In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’d like to shine a spotlight on three international couples—six guys who happened to find “the one” in this digital age by using Hornet, the world’s premier gay social network. With over 18 million users worldwide, the man of your dreams could be just a click away!
1. Ben and Epiphann, Paris
This couple, who has called Paris home for the last four years, has Hornet (and Epiphann’s boss!) to thank for bringing them together.
“I met Ben two months after I moved from Normandy to Paris,” Epiphann says. “As someone who just moved alone to a big city and with very few friends, having an online app really helped me meet new people. I’m a hair stylist, so having connections is an important way to get more clients. One day, my boss took over my phone and decided to download and install Hornet. She uploaded several pictures to create a profile for me while I was working with a client, and that’s how I met Ben, the love of my life.”
When the two met, it had only been about a year since Ben had moved to Paris from Seattle, for a job promotion. “Not knowing the language made it difficult to meet people,” says Ben, “so online apps with Google Translate was a good way to reach people who I otherwise would have had difficulty meeting in person, and that’s how I met my Epiphann.”
Being two guys of different cultures—and languages, as Ben’s first language is Chinese—communication at first was tricky. Ben says, “When we first met, Epiphann barely spoke English, and at times we’d use Google Translate to understand each other. But as we spent more time together, his English improved (not so much my French, though!), and since we were in love we started to understand each other—sometimes without even speaking.”
That easy communication eventually led to wedding bells, as the guys got engaged in June 2014. “Epiphann proposed to me on a dinner cruise when it passed by the Eiffel Tower,” says Ben. “You might say it’s cliché, but it was the most romantic proposal ever! He reached out to my Chinese friends in the U.S. so they could teach him how to propose in Chinese.”
After the proposal, the guys went through two years of prep for the big day, allowing friends to save up for the trip, and also so Ben could do the most difficult of tasks—come out to his parents! “It was the most difficult phone call I’ve ever made,” Ben says, “but I felt much better after. They have accepted me for who I am, and they’re happy that I’m married.”
The wedding went great, except for one small hitch—”We couldn’t find the wedding bands when we arrived at the wedding venue, 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony! The only task I was assigned was to carry the wedding bands, and I lost them,” Ben says. “We both panicked, but luckily it turned out that our close friends have the same wedding bands as us, so we took their rings to use during the ceremony. You’ve gotta have something borrowed for the wedding, right?”
The wedding was a memorable one, as the guys had asked their best friend to perform the ceremony with a personal speech, after which Ben read his vows in French and Epiphann read his in English. Everyone danced and celebrated until 5 in the morning. (And don’t worry—the rings were ultimately found!)
Ben and Epiphann have enjoyed their life together in Paris, where they feel things are quite open for gays, and same-sex couples are “quite accepted.” Their time in France will soon be coming to an end, though, as they’ve actually decided to move stateside in March. “We both think that Seattle will be a great city to be in, and I will be closer to my family and friends,” Ben says.
These guys are just one of many couples who have Hornet to thank for bringing them together, though they still make use of the app. “We love that Hornet is more than just an app for meeting people,” says Epiphann. “It also include social events, news and travel information that gives us more insight into what’s happening in the gay community around us.”
2. Teo and Emanuel, Mexico City
Another couple with Hornet to thank for bringing them together, these guys live in Mexico City, where Teo works in social media and is a well-known YouTuber (check out “Pepe y Teo” here), and Emanuel works in insurance and is a professional dancer.
Teo, 28, and Emanuel, 31, met on Hornet a year ago. “We talked a bit over a month on the app,” says Teo. “We got along pretty well and decided we should meet in person.”
“At first we thought it was gonna be casual, but we got to know each other better and feelings began to grow for one another,” says Emanuel. “So we started dating to see where this was gonna take us. Before we knew it we fell in love and decided to become a couple … and we’ve been together ever since.”
(Teo says Emanuel is an “old romantic,” which is why they make such a cute couple.)
The guys’ time together has seen the occasional hiccup like any couple, but their relationship is going strong. “We’ve overcome them all by basing our relationship in communication and love,” says Teo, “understanding that every struggle we face only brings us closer and makes us stronger together.”
Both Teo and Emanuel continue to use Hornet, like many guys who have already found “the one.”
“We both had some good experiences with the app, and ultimately we ended up meeting through it, so we’re glad it exists,” says Emanuel.
“It gives you the opportunity to meet really special men who might be looking for the same thing as you are,” Teo adds. “To make real connections.”
3. João and Pascal, Amsterdam
For three years now, João and Pascal have called the Netherlands home, and while Pascal hails from the country’s southern region, João is actually from São Paolo, Brazil. After a couple years of searching for a place in Amsterdam, the guys finally made the big move and love their new home!
The guys met back in 2013, during João’s first time in Amsterdam. “It was an introspective trip, and I wasn’t in the mood to meet anyone—until I realized that it was Pride week and the city was packed,” he says. “Four days before I had to leave back to São Paulo, I decided to open my apps and check who was around my hotel area. I saw this hot tattooed guy—I’ve always had a thing for them—nearby on Hornet and decided to send him a wink. He replied immediately with ‘Hey sexy.'”
“I think we chatted for two hours before he invited me to his room,” says Pascal. “We spent the next four days basically only talking and getting to know each other. We figured right away there was a special connection between us.”
“So it was only a couple of hours before I had to leave for the airport when we realized we hadn’t even had sex and we were already making plans for our future together,” says João. “I went back to Brazil completely flabbergasted, trying to understand what had happened, realizing I had to do something about what I was feeling, and gladly Pascal was going through the same. We spoke several times a day by texting, and a couple times a week via Skype.”
“In November he came back to spend two weeks with me to be sure that sparkle was really there, and after those amazing weeks we decided to call ourselves a couple,” Pascal says. “In January 2014 we decided João would come to the Netherlands for good.”
Wedding bells were in the cards for these guys, too, and they got married in March of last year—the day they both call the happiest of their lives. The ceremony took place in a historical building in the center of Naarden, a medieval town, and all their closest friends and family were present (with a live stream to João’s friends in Brazil).
Like our other two couples, Pascal and João continue to use Hornet, and they actually have a profile together, which they use to meet guys interesting in dating couples. “It’s actually cool that you see new faces on Hornet that aren’t on the other apps,” says João. “It’s also nice that we can search for guys in other cities.”
Hornet will always hold a special place in these guys’ hearts—and their skin! João approached a tattoo artist friend from Brazil to sketch a tattoo commemorating how they met, which is how both guys ended up with a large hornet on their arms. “We asked if she’d make a small interpretation of the Hornet logo, as we wanted to have it tattooed somewhere on our upper arms, but she came up with such an amazing drawing that we realized it was too beautiful to have it done small,” Pascal says. “So it became a main piece in both our arms.”