Flash Mob Love

How a dance at Walmart lead to a first date that very day

Jess and Anne met while they were doing their best to act like they weren’t about to break into dance. 

In the lead-up to their flash mob in a Minnesota Walmart, the duo were just milling around the athleisure department, trying to look inconspicuous before performing for the unsuspecting shoppers.

But that chance encounter quickly changed the course of their lives. Anne was getting good vibes from her chat with Jess, so she asked her out to coffee. Jess was getting good vibes from Anne, so she agreed to go on a date that same day.

Within a week, they’d already been on a handful of dates. Within a year, they were engaged. It’s a meet cute that Jess, laughing, says can be summarized in two words: “Typical lesbians.” 

Nearly a decade into their marriage, Jess and Anne can hardly imagine life without each other. 

Here’s their story.

How’d you two meet?

Jess: We met at Walmart in the yoga pants aisle. If you could see us, you'd know we're definitely not yoga pant people. But we were really there for a flash mob. We were trying to be inconspicuous and act like we were shopping. We did a whole dance to Lorde’s “Royals” song because we were trying to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota. 

It was really just happenstance that we both ended up in front of the yoga pants while we were waiting for the music. And then we sort of joined the throng in front of the cash registers and were next to each other. I think it was my dance moves that really got her attention. 

What were your first impressions of each other? 

Anne: I thought Jess was really cute. 

Jess: Anne wore – I will never forget – this entire monochrome sweatsuit outfit that was red.

Anne: It was not an outfit! It was just red sweatpants and a red fleece. It wasn't my best choice. 

Jess: She was standing out there and I was like She knows how to dress for this kind of thing. And I'm a planner, that’s my natural personality, so I thought that was pretty awesome. 

How did you get together?

Jess: She asked me out for coffee after the flash mob. I had to do some work, so we ended up meeting for coffee later that day. 

The same day you met?

Anne: I was getting a good vibe. We were chatting it up by the end, kind of joking about how it wasn't a very good flash mob. There were a bunch of little old ladies ready with their cameras. They knew something was going down. 

Jess: The “flash” was not there.

How did the date go?

Jess: What I’ll never forget is that our date was going so good that the power went out in the coffee shop and they let us keep going. They didn't kick us out. They let us stay while they were cleaning up and doing stuff. 

Anne: I can't remember what she ordered, but she got something really messy. And later she said that normally you wouldn't eat something messy on a first date but felt emboldened to do that with me. 

Jess: Oh wow. It worked out. 

How did things grow from there?

Anne: I think we had three dates in four days. We also found out we lived really close to each other, so we knew a lot of the same places in common. We just kind of kept saying Well why don't we go to this place and have another cup of coffee? Or Why don't you come over and I'll make you dinner? 

Jess: Typical lesbians. 

Anne: It developed very quickly. There was no looking back. 

Jess: We got engaged within a year. 

Anne: We met in late 2013 and got engaged in August 2014. 

Jess: I think about that a lot. What would my life have been like if we had never met? It’s really bizarre to think about. 

Anne: We were in our mid-30s. We both knew what we wanted. At that point there wasn't really any dancing around. We were kind of established in our ways but in a way that lined up really well. When you know, you know. 

What’s the secret to asking someone on a date?

Anne: My brother-in-law had actually given me this advice in the months leading up to us meeting. He said, “You’ve just gotta take the risk.” And so I had that in my head when I asked Jess out. And I'm so glad I did. I don't even know if he knows that, I should call him and tell him. But yeah, I didn't date a whole lot of people before Jess, so I don't think I was a big risk-taker as far as going on dates. But at the time, I did, and it was definitely worth it. 

Do you have any takeaways from your meet cute?

Jess: This is cheesy, but for me, it felt like fate. We grew up in places where you couldn’t be openly gay. I was born in 1978 and I lived a lot of my teenage years in northeast Tennessee. And the day we picked to get married just happened to be the day the Supreme Court came out with their ruling in favor of gay marriage for the entire country. 

We're both so committed to our communities, to our kids, to the future. And to meet doing the thing that we're passionate about, and then to have that huge party, it felt like the universe being like “Yes.” 

Even after so many years of being alone and wondering if I would ever meet someone, I’d just say don’t get in the way of fate. When it’s there and it’s awesome, don't walk away from it. Be all in. 

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Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.