 2016 moved to Sunnyside Gardens.”

A few months later she joined OkCupid and stumbled upon Mr. Schneier’s profile. Rather than be deterred, she was intrigued.

“I liked him immediately — there was no bull,” she said of his profile. “It said: ‘These are the reasons you shouldn’t date me, these are the terrible things about me.’ I found his self-reflection so honest. There was no attempt to mask anything. That was really attractive.”

Ms. Brashears messaged him in July 2016. He texted back.

And so it went, sometimes for three hours at a time. A week later they met for coffee in Bryant Park.

“Her profile photo had a beard,” Mr. Schneier said. “I wasn’t thinking date, I was just hoping this person isn’t crazy and that I could invite her to my barbecue.”

Mr. Schneier was the first to arrive at Bryant Park, at around 2 p.m. He bought a coffee and found a seat. Ms. Brashears arrived shortly after — with no beard.

“The first thing she said to me was, ‘I need to get coffee,’ and left. There was no, ‘Hi, how are you?’ And I thought, I guess she is a crazy person,” Mr. Schneier said. “When she came back, she introduced herself and said, ‘I’m sorry my photo doesn’t look like me. This is a strange situation.’”

It was, and it wasn’t. And their meeting turned into a four-hour conversation. Eventually Mr. Schneier asked if she wanted to have dinner.

“I took her to a Korean restaurant,” he said. “We ordered this industrial wok of living seafood that was messy and bizarre. It became very clear this was moving into an actual date.”

Ms. Brashears was also surprised by how well things went. “I thought he was very sexy,” she said. “It was like meeting someone you’ve known your whole life. The connection was so strong and the mutual understanding so exciting.”

After dinner, they walked home. At Mr. Schneier’s street, Ms. Brashears asked if she could kiss him.

“That was surprising but the kiss was great,” Mr. Schneier said. “It was like being seen for the first time. It was different than anything I’d experienced before. I didn’t believe in first love. I thought, that’s not even a thing.”

Ms. Brashears had a different memory, but shared the same experience.

“I think he kissed me,” she said. “It was this electric feeling. It felt so vivid. Like you’re awake on so many levels. I went home and canceled all my dates.”

The relationship moved quickly.

They met the next day — and the next, and the next.

Two months later, Ms. Brashears gave up her apartment and moved in with Mr. Schneier and his three children.

“Allie was amazing,” he said. “She can’t handle a lot of noise or chaos or commotion, and I had all these children at my house. She threw herself into this relationship with me and my kids and that was deeply meaningful.”

Ms. Brashears said, “I knew it was so rare to have this connection. Our friends thought we were crazy. They were shocked that within two months I was saying, ‘I found the love of my life.’”

In December, Mr. Schneier proposed — sort of.

When Ms. Brashears moved in, the two began leaving love notes for each other on Mr. Schneier’s 1950s Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter, which he kept on their bedroom dresser.

“We got into this habit because we had off hours,” he said. “One of us would be out the door before the other was up, or someone would come home while someone was sleeping.”

A note might say, “I love you with all my heart” or “Your smile makes me happy.” The last correspondence Mr. Schneier typed was longer. It ended with, “When you read this, I’ve got something for you. Please come see me.”

But Ms. Brashears was busy with teaching. Weeks went by. The typewriter went unnoticed. Mr. Schneier tried making date nights. Ms. Brashears, who was working 70 to 80 hours a week, would end up canceling.

December turned into January.

Finally Mr. Schneier said, “Have you looked at the typewriter?” The note was read. Ms. Brashears followed the directions. Mr. Schneier presented her with a gold ring with a pink stone, purchased in November from Etsy.

“The poor guy, I was so immersed in my work,” Ms. Brashears said. “I can’t imagine how long it took him to write it. It broke my heart.”

She said yes. “She sat on the bed and started crying,” Mr. Schneier said.

They were married on June 30, 2018, at the home of Preethi Radhakrishnan and Kevin Woo, who are friends of the couple, in Glen Head, N.Y. Another friend, Trenesa Stanford-Danuser, ordained by the Universal Life Church, officiated under a huppah, in front of 130 guests. Friends and family members sat in chairs, watched from the deck or stood behind a white picket fence. Some fanned themselves in the unforgiving heat; others sought refuge under a tent that covered the family’s garage.

The wedding theme was “country fair.” An inflatable bouncy house amused the 30-plus children in attendance. Adults drank wine, beer, lemonade or iced tea, and nibbled on sausage, chicken and brisket that Mr. Woo had smoked in his backyard.

Later, two food trucks set up shop. Guests planted themselves on the grass and ate dinner.

“This is the most traditional, progressive wedding you’ll ever go to,” said Ms. Stanford-Danuser, who has known the groom for the last 10 years, when he presented as Joanna. “This is a very unusual wedding. But love is love. I want my children to know that. I’m part of a community that believes that.”

Mr. Schneier’s eldest child agreed. “This is a small oasis of something hopeful amidst everything that’s happening politically,” said Tal Bogomolny, 20. “It’s been really special to witness. Seeing a parent finally settle into themselves is very meaningful. They both feel so safe with each other. It’s uplifting.”

At 7:40 p.m., a gluten-free, triple-layer cake was cut. The bride and groom fed each other. A bouquet of white freesia was tossed, and caught. Willie Nelson crooned “Love Is Here To Stay” as the pair danced for the first time as a married couple.

As the sun set, guests started to leave. The trucks stopped serving food; two women who sang bluegrass packed up. Remaining guests milled about; others joined the couple who were still dancing on the deck.

“Both of us are bisexual, and yet it’s the straightest relationship I’ve been in,” Mr. Schneier said. “If Allie stayed a man, none of it would matter. It’s about the person I fell in love with. I feel a tenderness toward her I haven’t felt toward anyone else.”

Ms. Brashears uttered similar sentiments. “Love is finding the person who understands you more intimately than you ever thought possible,” she said. “He looks very different than he did two years ago, but it hasn’t changed who that person is inside and who I talk to. It would have been overwhelming not to have had each other.”

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