Photography By Benedict Evans
We were following each other on Instagram, and Saul had commented on one of my photos and said, “If you’re ever in New York, send me a message.” The great thing about Instagram is that you can get to know about a person — what he does, how he looks. He seemed to have a really fun life.
We went for a date at Cafeteria [a Chelsea restaurant] about a year ago. It wasn’t really a date — we were just meeting to say hi. And then once I met him, I was like, Oh wow, this guy’s a great guy! I remember what I ordered, because now it’s my favorite American dish: chicken and waffles. It’s something I’d never had before.
I was in New York finishing up my involvement in the documentary To Russia With Love. I went back home to Calgary, and then got right on a plane to Toronto for the opening of Pride House’s Winter Games Lounge [a venue for watching the Olympics], and I wasn’t really thinking about the date too much. But we started talking and text messaging and had the odd FaceTime call. And he just blurted out that he was going to Las Vegas in a week and a half, and asked, “Do you want to come?”
I always felt like I’d spent a lot of time in my life sacrificing stuff for my sport, and not being very spontaneous, so I decided to call his bluff and take him up on his offer. I didn’t have a [return] ticket anywhere. The week was very successful, and toward the end of it he was like, “What are you going to do?” And I said, “I’d like to come to New York. Would you like me to come to New York?” and he said yes and here I am.
As long as I’m with Saul, nothing else matters. The past year has been an incredible transition for me, full of ups and downs. Without him I would not have been able to stay as strong and positive as I have. Saul makes everything better. With just a minute of talking to him and being in his presence, I know that everything will work out.
I found the first [Instagram picture of Blake] I liked. He was wearing a shirt, surprisingly. He was at the wedding of one of his best friends in a full suit. I’m sure I then went on to like a few more in his thread to get his attention.
He came to New York to film the documentary, and he reached out to me through Twitter with something like, “This might be weird and awkward, but would you like to have dinner this week?” I responded with, “Uh, this is really weird and awkward, but sure.” I thought it would just be dinner. Next thing he knows, he’s meeting me in Las Vegas two weeks later, and then he comes back to New York with me.
It just turned into us living together and being in a relationship and getting engaged. My friends give us grief about how quickly it happened. But, you know, everything seemed so easy, and it felt like we knew each other for years. It all felt natural.
He said “I love you” first. I was like, “Did you really just say that to me while we’re watching The Bachelorette?”
He’s met my entire family, but for a while I only knew his family through Skype. This past Christmas, we took a trip to New Zealand and Australia, and I met his entire family. On the way back, we stopped in Hawaii to check out venues for the wedding.
On Saturdays and Sundays we get iced coffee from our bodega across the street and lie in bed and have breakfast. Not a day goes by when I’m not completely thrown by how lucky I am to have Blake in my life. No matter my mood, just hearing him laugh can turn my day around.