ENGAGEMENT STORY: MARK & TOMMY
Tommy and Mark first met 9 years ago in Perth, Australia. Well, more precisely, Tommy met Mark’s best friend, Stephen, 9 years ago. On a certain social media app. But, as these social media meetings sometimes go, Tommy and Stephen realized they were better suited as friends. And, as friends do, they go to the gym, which is ultimately where Tommy and Mark met.
Both Tommy and Mark tend to be shy so, despite being attracted to each other, each asked Stephen to give his number to the other. Days went by and neither Tommy, nor Mark’s, phone rang. “I just assumed he wasn’t interested,” Mark said. Turned out Stephen didn’t exchange numbers with either!
Thankfully, social media intervened again, when Mark found Tommy on MSN messenger. This, despite Mark having said they didn’t spend much time on social media, they have it to thank for their relationship! At first, they spent time on the phone. “It is always hard to find someone you can talk to for hours,” Tommy noted. “That, and finding someone else who [at the time] wasn’t out.”
Because the two were doing their best to be discrete, their first date was late at night at a 24-hour fast food restaurant. Mark noted: “It wasn’t the most romantic of first dates, but we definitely felt a connection.” And, quickly thereafter the two were spending a lot of time together.
Mark was spending so much time at Tommy’s house that finally, Tommy’s mother asked: “Are you gay?” “At first I denied it, but she asked me to tell her the truth.” There were tears, at first, and she stopped talking to Mark, but eventually Tommy’s mother came around. As it often goes, they agreed to wait a little time – six years of time – to tell Tommy’s father back in Singapore.
Meanwhile, at Mark’s house, suspicions existed for a long time. He’s the youngest of five and the only one not to have had a serious relationship. Well, at least not one Mark had shared with his family. “I’d had boyfriends, but none I’d wanted to introduce to my family. But, knowing my family would like Tommy made it easier to come out.”
And, he did, much the way Tommy did, by having his mother open his closet door. “Have you heard all the gossips?” she asked. To which Mark, answered: “and, what if they’re true?!”
Over the course of their dating, the two lived with each other “on and off” not really discussing getting engaged because it wasn’t legal in Australia. But, as Tommy said: “If we were a straight couple, we’d be married by now.” In fact, Mark operated under the impression that they were good as married, until he realized, when filling out official work papers, that Tommy would not be his next of kin.
When same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, the two knew it was time. But, there wasn’t a formal popping of the question, more of a mutual decision to tie the knot. “We gave each other two rings over the course of our dating,” Mark said. “But, he lost them both.” Tommy was quick to explain, that he often takes his rings off, given he is a professional pianist. “I still don’t have a ring,” Mark pointed out, however the two are soon to be in Europe and will ring shop there.
Deciding on where to get married was easy. Prior to moving back to Australia after a stint in Singapore, they decided to vacation in Phuket at the Paresa Resort. Then and there, they decided that, “were we to get married, we’d get married here.” The magical environment, intimate setting and exceptional service, especially of Dawid, the GM, will make for an unforgettable experience for the grooms and their guests.
“Thailand is unique in Asia as it is one of the few countries that celebrate and embrace LGBTQ rights” said Tommy. “Thailand is traditional and so open.”
They are in very early days of planning the wedding, but feel that, no matter what, Dawid and the team at Paresa will be able to help. Despite Mark wanting fireworks, and Tommy already having vetoed that idea, the two are most focused on their guests having fun. “And, great wine and champagne!”
When asked what they look forward to most about being married, the couple responded that they don’t expect much to be different. “We are sort of already married now,” Tommy said. “We’ve always been deprived of the right to marry, so to now be accepted by society in general, and by my family especially, is what matters. For my parents to see me on equal grounds as my straight siblings, I am really looking forward to that. Equality and fairness,” Mark said.
But, on consideration, Tommy continued: “It will be nice to call each other husbands.” Their wedding will be on April 27th, 2019 on the occasion of that fateful day 9 years ago.