They met on a flight from Barcelona to Dublin and hit it off instantly. Then they were separated at customs, and she waited for him, but he never showed. Both were smitten, but only one of them could launch a social media campaign searching frantically for the other without looking desperate. That would be the dude.
And so he did. From the NY Daily News post:
On a July flight from Spain to Ireland, 24-year-old Jamie Kelly sat next to a beautiful Canadian woman, but he didn't get her phone number before they parted ways. Determined not to give up on the missed connection, he asked Twitter for help finding a girl he only knew as "Katie from Nova Scotia."
And Twitter didn't let him down.
Ireland's Kelly and his new love interest, Katie Moreau, have been reunited online, and they're planning an in-person visit soon.
It's a perfectly sweet boy-and-girl-meet-cute story. Moreau had been in Spain for a few months traveling and she was happy to be sitting next to an English speaker, she said. Kelly was immediately smitten. For whatever reason, they did not exchange phone numbers on the flight, perhaps because they expected to keep chatting after customs.
Dude really put in the work to find her, too:
He asked the airline for information on his seatmate, but for privacy reasons, they couldn't help. He tried searching on Facebook, but without her last name, he couldn't narrow down the field of Katies in Canada.
Many of us have hit this brick wall of discovery: You meet someone, have a little information about them, and perhaps try to piece it together online to see if you can find more. But at the risk of making a sweeping generalization, I'm willing to venture that most women would stop their search right there, if for no other reason than that it would look a bit batshit to do much more, even if there were no mutual acquaintances to press for more intel. You'd just cut your losses and hope to run into them again.
Not so for Jamie Kelly:
Undefeated, he took his campaign to Twitter.
Under the hashtags #findkatie and #loveatfirstflight, Kelly searched for his Canadian dream girl. A local Irish radio host featured his quest, and the crush crusade spread further.
By sheer luck, the story landed in front of someone Moreau was related to, and they were connected. Good thing Moreau was flattered, because that would be super awkward if she was like, eh, I have a boyfriend or I was just being nice for three hours. Instead, now they are planning to meet up again somewhere between Nova Scotia and Ireland.
Hey, look, great story! More stories should end so mutually and wonderfully! But it's what Moreau said of Kelly's efforts to find her that really highlighted the difference to me between how men and women can pursue, even now, when things are more equal than ever:
The 27-year-old said she waited for her seatmate when she was finished with customs, but she didn't want to seem desperate if her feelings were unrequited. So, she left the terminal without her new crush.
"I suppose, in hindsight, looking a bit longer wouldn't seem as desperate in comparison," she said.
Desperate, indeed. But had she launched a campaign on social media, radio, and elsewhere to track him down? It is hard for me to imagine that being interpreted as equally romantic and grand, as gestures go. When friends and I were imagining this story with the genders swapped, we speculated the sorts of things people would've said about a woman who decided to do whatever it took to find this guy again:
Chill, maybe he has a girlfriend?
If he wanted to hook up again, he'd have gotten your number, trust me.
Calm down, LOL, you don't even know him!
Maybe we are being cynical, but it's hard to imagine a woman driving an international search for a dude she thought was cute on a plane. More likely, she'd talk herself out of doing it, owing to the fact that if he'd been interested, he'd have gotten her number, or that she should've gotten his if she was.
Moreau was concerned about appearing desperate by simply spending another five minutes at customs — Kelly was not remotely fazed by telling the entire world he needed to find this girl.
Obviously, this is just one story, but culturally speaking we are far more comfortable with Jon Cusack holding up that boombox than Joan. Certainly, some men would hesitate to take a search globally, such as this commenter on another story about the Irishman's public love campaign, who said:
I'm 28 and ive met and chatted with beautiful girls on planes and trains as well, and I had many times wanted to hang around and try to find them afterwards but I always worried people would find it "creepy" or "stalkerish"so i just swallowed hard and continued my trip!!!
Im glad it worked for this guy! I really wish I had done the same now, a few different times!! What an inspiration!
And yes, all grand gestures come with risk to the gesturer — and some women argue that such displays are not romantic in the first place, but just plain creepy. But when only 1 in 20 women even propose at this stage in our courtship rituals, it's not surprising most women still don't want to make a public spectacle out of their search for love. #truth