dr. R. Everett Frerichs knew he was gay since his teens. But it took decades for him to share that publicly.
“I was 60 years old and found my way in the gay community,” said Dr. Frerichs, 61, who started dating again after getting an amicable divorce from his wife of 32 in November 2020.
While embracing his sexuality, his therapist suggested trying Match.com. When he applied on February 7, Super Bowl Sunday, Anthony Glenn Harrelson’s profile stood out from 10 introductory games.
dr. Frerichs, who goes by R, then sent a “like” Mr. Harrelson’s way. Or, he thought, he’d hit “super like” instead.
“That was the only reason I read his profile,” said Mr Harrelson, 57, who was tired of dating at the time. A self-proclaimed one-date person, Mr. Harrelson, who goes by Tony, said he even left in the middle of a couple.
“Are you on the organ procurement list?” he would ask if someone on a date pulled out a cell phone, his pet peeve and a deal breaker. “I had no time or patience,” added Mr. Harrelson, who remained content with his English Cavalier Spaniel, Lily, and his circle of friends.
Mr. Harrelson is a nurse anesthetist at the Cary and Raleigh, NC locations of the Raleigh Endoscopy Center. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and holds a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Albany Medical College.
dr. Frerichs is a pediatrician at North Raleigh Pediatrics, a group practice in Raleigh, NC. He graduated with highest honors from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., and received a medical degree from Vanderbilt University.
Judging by the profile of Dr. Frerichs, said Mr. Harrelson that he thought Dr. Frerichs would in any case be a good friend. mr. Harrelson sent a message to Dr. She and Frerichs later exchanged phone numbers and agreed to talk the following evening.
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In their early conversations, the two had a bond about growing up in rural areas – Mr. Harrelson on a tobacco farm in Clarkton, NC, and Dr. Frerichs in Beatrice, Neb., where his parents ran a bowling alley popular with local farmers. They were also the first in their family to attend college.
They decided to meet on Valentine’s Day, but all their favorite restaurants were fully booked. Instead, they virtually watched the romantic classic “An Affair to Remember” – Dr. Frerich’s home in Chapel Hill, NC, and Mr. Harrelson at his apartment in Greensboro, NC – followed by “The King and I”.
When they finally met at Print Works Bistro in Greensboro the following Saturday, Mr. Harrelson couldn’t get out of his car fast enough in the parking lot. “Before we met, I knew I loved him,” said Mr. Harrelson, who called Dr. Frerichs hugged and kissed outside the restaurant.
“That was the very first time I kissed a man,” said Dr. Frerichs, who spent the rest of the weekend with Mr. Harrelson. The next day they toured the gardens of Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, NC
After spending two more weekends together, they realized they didn’t want to be apart. In March, Mr. Harrelson in with Dr. Frerichs. A conversation about marriage soon followed.
“Five weeks after we met, we started planning the wedding,” Mr. Harrelson said.
On May 7, Dr. Frerichs married at the Oceanic Restaurant on Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.
“We knew we had something very special,” he said.
The two were married on December 4. at their home in the Governors Club section of Chapel Hill. The Rev. J. Stuart Harrell, a United Church of Christ minister, performed for 13 members of their immediate family, including Dr. Frerichs, who flew over from Beatrice, and his son, Andrew Frerichs, 31, who was his best man.
A reception followed with 65 guests, all fully vaccinated and casa blanca lilies everywhere. At the groom’s house, a 10-foot-tall Christmas tree stood in the foyer with trains running around the base.
About the couple’s relationship, Dr. Frerichs: “It was a whirlwind and magical.”