A married couple with a 22-year age gap have revealed how a chance meeting in a bar started their romance.
Sav, then aged 18, and Mark Harrison, then 40, initially matched on Tinder, exchanging a handful of messages and adding each other on Facebook.
But, months later after not progressing their romance, Sav was out at a bar with friends when she spotted Mark across the room.
“I saw him and immediately got nervous because he was just ultra good looking and dressed in a nice suit – I basically sprinted away,” Sav told news.com.au.
Mark took the initiative, striking up a conversation with Sav and her friends.
Later on in the night, Sav realized none of her friends were still at the bar so Mark offered for her to stay at his apartment.
“He just gave me a glass of water, put me to bed and went and slept on the sofa,” Sav said.
“The next morning I gave him a peck on the lips to say thank you and, when I got in the elevator I licked my lips. It was like my body exploded.”
Mark said it was as though their individual body’s chemicals knew that they were supposed to be together – particularly as he knew Sav had no intention of dating at that point.
The next week, the pair met up and spoke for seven hours, and then they just kept doing that over and over again.
Mark said that their physiological connection was then built upon by their intellectual connection.
It took a year since that chance meeting at the bar for the couple to say “I love you” to each other, and another year on top of that before the pair started living together and eventually tied the knot.
“It was kind of like assembling a puzzle where slowly but surely they fit into place, and one after the other build a picture and it looks really good,” Mark said.
Sav, having turned 20 when the pair moved in together, said her family and friends were “cool” with her bringing home a man more than double her age.
“They know me really well, and I think they knew if it wasn’t this old guy, it would be another one,” she joked.
“But I think they knew what to expect from me when it came to dating.”
It didn’t initially go to plan when Sav and Mark were caught hanging at Sav’s parents house on a nanny cam, with her mum furious at the scenes, Sav revealed in a TikTok video.
But, when Mark and Sav’s mother were properly introduced it went smoothly and Mark is now an integral part of the family.
During lockdown, Sav and Mark began to post on TikTok – like many – but the couple had also heard stories from those around them who felt like they couldn’t be with the person they love because of various reasons such as gender and age.
The account – Sav and Mark – blew up after the couple began to be open about their unique relationship on the social media platform, adding they were advocating for all types of relationships as long as everyone involved was of legal age and consenting.
“They felt ashamed of love, essentially, and that cut Mark and I to the core,” Sav told news.com.au.
“We’re in such a privileged place with how we present and I just wanted to use that welcoming space for people who don’t fit in, as well as entertain and serious messaging to show people they’re loved and looked after.”
The couple said their age gap is something they don’t really think about and, if they catch people staring in public their difference isn’t what comes to mind first – it’s their fashion or energy.
But, it doesn’t prevent them from receiving judgment online about their relationship.
“I mean, it’s so easy to draw conclusions on online without meeting anybody,” Sav said, adding most people were supportive.
Mark said the couple didn’t mind being a lightning rod for trolls if it helped others be more comfortable in their own relationship – whether it was an age gap or LGBTQ.
Sav said the couple had hundreds of messages telling them that they were doing just that.
There are days when cruel trolls get Sav down but Mark said her quick wit and sharp tongue usually shuts them down.
Their success online have allowed the Sydney-based couple to work with a variety of brands, with Sav even turning to content creation full time.
“TikTok is much more than a big old joke to me, it’s my whole life and I love the community,” Sav said. “For me, the videos I create are art and Mark is my muse. I have so much fun creating this art.”