Tinder and Bumble Redux

blog pix Tinder redux

When you’re not having great luck with online dating, redoing your profile can help your “personal marketing” efforts. I’ve been in rewrite mode a number of times over the – insert sigh – years, but lately I’ve been suffering from online dating burnout and my profiles are gathering dust. The good news? Something inspired me recently to redo my Tinder and Bumble profiles.

I’ll explain while we enjoy a generous helping of vegan pumpkin panna cotta– a delicious dessert you could make for Thanksgiving. I used coconut milk and simmered it for 5 minutes after it boiled.

Tinder was not my first choice for a dating app. I waited until its reputation as a vehicle for hook-ups faded and it became just another way to meet people. I was, however, an early adopter of Bumble, which hands the power of first contact to women.

My profiles on these two apps are almost identical and I’ve had some luck with matching and dating but now I’m in a dry spell.

Dating inspiration came during a recent visit with my daughter who I will call Ms. D for daughter. Ms. D casually mentioned she joined Tinder. A gorgeous 31-year-old, she has good luck meeting men in real life. She’s not a fan of social media and until signing up for Tinder, had no interest in online dating. So I was surprised she had downloaded the app, particularly since she has been dating someone.

However, I’m used to Ms. D suddenly springing things on me (“Hey Mom, I might go to Thailand or the Bahamas this winter.) And she explained that the guy she has been seeing is not long-term potential.  Perhaps her biological clock is ticking? I kept my mouth shut. I was curious about her profile. I knew her pictures would be enough to match a good number of Tinderfellas but I wondered what she wrote.

She offered to show me her profile. It’s perfect.  As a writer who agonizes over every word and punctuation mark, I sometimes get caught up in making my profiles so clever and cleanly written that I lose what’s really important – ensuring that my unique personality comes through. In four short sentences, Ms. D’s profile captures her individuality and even highlights known “guy attracting elements” such as baking skill.

Sorry, I can’t share what she wrote. But I can tell you that I was inspired to throw out my old profile and pen a fresh one. I chose very specific interests to highlight and ditched the “creative headline” which had not brought me Mr. Right. I posted the profile on both Tinder and Bumble. I wondered if I would get more matches. And something interesting happened. A guy I kept passing without contact on Match and OurTime said yes to me on Tinder.  He’d never reached out on either of these more traditional sites.  I was thrilled. But my joy was short-lived.  A short time later, he unmatched me.  Was the initial match accidental? Did he finally notice my age? One never knows with the online dating world.  As my mood plummeted, I decided to tweak my profile again. I realized it was still too “produced.” So I upped the quirkiness factor.

Will this new profile be my ticket to a relationship? As a 60 something singleton, I can’t expect the same response from Tinder men that my daughter received.  In her first 24 hours on Tinder, she matched with about the same number of men I matched with in all of 2017.  But I’m not looking for quantity at this point. Just one good one.

Until next time, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Nadia Goes to Vancouver: Solo Trip #2

Vancouver from hotel

As I gazed out the 19thfloor windows of my fancy downtown (Coal Harbor) Vancouver hotel room, I felt like a character in The Matrix movie. Super high-rise buildings, a setting sun, and the haze from far-off forest fires burning in British Columbia had my adrenalin pumping.

Downtown Vancouver’s futuristic, apocalyptic vibe didn’t factor into the Matrix but it inspired other film-makers to use the city as the backdrop for such sci-fi themed movies as Tomorrowland, Deadpool, and Godzilla.

Is it any wonder I had a brief panic attack on the first night of my second solo trip adventure?

It’s been awhile, dear readers, and this is a long post, so chow down slowly on pasta with tomatoes and goat cheese while I share the details of my second solo trip.

When we last explored the solo travel world, I had returned from my first journey – a low-key beach vacation on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  I knew it was time to take a bigger leap out of my comfort zone. If you can’t challenge yourself at age 60+, when, if ever, can you?

Relying once again on the baby steps philosophy, I wanted to visit a foreign English-speaking city I had not been to previously.  Vancouver with its mix of nature and culture seemed like a good choice. I had always wanted to travel there and had even been planning an anniversary trip there before my marriage ended (no sympathy needed– just a fact).

August seemed like the ideal time to visit this city by the water and mountains. It’s the month with the lowest chance of rain and the temperature is ideal for touring around. I booked a hotel and my flights and embarked on travel research.

I no longer feel strongly about adhering to a schedule when traveling. Impromptu off-the-beaten-track explorations can often be the highlights of a trip. But as a solo traveler I wanted to have a rough outline of my days with some planned tours or activities to ensure built-in socializing.

Along with Vancouver-related research, I read solo travel  memoirs for courage and inspiration and looked forward to my adventure.

Back to arrival night: After that first moment’s existential panic (I’m all alone although Neo may be nearby), I texted my brother and started to relax. Connecting with him every evening helped to keep me centered.

The next morning I walked along the glorious Seawall, the 10 km pathway that extends into Stanley Park, and felt my anxiety leave. I had five days and six nights to explore this part of the world on my own terms and at my own pace.

Despite bringing three journals of various sizes, I didn’t keep a travelogue.  I checked off things on my itinerary, a great help in trying to recount this for you.

What I did:

The Lookout at Harbor Center: Tall building with 360°view of the city. Haze from the forest fires interfered with visibility or I would have enjoyed this more.

Vancouver Foodie Gastronomic Gastown Tour: I love food tours. You get to try a local foodie’s curated favorite restaurants along with sides of history and companionship.  As the birthplace of Vancouver, Gastown has loads of history and an eclectic vibe.  This tour, recognized by Forbes as one of the nine best food tours in the world, was a lot of fun and I enjoyed meeting the other travelers. Highlights of the tour: pesto pizza at Nicli Antica and key lime/coconut mousse pie at Mosquito (sadly this restaurant just closed – promise, not my fault).

Key lime mousse

A non-food tour highlight: the 6 pm musical “eruption” of the Steam Clock.

Side note: I signed up for another food tour of Chinatown on a different day but it was cancelled.

Granville Island: Going to Granville Island is a must do for visitors to Vancouver. The immense Public Market is one of the highlights of the island but there are also shops, artist studios, and free entertainment by the waterfront. I enjoyed my afternoon there. The market, which was reminiscent of markets I visited in Barcelona and Madrid, had gorgeous displays of fresh fruit (many unusual varieties), vegetables, pasta, salads, seafood, pastries, herbs…and more.

After wandering and ogling the bounty, I bought a couple of salads and sat outside on a bench to enjoy the sunny day and a musician playing nearby. An age-similar woman sat down next to me and we struck up a conversation. A New Zealander and widow, my seat buddy left her native country to live in Austin,Tx to be near her grandchildren.  She was visiting Vancouver with friends and had stopped at Granville as part of a bike tour.  Like everyone I encountered, she was interested in my trip as a solo traveler but couldn’t imagine doing it herself. I enjoyed our chat and wished she was also traveling solo so I could pal around with her.

After lunch and just for the fun of it, I took a water taxi around False Creek before jumping off at Yaletown, a neighborhood known for its boutiques and restaurants.

Musical nooner outdoor concert: When I was researching this trip and following various Vancouver-based groups on Twitter and Facebook, I learned about a summer outdoor lunchtime concert series in the downtown area.  With impeccable holiday timing, I was able to attend the season’s last concert and walked 20 minutes from my hotel to Hamilton Street to see Coco Jafro.  This Vancouver-based Funk, World Fusion, R&B, Soul, Jazz and Afro-Beats Band had the crowd dancing and smiling.  As I sat there with office workers and locals, I felt like a Vancouverite – not a tourist.

Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium: One of the reasons I chose my hotel was its location within walking distance of Stanley Park. I walked there several times, admiring the water and woodsy views and checking out the enormous Totem Poles.

The  partially outdoors Aquarium was my favorite Park attraction. In addition to a dolphin show, you can also watch the feedings of the sea lions and sea otters.  The playful sea otters charmed me; I couldn’t stop smiling at their crazy antics.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden and Park: A peaceful garden at the entrance to Chinatown. I missed the tour but enjoyed ambling around, looking at the bonsai trees, the pond filled with lily pads and orange koi fish, and the carefully landscaped space.

VanDusen Botanical Garden: An incredible 54-acre garden. I’m not sure I saw all 250,000 plants and the various animals that live here, but I tried. I spent my last Vancouver afternoon in this garden.  At this point in the trip, I had developed some pretty angry blisters (despite wearing “good” tennis shoes). So I walked, rested, walked, rested – and took a taxi to and from the garden.

Van Dusen Garden

What I didn’t do:

Date: I chatted briefly with a guy on Bumble but deleted his profile when, instead of answering my questions, he wanted to get off the site and chat via whatsapp.

Go on a whale cruise: I was tempted but worried the motion might reignite a recent flare-up of vertigo.

The Solo Experience:

Despite my initial bout of arrival loneliness, I was comfortable and had fun for most of the trip. By the fifth day, however, I longed for a travel companion.  Yes, I could eat by myself and enjoy talking to the wait staff and I could ask a stranger to take a photo of me but I needed more quality people time.  If my other food tour hadn’t been cancelled — or if I had been able to find a fun and nearby meet up to attend — I might give this solo adventure a higher score.

Would I return to Vancouver?  Yes, but I would like to explore this great city with a travel buddy next time.

For my next solo trip, I plan to schedule more tours or people-centered activities such as a cooking or art class.  As for accommodations, I will investigate youth hostels since they provide a built-in social environment and single en suite rooms are sometimes available.  Oh, and I’ll bring a blister prevention kit.  Insert laughing/crying emoji.

Until next time, happy traveling or staycationing!

XXXOOO

Nadia

Anatomy of a Brief Encounter with a Catfisher

cautious-heart

The Bumble alerts provided the first clue that something might be fishy (as in catfishy) with my new Bumble match. Although his profile said his name was Bill, the alerts referred to him as Evans. I filed that away in my increasingly dating- weary brain while I juggled playing “let’s get to know each other” with impersonating Nancy Drew.

Let’s chow down on some shrimp scampi while reviewing the evidence.

As soon as I matched with Bill last Saturday morning, I followed the Nadia Standard Operating Procedure (NSOP) – a reverse image search of all of his photos on my phone using the Veracity app. There were no matches but that didn’t mean Bill/Evans was legitimate.

We texted and I learned he was a widower. As I’ve written before, catfishers/scammers often say they are widowers. I filed this second piece of evidence away.

After I got another Bumble alert announcing a message from “Evans,” I decided to ask this guy for his last name.

Side note: Lately I have been asking for the last names of any guys I suspect might have a false profile. The men always give me a name (real or not) that I can then research. So far, every suspect dude has turned out to be a scammer that I then report and unmatch.

Dear readers, if you’re unsure about a guy and decide to ask for his last name, here’s a suggested script in case he asks for yours: I’m asking for your last name for safety and security reasons but I don’t give out my last name until after I have met someone in person. If the guy makes it an issue, I say good riddance!

Back to the story: Bill gave me his last name – and it wasn’t Evans. I now had a full name to search. I was particularly motivated since Bill wanted to know what led to my late-in-life divorce. This is not a question to be addressed via text before you have met someone.

I searched Bill’s full name and immediately found his Facebook page – with one of his Bumble profile photos as his main — and only — photo.

Here were the final pieces of incriminating evidence: Bill’s Facebook page was virtually empty except for the one photo, which was loaded a week ago. Where does Bill live? His Bumble profile said Arlington, VA (a suburb not too far from me). Facebook, however, showed his location as San Francisco. The only personal information about Bill was his marital status – widowed — and his employment — “self employed.” There was no mention of the job listed on his Bumble page. Bill had only one Facebook page like – a media company called, Faith, Family America (this would be enough to turn me off regardless of his status as a catfisher).

My work was almost done. I reported Bill to Bumble and unmatched him (after taking a few screen shots of our exchanges to use as notes for this blog post).

It was only 1 in the afternoon but I felt the need for a glass of wine.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia