Worthy of a Romance Novel, With a Touch of Mystery
Posted June 29, 2018 11:23 p.m. EDT
Lauren Rae Pomerantz, an Emmy-winning writer and producer, was new to Tinder when she came across the profile of Elizabeth Higgins Clark, also a writer.
“I was nervous about the swiping,” Pomerantz, 38, said of that moment in Los Angeles three years ago. “Elizabeth had a great photo with just her name and age. I was intrigued.”
About he same time, Clark, 34, who is a granddaughter of best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark, landed on Pomerantz’s profile and also swiped right.
Clark texted first, asking if they had met before. Pomerantz said she didn’t think so. In fact, both had grown up in New Jersey, and their parents still live there: Clark’s in Hillsdale and Pomerantz’s about an hour south in East Brunswick.
More texts ensued. A meeting date, time and location were set: Saturday at 3 p.m., at Laurel Hardware, a store turned restaurant in West Hollywood, California. Both also made post-drink plans in case the evening was a bust.
Pomerantz was the first to arrive. “I watched her come in,” she said of Clark. “She had a good swagger strut. It was confident. She was wearing a bright blue dress, had long flowy hair, and I thought, ‘Who is this?'”
But, Clark wasn’t feeling confident at all. She met a friend for coffee that morning and had mentioned that she was contemplating returning to New York.
“I had been dumped a few months before, which had blindsided me,” she said. “I was having a tough time. I wasn’t where I wanted to be professionally or relationship-wise. I felt a little untethered.”
Pomerantz, she said, put her at ease. “Lauren was easy to talk to. She was together and humble and very funny. We had a really fun two-drink date.”
Clark paid for drinks and goodbyes were said.
The following day someone was expected to text first. “I have a thing — it’s weird with women,” Clark said. “Usually the one who doesn’t pay should reach out and say, ‘Thank you.’ But I didn’t hear from Lauren. I broke my own rule. I wanted to see her again so I texted her. It took her six hours to get back to me. I was horrified. I was confused. I thought our date went well.”
Pomerantz happened to be on a bike trip. “I didn’t know what to say,” she said. “Elizabeth was only my third date with a woman. I wasn’t really out to anyone. I was very reluctant to deal with it but knew I had to.”
Pomerantz redeemed herself when she texted back that evening, suggesting they have dinner at Pace Restaurant, also in West Hollywood. It turned out to be one of Clark’s favorites.
Their second date surpassed the first. Wine was shared. Stories about family and work lives were swapped. Pomerantz’s late texting was forgiven.
After dinner, they went to retrieve their cars. Pomerantz had valeted hers. Clark had not, and was parked a block away. “I consider this her ‘move,'” Pomerantz said. “Elizabeth said, ‘Walk me to my car and I’ll drive you back.’ We shared our first kiss in her car.”
The third date consisted of watching the movie “Grandma” at Pomerantz’s home. They had pizza, and a heartfelt talk on her deck.
“Lauren wasn’t out to her parents or any of her family,” Clark said. “I thought, maybe this isn’t going to work. She was amazing but had a lot of work ahead of her. I knew things could get complicated. I’d have to keep my expectations in check.”
They had a fourth date. Then a fifth. Pomerantz told Clark she would tell her parents. An opportunity arose when she flew to New York for work a week later. Both took the news well.
“I was proud of her for telling her parents,” Clark said. “I found her to be remarkable. When she got back from the trip, everything seemed more possible.” Tinder accounts were ceremoniously deleted and exclusivity followed. Thanksgiving and Christmas brought about the meeting of each other’s families. New Year’s was spent together at Pomerantz’s friend’s home in the Berkshires.
“It was an important moment: It was the first time I had anyone romantic and significant to kiss on New Year’s,” Pomerantz said. “I knew early she was the one. I say no a lot to things because I’m scared. I didn’t say no to being with her. I kept going forward.”
Other trips followed: Bali; Mexico; and Napa, California, for Clark’s birthday. In May 2016, Pomerantz quit her job at the “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where she had worked since 2007 as a writer and producer. Clark shifted gears, too, focusing on playwriting rather than acting.
“Our first year was magical. I couldn’t wait to see her every single time,” Clark said. “One night we were watching ’60 Minutes’ on the couch like 75-year-olds. We were trying to estimate Lesley Stahl’s net worth. I thought, ‘I’m never going to run out of things to talk to her about.’ I didn’t care what we were doing. It always felt exciting.”
In August 2016, they celebrated their first anniversary by going to an Adele concert, and with Clark moving into Pomerantz’s Beachwood Canyon home in Los Angeles.
“I hadn’t had a roommate since I was 23, but it became clear this was a real thing,” Pomerantz said.
By fall, both had fallen into a groove of togetherness: writing, eating, going to the gym.
Almost a year later, on July 27, 2017, Clark proposed.
They drove to Calamigos Ranch, in Malibu, California, where Clark had booked a room. She suggested they have a drink in the lobby and do The New York Times crossword puzzle she had brought. (Both crossword enthusiasts, Clark had contacted Brendan Emmett Quigley, a crossword constructor, to create a custom one.) By the 10th answer, Pomerantz realized all the clues had to do with her.
“I could see my last name start to form; I was very confused,” she said. “My brain was not computing. It didn’t occur to me that she made a fake one.”
Clark unveiled a diamond ring. Pomerantz responded with a yes. The weekend was blissful.
They returned home. Three weeks went by. Pomerantz’s life got busy. Clark got antsy. Where was her ring? She wanted one, too. “I hadn’t expected it to matter, but it did,” Clark said. “I was engaged and I hadn’t been asked. For the first time in our relationship I felt insecure.”
Pomerantz said, “It immediately became clear I was to counter-propose. She told me she liked the ring she gave me. And it would be good if I wanted to get her a similar one.”
Pomerantz picked up the slack and a vintage diamond ring.
“I found one I really liked,” she said. “I wanted to make sure Elizabeth said yes, before she looked at it, because I wasn’t sure she’d like it. Then I wrote notes on index cards, which all ended with the words, I do. ‘Remember the first time you came over? I do.’ I placed them all over the house.”
The last one was found on the deck, where their intense talk took place on their third date. Clark was moved. ‘Yes’ was uttered before the ring was revealed — which got a lackluster reaction from Clark. Then, simultaneously, they asked if they could swap.
“We’re both the same size. Why not be happy,” Clark said.
The couple married on May 27 before 250 guests at Clark’s grandmother’s home in Saddle River, New Jersey. Clark’s aunt, Marilyn C. Clark, a New Jersey Superior Court judge, officiated, while Pomerantz’s best friend, Kevin Leman, an executive producer for the “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” played master of ceremony. “It’s going to be a wonderful wedding and not a backdrop for a murder,” he said, and gave a playful wink to Higgins Clark. “I always thought I would marry Lauren,” he continued, “just not like this.”
The ceremony included the reciting of “You Are My Sunshine” by Clark’s young brother David F. Clark and her cousin Courtney Morrison; a short reading from the Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges; the brides’ original Tinder exchange; and deeply moving vows each had written to one another. During the cocktail hour, four synchronized swimmers performed routines in Higgins Clark’s pool.
“They are both so lovely,” said Higgins Clark, whose forthcoming novel, “I’ve Got My Eyes On You,” is dedicated to the brides. “And they look at each other so lovingly.” Clark’s mother spoke similarly. “They are so well matched: Both are bright, talented, and sensitive. They understand each other,” said Mary Jane Behrends Clark. “I saw them looking at each other last night at the rehearsal dinner and thought, ‘They are really, really in love.'”
Decorative lanterns hung from the glamorous clear top frame tent, which was decked with couches, love seats, and array of tables and chairs. Buffet stations, from Peter Luger dishes to infused mozzarella bombs, were among the offerings.
“We both had our own challenges in coming out and getting to this place,” Pomerantz said. “For everyone to be here supporting us is overwhelming and amazing. The fact that it all worked out and I got to marry Elizabeth is mind-blowing.”
Clark, beaming, said, “I am very excited I have a wife. I hope being with her every night is as wonderful as this one.”
On This Day
When: May 27, 2018.
Where: Mary Higgins Clark’s 4-acre home in Saddle River, New Jersey.
Sophie Cake: The brides made a Rice Krispies treat to resemble Sophie, their Maltese mix, sitting on vanilla cake with chocolate butter cream and crushed Oreos. “It would have been too overwhelming for her to be at the wedding and I really wanted her there, so we represented her in cake form,” Pomerantz said.
Swipe Right: Actor Jason Mantzoukas and producer Matthew Wright read the brides’ Tinder conversation from the app. “We wanted a little gender bending in all this,” Clark said. “We thought it would be great entertainment.”
Libations: Two watermelon- and lime-infused cocktails — the Lauren, which had tequila, and the Elizabeth, which contained vodka — were served as a nod to the drinks each ordered on their first date.