The website Craigslist isn’t really the place you expect to find your soulmate. At best, it’s a way to find a cheap used sofa, and even then it’s a little sketchy.
But for one woman, her unusual request on the classifieds site led to a story straight out of a romantic comedy—complete with a classic happy ending.
In the Fall of 2013, Jessica Huey got an invite to an old friend’s wedding. Making things awkward, however, was the fact that one of her former boyfriends was a groomsman.
Naturally, there was only one way to handle this:
“I’m a pretty competitive person, so I felt like I needed to show up for this wedding, and I needed to have a date, and I needed to really win the breakup,” Huey told HeartThreads.
An unusual proposal
But while searching online for tips on “how to get a wedding date,” she stumbled upon a pretty unconventional idea: to get a date off of Craigslist.
Huey posted her ad titled “Seeking devilishly-handsome, good-humored date for a wedding,” hoping to find someone who could pass off as a dream date to make her ex jealous and who would go along with the ruse.
Requesting that her actor/date be at least six feet tall and between 21 and 30 years old, she asked prospective dates to describe themselves in 25 words or less.
She got about 40 responses, and then it was just a matter of getting to the winning bachelor.
“I went through these and sorted out the people who didn’t follow instructions … naturally,” Huey said. “Then I created a document I called the ‘Bachelor Dossier.’”
However, while one applicant broke the rules by not including a photo, he still caught her eye: a man named RJ Stieger, who was browsing the “Missed Connections” section as a guilty pleasure. In his bio, he mentioned romantic comedy The Wedding Date and his minor in ballroom dancing, and Huey knew she had a winner.
Prior to the wedding, Huey and Stieger met at a bar to discuss strategy.
“If I say, ‘You’re an astronaut,’ I need you to be able to go with that because the point here is to win the breakup, right?” Huey said.
But during their meeting, they started to get to know each other—and to their surprise, they felt a connection that wasn’t pretend.
“I think I had been pretty clear that I wasn’t looking for anything here, but we just totally hit it off,” Huey said. “I think we spent hours talking in this bar, and it was not at all what I was expecting.”
It was looking like Huey’s unusual date might work out after all. But as in all good romantic comedies, things didn’t go totally according to plan.
The big day
When the wedding band’s singer got sick, Huey was asked to step in, and left alone at the party, Stieger broke one of their rules.
“I got very specific instructions to not do anything,” Stieger said. “Nothing. Just sit there and enjoy the wedding.”
But while his date was up on stage, Stieger charmed and made friends with all the nearby guests—much to Huey’s concern. “They literally have inside jokes at this point,” Huey said. “I’m like, ‘They’re going to find me out.’”
Her plan was to get away with the wedding and never have to worry about her acquaintances seeing him again.
“It’s not like I was going to marry him or anything.”
But Stieger also saved the day: when the faux-couple was asked how they met, he came to the rescue with a convincing lie:
“Her car broke down on the side of the road, got a flat tire, which Jess will point out she does know how to change a flat tire,” Stieger said.
“I stole it from a Subaru commercial.”
Yet as the two relaxed and enjoyed the wedding, it became increasingly clear that their lie had a hint of truth to it: “We clicked on pretty much everything,” Stieger said.
The pair started dating for real—and five years later, they’re going stronger than ever.
An actual proposal
A few years after their unorthodox first date, Stieger proposed, and the couple are now planning their own wedding—time will tell if anyone hires a date to get back at their ex.
“Does anybody think they’re going to meet the person they’re going to marry on Craigslist?” Huey said. “You think you’re going to find a couch that will serve you two months, maybe.”
But these two found something that will last a long time.