“At 12:30, she told me how much she loved chocolate-covered macadamias. I had a box at my place from a recent trip to Hawaii, so I said, ‘What if I come over right now? I’ll bring a box of those chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.’”
Avi arrived at Margarita’s La Jolla apartment at 1:15 in the morning. She looked out the window and saw him parking a cherry-red 1989 BMW.
“My first impression was, Gross! What kind of douche drives a fire-engine-red used BMW? I thought, Let me get this chocolate and get him out of here. I was gagging.”
“I was dressed nice because I’d just come from downtown,” Avi says. “Margarita came to the door in old sweats and a sweatshirt. Her hair was pulled back. I could tell she was cute, but I had no idea she had a slamming body.”
They both smile at the memory.
“We walked her dogs for two hours that night,” Avi says.
Margarita says, “When I opened the door, he was talking a lot. I was, like, Man, this guy won’t shut up. It was late. I needed to walk my dogs. I figured he could come with me to walk them. I thought he couldn’t be that bad. He was definitely more excited over the whole thing than I was.”
“I was just excited to finally meet a cute girl,” Avi says.
Three days later, the two went on a real date. Avi took Margarita to a Padres game.
“When I picked her up, she had on snug little white capris.”
Margarita laughs before correcting Avi. “They weren’t snug!”
“She looked adorable,” Avi says. “Her hair was in a ponytail. She had a Padres shirt on. She looked casual. Sometimes, you’ll go to these games and see women dressed like they’re going clubbing. It’s a frickin’ ballgame. I decided that night: I don’t care if she likes me or not. I’m going to pursue her.”
A few days after their date, Margarita emailed Avi. She told him she wasn’t interested in him romantically. But Avi wasn’t about to let her go.
“I made her meet me for lunch the next day. I claimed I was in her neighborhood.”
He convinced Margarita to give him one more chance. Friday night, he took her to the San Diego Symphony.
Saturday, both of them had dates with other people from JDate. Avi took a woman to the Corinne Bailey Rae concert at the Embarcadero. Margarita went with a freelance writer to a party at Kitty Diamond in Hillcrest.
“I liked Avi, but I wasn’t going to take my JDate profile down just yet. It’s like buying a pair of jeans from Nordstrom. After three wears, you can return them and get something different at Neiman Marcus.”
After four weeks of dating, Avi and Margarita mutually decided to take down their JDate profiles. They began an exclusive relationship.
“I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t want to waste my time with anyone else,” Margarita says. “It was never forced with Avi. I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone other than myself.”
“I said ‘I love you’ first,” Avi says, “but she said it with her eyes. She had hungry eyes. I wanted to ease her pain.”
Margarita rolls her eyes.
“In July, she sent me a blown-up photo of an engagement ring, ‘Just in case, hehehe,’ it said.”
Margarita shoots back, “I don’t remember doing that.”
A year after their first date, Avi asked Margarita to marry him.
Avi wrote JDate a thank-you letter that included his and Margarita’s love story. Shortly after, the couple was contacted by the site.
“JDate was doing an advertising blitz and wanted to interview us. We said, ‘Sure.’”
They were invited to Los Angeles, were interviewed, and had photos taken.
“We had no idea how the photos would be used,” Avi says. “We signed a waiver saying that [JDate] had the right to use our images. We got no compensation. Not long after, I got a text from someone in New York saying that our photo was in Times Square, up on a billboard.”
“That was a shock,” Margarita says. “After that, a friend of mine in L.A. sent us a photo of a gigantic billboard of Avi and I, in the heart of L.A. It was cool but weird.”
“Later, we did a national televised commercial for them,” Avi adds.
In April 2009, two years after their first date, Avi and Margarita got married at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.
“We recommend online dating to family and friends constantly,” Margarita says. “It’s effortless. If you know what you like, you don’t have to waste your time. It sounds shallow, but who the heck has time to date in the old-fashioned sense? Meeting someone at a bar or club is so much harder.”
“It’s rare nowadays to find the high-school or college sweethearts,” Avi adds. “People don’t date like that anymore. That’s a lost art.”