This story was originally published in 2016.
There are a lot of romantic places you could go in Dallas. Like the Arboretum. Or Reunion Tower. Or one of the most romantic places of all: A comic book convention.
For some couples, it's tradition. For others it might be a first date. Still others will use it as a chance to meet new people (which the show helps facilitate with nerdy speed dating events). And some? It's where they'll get engaged.
In the case of Kansas residents Lynnaya and Ben Saunders, Fan Expo Dallas (formerly called Dallas Comic Con) has been several of those things.
The two barely knew each other when Lynnaya, a nurse, was having a slow night at work and asked her Facebook friends for entertainment. Ben was leaving a Fan Expo event at the time and decided to send her pictures from it, which got the two talking "non-stop."
"To be honest, I had heard of comic cons but didn't really know what they were," Lynnaya says. "I was previously in a relationship where if I expressed interest in anything 'nerdy' or 'not cool' I would get made fun of! I guess you could say I was never really allowed to be interested in anything like that. But the moment Ben told me about his time at the Fan Expo, I was hooked!"
Ben had just gotten out of a bad relationship and was taking time off work when he decided to go to that Comic Con event. "It was the first thing I'd done for myself in a long time," he says. "And I feel that the universe rewarded me by putting Lynnaya in my life."
The two started going on dates. Some were "mainstream," like trips to the movies or or to shoot pool; some had nerdier twists. "My favorite date so far was the night we went to a lantern fest," Lynnaya says. "We decorated or lanterns with the oaths and symbols of the Blue and Green Lantern Corps! ... When it was finally dark outside we all let our lanterns loose. It was magical, very much like the movie Tangled."
But Ben says that it was Comic Con where Lynnaya first called him her boyfriend ("albeit accidentally"), and it's at Comic Con where he proposed.
Skip to 2:28 in the video below to go straight to the proposal:
The two have made the trip to every Dallas Comic Con event since then.
"I think it's a combination of the sentimentality and the fact that we always such a great time," Lynnaya says. "Seeing everyone's amazing costumes that I'm sure took months to perfect, and meeting and interacting with childhood idols -- I mean, I got to meet Carrie Fisher for Pete's sake! -- is an amazing experience! We do have a few smaller Comic Cons in Kansas, but the Dallas Fan Expo will always hold a special place in my heart. Where else can a girl get proposed to while dressed up like The Little Mermaid?""
Lest you think their story is the only example of love blooming while surrounded by comic books, meet Weatherford resident Tony Myers. For him, Dallas Comic Con wasn't just where he proposed to his wife Stephanie, it was also the spot for their first date.
Tony had been to other conventions in the past, but he was planning for his first Dallas Comic Con when he found out that the girl he had been texting was into geeky stuff but had never been to a big event like that.
"I was shocked to hear that this girl who would soon by my wife was also a huge Heather Lagenkamp fan," he says, referring to the actress best known as Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street. "When she told me that, I bought her ticket [to the convention] that night."
"We had the best day," he says. "We got to meet the cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Stan Lee. It was great."
A few months later at a different Dallas Comic Con event, he knew he wanted to ask her to marry him. "I wanted to do it in a Goonies photo op but chickened out," he says.
That doesn't mean the moment wasn't picturesque, though. "I had my kids with me and they knew I planned on proposing, so I gave my daughter the camera and she snapped the photo. We were surrounded by a dozen or so Deadpools."
Because what says "love" better than a bunch of foul-mouthed mercenaries in red suits? (If that's a statement you can get behind, here's your reminder that the Deadpool movie is also out this weekend, and it's pretty good.)
You can find more on Fan Expo Dallas and other geeky things at GuideLive.com/Geek