A ‘Magical Connection’ That Began on the First Date

When Adam Matthew Drawas chose the pricey Los Angeles restaurant Gwen for his first date with Alan Joseph Pablos-Perez on Feb. 1, 2020, he fully expected to foot the bill. It was only fair, he had thought, since he picked the place.

But after learning that Mr. Drawas’s birthday was later that week, and not wanting to do what he calls “the bill tango,” Mr. Pablos decided to surreptitiously take care of dinner when Mr. Drawas excused himself from the table.

This seemingly small move made a big impression.

“Alan is so kind,” Mr. Drawas said. “When you find someone that leads with that, it is such a gift. Everyone he interacts with, it’s with kindness, love, and compassion.”

The two met through Instagram in late January. Mr. Pablos saw a story by Mr. Drawas’s personal trainer, Daniel Rice, that included Mr. Drawas and was impressed by what he saw. When he went to Mr. Drawas’s profile, he was even more drawn in.

They began messaging after liking each other’s Instagram story.

“We were both very anti dating app,” Mr. Drawas, 41, said. “It’s very different when you’re on the hunt for love versus seeing each other’s lives. You can curate your life on Instagram, but with dating apps you can do so even more. Seeing Alan’s Instagram, he was so completely authentically himself, so confident and not cocky.”

On their first date one week later, “I knew in the first 10 seconds of meeting him that he was the one,” Mr. Drawas said. “I just felt it with every fiber in my body.”

Mr. Pablos, 36, said, “Time slowed down that night. In chatting about what seemed like everything, what was undeniable, was a beautiful and magical connection. The evening ended with the most perfect kiss.”

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Five days after they met, Mr. Drawas had to travel to London for work, so the two quickly squeezed in two more dates before he left. Mr. Drawas said he couldn’t stop thinking about Mr. Pablos while he was away. He collected little treasures throughout his travels. “I just wanted him to know that wherever I was, he was on my mind and in my heart.”

Mr. Drawas’s travel also happened to be over Valentine’s Day. He sent flowers to Mr. Pablos and asked him to save him one. “I dipped them in wax and we still have them,” Mr. Pablos said.

Mr. Drawas, who grew up in Boston, is an owner of the brand marketing agency Walker Drawas, based in West Hollywood, Calif. He moved to London at age 18 to briefly attend the London College of Fashion and soon after got a job at Concrete PR overseeing British clothing brand accounts. He later became a senior vice president for marketing and sales for Lara Bohinc, a British accessories designer.

Mr. Pablos, a Los Angeles native, is the manager of the Christian Dior boutique in Beverly Hills. He has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

On their one-year anniversary, Feb. 1, 2021, Mr. Drawas proposed to Mr. Pablos on Carbon Beach in Malibu, Calif., a place they frequented with their dog, Lennox, named after the singer Annie Lennox. “That day it was the lowest tide we had ever seen,” Mr. Drawas said. “It felt like we were in this expansive space. It was surreal.”

“What I thought would be a dinner in Malibu, turned out to be a beautiful sunset picnic on the sand,” Mr. Pablos said. “It was an incredibly unforgettable moment.”

The couple married Oct. 22 at the Simon House in Beverly Hills. Mr. Drawas’s father, Neal Drawas, who became a Universal Life Church minister for the occasion, officiated, with Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Mr. Pablos’s father, taking part.

“Having both fathers not just approving but leading the ceremony,” Mr. Drawas said, “it’s a deeper level of acceptance.

Mauricio de Souza, a close friend of Mr. Drawas, said of the moment, “There was nothing better than seeing you guys kiss and seeing your dads behind you smiling.”