The XX Factor

A New York Love Story

The New York Times on Sunday had one of the most intriguing wedding announcements I’d seen in years. Avery Willis, a Stanford grad with a Ph.D. in classical languages and literature from Oxford married Matthew Hoffman, a New York city sanitation worker. In addition to crossing class lines, she’s black and he’s white. I had to know-how did this couple find each other? Fortunately, the Times ’ Web site has a video that tells the story of their romance. Three years ago, Avery, who’s a theater director, got on a crowded F train to Brooklyn. The only seat available had a coat on it. She sat on the coat, and Matthew said, “Excuse me, you’re sitting on my coat.” They started talking, and by the time they got to her stop, he was smitten and asked her out for a drink. As they began seeing each other, he was worried that a woman with a Ph.D. dating a garbage man was too big a chasm, but said that she kept telling all her friends how great he was and what stories he had about the amazing stuff other people threw out. They are both Scrabble fanatics, and one night he asked her to get a glass of wine for him. He put the letters “Marry Me” on the board. Thank you, Avery and Matthew, for your cheering, inspiring love story about two people who know what’s really valuable.