A cool story from my life

3/8/22

OK, today was a cold and rainy day in Houston, so I spent it mostly indoors, catching up on various administrative tasks. So I don’t have any pics or stories from any adventures today.

So instead, I’d like to share something cool that has been quietly unfolding behind the scenes.

A little background first: I have been a member of several dating apps for many years. I joined Tinder shortly after it debuted, nearly ten years ago. Then Bumble came on the scene in 2014, and I joined that too. Say what you will about swipe-focused dating apps, I love the concept. (I even wrote a how-to article about them!) Many people revile the apps, for a number of very valid, and some (to my mind) not so valid, reasons. But in a world where it is increasingly difficult to connect with people in person—especially during these past two pandemic years—I love that there are technological tools to help people connect, whether they are seeking no-strings sex, activity buddies, a long-term partnership or even marriage, or anything in between. I have heard many success stories of all of these types of connections, and I have a number of success stories of my own from over the years (despite, admittedly, many frustrations as well).

I have especially enjoyed using these apps while traveling. Being on the road can get lonely. It’s nice to find people to join me for meals, drinks, hikes, conversations, snuggles, and whatever else may unfold naturally between us.

A month or so ago, though, I hit an unfortunate snag.

I met a wonderful man in Tempe, Arizona, and had a lovely date with him, including two meals and a conversation spanning many interesting topics.

A couple days later, he messaged me on Tinder to say that he had really enjoyed our time together, and was inspired by my mission. Could he make a financial contribution to support my journey?

I was touched and warmed by his offer, and I thanked him and sent him my PayPal donation link.

The next morning, I woke up to find that I had been banned from Tinder.

Yikes! What?? At first I was perplexed. Then it dawned on me that sharing a donation link violates Tinder’s terms of use. (Presumably this is to avoid opening the company to liability for anyone using the platform for prostitution or trafficking, but of course that had not occurred to either one of us during our entirely above-board exchange.)

I found myself somewhat distraught. Tinder had been an important part of my life, of my journey—even of my identity—for nearly a decade. (Just days earlier, I had shared with my Tempe host my recent idea to begin some sort of regular advice column, or perhaps even a cartoon, relating to the do’s and don’ts of using Tinder and other dating apps. I wondered if I could even turn it into an income stream of some sort…?)

I took to Facebook to share my bad news and sad feelings, looking for empathy and support. I did receive that from my friends, which felt good and helped to soften the blow.

But another unexpected thing happened. In the course of my friends’ comments to me about the situation, two friends who had not met before began having an exchange in the thread.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later. I was still using Bumble, and after a particularly enjoyable date in San Antonio (with someone I had previously met on Tinder in Portland—what are the odds?) I messaged one of these two friends to share my happiness about the connection. She then shared that she and my other friend had just begun a romance of their own! They were taking it very slowly and carefully, being very conscientious about knowing their own and each other’s wants, communicating openly and respectfully, et cetera. (Enthusiastic, informed consent for the win!)

I was tickled and delighted to hear this. What a lovely turn of events, for my apparent misfortune to lead to some new magic for others. They are holding the future lightly, not knowing where their connection will lead. (Which is good advice I would give to anyone exploring a connection… just let things unfold as they will!) But all three of us are enjoying the serendipity of the situation. In fact, I contacted the Tempe Tinder date as well, to share the magic with him, and he was similarly touched and inspired. Joy is contagious!

To my two friends: I wish you all the best in your exploration, wherever it may lead. And to anyone else reading, may magic find you in unexpected places as well!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

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