Just after Kimberly Lauren France and Paul Richard Green met on Tinder in early April 2021, Mr. Green floated an idea. Instead of getting to know each other through the app, they should set up a first date and, in the meantime, Google each other.
Ms. France, who goes by Kim, agreed to the plan, but told Mr. Green that his search would uncover her age, which wasn’t listed on the app. “Just so you know, I’m older than you,” she texted him days before their April 10 meeting in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. He had no problem with that and fired back a caveat of his own: “I’m fat,” he texted.
By the time the sun was filtering through the windows of her Prospect Heights apartment on April 11, they were a couple.
The careers of Ms. France and Mr. Green churn up plenty for internet sleuthing. In 1999, Ms. France, 59, was the founding editor of the Condé Nast shopping magazine Lucky. Today she is a writer and a host of the podcast “Everything is Fine.” Mr. Green, 50, is a music teacher and the founder of the School of Rock, a training academy for aspiring rock heroes. When they met in the park for a masked-up walk in spring 2021, each had cleared hurdles imposed by the other on Tinder.
Mr. Green’s list of red flags was purely musical — and included anyone expressing a predilection for jam bands. “If you liked Zac Brown Band or Dave Matthews Band, it was a straight-up deal breaker for me,” he said. He based his “super like” of Ms. France on her list of favorite Spotify artists, which inlcluded the rock bands Yo La Tengo and the Velvet Underground.
Ms. France, on the other hand, had been screening her potential matches for peacocking. “If a guy had a picture of himself on a private jet; if he had a picture of himself at the gym; if he had a picture of himself with a celebrity — those were all automatic swipe lefts,” she said. Mr. Green barely squeaked under the limbo stick. “Paul had a picture of himself with Devo.” Out of respect for that band, she let her celebrity rule slide.
Ms. France had never heard of Paul Green’s School of Rock, the company Mr. Green founded in 2000 in his native Philadelphia, when they matched. She associated the name “School of Rock” with the 2003 movie starring Jack Black. Mr. Green was used to that. When the film was released, friends and colleagues pointed out similarities between his school and the fictionalized one, and overlaps between his personality and the character played by Mr. Black. But its producers denied Paul Green’s School of Rock was a model or influence. He considered suing.
Now he sees the blockbuster, which has since become an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, as a publicity blessing: By the time he sold Paul Green’s School of Rock in 2009, he had expanded through franchising to 57 cities. School of Rock franchises are still opening around the world, but without Mr. Green’s input (the company dropped his name from its marquees in 2010). Since 2017, he has been running the Paul Green Rock Academy for audition-only students, in Philadelphia and Wilton, Conn. Enrollees take to the road as the backing band for artists including Jon Anderson of Yes.
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Mr. Green grew up poor. His father, Jack Green, died in a car accident when he was 2. His mother, Margaret Green, was an amateur musician and taught him guitar. Their income came from Social Security checks. When he was 15, he dropped out of high school and moved in with a group of nearby musician friends. He played in local bands, but, at 23, found he liked teaching guitar better. His mother died of cancer a year after he established the School of Rock.
Ms. Green lived long enough to see him get married the first time, in 1999, to a bandmate. After a legal separation, that marriage ended in divorce in 2022. Mr. Green has two children — a son, 20, and a daughter, 16. He finished high school with a G.E.D. the same year he started teaching guitar and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2001. In 2021, he earned a law degree from Temple University. Law had long been an interest and is now an avocation; he has never taken the bar exam.
Ms. France, a native of Houston, was divorced in 2005 after four years of marriage. She was drawn to fashion from a young age — before Lucky, she helped edit the fashion pages at New York Magazine — but she didn’t love fashion magazines. “I was suspicious of them because they made women feel bad about themselves.”
In 1999, Condé Nast approached her with an offer to pioneer a shopping magazine. A decade after its launch, in 2010, she was let go.
It was time to leave anyway, Ms. France said. Running Lucky “was stressful in ways I couldn’t even imagine life could be stressful,” she said. Her co-host for “Everything is Fine,” a show that helps women navigate life after 40 and includes fashion tips, is former Lucky staffer turned author and editor Jennifer Romolini.
Ms. France also maintains a blog, Girls of a Certain Age, for loyal readers, including some who remember her writing from Sassy, one of her first jobs after moving to New York City to start a magazine career in 1988.
In 1987, she graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her father, Hugh France, died of esophageal cancer in 1986. Her mother, Eve France, and two brothers, one older and one younger, later moved to New York City, where they still live.
The Googling that preceded Ms. France and Mr. Green’s meet-up in the park in 2021 was no guarantee of a connection. Though both were still recovering from what Mr. Green called “founder’s disease” — “Kim and I both watched something we made become something different, something more capitalistic than cultural,” he said — seeing each other involved a significant commute. Mr. Green was still living in Philadelphia. (Each had expanded their search radius on Tinder after disappointing dates in their own cities.)
After they sat down to talk on a Prospect Park bench, however, long-distance dating seemed scalable — and worth it, to both. When Ms. France suggested they go to her place to listen to records, Mr. Green asked her if they could kiss first. More kissing came after she made him midnight pasta, a favorite recipe with anchovies and red pepper flakes.
Mr. Green might have landed a spot in the romantic record books, if such a thing existed, before he left Prospect Heights late that night. “Paul requested exclusivity on the first date, ‘while we figure out what this is,’ he said, making him the first man in the history of Tinder to do such a thing,” Ms. France said.
Her response: Yes, please. “After dating so many commitment-phobic, ghosting men on the apps, I felt like I had stepped into a different dimension on the space-time continuum.”
A Snow White phase — “like I was in a garden with butterflies flying around me and little birds tweeting,” she said — followed. Mr. Green felt he had hit the love jackpot, too.
“When we Googled each other and I saw all these great pictures of Kim with cool people and then I started reading her writing, I was already three-quarters of the way there,” he said. The other quarter was in place before April 13, 2021, when he stuffed two trash bags full of his belongings into his car and moved into her place.
They had been a couple for three days. They had seen each other in person exactly once. But “I had told him at some point, you can come here whenever you want, and he took me extremely literally,” Ms. France said.
Ms. France and Mr. Green still live in the same apartment. Three weeks into living together, both knew they wanted to marry. Three months in, they started talking about it. Ms. France mentioned that a proposal involving a drum line would be nice. Mr. Green felt that was something he could make happen, which explains why, for several months, he kept the engagement ring they picked out together in his car’s glove compartment. “If I got the drum line together, it would be ready,” he explained.
He never got the drum line together. Instead, on Nov. 18, 2022, during a weekend trip to Philadelphia, he told her he forgot something in the glove box and asked her to look. They celebrated her yes with lunch on the road.
Ms. France and Mr. Green were married in her mother’s Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan on April 15. The run-up featured neither fashion runways nor rock concerts. “We both wanted something really chill,” Ms. France said. “No big production.”
Ms. France wore a floor-length black dress by Zero + Maria Cornejo; Mr. Green wore a black Michael Kors suit. Shirim Nothenberg, Ms. France’s sister-in-law, was ordained by the Universal Life Church to marry them. Fifty guests, including Mr. Green’s children, several of his students and Ms. Romolini, Ms. France’s “Everything is Fine” co-host, attended. Ms. Nothenberg kept her remarks brief. Like everyone else in the room, she wanted to hear from the couple. “They’re both clever, funny, insightful people,” she said.
In handwritten vows they co-wrote and took turns reading to each other, Ms. France and Mr. Green said they promised to take “exquisite care” of each other, and “to think you are the best, so long as we both may live.”
Those who wanted to hear the song they cued up to play the moment they were pronounced husband and wife, Art Garfunkel’s “Waters of March,” were mostly out of luck. “We played it, but people were cheering so loud for us it got drowned out,” Mr. Green said.
Ms. France distilled the key to their quick-to-ignite but enduring love this way: “The reason it works is we both think we’re the one who got lucky.”
On This Day
When April 15, 2023
Where Eve France’s Manhattan apartment
Present Ms. France said she surprised herself during the ceremony. “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to focus, because whenever you host a party, you feel frenetic,” she said. But that didn’t happen. “It’s a corny thing to say, but I really did feel like we were the only two people in the room.” Mr. Green was likewise undistracted. “When she said, ‘You may kiss the bride,’ the rest of the world melted away,” he said.
House Party At a reception in the apartment that was meant to feel more like a cocktail party, guests nibbled hors d’oeuvres and passed small plates. The signature cocktail, a spicy margarita, was a particular hit. Creative Edge Parties handled catering, including a non-cake chocolate dessert that looked like a terrarium in a cu