They (Kind of) Have His Father to Thank for a First Date

For his first date with Elizabeth Comer, Dr. Denrick Kimathi Cooper Jr. had to ask his dad for a favor.

“Unfortunately, I was broke, and had to ask my father for $20 for my first date with Liz,” he said.

Dr. Cooper, 34, who was born in New York City and goes by his African middle name Kimathi, first connected with Ms. Comer when they matched on the dating app Tinder on June 24, 2014. A graduate of Princeton, he had recently completed medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and returned to the city to start a residency in emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Morningside and Mount Sinai West hospitals in Manhattan.

Ms. Comer, 34, a North Carolina native, graduated from North Carolina State University and moved to Manhattan at about the same time to work at the New York office of Credit Suisse, a Swiss investment bank.

Her roommates told her she had to download Tinder because “‘like, everyone has it here.’ Lucky for me, my first Tinder date was this charming New Yorker,” she said.

“I remember thinking she was really good looking,” Dr. Cooper said. “We texted back and forth a few days before I finally asked her out for drinks.”

The day of their first date, at Art Bar in Manhattan, Ms. Comer stopped a block away from the location to switch her work flats for a cute pair of wedges. When she entered, she saw Dr. Cooper sitting at the end of the bar. “He was even more handsome than his pictures,” she said.

Dr. Cooper was taken aback not only by Ms. Comer’s good looks, but also by her southern accent. “It made her all the more charming,” he said. “We had great conversations and chemistry right off the bat. We talked about everything: music, family, sports, dreams, goals. A lot for a first date.”

With an eye on the dwindling cash in his wallet, he and Ms. Comer spent the evening bar hopping until Dr. Cooper had enough courage, “maybe liquid courage,” he said, to kiss her good night.

“It was the best first date I ever had,” Ms. Comer said. “We talked about way more than most couples discuss on a first date, but for some reason it worked. I was on cloud nine when I left, and we texted pretty regularly over the next week.”

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Dr. Cooper said, “We planned our next date a few days after and have been together ever since.Ms. Comer described their ensuing relationship as “slow and steady wins the race.”

“We saw each other when we could,” she said. “Because of his long hours at the hospital, ‘nap dates’ were acceptable.”

After his residency, Dr. Cooper pursued a passion for international health care by enrolling in Columbia University’s Global Emergency Medical Fellowship, which awarded him a master’s degree in public health upon completion.

In 2019, the couple moved to New Orleans when Dr. Cooper was offered an attending emergency physician position at a hospital there. He is now a director of international emergency medicine at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

Ms. Comer works as a senior development officer in the New Orleans office of the Posse Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers merit-based college scholarships to high school students.

The couple were wed Oct. 24 in an outdoor ceremony at the Ridge, an events space in Marshall, N.C., with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Rev. David Comer, the bride’s uncle, officiated and the Rev. Abija Cooper, the groom’s cousin, participated in the ceremony. All 170 guests were strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated 14 days before the event, and unvaccinated guests wore masks.

“I have never felt so much love and joy in one day,” Ms. Comer said.

“The wedding did not play out the same way I pictured it in my head,” Dr. Cooper added. “Not in a bad way, but because there is no way to even imagine the amount of love, joy and happiness that was surrounding us.”