A couple whose story of near-misses on Tinder went viral earlier this month have met for the first time on live TV.
Michelle Arendas, 21, and 22-year-old Josh Avsec, who are both students studying in the US state of Ohio, were watched by millions as they united on the set of Good Morning America yesterday.
The pair have been exchanging jokey “sorry-I-missed-you” texts for the past three years now, in a tale of non-romance that began when Michelle replied to Josh's hello message two months late, joking, “Hey, sorry my phone died!”
They’ve checked in with one another every few months since, to exchange banter over excuses for not seeing each other. Their back-and-forth lasted for years, but they never met – until now:
Unsurprisingly, given their “date” was playing out on live TV, the students’ first encounter was a little awkward – in a very sweet way.
First, they answered a number of questions about themselves behind a screen, Blind Date-style.
The couple agreed on a surprising number of topics, including the requirements of a great first date (good food), favourite snack (crisps) and the ultimate binge-watching TV show (the US version of The Office).
Michelle’s go-to karaoke tune is Summer of ‘69, while Josh plumped for the rather more romantic All of Me by John Legend (“I kill it… in the shower,” he said).
“I didn’t even know Michelle’s last name until I posted [about their Tinder exchange on Twitter],” admitted Josh, while Michelle said she continued their joke for years because, “I love the fact we had a similar sense of humour”.
Finally, the moment of reckoning arrived, as – counted down by the studio audience – Josh and Michelle finally clapped eyes on each other. Michelle, overcome with embarrassment or laughter, turned away before Josh moved in for a hug.
“Michelle, it is so good to finally meet you!” he told her. “I’m blushing like crazy.”
Josh had brushed up in a smart jacket for the occasion, while Michelle was more casual in a denim off-shoulder dress.
When asked how it felt to finally meet – on live TV, no less – Michelle joked, “we just had to wait for Good Morning America, I guess.”
Michelle said her parents were “taken by surprise” by the whole saga, while Josh said his mum and dad had been “losing their minds”.
“They are dying to finally meet you,” he told Michelle.
The pair’s non-goer of a Tinder relationship was given wings all of a sudden earlier this month, when Josh tweeted about their lengthy back-and-forth game:
Their playful exchanges quickly went viral, as thousands of enthusiastic Tweeters cheered the couple on and urged them to get together for real.
People from all over the world chipped in on the unfolding story, offering to pay their drinks, put them up in hotels and even officiate their wedding ceremony.
Eventually, Tinder got wind of the story and stepped in. Execs from the dating app said they would help Josh and Michelle finally get together, by offering them a first date in any city of their choice.
The two opted for the Hawaiian island of Maui as their destination; but not before they hooked up on a prime-time show.
Watch their fateful rendezvous unfold in the video below, and raise a glass to the fact that, however awkward a blind date may be, you’ll never have to go through the whole rigmarole on live TV….
Images: Good Morning America/Instagram