Bonding Over a Love of Cat Power and Senior Dogs

Matthew Thomas McConkey was at home watching the movie “Death Becomes Her” when he first spotted Michael Grassi on the dating app Grindr.

“I had been showing pictures to Erin, my roommate,” he said, “and I stopped at him and I literally said, ‘He’s going to be my boyfriend.”‘

It was November 2013, and Mr. Grassi, a television writer, had just arrived in Los Angeles to write for the first season of “Schitt’s Creek.” He and Mr. McConkey, who was living in the Mid-City neighborhood, quickly set up a date. But it was canceled when Mr. Grassi had to fly to Vancouver for a family emergency.

Though Mr. Grassi, 39, worried he would appear as “a flake,” they soon rescheduled. On Thanksgiving Eve, they met for drinks at the Dresden Room in the Los Feliz neighborhood. Before the night ended, Mr. McConkey, 42, had invited Mr. Grassi to a Cat Power concert the following Monday.

Having previously invited his roommate, Mr. McConkey then had to tell her that he gave away her ticket. “She wasn’t happy, but she understood,” he said. “She had seen the photo. She knew that the stakes were high.”

At the concert, the stakes got even higher. “It did feel like, ‘Oh, this is the beginning of a love story,'” Mr. McConkey said.

“We’ve gone to see her every time she’s been in the LA area ever since,” he added.

In January 2014, Mr. Grassi had to return to Canada yet again, this time for work. After wrapping the first season of “Schitt’s Creek,” he began a nine-month job in Toronto as a showrunner for the fifth and final season of “Lost Girl,” a queer science fiction show that he had joined in the fourth season as a writer and consulting producer.

But before Mr. Grassi left, he and Mr. McConkey decided that they would remain a couple.

“Matt was so much my happy place,” Mr. Grassi said. “It was the most natural uncomplicated version of a long-distance courtship.”

Born and raised in Montreal, Mr. Grassi graduated from Ryerson University in Toronto. He has written for televisions shows including “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” for which he won a Peabody Award in 2010, and the CW’s “Supergirl,” “Riverdale” and “Katy Keene.” Mr. Grassi is currently an executive producer on HBO Max’s “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.”

Mr. McConkey, a graduate of NYU, is from Waverly, Ohio. After working as an actor and a freelance copywriter, he got his first job as a television writer’s assistant on an NBC sitcom, “Marry Me,” in 2014. He later became a staff writer on shows including “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$,” a comedy on Seeso, and “Heathers,” on the Paramount Network. In 2017, he started Homophilia, a podcast about queer culture, with Dave Holmes, a former MTV VJ Mr. McConkey is now an executive story editor on a forthcoming holiday show for the Hallmark Channel.

After finishing his job as showrunner for “Lost Girl,” Mr. Grassi moved back to Los Angeles in October 2014. The following year, in August 2015, Mr. McConkey moved into Mr. Grassi’s apartment in Los Feliz. In 2016, they adopted a rescue dog, an older boxer-pitbull mix named Faye.

In 2018, as Faye became less agile, the three of them moved to a house in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles. “We always joke, but it’s like kind of true, that we bought our first home for Faye,” Mr. McConkey said.

Mr. Grassi proposed to Mr. McConkey in December 2020, on a trip to Hawaii. That trip — and his proposal — came a year later than originally planned because of work and the pandemic. It also happened months after Faye died.

On their first evening in Hawaii, as they settled down on their hotel room’s balcony with margaritas, Mr. Grassi pulled out his cellphone and played a video he had commissioned from Mr. McConkey’s favorite actress. It ended with her saying, “Take a look at Michael, he’s got a really important question to ask you.”

At that moment, Mr. Grassi knelt and held out a watch that he had engraved with the word “Faye,” and a small heart.

The couple were married May 7 at Provence in Ojai, Calif. Heidi Rose Robbins, their friend and a Universal Life Church minister, officiated before 95 vaccinated guests.

Lincoln, a senior dog they had adopted in February 2021, brought out their wedding rings, and the newlyweds’ first dance was to Cat Power’s cover of “Sea of ​​Love.”

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