Ryan Goldner, 39, and Scott Reikofski, 54, will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary March 7.
Goldner, who is the HIV/AIDS case management coordinator at Mazzoni Center, and Reikofski, the director of fraternity and sorority affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, met Jan. 2, 1998, at a bar in the Gayborhood.
“I met Scott at The Bike Stop near closing time and we hit it off instantly,” Goldner said. “We had to set up our first date for the following weekend and were planning to meet back at The Bike Stop and then go out to dinner.”
Reikofski said he thought Goldner was strikingly handsome when he first laid eyes on him.
“[He] looked like a poster Marine in head-to-toe leather,” Reikofski said. “A staff member at the bar said that Ryan was interested in me and I didn’t believe it.”
Goldner said he was drawn to Reikofski for his charm and good looks and also his positive personality.
“I thought Scott was one of the most handsome men I ever saw with beautiful light-blue eyes, and the fact he was my height was a plus. Scott was and is a very kind person who rarely has a negative thing to say about anyone and is very encouraging and nurturing, which is the opposite of me, so we balanced each other out perfectly,” he said.
Goldner, who was anxious for their first date, was left upset when Reikofski never showed up.
“I was pretty pissed, and thought he blew me off. Then a friend of his asked if I was Ryan, and said that Scott was home sick with the flu and had to cancel,” Goldner said. “Now, I didn’t believe him at all and insisted on going to see Scott to prove he was sick. So I walked to Scott’s apartment and there he was, passed out in bed with a high fever and the flu. I wound up staying the weekend, making him soup and taking care of him, and just never left.”
Goldner and Reikofski exchanged rings a year after they met and had already felt like a married couple, but spontaneously decided to get married last year.
“There wasn’t a big ring or anyone on one knee proposing. It was more like a ‘Hey ... want to go up and finally do this in NYC?’ during a commercial break of NCIS or something,” Reikofski said.
The two headed to the City Courthouse in New York City to celebrate their 14 years together March 7.
Reikfoski said the experience was an affirming one.
“The city employees were amazingly friendly and made it a great experience,” he said. “They were very welcoming and thanked us for coming to New York to get married. It was so gay-friendly and it was an awesome experience. Pennsylvania and New Jersey have a lot to learn from New York.”
Reikofski said the timing was right for their relationship to be recognized.
“At the time we’d been together for just over 14 years, but more and more states were seriously examining same-sex marriage, so we wanted to get married to not only celebrate our relationship and time together so far, but to more formalize our love and commitment to each other,” he said.
The two recently purchased their dream home — a 125-year-old farmhouse in the Delaware suburbs — and just welcomed their fourth child in “cat form.”
The couple has already learned a few things since tying the knot: “patience, flexibility and compromise, and faith in our relationship,” Reikofski said.