After a Missed Connection, a Union of Mythic Proportions – The New York Times

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After seeing Joelle Gamble’s “Lord of the Rings” tattoo on her dating profile, Zachary Copeland believed he had found his soul mate. But he would have to wait more than a year to find out.

Zachary Brian Lee Copeland’s dating app adventures in Washington, D.C., weren’t worthy of lunchtime discussion with his co-workers until the autumn of 2019, when he matched with Joelle Carissa Gamble on Hinge.

Ms. Gamble, then a principal at Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, struck him as a potential soul mate. A profile picture of a “Lord of the Rings” tattoo on her back telegraphed a relatable interest in fantasy fiction; she, too, liked the board game Settlers of Catan.

“I had been telling my co-clerks I was excited to go on a date with this Joelle person,” said Mr. Copeland, then a judicial law clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But the date he had arranged at a Washington bar days after they started messaging on the app never happened. Though both had been convinced they would hit it off, Ms. Gamble diced the date with just hours to spare.

“I thought he was very cute, and he liked the same nerdy things I did, which basically is not that common,” she said. But “I was a little sporadic with my dating at the time. I didn’t know what I was doing or what I wanted.” Mr. Copeland, though “definitely bummed,” he said, responded with equanimity. “The text he sent me back after I canceled was so sweet I felt even worse.” More than a year later, when they matched again on Bumble, he was just as gracious.

Ms. Gamble, 33, is a self-described economic policy enthusiast. Until early March, she was a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director at the White House National Economic Council and is now looking for a new position. Her passion for public service comes from her parents, she said, who raised Ms. Gamble and her younger sister in Riverside, Calif. Both were Marines before her mother became a preschool teacher and her father a Los Angeles police officer.

Growing up, “I got used to thinking a lot about how to help other people,” she said. At U.C.L.A., where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international development studies, she was a student activist promoting college affordability. Her master’s degree in economics and public policy is from Princeton.

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