Photography byGabriela Herman. Menelik Puryear (LEFT) and Zachary Jonah Greenwald
Menelik Puryear, Photographer
Zach and I saw each other at an Equinox gym in New York, and I thought he was straight. They're the gayest gyms in the city, so the 10 percent of guys who are straight walk around with terror on their faces, like they're dying to say, "Leave me alone; I'm just here to work out!" Zach had that face, but I found out that the look was really an expression of, "I need glasses and can't see anything."
Our second date sealed the deal. We were out to dinner and I said, "I know this sounds crazy, but have you ever seen a drive-in movie? Want to go to Atlanta tomorrow and see one?" So we flew out in the morning, saw the awful Step Up 2: The Streets (the only movie playing there), and flew back the next day.
Zach scares easily, which helps keep things exciting: Because he has that bit of fear, it makes it better to be spontaneous and break up the routine. We drive each other crazy sometimes, but the key to living with someone is having each person be OK with being upset with the other. Deal with things instead of letting them stew. We generally don't go to bed mad, and if we do, we wake up in the middle of the night. And talk about it.
Zachary Jonah Greenwald, Book Editor
My favorite date with Menelik was when we went to Coney Island. It was a crazy hot day, and we were still new to each other. The subway ride there was such a sweet and awkward experience, and when we got to the beach, the nervousness had been exhausted, and we fell into this easy rapport. We rode rides and had hot dogs and ice cream. Then, back in the city, we went and saw Magic Mike and made out. It was perfect.
I think we're most in sync when we're traveling. The countries and cultures we visit are beautiful, but, for me, it's an excuse to have Menelik to myself, and learn more about how he understands the world. I appreciate that he's generous and sympathetic, which he's been from the start. And there's his laugh. If anyone has met him, they know Menelik has the loudest, most happy-sounding laugh in the world. It's impossibly infectious. It's like the yawn of laughs.