Taylor Patterson is a florist and the founder of floral design studio Fox Fodder Farm. Sam Anderson is a longtime hospitality guru who currently serves as the beverage director of Mission Chinese Food. And Leandra Medine is the founder of this website and a woman who loves love. She sat down with Taylor and Sam to talk about how they met, their relationship advice for others and the exact moment they knew they were smitten.
Leandra: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you meet?
Taylor: Last year in June. Our friend set us up on a date. We went out, then I went away for a month, then I came back and was like, Ehhhh.
Leandra: Does that mean not having it?
Taylor: I was just in my own little la la land. And you [Sam] were like, “Are you back? Do you want to hang out?” and I, casually, was like, “Oh. That sounds nice.”
Leandra: What did you do on your first date?
Taylor: Sam texted me and [rolling eyes] he was like, “Hey, do you want to get an ice cream or coffee?” So—
Sam: Hey, that’s legit! It’s not like do want to go get drinks at 2 in the morning.
Taylor: But yeah, you asked, “Do you want to get a coffee or ice cream?” I thought that was sweet, so we met on a bench outside a coffee shop in Dumbo and sat there and chatted. We mostly chatted about his brother, Paul, who I used to work with when I waitressed at The Smile.
Sam: He’s a legendary character, so he’s a good conversation piece.
Leandra: After this first date, were you O-N on or did it take a minute?
Taylor: I think it took a minute—wait were you on?
Sam: I don’t like jumping into things. I thought, That was really nice. I’m glad that happened, we’ll see what happens next. I didn’t have expectations. Our first time hanging out, we were together for six hours. So I didn’t feel like I needed to push it. I just thought, Wow, I met this person who seems really amazing, we’ll see what happens.
Taylor: I was leaving for Sweden for three weeks. When I came back, I jumped right into work, then he texted me and — what did we do? What was our second date?
Sam: I think we bicycled to get barbecue—
Taylor: In Red Hook!
Sam: In Red Hook at Hometown Bar-B-Que, which is right at the end of Red Hook, then we bicycled to the Red Hook Pier and ate barbecue at the end of the pier—
Taylor: We sat with some guys who were fishing.
Sam: It was the perfect day, in my opinion.
Taylor: From there, I feel like it happened quickly, but not. It was just really easy.
Leandra: Are you engaged now?
Leandra: Is it awkward that I just asked?
Sam: No, hahaha.
Leandra: Do you think about it? Do you talk about marriage?
Taylor: We don’t really talk about it.
Leandra: Do you care to get married, generally?
Sam: I have a lot of examples in my life, and Taylor does as well, of people who are life-long partners, who have children, who have families, and are not married. I don’t know, maybe there’s going to be some overwhelming reason to do it one day, but it’s very peripheral now.
Taylor: Having worked in the wedding industry [as a florist], I’m just really meh on the whole thing; I have a weird relationship with weddings. If you wanted to go to City Hall tomorrow, I’d be like, “Okay.”
But if you said, “Let’s have a big wedding,” I’d be like, “Meh.”
Leandra: Meh! What are your favorite things about each other? What was the first thing that attracted you to her?
Sam: I really love Taylor’s self-reliance, strength and vision for the way she lives her life. I noticed that right away. She’s very direct and clear about what she wants. I also love how down she is for whatever. I invited her on dates that I think were pushing the envelope a bit.
Taylor: You knew you were smitten when we biked up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Brooklyn.
Taylor: What did you say? “You’re a comfortable rider.”
Sam: I like to bicycle everywhere, I love to run all over the city. We’ve bicycled up to the Queensborough Bridge tram and then took the tram to Roosevelt Island and walked around exploring.
Leandra: What are your favorite things about Sam, or what is the first thing that attracted you to him?
Taylor: I was surprised by him. I had created an idea of what I thought he might be like, a little rougher, with more of his guard up, maybe more cynical, and he’s not at all like that.
The thing with Sam is that he’s a really good person. My biggest complaint is that he sleeps in, but you [Sam] actually get off from work at 10, so I’m the one who’s kind of the asshole in that situation. I wake up at 7 and am like, “Okay I’m up!” I really admire how your life hasn’t been a pretty little cakewalk, you’ve had to deal with a lot of things, and you’ve really used that to build yourself into the best person that you can be.
He’s self-disciplined, which I admire, and honest.
Leandra: It sounds like you just are who you are.
Taylor: You are who you are and it’s refreshing. That’s why it was so easy and comfortable, because I wasn’t trying to navigate through whatever show was being put on.
Leandra: When did you move in together?
Leandra: Literally yesterday?
Sam: Yeah. We look a little sloppy right now because we spent all afternoon and evening working on it.
Leandra: Is it too soon in the trajectory of your relationship to ask about The Challenges?
Taylor: One thing that’s been tough for me, but also something that I appreciate — because I am so go-go, do-do — is having to slow down and accept that things aren’t going to get done on the time frame or way that I want them to. I have to just let go. I was stressed about his packing, I wasted maybe two hours stressing for him, but ultimately, it got done.
Leandra: Well that’s how trust is built, right? You’re anxious because you have a way of doing something and then you realize that if you let go and it actually gets done, you have a good relationship on your hands, whether that’s at work or at home.
Sam: Taylor and I are both in positions of great authority and responsibility in our respective workplaces. I’m always waiting for someone else to drop the ball so that I have to come in and pick it up at work, but that’s never happened with Taylor in our relationship because she is that person as well.
Taylor: One thing that I’ve learned is yeah, relationships do take work but it’s shouldn’t be hard work.
Leandra: The work doesn’t start until much later. Were you in a lot of relationships prior to meeting Taylor?
Sam: This is my first one.
Taylor: That’s not true, I stalked them all on Instagram! C’mon, let’s be honest.
Leandra: What feels most different about this one?
Sam: There’s a lot of balance. With Taylor, I’m very confident about how I feel about her. Most other relationships have been fear-driven in some way or another. With Taylor, it’s just not fear-driven at all.
Leandra: That’s a very thoughtful comment. I really believe there are only two emotions: love and fear. We act out on both of them, and if you find yourself motivated by the latter, something’s off. Often in relationships I find that you’re responding to rejection — resisting it, trying not to recreate it…
Sam: We are very present with each other. I’m not afraid of what’s going to come out of her mouth. If it’s criticism, then great, if it’s praise, then great. I’m not like, Oh my god, what’s the next thing that’s going to come out of her mouth?
Taylor: After our first date, the friend who set us up was like, “So how did it go?” I said, “He’s super nice, it was really fun, but his jeans were a bit too tight.”
Sam: Never wore them again.
Leandra: That’s pretty great. So what advice do you have for someone looking for love?
Taylor: When I look at a lot of my girlfriends who struggle in relationships, the one thing that I notice among all of them is they’re not allowing themselves to just be comfortable in their skin. That translates and people pick up on that.
Leandra: It’s so chicken or egg though, because you can’t be comfortable in your skin until you feel like you’re being accepted or you’re not afraid of being rejected.
Taylor: It is, so I guess my advice is to find a way to be comfortable in your skin that doesn’t involve a relationship because once you are there, you will find the person and subsequent relationship that best suits you. You’ll be less inclined to try to force something that maybe isn’t right.
Leandra: Life is a process too, right? You find varying stages of comfort in different phases and doors open because of that.
Taylor: There’s a lot of truth in the notion that confidence is beautiful. People gravitate towards it because that’s what everybody wants at the end of the day, right? To feel good about themselves.
Leandra: How about you, Sam?
Sam: It’s really, really important to fall in love with yourself and really find the romance in being alone and letting that enrich your inner life so that you have something to give to other people and to someone who you eventually will fall in love with. We’re pressured a lot by when we look at other relationships — I’m going back in time to when I was single, and this back and forth where I was thinking, Well I don’t have a date tonight, or, I’m just on my own tonight. You can look at that as either a grand adventure where you’re enriching yourself and be like, Man I’m really happy to be on my own tonight, this is great, or you can be living with insecurity about it.
Leandra: Right, that’s the fear again — I’m going to be alone forever.
Sam: But then it’s like, what the hell am I giving to someone else if I don’t even want to be with myself? It takes a great deal of confrontation of one’s own fear, but maybe you take the scary thing and reserve that. In a certain way, being alone is very romantic. It’s not scary at all.
That’s the first thing, and then you start to build, and you build your presence into something that’s very attractive to other people without even realizing or needing to add to it. Then, all of a sudden, you realize, Wow, I just met someone who’s just attracted to me for who I am.
Taylor: You also just give unconditionally in that way.
Sam: I went on Tinder a few times. It was at the prompting of a couple of my close female friends who were like, “Dude you need to get on Tinder, you’ll meet someone every day,” and I thought, “Okay, sure.” But it was extremely distracting to actually living life and extremely — I don’t know, like extremely disappointing.
Leandra: It was distracting how, because you were constantly on it?
Sam: Distracting in the sense that real life is going by and real people are going by and real connections could happen but you’re just on your phone and kind of missing the whole point. It preys on peoples’ insecurity.
Taylor: You curate this image of yourself and in curating that image, I think you become vulnerable in a very different way but you kind of can’t—
Sam: Take criticism or—
Taylor: Yeah, you curate what you think is the perfect or ideal image of yourself, and if it’s not received it’s probably really disappointing. Then, with the people you meet, you have an idea of what they’re going to be and if they don’t meet those expectations, that is so disappointing. I don’t know — I was never on Tinder because I’m too proud.
I felt it would make me vulnerable in a way that I couldn’t control. In person, I can be funny, I can be charming — I can have more control of the way I want to present myself — whereas on a dating app, I felt like I’d lose that thing that I felt confident in myself about.
Leandra: What is the thing?
Taylor: It’s the gut — the stuff you can’t say — that makes it so great.
Photos by Edith Young.