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Modern Love: IRL

November 20, 2019 3 min read

These are a few of my favorite modern love stories from around the world.

If the new show, Modern Love (or the New York Times column that preceded it) can teach us anything, it’s that love takes on many forms. My travels with the original LOVE bracelet pointed me toward a similar truth—that love can be spontaneous, romantic, familial, platonic, unpredictable, and often a few of those things, all at once! When people told me their love stories, I heard tales of online friends turned real-life lovers, childhood sweethearts reconnecting after years apart, and chance encounters leading to decades-long marriages. There was no formula—just the instinctual assurance that each had found their person. 
A Pegleg and an Eye Patch
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Jillian and Elvis met when Jillian posted a Craigslist ad looking for a tour guide around Chicago. Even though her request was platonic, she had several stipulations around gender, height and age, even asking for a photo to be included in the application. Elvis found her request hilarious and intriguing, so he wrote her stating that he did not meet the criteria and would not be sending a photo. Instead, he described himself as having a peg-leg and an eyepatch. They chatted online for three to four hours every day before they finally started speaking on the phone. It was another five months before they would meet. Elvis describes their first meeting as "supernatural" and knew that she was the one for him.
When Distance is No Obstacle
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lauren and I met each other nine years ago when I was studying abroad at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. I was with friends at a popular college bar when I noticed a beautiful girl across the room. I leaned over to my friend to point her out and it turned out that he knew her. He got to his feet, walked over to her, and introduced me to Lauren. 

When I left the US to return home (I am from the Netherlands), the two of us stayed very close. We tried to remain friends even though it became clear to each of us that we would not be able to get over one another. Lauren flew to Amsterdam a few years later on Christmas and from that point forward, we knew it would be forever.

After a long-distance relationship we ended up in New York City, where we currently live together. About one and a half years ago, we were traveling through Guatemala when we met Chrissie and Anna, who were shooting photos for the Love is Project. Chrissie asked if we wanted to be hand models and we were happy to help. It resulted in a very fun morning with great photos! 

"When I was planning to propose to Lauren over the summer, I reached out to Chrissie and Anna because I knew Anna lived in NYC and I hoped that she could take pictures on the day of our engagement! Anna was so kind for wanting to help. One and a half years, after meeting each other in a remote part of Guatemala, we met again in Manhattan just after I proposed to Lauren. We spent about two hours on our rooftop and in the city taking pictures. It was a wonderful afternoon and a great way to memorialize that special day.”

Flowers and Love Notes
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Michael met his wife, Chandra, 35 years ago when he started selling offering flowers in front of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. He gave her little love notes when she visited his flower stall. They now have four children.

When the Wrong Shoes are the Right Shoes

San Francisco, California, USA


My parents, Onsi and Gladys Lam, recently celebrated 45 years of marriage. They met in SanFrancisco after my mom got dressed in the dark and raced to the bus stop. There, my dad pointed out she was wearing two different colored shoes. They have been together ever since. 

🖤, Chrissie


Explore global perspectives on love alongside stunning images captured in our forthcoming, full color photo book, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, launching  Valentine's Day 2020! 

Pre-order yours here.

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