Jordan Freking ’12 was on his last drink when Juan Carlos “JC” Reyna walked into Macho, a popular nightclub in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa gay district, in July 2010.
Having danced the night away without meeting a worthy amigo (think Goodrich on any given Friday night), Freking was tired and ready to return home – until the two handsome men locked eyes in a penetrating gaze. Last Saturday, 20 months after their first encounter and 2500 miles away from the Mexico City nightclub, Freking and Reyna were lawfully married at the Williamstown Town Hall, vowing to love each other in friendship and weakness, good times and misfortune, achievement and failure.
“When I walked into Macho I spotted Jordan and just stopped – I had never seen anyone like him in my entire life,” Reyna, who is 25 years old and employed as a physical therapist, recounted. “I was really nervous but finally mustered the courage to go over and talk to him.”
Freking clearly remembers Reyna’s initial jitters: “He walked towards me, then stopped, walked towards me again, and then stopped,” Freking said. “Finally, he came up next to me, and I was like, ‘Wow, he’s hot.’”
After a passionate night of good conversation and more, Reyna was intrigued enough to ask Freking, who was studying abroad for his junior year, out to coffee the next day. One date led to another, and soon Reyna, who resides six hours north of the Mexican capital in the coastal city of Tampico, was making the drive every weekend to see Freking in Mexico City.
“I was reading a novel at the time that talked about love and souls, and it seemed that everything I was reading matched what I was feeling for Jordan,” said Reyna, as Freking jokingly rolled his eyes next to him, adding that it was just a typical “Spanish romance novel.”
The couple lived together for several weeks in January 2011 and then shared an apartment in Tampico for the duration of last summer. While in Tampico, Freking split his time between studying for the LSAT and spending days on the stunning local beaches with Reyna. Together, the two even survived the destruction of Hurricane Arlene, which devastated much of the Mexican coast in early July. “The water was rising and there was flooding everywhere,” Reyna recalled. “I sometimes wonder how we survived that night.”
Then, in late August, just over a year after their first encounter, Reyna turned to Freking and said something that the Williams senior could not have expected: “I told him that I loved him and wanted to marry him,” Reyna recalled. “I knew that I had a much more stable life, with a good job and all, so I gave him time to think about it.”
Freking definitely had a lot to think about. Because the U.S. government does not yet recognize same-sex marriage on the federal level, the couple’s wedlock would not provide Reyna with a path towards naturalization. As a result, Reyna would only be able to obtain a six-month visitor’s visa to the United States, after which he would be expected to return to Mexico for at least three months before again applying for a hard-to-obtain visitor’s visa. If Freking were to marry Reyna, the only way to remain together long-term would be for Freking to move to Tampico, an option that would render law school impossible in the near future. After much deliberation, Freking decided to follow his heart, and called Reyna from his home in Le Mars, Iowa, to accept his proposal.
“The two of us had already lived in Tampico with only JC as a breadwinner, and it was definitely a very enjoyable life,” Freking told me. “I thought, worst case scenario, I’ll just go to Tampico and live on the beach and be a stay-at-home husband. Plus I’ll have tons of time to work out and get tanned.”
Reyna was overjoyed with the decision. “We are opposites and we fight a lot, but I think we work so well together because we are so different,” he said. “Besides, it’s fun that we’re always having to make up after fights.”
After months of planning, Reyna finally came to the College last weekend, where he had already visited Freking, to be wed. Presided over by Town Clerk Mary Kennedy, the ceremony itself was attended by several dozen of Freking’s friends as well as a small cohort of Reyna’s closest companions, who had accompanied him from Mexico. “Do you promise to love JC even when his English is terrible?” Kennedy asked Freking, to the laughter of the audience.
In some ways, the wedding celebration itself was surprisingly like any number of Saturday nights at Williams. The weather was unseasonably cold, oversweet pad thai was consumed in large doses and Campus Safety and Security unsuccessfully attempted to sober the night. And yet, the night was so much more than that.
On Saturday, April 7, a love that began thousands of miles away was solidified on our very campus. With a loving kiss and the exchange of two shining rings, Freking and Reyna – now Jordan Reyna Freking and Juan Carlos Reyna Freking – were joined as one.