Hi, I’m Alex. I’m 27, single, and each week I’m gonna share the best, funniest, most ridiculous – and obviously the worst – parts of my dating life so you can feel a bit less sh*t about yours!
If you’ve ever used dating apps, you’ve absolutely spent more time than you thought you would poring through your phone’s photo album trying to find pictures that tell your story while simultaneously looking as cute as possible.
With 2.5 years of lockdown to look back on, a lot of us don’t necessarily have pictures on our profile from our best mate’s birthday from a couple of months ago when we put more time into getting ready than the prior three months combined, so maybe you search back a bit further for those photos…
It was about halfway through lockdown when I met Ryan*, our 5km radiuses overlapped (how incredibly cute and depressing is that phrase to read, right?), and we’d been chatting for a little while, so we thought we’d meet for a walking date by the beach.
We had teed it up, arranged a time and place to meet, and everything seemed fine.
I was waiting at a bench just up from the sand so I couldn’t see people walking around me or up from behind me and I felt someone tap me on the shoulder and say hi.
I didn’t recognise who it was and I thought he was just asking for directions or something like that.
"Hey, it’s Ryan."
Oh dear god.
Now, this didn’t take away from the fact the chat had been good and we got along – but he looked nothing like his photos.
I’m not talking about “oh, the photos are a few years old and your hair is cut, and maybe you’ve got a beard now”. This was not the guy in the pictures.
Let me say this – as a fat woman who exists on dating apps, I have spent HOURS overthinking my photo selection on dating apps.
I have the obligatory cute selfies, but I make a point of including full-length photos in case I’m accused of ‘catfishing’ or I guess ‘thinfishing’ (is that a word?).
I know it shouldn’t be a problem, but with all my self-consciousness about my weight, I make a point of being abundantly clear: this is what I look like – face, body, everything.
It was so unsettling to show up to a date and feel this way, because I immediately considered my own insecurities and then thought – what if he feels the same?
One of the photos on his profile was a uni graduation picture. On the date, we got to talking – "so, how long have you been doing what you do?"
"About 5 years, I was doing something else right after I left uni."
"Oh, and when did you graduate?"
Reader, it was 2021.
The date didn’t just end there. We ended up chatting on the sand for a couple of hours, and it wasn’t at all a bad date, but that initial shock of seeing someone I didn’t expect really threw me.
It felt like I’d been catfished, the thing I’m most afraid of doing to someone else, and it meant that I couldn’t settle for the rest of the date.
All I could think was, “What about you made you think you had to lie?”
A lack of confidence in who he was when we met made me lack confidence in him.
So make sure that if you’re dating online, don’t be afraid to be yourself – that includes your photos.
*Not his real name.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at email@example.com.