Figuring it was “a game of numbers,” she joined Match.com and went on more dates than she cares to remember. “I thought if I put myself out there forcefully, I would land somebody,” she said, laughing. “I don’t want to say it was one disaster after another, but after a few years of one or two dates and then nothing really developing, you kind of ask yourself: ‘Is it me? What’s going on here?’”
When Mr. Hochman, 37, met Ms. LaRocca, he was also getting reacclimated to St. Louis, where he had grown up but had been away from for nearly two decades. “I still hadn’t unpacked my boxes,” he said. “I was going to sports events and relearning the city.”
Mr. Hochman had moved back to St. Louis from Denver two months earlier to take the newspaper job he had coveted since he was 12. He wanted to get to know “that awesome girl,” he said, alluding to Ms. LaRocca, “but this avalanche of life was coming at me. I had so much going on.”
What Mr. Hochman and Ms. LaRocca didn’t know was that two regular patrons at the same neighborhood Starbucks where they had first met were actually scheming to get the two together.
Lou Cohen and Paul Gallant, both 84, would meet at that Clayton coffee shop most Sunday mornings. And one week, Ms. LaRocca dropped by their table to say hello to Mr. Cohen, who lives in the same high-rise condominium as her parents. Mr. Cohen is the father of Andy Cohen, a host on the TV channel Bravo.
Mr. Gallant recalls being taken with “how adorable and bubbly” Ms. LaRocca was. After she walked away, Mr. Cohen mentioned how Ms. LaRocca’s mother, Irene LaRocca, had been asking if he knew of a nice guy for her daughter to meet. “I told Irene anyone I know would be too old and unsuitable,” Mr. Cohen said.
Mr. Gallant took out his phone and called a good friend to inquire about his son’s dating status. That good friend happened to be Mr. Hochman’s father, Jere Hochman, who until recently served as a deputy secretary of education in New York State for Gov….