Dating service served them well


November 01, 1998|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,special to the sun

Nancy Tarricone and Albert Ford Jr. met through a video-dating service.

And before you dismiss dating clubs as the last bastion of the lonely and dateless, consider this: Nancy and Albert are both good-looking, physically fit people with loads of friends and lots of hobbies. Both had been involved in their share of serious and not-so-serious relationships.

But somehow, they'd never met that special someone. So in 1995 when each of them received a membership offer from a Baltimore-area video-dating service, first Albert, and then Nancy, decided to join.

"It was like shopping for a date, because you got to see what people looked like and find out their interests - and even turn them down for a date - without having to see them face to face," Nancy says.

She saw the service as a safe way to meet men. Albert, a stage and studio mechanic for the television show "Homicide," thought the service might help him meet women in spite of his crazy schedule - which had proven a hindrance in other relationships.

Albert and Nancy met in April 1996 when Albert selected Nancy after seeing her video.

Their first date - dinner - went well from Albert's point of view. He and Nancy had a lot in common. Both are big Orioles fans - "I have season tickets and I put that in my profile, which is probably why Al chose me," Nancy says with a teasing laugh. They both also are close to their parents, siblings and numerous nieces and nephews.

And they're both dedicated to their jobs. Nancy is a management analyst for the Social Security Administration. Albert's job on "Homicide" includes getting sets ready, among other duties. One moment he could be arranging furniture in a mock police station; another he could be strewing garbage and filth in a staged crack house.

Albert's career, especially, seemed an easy icebreaker. But Nancy was less than impressed with his one-word answers to her questions. Albert says now that he felt like he was simplifying things, because his job can be difficult to explain and he's accosted regularly by people who want to know how they can get on the show.

But to Nancy, the date was beginning to resemble an interrogation - a very slow and painful one. "I felt like I was carrying the conversation," she recalls. "It was too much work and I thought I can't do this again."

On the way home from what had to be "one of the longest dates of my life," Nancy stopped at a convenience store. When she got home, she played her answering-machine messages. And then her heart melted. For on the tape was a sincere message from Albert telling her what a great time he'd had and how much he hoped to get to know her better.

It was the turning point for Nancy. Already determined to turn Albert down if he asked her out again, now she knew she couldn't refuse such a "sweet and thoughtful" guy.

Their second date went much better, as did each date after that. Within six months, the couple had "frozen" their dating-club memberships - service lingo for not being available to be selected by other members.

In October 1997, they bought a house together in Catonsville. And on this Oct. 24, Nancy, 41, and Albert, 39, were married in a Lutheran ceremony at Snyder's Willow Grove in Linthicum.

The ceremony and reception were a joy-filled continuation of the rehearsal dinner the night before, when about 40 family members and friends gathered at the home of Albert's brother, Jeff, and his wife, Kathy.

The wedding party included Jeff, as well as his son, Jeffrey, who was the ring bearer. Nancy's sisters, Ann Visgilio, Jane Harrigan and Jill Farkas, stood up for her, along with her nieces Diane Tarricone and Olivia Tarricone. Nancy's niece Molly Visgilio was the flower girl.

And beaming among the 110 guests were the couple's parents, Michael and Mildred Tarricone of Southport, N.C., and Catherine and Albert Ford Sr. of Catonsville, all happy that their children had found true love at last.

Pub date 11/1/98

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