Of all the possible ways to start a relationship, meeting on a reality show with 24-hour live Internet feeds is probably not the most promising.
For instance, it's difficult to flirt when you're hanging in the air wearing an enormous diaper for a challenge called "The Big Wedgie." It's hard to build trust if you're worried that you're just being manipulated for a showmance.
Worst of all, it's impossible to find a quiet corner to get to know each other, with 52 cameras and 95 microphones in the house.
But Park Ridge's Jeff Schroeder, 31, and North Carolina's Jordan Lloyd, 22, managed. The "Big Brother 11" fan favorites focused on friendship during filming, mainly because Jordan's grandpa was watching and had warned her, "No bugger." ("Bugger" means "sex" where Jordan comes from.)
The friendship turned into an alliance, and the alliance turned into a strong attraction. They finally had their first kiss after a few weeks, although it wasn't romantically ideal; they were filmed in night vision making out in the "splish splash room," while oblivious contestant Ronnie Talbott refused to leave, passing gas and begging for a "sympathy vote."
But believe it or not, Jeff and Jordan are still together.
"We just clicked," says Jordan, in Chicago for a visit. "He always stuck up for me, always."
Things in the house were rough in the beginning, they say. "Nobody really liked me," Jeff says. "To the point that I thought, 'Maybe I am a jerk. I'll just keep my mouth shut.' "
When teammate Russell Kairouz went after Jeff with an extended tirade -- Russell is a mixed martial arts fighter, by the way -- Jordan stepped up. "Not one person would help Jeff," she says. "Everybody was just walking by, and no one would talk to him. I decided from there on out, even though we're the underdogs, I'd rather stick with this person because I like him."
They may have been loners inside the house, but they had plenty of support from fans. Viewers voted for Jeff to win the power of "coup d'etat," although he needed a little help pronouncing it. He also won a trip to Hawaii, the $25,000 popularity prize at the end -- and Jordan wound up with the $500,000 grand prize.
"I really believe that she was there to win," Jeff says. "And if I was there to help her, even better."
It hasn't yet been a month since the "Big Brother" finale, so Jeff and Jordan have spent almost every weekend together doing show-related press. During her first trip to Chicago, Jordan met Jeff's boisterous family in Norridge and was awed by the shopping on Michigan Avenue. "I thought Charlotte had a big downtown," she marvels.
"Some people say, 'Oh, Jordan, she's such an airhead,' but there's a lot more to Jordan than meets the eye," Jeff says. "She's got a good grip on what's going on around her." Her biggest purchase since the win was a town house for her mother and brother.
This week, Jeff and Jordan are flying to Los Angeles because they've been nominated as Really Favorite Duo at the Fox Reality Channel awards.
They're up against "Celebrity Apprentice's" Melissa and Joan Rivers, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, some young ladies from "Charm School" and others.
Jeff, who works as an advertising salesman off and on, would love to parlay his popularity into something in entertainment. "Hosting is what I'd like to do," he says. "Host a travel show."
Jordan is managing her expectations. "If nothing comes out of this, I'll go back to school, go back to the salon" where she worked as a receptionist, she says. "I've always wanted to be a dental hygienist." And if things continue to go well, would they take a cue from "The Bachelorette's" Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski and shack up in Chicago?
"She might have to consider moving here," Jeff says with a laugh.
"Maybe? If I had a job here?" Jordan muses. "But the traffic is awful."