- Met: February 5, 2000
- Engaged: August 22, 2003
- Married: September 28, 2003
The first time Brooke Toscano saw her future husband, he was lying on a couch, belly extended, scratching himself. “We worked together,” Mrs. Toscano, 28, says on a late-September evening, “at a company called Silicon Space here in San Diego. We had a company meeting. Someone had put together a PowerPoint presentation and, as a joke, they added a photo of Rich. About every three slides, his picture would pop up. In the photo, he was lying on a couch scratching his belly. I turned to my girlfriend and said, ‘Is he cute?’”
“We didn’t really talk at the meeting,” Mr. Toscano, 33, adds.
A week later, the couple met on the job. “I was consulting at Hewlett-Packard,” Mr. Toscano says. “Brooke came out to the H-P offices. We met, but we didn’t really hang out together. I did notice that she had a real nice ass.” Mr. Toscano pauses to laugh. “In the high-tech industry, you don’t see that very often.”
Mr. and Mrs. Toscano became friends. They didn’t officially date for almost a year. “I invited him over for dinner,” Mrs. Toscano says. “My roommate and I were having a dinner party, and I needed a date.”
“We had a good time at the party,” Mr. Toscano remembers. “We stayed up late and drank a lot. She played me her Pat Benatar CD.”
“That was the acid test,” Mrs. Toscano says and laughs. “He liked the Pat Benatar.”
Mr. and Mrs. Toscano dated for the next two years. They took a detour along the way. “We quit our jobs and moved to Europe,” Mr. Toscano says. “We failed abjectly. We didn’t have visas and couldn’t get work. So we came crawling back and moved to Austin. We both got jobs at the University of Texas.”
When Mr. Toscano was offered a job in the San Diego area, the couple moved back to where they had started. “Brooke tried to telecommute from here to Austin, but it didn’t work out. About the time she lost her job, I was thinking about money and shared money. You know, merging our Quicken files. I thought, ‘We’ve been dating for a while. We should get married.’ I decided while I was at work. On the way home, I stopped at Target and bought an orange toe ring for 85 cents. Orange is Brooke’s favorite color. I proposed that night.”
“I had just gotten back from a monthlong trip to New York,” Mrs. Toscano confirms. “While I was gone, I had independently decided that I wanted to get married. I thought if Rich didn’t bring it up soon, I would.”
During the proposal, Mr. Toscano spoke in the language of high tech. “We had sort of pathetically adopted this way of talking about our relationship in terms of ‘status updates,’” Mr. Toscano confesses. “That night, I told Brooke we should have a status update. I asked her how she thought our relationship was going. She said she thought things were good. I said, ‘I agree. I think we should get married.’ I gave her the ring.”
Afterward, the couple shopped for real rings. “We couldn’t find anything we liked,” Mrs. Toscano says. “So I ended up designing both of them.” Fashioned from white gold, Mrs. Toscano’s ring has a setting in the shape of an eye. Where the iris would be, a violet tanzanite sparkles. Mr. Toscano’s ring is set with a square sapphire.
Mr. and Mrs. Toscano got married a month later at Mrs. Toscano’s parents’ home outside Portland, Oregon. “No, we weren’t pregnant,” Mrs. Toscano says. “We just didn’t want to have a long engagement. At first we wanted to get married here in San Diego because this is where all our friends are. My mom was having none of it. She wanted the wedding to be in Portland. But the weather gets bad there after September. So we had a small ceremony at my parents’ house on the last weekend in September. Ironically, the day before was the hottest day of the year up there. But it was beautiful. We only had about 30 people. Then we had the reception at my parents’ country club a half-mile away. I think my dad had been dreaming of having my reception there forever.”
When the newly wed couple got back to San Diego, they had a big party with their local friends.
Just last week, Mr. and Mrs. Toscano celebrated their first anniversary. “Rich took me salsa dancing at Café Sevilla,” Mrs. Toscano says. “I had been browbeating him for a year to take me dancing. And we got very romantic gifts. I gave him 200 minutes of massage. I printed up dollar bills with pictures of our pets where the president should be. He got me a punching bag.”
“I got confused,” Mr. Toscano says. “The first anniversary is the paper anniversary. I thought it was the kicking anniversary.”