Alexis Joondeph-Breidbart let Ryan Linden know before their first date that if he wanted to win her over, he should come armed with better-than-average conversational skills.
“The first thing she said to me when we met on Hinge was, ‘You can do better than that,’” Mr. Linden said. That was in response to a February 2015 message he sent her. “It said, basically, ‘Hey,’ so I followed up with something more personal,” he said. He told her his first kiss was when he was 8. She decided she could work with that.
Ms. Joondeph-Breidbart, 29, and Mr. Linden, 31, both were making sense of their lives and Manhattan’s dating scene from separate apartments in Murray Hill in 2015. He had moved to the city from his parents’ home in Plainview, N.Y., in 2011 after earning an accounting degree at SUNY Buffalo and starting a job as an associate at the accounting firm KPMG. She grew up in Chappaqua, N.Y., and was working in marketing at Avery Boardman, a Manhattan upholstery company, after graduating in 2015 with a psychology degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Her taunt on the dating app Hinge about expecting more than small talk served her well when they met in person after a week of messaging. At Abitino’s, a pizza place, they talked about similarities in their backgrounds. Ms. Joondeph-Breidbart’s mother, Dr. Wendy Joondeph, and Mr. Linden’s father, Dr. Scott Linden, both are psychologists. His response to a question she asked about his pilgrimage to the Firefly Music Festival left a lasting impression, too.