The One Was Actually ‘Number 30’

After a second divorce, Petra Schaefer had committed to 100 dates, with someone different each time. Then she met Bruce Hunsaker.,


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A methodical approach to dating, an open-mindedness about baseball and a mutual appreciation for a wager. These were a few of the elements that led Petra Schaefer and Bruce Hunsaker to fall in love.

In 2015, Ms. Schaefer, recently divorced for a second time and having consulted a dating coach, decided that finding love again required a system.

“I said, I’m going to go on 100 dates, and I’ll just go out with anybody,” said Ms. Schaefer, 56. “I met a guy standing in line at the post office, in the T.S.A.,” she said. “I just opened myself up to it.”

Mr. Hunsaker, 63, was Number 30. When she went out with him for the first time in May 2015, Ms. Schaefer already had Number 31 and Number 32 on her calendar.

Their first date, in Costa Mesa, Calif., was on a Wednesday and right before he was to play a regularly scheduled game of baseball. Instead of dressing up, he arrived in sports apparel.

“She walked in and immediately, I was taken by her,” Mr. Hunsaker said. “And when we went to leave, I held her hand for a minute. I didn’t want to let go. All I could think was, Don’t screw this up, because she’s perfect.”

“He felt really different,” Ms. Schaefer said. “He’s very warm, very easy to talk to. My college buddy calls him ‘easy and evolved.'”

They had lunch two days later — Ms. Schaefer squeezed Mr. Hunsaker in before her first date with Number 31 — and on one of their next outings, the pair went to see the team now known as the Los Angeles Angels play a game of baseball.

The Angels game followed her planned first date with Number 32, which she also kept. But then Ms. Schaefer called off her 100-date challenge.


Credit…Christina Lane

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“I was like, OK I’m done, I’d like to see how this plays out,” she said.

A graduate of Dartmouth, Ms. Schaefer received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. Mr. Hunsaker graduated from California State University, Fullerton.

The couple moved to Massachusetts in 2020, following a five-year plan that Ms. Schaefer outlined to Mr. Hunsaker soon after they met. She is the president of Adhesive Applications, her family’s tape and coating company in Easthampton, Mass. He is the president of Heritage Land Surveying and Engineering in Southampton, Mass.

On Oct. 23, the two were married in a tent at their home in Northampton, Mass. Barbara Quinn, an aunt of the bride, performed the ceremony, having obtained permission from Massachusetts to officiate. They had about 110 guests, and asked their unvaccinated attendees to wear masks.

For Ms. Schaefer, going to the ball field was an early sign of her commitment to the romance.

“He is a die-hard baseball fan and I used to think it was like watching paint dry,” she said. “I really was like, Who could watch this? So I read ‘Baseball for Dummies,’ and another book on baseball. Now I can see the players in the outfield shifting to anticipate where the ball is going to be hit.”

“I was eager to teach her about it and she was eager to learn,” he added.

They quickly learned that they enjoy wagering with each other, too.

One bet, made before a Chris Isaak concert in Anaheim, involved whether the musician would perform “Ring of Fire.” Ms. Schaefer had seen him in concert several times and was confident that she would win. At a meet-and-greet with the musician before the show, she announced the terms, which, if she won, would require Mr. Hunsaker to travel abroad to earn a stamp on his unblemished passport.

Mr. Isaak turned to Mr. Hunsaker, Ms. Schaefer recounted, and said, “International travel is really good for broadening your world.”

“In the concert, he came off the stage, and played it right in my face,” Mr. Hunsaker said. “We ended up going to Cabo.”

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