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Bookstore's Tweet Leads To Love, Then Marriage

It's a story as old as time. Man tweets as bookstore. Woman falls in love with his literary Pokemon jokes. The inevitable next chapter: marriage.

Wait. What?

It started in 2012. Jonathan O'Brien was running the social media accounts for a Waterstone's book store on Oxford Street in London.

He tweeted a couple of jokes about books and Pokemon.

Victoria Carlin, a circus performer at the time, didn't know who was behind the account — but she knew she was a fan. So she tweeted back.

"Well I'm in love with whoever is manning the @WstonesOxfordSt account," she wrote. "Be still my actual beating heart."

That led to these tweets:

Bookstore: "Pff, he's not that dreamy in real life."

Carlin: "Pffft. Book nerds > dreamboats. #girlfacts"

And four years later, this (appropriately literary) one.

Of course, the course of true love never did run smoothly — or at least, it takes a little more than just a few tweets to snag a mate.

After all, O'Brien told the Guardian that as the Waterstone's Twitter account, he got marriage proposals all the time. (No surprise there.) He didn't follow up on them by reaching out as, you know, a person. "That would be unprofessional," he told the paper.

But Carlin was motivated. She'd been dared to get a date with him. So she tweeted again. This time — because of a typo, she says — she seemed to suggest that the two had actually gone out for drinks, and O'Brien noticed that little inaccuracy. He responded with his personal account, to correct the record.

Now that Carlin knew his real identity, it was time to meet face-to-face. And for that, she brought doughnuts. Here's The Guardian:

"Victoria, a circus performer, was on a tour break [when] she noticed Jonathan tweeting a hankering for doughnuts. She had time to spare, so she bought a bag and went to the shop.

" 'My legs were taking me and my head was going: "What are you doing?" ' Upstairs, she worked out who he was. 'And he was so much taller than I thought he would be. I'm only 5ft. I stood in the queue waiting. He went: "Hi, how can I help you?" and I just said: "There you go, there's a doughnut. As requested." Then I bottled it and ran away.' "

Later, they went for a walk on O'Brien's lunch break. Then they went on their first real date — to a secret cocktail bar, O'Brien told Mashable.

"It was easily the best first date I've ever been on (and hopefully the last first date I'll ever go on). I brought a book of The Wizard of Oz as a present because Victoria had mentioned to me how much she loves the film," Jonathan continued.

The two were married in London over the weekend. (Pokemon played a role in that, too; the groom was playing Pokemon Go shortly before the ceremony.)

Carlin has left the touring circus life and now works in the theater. O'Brien, who has written a book, is no longer tweeting as a bookstore: He now works for the drink company Innocent.

That means there's a new social media manager at the Waterstone's Oxford account (now Waterstone's Tottenham Court Road).

And — in case you were wondering — he, or she, is looking.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.