The Moment They Knew: Friends for Two Weeks, and ‘Then I Decided’

Ryan Walker-Hartshorn and Logan Hasson met at the end of May 2020, as protests after the killing of George Floyd were just getting underway across the country.

After participating in a demonstration in Brooklyn, Mr. Hasson was eager to know when the next one would be. He checked Instagram, and saw someone share a photo of Ms. Walker-Hartshorn at a protest, so he messaged her directly to learn more about what he could do to support.

“The only reason that she responded to my DM,” Mr. Hasson, 34, said, “was because she thought I was somebody else she had met at the protest that day.”

Ms. Walker-Hartshorn, 28, added, “I thought he was a different white guy.”

What came next was a brisk two weeks of protesting, moving in together and falling in love. Ms. Walker-Hartshorn, who is currently applying to master’s programs in public health, and Mr. Hasson, who works as a software engineer, live in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn with their pit bull, Biko. The couple recently got engaged after nearly three years together. In a recent phone interview, they looked back at the moment when they knew.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

How did you two meet?

Ryan Walker-Hartshorn: Well, there’s two different stories. We met during the height of the pandemic in protest. Not at a protest, but he kind of slid into my DMs; you were asking me about organizing.

Logan Hasson: Yeah, I was not sliding into her DMs with the intention of sliding into her DMs, but it was the night after the first day of protesting. I went to the first protest just because I could hear it from my window. And I knew this was happening again tomorrow, but I had no idea how to figure out where people were going to meet. I was scrolling through Instagram and a friend of a friend had posted a picture of Ryan at the protest and she had a megaphone in her hand. And it just looked like she knew what was going on. And so I DM’ed her and I was like, “Hey, do you know where people are meeting tomorrow?” And she — what were you doing? You weren’t going out the next day?

R.W.H.: I wasn’t going out. I was just helping some local organizers put together this thing called Meditating for Black Lives. And then Logan hopped in and was helping organize with us. And then we were, like, friends for two weeks. And then I decided that he was going to be my boyfriend. One day I introduced him to one of my really good friends. I was like, “This is my boyfriend, Logan.”

Were either of you on dating apps before meeting each other?

R.W.H. and L.H. (unison): Yes!

Which apps?

L.H.: I had accounts on all of them, basically. I hated dating because I’m, in general, kind of shy and meeting new people is a chore sometimes. And so I had the apps and would scroll through them constantly, but use them very infrequently, and most of the dates I’d go on were not from there. You used them pretty regularly?

R.W.H.: Well, funny story, I was dating somebody right before Logan. I met Logan and was like, “Wow, I like him way more than this other guy.” But we weren’t together or anything and I had to break things off with the other guy, and he was not nice. But yeah, I was on Hinge.

L.H.: Just Hinge?

R.W.H.: Yeah, just Hinge. Tinder is the Wild, Wild West. I mean, dating is the Wild, Wild West, but Tinder is like, damn.

So tell me, what was the moment that made you realize you were ready to delete the apps?

L.H.: I don’t know if there was an exact moment where I said, I’m going to go delete my apps right now. But in that moment, when she declared me her boyfriend to her friend, I was kind of hoping that we were going to be a thing. And the way she said it, too — like, she looked over at me kind of like: “Yeah, right? You’re my boyfriend?” And I just remembered being like, “Hallelujah, she feels the same way.” But I think at that moment I was like, yeah, I don’t really want to go hang out with anybody else.

R.W.H.: I think for me, we had gone through so much so fast. I was also going through a lot of other stuff with work, and he was there and he was a constant and I was really grateful for that. I remember one night we were at a party, and I was drunk — so was he — but I was like, “Dude, I love you.” We were just friends at that point but I was like: “I really love you, man. You’re always there for me. I really appreciate it.” Do you remember this?

L.H.: I do remember this. I felt like my face got all red. (Laughs.)

So at this party you already had an established relationship but you had not yet declared him to be your boyfriend?

R.W.H.: Yeah.

L.H.: The early stages of the relationship went by really fast because of what was going on. Like, it was May 2020. Ryan’s living situation was really weird.

R.W.H.: I had mushrooms growing out of the ceiling and black mold in one of the apartments that I lived in. It was horrible and I didn’t have any place to go. And so, during the whole time, I was just living with him because I couldn’t stay in my apartment. So yeah, emphasis on going through a lot of big things when you just met somebody and then having them be rock solid for you. I was like, OK, he’s my boyfriend now.

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