Get your mind out of the gutter… I’m not talking hook-ups.
I know; it sounds a little bit crazy / weird / are you outta your mind but think about it this way… Tinder is about people finding people (even if it is based on what you look like and a small profile) it uses location services, a facebook account and along with instant access mobile networking and a few of your own personal settings, it’s easy to find people in your area who might want to hang out.
Even though I was staying with and meeting up with friends whilst in Sydney, by day they were out working and I was on my lonesome. I thought I would give Tinder a try to see who was about and swipe right if they appealed. On my very brief profile I stated that I was just travelling through and looking for some social company. Age range was set to 5 years either side of mine; the location setting was kept to close by and bingo, start swiping. Perhaps all my new friends were going to be men, and perhaps easy on the eye but nothing wrong with that. Is there?
Date 1 – Sam
First up, was Sam, an Aussie Brazilian. 40, worked as an online photography lecturer, a musician of South American music and lived in Bondi. Looking to meet socially for coffee and walks. Looked reasonable and a quick swipe right, and ping, he had swiped right too. We could now communicate and we organised to meet at Bondi Beach at lunch time.
Off I went across Sydney to meet this guy, knowing very little about who I was meeting. As I headed down to the beach he text to tell me he was on a bench by the life saver tower (I might need a life saver if he turned out to be a fruit loop) and he would be playing a small Brazilian drum – oh jeez, what had I signed up to! Fortunately he turned out to be quite an attractive guy (his photos were probably taken a year or two earlier) and even though he had his little drum (I didn’t hear him play it once, perhaps it was just a pick up tool) he seemed quite sane. Sam lived all over the world, was living in Sydney as he thought it was a safe place to be, used to be a mountain biking champion and had run his own photography studio before he sold up and went into on line lecturing – usually to US students, so he worked odd hours and was free by day.
He took me around Bondi and up to Watsons Bay, pointed out the nudist beach (mostly frequented by older males) and as high tide was in, no swimmers or sun bathers were to be seen (phew). On we continued up the coastal path to the lighthouse. It was a pleasant way to kill a few hours, see a new place with someone rather than on my own. He said that if I had further free time whilst here, then he would be more than happy to show me more of the city beaches. He brought me back to Watsons Bay, where I got the obligatory fish and chips from the infamous Doyle’s and headed back to the city thanking him for showing me around.
Date 2 – Mike
I organised to meet Mike for a lunchtime drink up at the Haymarket Hotel (again, get your mind out of the gutter, it wasn’t for a room – hotels in Australia are often just bars). This was an old bank restyled into a cocktail bar on George Street. His parents were born in London’s east end and he was a regular visitor to Blighty so he had a good idea of where I was coming from. That was until I asked him if he was married! He looked a bit stumped at the question. Its not a hard one to answer. The eventual response was “Yes I am but we are not intimate!” I had to laugh, that answer is up there with “I’m married but she doesn’t understand me”. I should have realised, his pictures on Tinder were at quite a distance.
Well of course now I wanted to know all about him being a married man on Tinder and what it was he was expecting to find. He was 40, married only 4 years but dating longer. Reckoned he should have finished it 6 months after they met but just couldn’t bring himself to do it… why the heck would you marry her then if that was the case? Any how, we had a couple of beers, I got his life story, he headed back to work and I went back to north Sydney to get ready for my night away in Manly.
I did hear from Mike later that day. He said that he would love to throw me around the bedroom. I think my response went along the lines that where I come from, if you were bring thrown around the bedroom then obviously your muscles are in the wrong places! That didn’t stop him; he went on to tell me that his friend had an apartment in the city that would be free on Monday afternoon if I was free to meet up. Obviously I sweetly declined, with witterings about being out in the burbs until my last night and just no time. He understood and wished me the best for my travels.
Date 3 – Brad
So this was another beach date. I was staying overnight with friends up in Manly and there were a number of north shore Tinder men up that way as well. Two possibles came up for a coffee / walk on the Friday morning but after my married Mike encounter the previous day, I decided to go for Brad who wasn’t fitting me in around work. We initally agreed to meet at Manly and and I had suggested the walk out to the Spit Bridge, but he wasn’t that much into walking (it was 12km!).
We were in contact as I walked down from Freshwater beach and he told me to continue walking down by past Manly towards Shelley beach where he was coming from. Suddenly I was stopped by this tall man, laughing at me, saying I must be Shiobain as I was the only possible backpacker in amongst the yummy mummies and their bugaboo strollers, the fitness fanatics pounding the boardwalk or the older folk going for a leisurely stroll. He gave me a big bear hug and off we went, having decided that we would do the walk to North Head, which ended up being a good 10km and and almost 17,000 steps my Fitbit told me.
Brad was in his late thirties, from the Gold Coast, a commercial valuer by trade but his recent project work had come to an end and he had been a man of leisure the past 6 weeks. He was down in Sydney to stay at his uncle’s place which overlooked Manly Beach. Decided to have a look on Tinder to see who was out there just for some company; as he was heading home the following day. As we headed along the coastal paths, getting lost as the signage was so bad, we somehow seemed to pick up a few other lost souls along the way who kept us entertained. We ended up at the Bella Vista Cafe for a well earned smoothie and view across the bay.
We started the walk back and could see a thunder storm coming in across the water, with strikes of lighting and cracks of thunder coming ever closer to us. Even though we took the road back into Manly, we still got caught by the wind and rain. Brad suggested a drink at Manly Wharf before I got on the ferry to avoid the rolling waves and why not, I was on my holidays.
Somehow the topic of conversation turned to kids, families, IVF, parenting and it turned out that Brad really wanted to be a Dad. So much so, that when a friend said that she really wanted to be a mum, they decided that they would have a child together and co-parent. Two IVF failures meant that idea was put on hold, however he still wanted to be a dad or even know that he could have children. He started doing further research and came across a lesbian couple who were looking for a donor and he decided to get in contact. Male donors are hard to come by, especially those who had already been tested upfront (which he would of had to do to complete the IVF) so of course they agreed to have him donate. It transpired that he had given them his sperms the previous week and was playing the waiting game… He just wanted to know if it worked and then he would leave them to it. What did his friends think of all of this? Well he hadn’t told them. I was the first person he had spoken to about it.
He is keeping in touch to let me know if his sperms work and should he decide to go further down the co-parenting route. Failing that, he said that if I ever wanted to to have children and ever needed a donor, then he would be more than happy to assist.
So three very different days out, with offers of being thrown around a bedroom and being donated free sperm. What more could a girl ask for!