Meet Our Youngest Swirlers (They Started Dating At 16!)

One of the things we love most about The Swirl World is the fact that our Swirlers come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities – and ages.

Some people start Swirling later in life, others claim they’ve been Swirling from the cradle (well, almost).

Today in our continuing series on “Extraordinary People . . . Extraordinary Love” we’re excited to introduce you to the youngest Swirlers we’ve profiled.

Meet Erika Ragans and Jeanpaul Font-ayala!

Erika and Jean 6

Where do you live?

We live in our home town of Jacksonville, Florida. Florida is my birthplace while Jean’s is Puerto Rico. We both go to school but I’m part time because of my full-time job. Jean is a fulltime student.

How long you have been together?

Jean and I are both 20. We’ve been dating 4 years.

Erika and Jean 1

How/where did you meet?

Jeanpaul and I met in high school.  He says he always had a crush on me but didn’t make a move until my boyfriend moved to Texas.

I love telling people about our first date because it was also the first time my Mother meet him. When she first saw Jean, she actually refused to let me go with him because he looked about 30 to her – we were both 15 at the time!

Erika and Jean 2

What was your defining moment – that moment when you each knew you were in love?

Erika: I knew I was in love with Jean when on vacation I wanted to go down to the pool for a quick swim. Jean agreed and we went, but after we got out of the water I realized Jean was covered in red bumps. Turns out his skin is really sensitive to changes in temperature so first the water, and then the cold air made him break out. He knew it would all along – he went swimming just because he knows I love to swim!

Erika and Jean 3

Jeanpaul: I fell in love when we were both standing in front of a mirror. I looked at her and thought, I want to be with her for a very long time.

How did you families and friends respond to the news of your relationship? How did you handle it?

Jean’s family had no real feeling about our relationship but later on when his mother saw how serious we were getting she got a little worried. My family wasn’t that shocked since I’ve never really dated someone my race.

What do you like most about your mate?

Jean: I love Erika’s personality and the fact that she’s willing to work through any of our problems.

Erika: The thing I love most about Jean is that he will always do his best to make me happy.

What advice would you give to others who are interested in dating/marrying interracially?

Our advice for people who want to date or marry someone who is a different race is this: forget skin color – just be with whoever makes you happy!

Erika and Jean 7

Erika and Jeanpaul – we’re happy you made that discovery at such a young age!

Swirl on.


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 Copyright © 2013 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, All rights reserved. Photos used with permission.


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Young Swirling is so adorable. My son was my role model for this... when he was 14 and a freshman in high school he had a girlfriend who was black. They were adorable together. When I started Swirling shortly thereafter... he took credit for my new-found pursuit of my long unrealized interest.


Jeff, How cool it is that sometimes the son teaches the Father - and even cooler that the Father takes the lesson! :-)