Thirteen may be a song with a certain reputation, but it proved crucial to link Jason Martuscello to Lindsay Simon, even if the connection provoked a family tragedy.
She had written the number on her wrist in Roman numerals on a whim when she was a teenager, and he noticed it on their first date in January 2019, at a restaurant in lower Manhattan, after they met through the dating app Bumble. . He asked about it and she told him she was born on October 13.
He was stunned. That was the birthday of his older brother, Matthew, whom he idolized and imitated and shared a room with growing up. His brother died of bacterial meningitis he contracted while the two were traveling to California with their high school band.
“I’m surprised they were born on the same day,” said Mr. Martuscello, 33. He took it as a sign.
The date lasted for hours and by the time it was over, Mrs. Simon, 31, was sure she had found the man of her dreams. He didn’t take himself too seriously, seemed interested in her perspective and was very engaging. She is a senior influencer strategist at Hunter, a New York-based public relations firm, and a graduate of Boston College.
“I was madly in love with him the first time we met,” she said. “And he certainly wasn’t madly in love with me. I could see it on his face.”
Mr. Martuscello acknowledged that this was true. “I’m not a man of love at first sight,” he said.
Mr. Martuscello is a business strategist at Beesy Strategy, a New York based behavioral science research consultancy. He is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology from the University of South Florida and an MBA from the University of Florida.
In the weeks that followed, each moved at its own pace. They disagree on whether they had a first kiss after that first date, but on their third date, they both agree that they definitely kissed. That was not without complications.
“He was very respectful,” she said. “He didn’t want to go too fast. He wanted our first kiss, and that was all that was going to happen.”
Struggling was part of his method, a point he underlined by sending Mrs. Simon a turtle emoji (he was teased for being a turtle since he was young) and then handing her a life advice book called “Lessons from a turtle’. by Sandy Gingras.
“I gave her that to show her how I operate in my head,” he said. “I had no experience with dating. I thought, let’s go on a date, let’s work it out, let’s think, and for her it was like, what are you going to do tomorrow?
Within a few months, he began to catch up. On his way home from visiting his family, who live in Amsterdam, NY, he suddenly had to tell her how he was feeling. So he drove off the road to a supermarket parking lot and told her he loved her.
“It was a fun moment because we were away from the world and together,” he said, explaining that one of the lessons he learned from his brother’s unexpected death is that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, so being clear about what is important is important. .
On July 29, the couple married at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California. Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson performed the ceremony with just 22 guests. On July 31, the couple had a larger event at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, with Monsignor and Ms. Simon’s older brother, Willie, leading the ceremony in front of about 150 guests. The event was outdoors and everyone in attendance had been vaccinated, Mr. Martin cello.
His life advice, “Lessons from a Turtle,” was a favor the couple gave at the welcome party before the wedding.
After all, Mr. Martuscello said, “Turtles win the race.”