In June 2019, Leslie Marshall locked eyes with Tamar Malloy at a bus stop in Pittsburgh. As Dr. Malloy walked down the sidewalk, “I really wanted to know this person, but didn’t even know if they remembered my name,” Dr. Marshall recalled. “We took this half-step toward each other, where you’re like, ‘Will they reciprocate?’”
It was their second official meeting, more than a year and a half after a brief exchange at a happy hour in a local pub. At the time, Dr. Marshall was completing a doctorate in political science at the University of Pittsburgh, where Dr. Malloy was doing a postdoctoral fellowship in the same department. They were both seeing other people. Despite being drawn to each other, the pair didn’t pursue that initial spark.
But at the bus stop, both women were in new phases of their lives. Dr. Marshall had finished a Ph.D., and Dr. Malloy was weeks away from a move to Colorado for an assistant professorship position. They were also both single.
The two agreed to meet for drinks a few days later and chatted for hours until the bar closed. Dr. Malloy’s impending move fast-tracked their relationship. “We had a lot of pretty serious conversations really quickly to figure out: Are we going to make this big commitment flying across the country all the time to continue this?” Dr. Marshall said.