New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for sparkly outfits, champagne, and for some lucky revelers, a bright new beginning.
Yes, the evening is often overhyped, overrated and overpriced. But sometimes a midnight kiss – or “When Harry Met Sally”-style declaration of love – can lead to a new relationship.
Whether you’ve known the person for a very long time, or just met, here are three stories of couples whose spark ignited on New Year’s Eve. Maybe they will encourage you to start some fireworks of your own.
Lily Dwoskin, a 27-year-old musical theater writer
When: New Year’s Eve 2013
Where: A bar in Manayunk, Pennsylvania
How: After wrapping up her final performance of “A Christmas Carol” in Media, Pennsylvania, Dwoskin drove to Manayunk, about 45 minutes away, to celebrate the holiday with a female friend. “We struggled to find a parking spot and didn’t really make it into the bar – the only one that didn’t have a cover charge – until 11:45 p.m.,” Dwoskin recalls.
Seconds before the bar’s midnight countdown, a stranger approached Dwoskin and asked her to be his New Year’s kiss. “I was really excited because things like that don’t happen to me,” she says. “I was so flattered that I had this impulse to just go for it.”
Their kissing led to texting, and ultimately to a five-month relationship. While the romance has since fizzled, Dwoskin believes it wouldn’t have been sparked had it not been for that fateful night. “I think the energy of New Year’s put me in sort of an open mood, whereas any other night I probably would not have responded to some random guy at a bar coming up to me,” Dwoskin says with a laugh.
Her advice for meeting someone on Dec. 31: Stay positive and keep an open mind. “The times that I push myself to jump out of my comfort zone and meet new people are the times I’ve been most rewarded,” Dwoskin says. Also, bring backup. “It could’ve ended up in a sketchy situation, but I knew I had someone there who had my back, and I likewise had hers,” she says.
Emma Silvers, 33-year-old music journalist, and Jonathan Kirchner, 33-year-old bassist for Con Brio
When: New Year’s Eve 2010
Where: The Knockout, a bar in San Francisco
How: The pair became texting pals after Silvers interviewed Kirchner and his band, Con Brio, for the East Bay Express in October. The flirting amped up over the holidays and, while Kirchner was on the East Coast, the pair decided to meet up the day he returned to the Bay Area, which happened to fall on New Year’s Eve.
“When he asked if I had plans for New Year’s Eve, I remember thinking it was a kind of a crazy idea for a first date. I mean, it’s like, ‘Hey, do you want to hang out on this night where it’s basically assured we will kiss? There’s a set time for it and everything!’ ” she quips. “But it was cool. It felt like an ‘anything goes’ kind of night.”
The two met up just after midnight, made their way to the thick of the dance floor and shared a kiss. “I had a feeling of like, ‘Cool! I’m so glad we knocked that out of the way.’ “
The two were married this past July, and now Kirchner dedicates a performance to Silvers at each New Year’s Eve gig with his band.
Advice: “Prior to that year, New Year’s was honestly one of my least favorite holidays,” Silvers admits. “The pressure aspect of it is immense — I remember it as a single person thinking, ‘This is the worst thing ever.’ But I would encourage others to take a chance, go into the night with a positive attitude and an ‘anything goes’ kind of mentality about it.”
Jenna Jonaitis, a 28-year-old freelance writer, and Joe Jonaitis, a 29-year-old climate and geography graduate student at Appalachian State University.
When: New Year’s Eve 2014
Where: A mutual friend’s house in Grand Rapids, Michigan
How: Two months leading up to New Year’s, the pair had been hanging out as friends after being introduced by Joe’s sister. “I had really started to develop feelings for him, but I had no idea where he stood,” Jenna says. To test the waters, she invited him to join her at a mutual friend’s house on New Year’s Eve. He said yes. Lucky for both of them, their pent-up feelings for each other converged at midnight. “As the ball dropped, he leaned down and kissed me for the first time,” Jenna says. “And then we just continued kissing the rest of that night.” The pair went on their first date the next day and got married this past January.
Advice: “When the kiss happened, it kind of took a lot of the pressure off us,” Jenna says. “It was like, this special moment occurred and from then on, we could share everything and bond in an open and honest way.” The holiday season gives people the opportunity to be a bit braver than they might ordinarily be, she added. “If you are in the holiday spirit, there are less inhibitions to hold back because you are surrounded by this joyful and optimistic spirit. I think that could be a good time to make a move, share your feelings or even kiss somebody! And, even if it doesn’t work out, you have a whole year to move on, do other things and meet some other great new people.”
Emma Silvers and Jonathan Kirchner at a Con Brio show on New Year’s Eve 2014 at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. MUST CREDIT: Courtesy of Emma Silvers