ptown love story

Brian Sims and his adorable fiancé on falling in love at tea dance, passport scares & proposing in Bali

It was love at first tea dance.

When Brian Sims arrived in Provincetown for Bear Week 2021, the hunky politician did what he always does: head to the Boatslip for tea. He was trying to find his friends among the hundreds of revelers packed onto the deck — never an easy task!

As Brian’s eyes darted from partier to partier, he says the crowd suddenly split down the middle… “for no apparent reason.”

Except, maybe, to help him find the love of his life!

Standing on the other side of the deck was Alex Drakos, a Boston resident who was on the verge of heading to UC Berkeley for business school. Alex, a true politico, admired Sims’ work as a state representative in Pennsylvania (he was the first out gay person elected to the General Assembly, where he represented parts of Philadelphia from 2013-22).

When Brian locked eyes with Alex, he told his friends, who promptly advised him to stop being delusional. Undeterred, Alex approached Brian, and hit him with a classic pick-up line.

“Thank you for everything you’re doing.”

Brian responded in kind.

“Oh f*ck! You’re the guy I was checking out earlier!”

Two-and-a-half years later, Brian, 45, found himself on one knee, proposing to Alex on the beaches of Bali. Their relationship prevailed over COVID, nearly 3,000 miles of distance and a lieutenant governor’s race.

And now, they are ready for marriage!

Queerty recently caught up with the happy couple from Hong Kong, and chatted about the beauties of dating (romantic evenings by the campfire) and chaos of connection (expired passports and mixed text messages). Here’s what they had to say…

QUEERTY: What’s your ideal date night?

BRIAN SIMS: April 5! No, I’m kidding! My ideal date is camping. My ideal date is, him and I around a campfire, near a tent, with our dog.

ALEX DRAKOS: I was thinking camping as well. The great thing about camping is, it was not part of my life growing up. I think I went on one outward bound trip, and it was like two nights with my dad. So I had never really camped, and then right off the bat, even when Brian was campaign, it was, “We’re gonna stay at this campsite, or we’re gonna do this,” and I was like, “Alright, let me just pretend I know what I’m doing.”

Now, it’s something I love. It was a pretty cool way to go from these [political] events, where I had to be really on, and meet these people and talk to them and remain interested, and then go back to a campsite where there’s just us and the dog. I feel like that holds a special place for me.

Also, camping with Brian is really easy, because he’ll do just about everything! 

What drives you crazy in a good way or bad way about each other?

BRIAN: Alex is wildly copacetic. He is a very hard person to throw. He’s a hard person to knock off of his game. He doesn’t get frustrated. The most annoying thing when you’re a person who’s frustrated with something, is when the person you’re with is not frustrated with something. So yeah, the thing I love the most about him is, he’s unflappable. And one of the things that can be really frustrating is, he’s pretty unflappable!

ALEX: Brian never drinks water! For someone who’s donated a g*ddamn kidney, I am constantly worried that he’s dehydrated, and frequently am like, “Have you had any water? Are you thirsty? Do you want some water?” And there’s a frequent, “I don’t want any water. Shut up!” And I know I’m right. 

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for one another?

BRIAN: When we first started dating, we were in San Diego for our first Valentine’s Day. I was there for a fundraiser. The night of our Valentine’s Day, he took me out to this really fantastic multi-course meal. And I got sick as hell!

One of the most romantic things was, just how quickly he bails on this huge plan — we’re new in a relationship, Valentine’s Day holds all this special weight — and he was really quick to just sort of drop everything we’re doing and focus on me. It would probably be a small thing to other people, but it was a moment he created, and I was not in that moment. Then he transitioned so quickly to make sure I was OK. That’s something I’ll never forget.

ALEX: It was right before coming to Hong Kong. I was in the Philippines, and had limited cell service, and woke up to a text with a picture of his passport and words, “Oh sh*t.” His passport was gonna expire November 22. So obviously, can’t leave the U.S. if your passport expires within six months!

I was like, “Oh sh*t! What are we gonna do about this?” “

He called people in the State Department, people in the White House, multiple congresspeople. He called in every possible favor he could call in, and successfully got a passport in one day. He got a passport by calling someone who had beaten him at a congressional race in 2015. To put in all of that effort, and fly across the world and live in a 450-square foot apartment with three other people was very romantic. 

Was there ever a time when things got rocky?

ALEX: At the very beginning, when I got COVID, I called Brian and was like, “I almost definitely have COVID.” He was really good: “Don’t worry, hope you’re feeling OK. I’ll get tested tomorrow.” He checked on me the next day. Then I went for a PCR [test] and said, “Hey, I’m COVID positive. Hope you were able to get a test. Let me know if you’re doing OK.” And then…radio silence! I didn’t hear anything. 

I’m thinking, “I’m alone in my tiny apartment with COVID, no job, and just hooked up with my celebrity crush, who I have given COVID, and now he’s ghosting me!” I wrote out a few texts that were not kind, and ended up not sending them. Then I think day eight of my quarantine, I got a call from Brian and he was like, “Hey! We didn’t get to spend enough time together. Come back up to Ptown.” And I was like, “OK, great! Here we go!”

BRIAN: I’m sure glad he didn’t send those texts!

How was the proposal?

BRIAN: When we took the trip to Bali, I let the rest of our group know it was gonna happen. So every time Alex walked out of a room, they all turned to me and were like, “Is it happening now?! Is now a good time?!”

ALEX: They went to acrobatic lengths, which we are very thankful for.

BRIAN: And he saw it coming!

ALEX: The morning before, Brian’s phone was going insane.

BRIAN: I told my college football teammates I was going to propose, and they thought I had already done it, so I was getting all of these messages.

ALEX: His phone was going crazy. I came back into our bedroom to change before we were going to the beach. And he had sent an essay of a text to a group I know is his best friends. I saw the logo on top of his phone. Then he really quickly slammed it shut and said, “I’m talking about you!” And I was like, “That’s very weird, but whatever.” 

Then we are at the beach, hanging out, and Brian is like, “Let’s go for a walk on the beach at sunset.” I was like, “That sounds nice. We’ll do that.” So we’re walking along, and as we’re walking, I saw him tap his pocket a couple of times, and I was like, “Could it be?” But I looked down, and didn’t see a box. Then when we were standing there, I was like, “He’s holding me here for a second, and it seems like he’s a little nervous.” It did not stop me from out loud, as he got on one knee, being like, “What the f*ck?!” Very smooth, didn’t screw up the moment. I had a hunch, but can’t say I 100% predicted it.

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