As a single woman living in London, it’s easy to get despondent. Everyone thinks it’s all Sex and the City but it’s often more of a Tinder nightmare.
And in February this year, despondent is just how I felt. I was caught in a cycle that many singles will find all too familiar.
I’d join dating apps, swipe, chat, bemoan the men who didn’t make an effort with their profiles, then end up deleting them all. Going on dates had begun to feel like a full time job, and I found it so impersonal.
For me, there was a stigma about feeling lonely, as well as pressure to be an upbeat singleton, and I didn’t see any end to how I felt.
Then, on 11 February, I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw a friend’s post, declaring she was engaged to her boyfriend of two years.
She revealed that she’d met him after putting a post on Facebook; amazed, my tired-from-dating brain made a sudden decision. I’d do the same – what did I have to lose?
Right there and then, I began typing. I described myself, and what I wanted, the qualities I was looking for in a man and a bit about ‘my type’.
The idea was to reach out to friends of friends – maybe someone’s mum would say, ‘I know just the man for Rachel.’ Out of my circle of contacts, maybe someone would know someone who was right for me.
I was on my own when the first reply came in: I felt like my heart had stopped, then I laughed because it was so unexpected.
Some guys did a ‘pitch’ at the start of our conversation, which definitely made them stand out from the normal ‘hello’
I was so scared that people would think I was desperate, or sad, or idiotic, so to read posts from people saying that they were inspired by what I was doing was absolutely amazing.
The next morning I woke to a flurry of notifications – and my post appearing on news sites around the world. It was incredibly surreal. The post had gone viral and suddenly I felt very vulnerable and out of control.
I hadn’t wanted my search for love to be so public but my Messenger inbox continued to ping over and over again with well-wishers, people saying they knew just how I felt, people saying that they were sure I’d meet someone.
Of course, I also got messages from men. Men were contacting me from other countries wanting a date; men with whom I had no mutual Facebook friends wanted to take me on a date.
Some men went straight in with ‘I’d like to take you out’; with others, we chatted a bit more first. Some guys did a ‘pitch’ at the start of our conversation, which I found incredibly sweet and definitely made them stand out from the normal ‘hello’.
There was also a huge amount of women who got in touch on behalf of a male friend of theirs, who then set us up in a conversation and left us to chat. It was amazing to see all of these people looking out for each other, thinking of their friends who’d maybe admitted they would like to find someone too.
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I was incredibly flattered and honoured by anyone who took the time and effort to message me, but particularly for all of the cupids who helped me out by introducing me to someone. They had nothing to gain from doing that apart from the possibility of seeing their friend happy.
So, has my wild gamble paid off? Did I meet someone?
Well, let’s just say it’s been a very interesting journey since February – I’ve even turned my experience into a one-woman play, and I have a new motto: fortune favours the bold.
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