A Relationship Built on Trust and Laughter

Gabrielle Korn and Wallace May find beauty in stillness—together.

Love And Sex
A Relationship Built on Trust and Laughter
Photo: Courtesy of Gabrielle Korn and Wallace May

Gabrielle Korn and Wallace May are two highly-lauded individuals within their respective fields. Korn, the former editor-in-chief of Nylon and author ofEverybody (Else) Is Perfect: How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks, and Likes. May, a skilled artist and painter. Within minutes of discussing their relationship, the two showed me something different. There were girlish giggles and smiles from ear to ear. (To be fair, I was asking them to vocalize emotions like true love, so who could fault them?). But when I made a joke about keeping the romance alive through conversations around budgets, Korn’s laughter paused. “There is something romantic about it because you're not alone.”

It’s been five years since Korn and May’s first date—a Feist concert—and roughly six months since their wedding—an elopement courtesy of elopingisfun.com. Their relationship has survived a pandemic, a layoff, and family illnesses, many of which were jammed into the same few months. “It was a period of time where you realize the person you want with you for when things are the worst is your person,” says Korn. “So I bought a ring.” Below, Korn and May share details on how they met, proposed, wed, and continue to love and laugh together.

How they met:

Gabrielle Korn: “Okay, so we met because...”

Wallace May: “...We were neighbors.”

GK: “I moved to Bedstuy above a coffee shop that my best friend owned. And Wallace lived down the street from it. We met because I was loitering there and she came in. She was in a relationship, so we just stayed friends for a couple of years.”

WM: “And then, two years later, I wasn't in a relationship anymore. And I told our mutual friend, ‘I have a crush on Gabrielle.'”

GK: “Wait, wait before that. Wallace started DM'ing me every day.”

WM: “Well, I couldn't just like DM her randomly because we weren't that close. So I had to find creative ways to be like, ‘Oh, your name got brought up in conversation with so and so.’ And to try and do that again, day after day, I had to get more and more creative. Anyway, I bought tickets to a Feist concert. And I told my friend, ‘I have a crush on Gabrielle. I bought these tickets. Would it be totally crazy for me to ask her?’ And she was like, ‘Well, Gabrielle has a crush on you. So you should definitely ask her.’ So I did.”

Wallace May (left) and Gabrielle Korn (right).

Photo: Courtesy of Gabrielle Korn and Wallace May

When they knew this was more than a crush:

WM: “I think I knew pretty early. I think about it now and like, I bought tickets to a concert to invite someone that I hardly knew.”

GK: “But also, we were texting about it and were like, ‘Is it weird to go to this concert together without having hung out?’ So then we decided the night before at like 11 p.m. to go get burgers and drinks. Then the next night, we went on a date, and then I think we hung out a couple of days later and spent a really long time talking. And then I got home and I texted her and said, ‘I had an okay time.’ She was like, ‘Yeah, it seemed like you were not having fun.’ And then I was like, I love her.”

When they first said “I love you":

WM: “I said it first. No big deal. I want to say it was like three months in. I wanted to say it much sooner, but I had to reel myself in and be like, ‘Alright, gotta give it a little time. Don't want to scare her off.’”

GK: “You have to do a few months of 'I like you so much.'”

WM: “Or ‘I'm crazy about you.’”

GK: “And in your head, you're like, ‘I love you. I love you. I love you.’”

On their proposal:

GK: “It was New Year's Eve of 2020 and we had had a really hard few months. I had to leave a job. Someone in Wallace's family was really sick. It was a period of time where you realize the person you want with you for when things are the worst is your person. So I bought a ring. I called her parents and asked for permission—not permission, more of a heads up. And then we went out to dinner, but I asked her at home. We're both like, really introverted, private people. So I took her somewhere that had private booths. And so I was like, maybe I'll ask you here, and I just kept touching [the ring] the whole time. But it didn’t feel right. I didn't want someone to film it and post it on Twitter and be like, ‘Look at these lesbians. Love is love.’”

WM: “I think after the proposal, she was like, ‘Do you wish I had done it in a different way?’ And I was like, ‘Honestly, I'm so glad you did it at home.’ The restaurant would have been fine, but I'm glad it wasn't some grand [event].”

GK: “I didn't want to do anything that would make it feel less like us.”

Photo: Courtesy of Gabrielle Korn and Wallace May

On their elopement:

GK: “We thought we could do it at City Hall [in New York], but it turns out that City Hall makes you jump through a ring of fire to get an appointment. So Wallace found a service called elopingisfun.com and they do everything for you. You pick from a list of like five places and a photographer and an officiant and then they just do it and you just show up.”

WM: “It was perfect.”

GK: “We had nine people there: our parents, my sisters, the two friends we met through, and Wallace's parents. We just didn't want to have a ceremony in front of a lot of people because it felt so intimate. We wanted our top tier people there, but we didn't want to be sobbing in front of 100 guests.”

WM: “I didn't want to be thinking more about everyone else. I was like, I need to be thinking about this moment, and not what everyone else is doing. And I knew that would be the case. It was just so perfect in that way. The space was just perfect. What's the place called?”

GK: “House of Collections. It's an artist loft in Williamsburg, but it kind of feels like an antique store in that every area has a theme. So there was like a wall of tools and then like a plant corner and like a haunted vintage portrait corner. It was really weird.”

Their favorite things about one another:

WM: “I have too many to list. But the first thing that comes to mind is how understanding [she is]. With the way I am as a person, my anxieties and things I stress over, I know that I tend not to always share that with people. Gabrielle makes it so easy for me to be weird and be like, ‘I'm worried about this and I'm anxious about whatever.’ And she just makes me feel normal and is never judgmental towards my feelings. And then her humor, which caught me off guard in the beginning, but even now, always surprises me. Her goofiness she'll only show when it's just her and me, but one of my favorite things is being able to laugh with her.”

GK: “I think the first thing would be that she never runs out of love. She can just give you love infinitely and wants to. And also, she's the silliest person I know and maintains that silliness, no matter what's going on. So we can be having the worst day ever, like crying on the couch, and she'll get up and make up a little song about the lamp. And then I think probably how kind she is. She is someone who would never hurt your feelings on purpose. That's really rare because I think other people, if they feel hurt, will try to hurt back. But Wallace makes it a priority to never be mean and to express herself without ever resorting to cruelty.”

WM: “Usually.”

GK: “No.”

The quintessential Gabrielle and Wallace day:

GK: “Wallace would get up at 6:45. I would get up two to three hours later.”

WM: “We usually sit on the sofa for a little bit, drink our coffee—usually in silence. And that's not because we don't want to be having a conversation.”

GK: “And then we do a lot of L.A. things, like going on hikes or going to the farmers market. You know, the grocery store, Home Depot.”

WM: “It sounds so boring. And I guess it is, but it's also fun to have a day planned out where it's like, let's go to the farmers market and let's take a long hike. And then let's go get tacos.”

GK: “And then like, let's make a nice dinner and sit in the backyard.”

WM: “I feel like that is our typical day and it sounds so average.”

GK: “It sounds amazing. It sounds like the best day.”

Photo: Courtesy of Gabrielle Korn and Wallace May

On sharing life milestones:

WM: “I feel like after we got married, everyone was like, ‘Is it different?’ And I was like, ‘Actually, yeah, but I can't explain how.’ I don't know how to express that it's different. It just is.”

GK: “I mean, it's different to think about money with someone else. Financial decisions that you make as a pair feel really, really different than the stupid things you do when you're single and don't have anybody counting on you. I lost my job a couple of months ago, so trying to think about ways that we can afford to stay in the house together. It's all really different. There is something romantic about it because you're not alone.”

WM: “There's comfort in that, having those conversations. While they can be difficult, it's also nice to do it with someone who is just understanding and knows how to have them.”

GK: “We both chose to have creative careers that are very up and down because of the nature of that work. I think there's a lot of empathy on both sides because of that. Neither of us chose to get a practical graduate degree that would've created a stable lifestyle and I think that's something we both like about each other.”

On how they would describe the love they feel for each other:

GK: “It feels like something that grows and expands in ways that you can't predict until it's happening. I have never felt so close to or so seen by anybody in my life. You just don't know what that feels like until it happens. We have been through a lot together in the past five years and I think our bond is so strong. The foundation is trust, being in love, and trusting that that love is not going anywhere. That makes the rest of my life feel easier because I know that the person I love the most in the world is also the person that I can count on the most in the world.”

WM: “I can't top that. I think everything she just said. And also it's so nice to be with someone that you don't get tired of. The pandemic would have been the biggest test because we finally were together constantly. And it was still so easy.”

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