written by Eric Ginsburg, photos by Alex Klein
When Adam Spooner landed a job at the startup OkCupid, he’d never been to New York City. Yet after growing up outside of Winston-Salem and High Point, the biggest cultural adjustment wasn’t to the city itself, but to his new gig.
It felt almost taboo being a Southern, Christian kid at a company stigmatized as a hook-up website. He felt uncertain.
Adam and his wife, Allison, had married just a year earlier, and the pair met only a year before that. They’d connected thanks to a friend at a church in High Point and bonded over similar beliefs on life and religion — both had attended Christian colleges and grown up in religious families. They quickly fell in love with each other and then New York City, but Adam didn’t fully adapt to his new workplace until about three months in.
“I learned a lot of new terms when I worked there,” he said, adding that when a colleague mentioned polygamy, he had to go and look the word up.
Underscoring just how culturally disconnected Adam was and continues to be, his coworker actually said “polyamory,” and Adam misspoke, conflating the two almost a decade later despite putting in two years alongside a polyamorous co-worker. He learned about BDSM too —well, sort of; he also messed up the letters of the acronym.
Adam Spooner didn’t want to be like his dad, an aeronautical engineer, but try as he might, he did a pretty piss-poor job eschewing the nerdy future that awaited him. Adam did his best after graduating high school in Archdale, bouncing around between UNCG, a Christian college in South Carolina and a design school in San Francisco. He switched majors constantly — medicine, fine arts, graphic design — before landing on computer science. Blame it on the home computer that arrived when Adam was in third grade, his mom’s college minor in computer science or his dad’s profession, but Adam Spooner seemed destined for a desktop.
Still in school, Adam freelanced his design and programming skills for a company in High Point —where he lived at the time — and decided he probably didn’t need to finish a degree in order to land a job. It turns out he was right; Adam applied to the nascent OkCupid and believes he landed the gig thanks to a mix of design and programming prowess.
But before that happened, he met Allison.
Adam hadn’t had much luck with dating.
He’d dated a girl for seven years, but she cheated on him twice. The experience hurt enough that he abstained from dating altogether for a while.
Adam focused on other areas of his life, traveling to Australia to work for a newly founded church as a worship leader and technical director, staying longer than originally planned due to a car accident. When he moved back to the Triad, his longtime friend Brian — whom he knew from childhood and roomed with at Southern Wesleyan University — connected Adam to a youth group at a church where he was working. And then he went a step further.
Four years had passed since Adam exorcized dating from his life. In that time, Brian hadn’t introduced him to any women, at least not a potential romantic interest. But Allison was different.
Allison is a teacher, and at the time she was finishing up her degree with a focus in special education. She grew up in High Point, not far from Advance and Archdale where Adam spent his formative years. Like him, she moved out of state to attend a Christian college before returning to UNCG. And Allison had been involved in the same youth group Adam was joining, but after working alongside Brian there for a year, she was on her way out.
Brian grabbed a friend and set up a sort of double date at Spare Time in Greensboro, though really the pair only showed up as social lubricant to ease the first interaction of Adam and Allison’s blind date.
When it ended, Brian and his tagalong agreed this qualified as the worst date they’d ever seen in their lives. It didn’t help that towards the end of the encounter, as Allison swung her arm back with her fingers laced into a bowling ball, Adam ran up behind her and tried to grab it as a joke. Allison tripped and fell.
But she must’ve seen something in him, because soon after she stopped by his office and asked him out to lunch. The date may have been a disaster, but Brian’s intuition proved remarkably accurate. Six months later, Adam proposed.