While some blind dates end with disaster stories, the setup worked well for Paul Steinke and David Ade — who, after more than two decades together, tied the knot earlier this month.
Steinke, 51, and Ade, 48, wed Sept. 4 in Provincetown, Mass.
Steinke, a Northeast Philadelphia native, is the former general manager of Reading Terminal Market, who stepped down at the beginning of this year to run for Philadelphia City Council. Ade is a native of Montoursville, who moved to Philadelphia about 30 years ago. He is a partner at SMP Architects, which led renovations on U Bar and Tavern on Camac.
The pair met in 1995 at the prompting of mutual friend Steve Duross, now co-owner of Gayborhood shop Duross & Langel.
“At the time, he was cutting hair at Cut on 13th Street and I was in there and he asked if I was seeing anyone and, when I said no, he suggested I might be interested in meeting David,” Steinke recalled.
They set up a date at the now-defunct Waldorf Cafe at 20th and Lombard streets.
Steinke said when Ade came to his front door, he immediately recognized him from community functions — and the pair shared an instant connection.
“He was really attractive and fun to talk to,” Steinke said. “Things went really well.”
At the restaurant, they were seated next to two friends of Steinke.
“It was clear he knows a lot of people in Philadelphia; we were seated next to friends of his who sort of joined in our first date at points,” laughed Ade. “He loved to talk and it was clear from that point what a genuine person he was.”
They quickly set up a second date, at Marigold Dining Room in University City, which ended up being just a block-and-a-half from the house the couple would purchase together three years later.
Steinke said the pair balances one another well, which has contributed to their longevity.
“I think it’s about caring for one another, yet at the same time giving each other the space to pursue our career goals and hobbies,” he said. “We recognize where we have commonalities and we recognize how we’re different. And we work that into our relationship. And somehow, 20 years have gone by.”
Over the years, Ade said, they have also drawn strength from family and friends.
“We have a strong group of friends and supportive families,” he said.
It was in preparing for a trip to Provincetown to visit their friends Jim Epstein and Tom Hess, a Philadelphia couple with a vacation home in the Massachusetts town, that they began considering marrying. They had discussed tying the knot when Pennsylvania legalized marriage equality but Steinke’s Council campaign was time-consuming and not conducive to wedding-planning, he said. After he lost his bid this past spring, they picked up the conversation again.
“The idea emerged to get married in Provincetown and sort of dispense with all that uncertainty about details of a big ceremony in Philadelphia. And we increasingly warmed to the idea,” Steinke said. “Provincetown is a special place to both of us; we’ve been going every few years since we’ve been together and just love it there.”
In August, the couple purchased rings from Safian & Rudolph on Jeweler’s Row and contacted a justice of the peace in Provincetown, Susan Brand. They headed to Massachusetts a few days before Labor Day and applied for their license and then had to appear before a judge to request the three-day waiting period be waived, which was granted.
They married in an intimate ceremony on the porch of Epstein and Hess’ house, with a view of Provincetown harbor. They spent several more days in the beachside town before returning home.
Both said that, while their 20-year relationship hasn’t changed much since the marriage, the wedding’s symbolic impact has gradually evinced itself.
“I now have a ring on my finger and it’s a sort of security, a legal contract, that not only do we have the support of each other, our friends and family, but also the support of the government,” Ade said.
“Wearing the ring makes me more aware of our longtime commitment,” added Steinke. “The knowledge that he has pledged himself to me in marriage gives me a good feeling. It wasn’t something I knew I was missing until I had it. And now I really appreciate it.”