When Two Bookworms Write Their Own Romance: Jack and Emma’s Story

Every bibliophile dreams about a meet-cute in their local bookstore, exchanging bashful glances from behind the crisp pages of a romance novel. But for Georgetown seniors (and avid bookworms) Emma and Jack, their first encounter went a little bit differently. 

Emma:

We first met through class on Zoom during our sophomore spring. The class was called New York Stories, which is taught by a really amazing English professor. I’m an American Studies major, and Jack’s an English major, so that was a connecting point. 

Jack:

It was a class focused on the literature of New York. It started in the late 19th century and goes until present day. We both loved it, even though we didn’t get to take the trip to New York like the class usually does. 

Jack and Emma quickly connected through their shared passion for the arts and humanities. Though classes were completely online that spring, the pair were conveniently both living in D.C., and crossed paths again through mutual friends at a social event shortly after the start of the semester. 

Jack:

I asked if we could grab coffee, and that’s what we did. I thought it was a pretty good first date. We have a love of all things reading, writing, media, culture— and we really love thinking about that stuff more deeply. That’s how we initially connected. Having deep conversations about things we had read. 

One of the last things we read in the class we took was called Just Kids, a memoir by Patti Smith. It was about her time growing up in New York in her 20s, being a young artist trying to survive in the city, and being in a relationship.

Emma:

We did compare annotations. 

Jack:

Very nerdy. 

Emma:

Another thing we’ve done a couple of times is what we affectionately refer to as a bookstore bar crawl. Jack came up with that. It’s basically just going to a bookstore, but you hit more than one. 

Their romance wrote itself as they rolled into February. The pair took the Marriage Pact for the first time that spring with no success (not that they needed it). It wasn’t until the following fall that the algorithm finally paired them together. 

Jack:

We had been texting each other three minutes before the initials came out. And then we just had a really funny text exchange. I saw EG and I was like, “No way.” And she was like, “Oh my god, what?” and I was like, “What are your initials?” and she had JB.

I think it was just a really sweet moment. Neither of us were expecting the initials to come at that time.

Emma:

I didn’t see the email until after getting his text saying, “No way.” And then I looked and I was like, “Of course.”

Jack:

At that point, we were both pretty certain that we had matched. I was a little worried that we were actually going to just get two random people. So I was more relieved than anything when we did get each other. 

Emma:

I was honestly like, “Wow, look at us go!” One of our friends was like, “Did you guys take it together? Is this a scam?” And we were like, “No, no, we actually got each other.”

Despite their obvious (and research-backed) compatibility, Jack and Emma didn’t align on every survey answer. They shared just a few of their hot takes with me. 

Emma:

One of my hot takes had to do with vengeance. I think I put a 7 for the question about whether there’s a place for revenge, and I don’t think Jack would put anything close to that.

Jack:

One of mine had to do with where you want to settle down. I was super far towards the countryside end, since that’s where I want to eventually end up. But I think Emma really wants to live in a big city and move to New York or Chicago or D.C.

Emma:

I think there’s a distinct energy that comes with liking those different places. So we definitely compliment each other in that way.

Jack and Emma have made an abundance of memories over their 18 months together, including a summer trip to the County Fair and a vacation in a quaint Virginia town replete with bookstores and museums. 

Emma:

My personal favorite was late last summer. We went to the County Fair in Jack’s hometown. I’d never been to a fair before, so that was really fun. We kissed at the top of the ferris wheel and everything. 

Jack:

I think it was a very fun way to end the summer, right before we went back to school. Because we knew things were gonna change, we’d be taking in person classes, making new friends, and seeing some people we hadn’t seen in a long time. But that was a nice way to end the summer with the two of us. 

And during winter break, a few days before school started, we rented an Airbnb in this really cool little town in rural Virginia. It was great to spend some time away from our families and parents and just hang out with each other. 

Emma:

It was really cute. It was a quiet little town, which was a big contrast to what we experience here on campus. 

Jack:

But there were also cool things to do there. A bunch of coffee shops, bookstores, and a few museums, which was unexpected but still really cool. 

The pair certainly had no shortage of kind things to say about each other. 

Jack:

Something I noticed about Emma the first time I met her is that she’s extremely resilient and tough. I’m always so impressed by her. I’ve also seen the way she acts around her friends, and how she’s always there for them. It just inspires me to be a better person and friend and invest more in the relationships that I treasure. 

Emma:

I’ve said this to Jack before, and he doesn’t take this as a compliment. But I mean it as a compliment. Jack has this amazing simplicity to him that I haven’t really experienced. He just loves the simple things about life, and that’s something that I think I’ve lost a bit. Being around you makes me feel like a kid again, and has helped me to enjoy all the little moments that make life so wonderful. 

 Still waiting on that meet-cute? Don’t lose hope—your story might unfold in the way you least expect. 

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