success stories — and tips on how to find your own true love
by Mark Smith
Barry Turner and Wendell Hunt both work in and around the Charlotte area,
the two share a refurbished early 20th century apartment over a storefront
space in downtown York, S.C.
“It’s just across the border,” says Turner. “We’re
really lucky to have the space — it’s beautiful and very large.”
Barry Turner and Wendell Hunt met at a party a
year before they started dating.
The twosome have been together four years and got married last May.
“Barry’s very much a wedding planner kind of person,” says
Hunt. “So he had been making plans for a year. We rented this old
historical building called the Latta House for the ceremony and invited
our family and friends. Some of my family flew in from Texas and some of
his family were there, too. It was very much like a traditional wedding,
with MCC Charlotte Pastor Mick Hinson actually marrying us. We had a reception
after the wedding, as well as couple of parties leading up to the ceremony.”
Ironically, Turner and Hunt had initially met years earlier at a party,
when both were involved with other individuals.
“We were both at this party separately, not really knowing anybody,
so we started talking and I liked him — you know as a friend. We
didn’t see each other for like a year after that. One day — when
I was single again — I called him and found out he was, too. So I
invited him to lunch. We’ve been together ever since.”
For Turner and Hunt, the pivotal moments in which they realized they truly
loved one another came at different times — but at least they were
on the same day.
Says Hunt: “It was when we met for lunch I realized yeah, this is
it, I want to pursue it.”
For Turner the realization came before they even sat down for the meal. “He
walked up to the front door when we were gonna go to lunch,” Turner
recalls. “He was looking through the door and I guess he couldn’t
see anybody inside. Anyway, he does this quirky thing with his eyes — he
squints kinda funny and bites his lip — it’s so cute. I opened
the door and I just knew.”
Both Turner and Hunt share similar views on the success of their relationship.
“There’s a lot of communication,” says Hunt. “We’re
both happy with who we are and we don’t let things go unspoken.”
“There’s a lot of respect for each other, too,” says
Turner. “We appreciate each other and he’s very thoughtful.
I try to be as thoughtful for him.”
Most couples have disagreements from time to time, but Turner and Hunt
seem rarely to have any disagreements.
“I don’t think we’ve ever really had a serious argument,” says
But there has to be something that’s a pet peeve, right?
Hunt on Turner: “He forgets to put things back where they’re
supposed to go.”
Turner on Hunt: “He puts dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher.”
“In other words, in the big picture, they’re really inconsequential,” Hunt
chuckles. “It works out because we both pick up after each other
In case you’re single and you’re looking for a relationship
like these two, both of them have some words of wisdom to share.
“If you’re single and looking for a significant other don’t
limit yourself to where you look,” says Hunt. Sometimes the perfect
person might be right there.”
“I think it’s important to look below the surface,” says
Turner. “If you judge people too quickly on their job, the money
they make or the car they drive — and I think a lot of people in
the gay community do that — you could pass by someone wonderful.”
Wanda and Candace Chellew-Hodge met through friends in Atlanta.
“We met through our mutual friends Linda and Kelly,” says Wanda. “They
said they were gonna go shoot pool at this Atlanta lesbian bar called My
Sister’s Room and they invited me to come along. They also invited
Candace. We went to her house to pick her up — and they sent me ahead
to the door because they were so trying to set us up — it worked
obviously. Anyway — she opened the door and she was speechless.
“Maybe it was the tight sweater or the boobs,” Wanda laughs. “She
was just so nervous she didn’t even really talk. She didn’t
know how to play pool, either. I had to reach around her and show her how
to hold her stick. That was fun!
“At the end of the evening she kissed me goodnight but she didn’t
talk to me for a week. After awhile we exchanged a few emails and we went
out again — just the two of us. Then we started seeing each other
Wanda and Candace Chellew-Hodge met through mutual
friends on a date to shoot pool in Atlanta.
When Candace lived in Atlanta, she was actively involved with the MCC Church
there. Today she is the assistant pastor at Garden of Grace United Church
in Columbia, S.C. Clearly, her faith has always played a pivotal role in
her life decisions. That was just the case when she first encountered Wanda.
“I had been single two-and-a-half years,” Candace recalls. “You
know what it’s like when you’re single and looking, you go ‘I’m
okay being alone.’ The week before I met Wanda I said ‘okay
God, if this is it, I’m okay with it. I’ve got a good house,
a good job at CNN and a dog I love.’ So I was finally okay — if
that was gonna be it — I was good.
“So I opened the door and I looked into Wanda’s eyes and I
said ‘there she is and I said shut up brain before I stab you with
a Q-Tip.’ I was angry because I had just said I was fine being single.
So it took me a couple of weeks and we finally went out on a date. I kept
saying ‘this is just gonna be a casual thing and I am so not getting
involved. That didn’t work out, huh?”
The two have been together five years and celebrated their relationship
with a holy union on May 11, 2002.
For Wanda and Candace, their pivotal moments of realizing they’d
found the one they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with came at
different times, too. That didn’t make the feelings any less intense,
“There were sparks flying when we met,” Wanda recalls. “I
think it was one night during dinner we were talking and it was so natural — I
just realized this is the one.”
Says Candace: “I knew I was in love with Wanda when she really made
A sense of humor is like tops on the list for me and when that happened — she
was so witty — I thought, ‘I just love that woman when she
I still get that giddy feeling.”
Wanda and Candace have particularly divergent tips for singles on the lookout
for a significant other.
“Don’t give up,” says Wanda. “They’re out
there and you can meet them in the most unlikely place at the most unlikely
“Give it up,” counters Candace. “The moment I was okay
with me was the moment she walked in. While I was single I was really trying
to get to know me better. If you can’t be alone with you, then you
can’t be with someone else.”
For all the relationship’s success, there has to be some drawback,
“She’s always sitting things down in the kitchen and not taking
them to her office,” chuckles Wanda.
“She doesn’t finish things,” says Candace. “Great
projects that just don’t get done. But you know what, when you love
somebody, you love all of them and everything that comes with them. Little
things like that just don’t matter.”