Romance Around the Great Lakes

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Three of the Great Lakes came into play during Adam Schlicht and Aaron Jefferson Tindall’s relationship — their first date was next to Lake Erie in Cleveland, they were married along the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee and they went on a honeymoon in Bayfield, Wis., steps from Lake Superior.

“He has a really captivating smile,” said Mr. Schlicht, 36, who reached out to him in September 2016 on the gay dating app Scruff. Mr. Schlicht grew up in Milwaukee near Lake Michigan, and is now the director of the Port of Milwaukee.

Mr. Tindall (left), 34, who goes by A.J., grew up in Pittsburgh, and went to camp near Lake Erie, said he could not get over that Mr. Schlicht texted in “complete sentences, with complete punctuation.”

In October, they met at Portside Distillery in the Flats area of downtown Cleveland, near where Mr. Schlicht then worked as the Great Lakes regional representative for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Mr. Schlicht graduated from the University of Wisconsin, at Madison, and received a master’s degree in public administration from American University.

“Adam was the first person I met on online dating,” said Mr. Tindall, a registered nurse, who then worked 12-hour shifts in pediatric critical care at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. “I didn’t get out a lot.”

He now works in critical care and surgery with Covid-19 patients at Ascension St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh and received a nursing degree from Johns Hopkins University.

“I showed up 30 minutes early and spoke to the waitress,” said Mr. Schlicht. “We came up with a game plan, and she told me ‘If the date is going well, I’ll bring out a complimentary snack on the house.’ It would be the magic to oomph the evening.”

“We had our nerd level interest and understanding of “Star Wars” movies — character biographies, home planets and character motivation,” said Mr. Schlicht.

An hour later they went to dinner, and then to another bar in the Flats. They then had their first kiss where the Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie, near the entrance to Cleveland harbor.

In May 2017 they moved in together in downtown Cleveland, and a year later found a new duplex apartment in the Ohio City area.

“I was unpacking boxes, when I get a phone call,” said Mr. Tindall. Mr. Schlicht told him Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee offered him the job as the director of the Port of Milwaukee, to which Mr. Tindall responded, “Should I stop unpacking?”

On Aug. 1, 2018 they packed and moved to Milwaukee, 15 minutes away from Mr. Schlicht’s parents in Oak Creek. Their duplex is filled with Great Lakes memorabilia — maps, prints, pillows, T-shirts and a cookie platter.

“We embrace all the Great Lakes,” said Mr. Tindall, with a laugh.

In February 2019, Mr. Schlicht proposed after he persuaded Mr. Tindall to stop by Collector’s Edge Comics, a comic book shop in the Bay View section of Milwaukee, on their way to dinner. Earlier Mr. Schlicht planted a custom-made comic book at the shop, with them on the cover as X-Men superheros — Mr. Tindall as Cyclops and Mr. Schlicht as the Phoenix.

“That looks like us,” said Mr. Tindall, when he discovered the comic book after 10 minutes, and once they looked through the images and vignettes about Mr. Tindall’s life, and their life together, Mr. Schlicht got down on one knee.

The grooms, who are each taking the name Tindall-Schlicht, were married July 18 on the shores of Lake Michigan on a green space near the Port of Milwaukee. Mr. Tindall’s father, the Rev. Jeff Tindall, a Presbyterian minister, officiated before members of their immediate family — Mr. Tindall’s parents drove in from Pittsburgh and his sister from Cleveland.

“A storm rolled through before the ceremony, but we had a beautiful and natural rainbow right after it,” Mr. Tindall said.



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