If you follow @lucygoesdating on Twitter, you may be aware that last week she went on a date with a man from Bumble. Which, given how utterly useless most men from Bumble are, is an event in itself. But even more extraordinary than that is the fact that this particular Bumble man turned out also to be a Twitter follower. And not just any follower, but a very brave one.
Not only was he unfazed by the discovery that his Bumble match was none other than Lucy from Twitter, he also agreed to take on the challenge of writing a review of the date.
So here, for the first – and probably only – time ever, is an account of one of Lucy’s dates from the point of view of the man himself.
NOTE: This account has been lightly edited for style, flow and grammar, but the content and opinions are entirely those of the author.
The Bumble Match
Six weeks ago I was having a casual swipe on Bumble when I saw two bright blue eyes and a large welcoming smile. I thought, ‘Hmmm, I’ll have a look.’ The profile was positive, and the pictures were of someone who was clearly creative and adventurous. I swiped right and it was a match! Shortly afterwards I quickly received a very original and witty opening line from my new match. We then proceeded to the usual back and forth tango to suss each other out, and all was going very well. All the time I was building a picture of my match, who I’ll call ‘Bumble Lucy’.
But then an odd thing happened. A comment from her gave me a sense of déjà vu from earlier that day. Something I’d seen on Twitter? I quickly dismissed it, but later while looking through Bumble Lucy’s linked Instagram photos there was something very familiar about a particular picture. I thought, ‘Surely no, it couldn’t be, could it?’ I checked again. But wait… Bumble Lucy had told me she was busy preparing for an upcoming work trip and so was… Twitter Lucy! ‘No way,’ I thought. ‘Had I matched with Lucy Goes Dating?’
I carefully reviewed all the evidence, scrolling through our messages and through her tweets. Yes, I had. The truth was clear as day and she had even tweeted about me! But why would Twitter Lucy match with me? She seemed far more sophisticated and urbane than my typical match – although maybe that’s because we tend to put our ‘heroes’ on unreachable pedestals.
At this point I should add a bit of context. I’m Irish, in my early forties and a divorced father. I entered the world of online dating two years ago, initially to see what all the fuss was about, but since in the hope of finding love. It has been, shall I say, a bit of a rodeo. I’ve had dates with amazing and inspirational women, with authentic and caring women, and with vibrant and funny women. I’ve been catfished, made some great friends and had my heart broken.
I started following Lucy Goes Dating on Twitter about 18 months ago at a time when I was looking for answers to why I was single after an emotional breakup. Since then, I’ve felt I’ve been part of her exploits of screaming about Brexit, solitude during Lockdown and the general malaise of online dating. I was attracted to her emotional outbursts. What she shared with her followers was what I was experiencing in dating, but for which I didn’t have an outlet. It may sound creepy but I built a profile in my mind as to who Lucy was: I thought she lived in Clapham or Wandsworth, was from the Home Counties, and was a power-dressing management consultant with one of the big four.
But now I had found the real Lucy, and we had matched! I was nervous and excited. I knew her secret, her name and what she looked like. I felt part of a very exclusive club, and I might possibly get to meet Twitter Lucy. But this also meant that if things progressed I could come under scrutiny, with 10K of her followers passing judgement on me. What if we had differing views and these were blogged and tweeted? I could be subjectively cast in the wrong, with no right to reply. Could I trust Twitter Lucy? I didn’t know, so I turned it around and asked, ‘Do I have grounds not to trust her?’ Of course I didn’t, so yeah I’d give it a go.
But what to do? Lucy and I were getting on well by text and certainly approaching dating territory, but how should I deal with the fact that I already knew so much about her life? I’d even seen a picture of her naked!
I was messaging her, yet at the same time reading her heartfelt tweets about her Young Colleague on their work trip. This was complicated: she was clearly besotted with this guy and meanwhile I was hoping to have a date with her when she got back. I was willing Twitter Lucy on as the tension with YC built, but I could only do this by rationalising that Bumble Lucy did not yet exist for me in real life. I did not have the right to get emotionally involved, and I genuinely felt sad for Lucy when YC revealed he had agreed to be exclusive with Lockdown Girl.
I started to feel a tad voyeuristic which made me uncomfortable. For me, openness and honesty are important; we all have our stories and it’s better to inform people of ‘critical’ information sooner rather than later. I decided I had to let her know; it would be unfair to her for me to pretend not to, and more sinisterly it could be perceived as potentially manipulative of her. So I decided to tell Bumble Lucy at the first opportunity in person, during our first zoom date.
Due to diary issues the date could only be a short introduction, so I knew in advance I had to get in quick and reveal the truth as quickly as possible. I soon saw an opportunity to confess. “Um… there’s something I think I need to tell you…” Lucy’s eyes opened wide, she slightly shuffled in her chair and painfully but inquisitively replied, “Yes?”. So I came clean. “I think I know you already. By any chance do you have a Twitter profile about dating? Because I think I follow you.” Lucy was silent, she stared at me, she didn’t know how to react. There was an awkward pause, and then she composed herself, dropped her head and looked slightly to the right before turning back to smile at me. “Yes, yes I do. I am Lucy. This was bound to happen sooner or later!”
Fast forward two weeks and we have a real date arranged at a pub in Notting Hill that serves delicious Thai food. With my consent Lucy has now blocked me from Twitter – she says it’s so that I’m not put off by witnessing her overthinking every aspect of her life, but really I wonder if it’s because she might be tweeting about me and doesn’t want me to see.
I arrive early, check with the bar that the table is ready, and go and stand outside to wait for Lucy. The pre-date nerves are there, but also a sense of calm; I’m not thinking that I’m about to meet Twitter Lucy, I’m about to have a date with Bumble Lucy and it feels right and logical that this would happen. She arrives a couple of minutes later, wearing a long flowing navy-blue dress covered in little white stars and matched with a royal blue leather jacket. I’m impressed, she looks fantastic and better than her profile pictures, with a great figure. But I’m also surprised to find that she’s shorter, more delicate and slighter than I imagined from the big personality that comes across on Twitter.
The waitress shows us to our table and conversation starts off nervously. We update each other on various things that have happened to us over the past few days, and we order a bottle of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. Lucy is sitting quite stiffly upright; I think she’s nervous but also I feel that I’m being analysed. She appears to be weighing me up so I too become a little nervous and start second guessing my words, which causes me to fumble a little. While we wait for the wine Lucy excuses herself and goes to wash her hands. I wonder if this is going to be a habit – that she’ll be ducking off to the loo frequently, possibly to live tweet the date and share her thoughts on anything silly or stupid I say.
In her absence the wine arrives and I pour us two large glasses; this should settle the nerves. When she returns we move into the restaurant and order food: beef stir fry, pad Thai, spring rolls and prawn crackers. I’m pleased to see Lucy likes sharing food as much as I do.
As we work our way through the bottle conversation is now in full flow and going in every direction. Since we are both interested in politics and Lucy has missed much of the recent news due to her work trip, I explain Boris’s ‘Operation Moonshot’ and the latest on Britain’s intention to break international law ‘in a very specific and limited way’. This sends us down a rabbit hole and we end up discussing the issue of the Irish border and how Brexit will affect imports from Ireland. I throw out that 70% of cheese consumed in the UK is Irish* which Lucy clearly believes is wrong. She seizes on this and interrogates me about the basis for this number. I wonder if this is really important, but she presses me for evidence to support my claim. To escape I tell her I’ll do some research and get back to her, while laughingly asking her not to tweet this. In my mind I’m praying, ‘Please, please don’t get up now and go to the loo and tweet that you are on a date with this boring guy discussing cheese consumption statistics!’ She doesn’t move, and I’m relieved.
We finish the food and a second bottle of wine, before the restaurant closes and they ask us to move back to the bar. Neither of us is ready to go home just yet, so we order bottle number three.
Throughout the evening my perceptions of Lucy are evolving. I’m sitting opposite her and although we are chatting like we’ve known each other a long time, the reality is different. She hardly knows me, while I have built a profile of her in my mind based on a series of 280-character musings.
I have to admit that from the outset I was slightly worried that that the strong personality of Twitter Lucy might be intimidating. But as the evening progresses my perceptions built around Twitter Lucy fade into the background as Lucy reveals her true self. Lucy in many ways IS Twitter Lucy, but in other ways she’s different. I expected her to be more forthright in her views and quite adamant in discussions. I was prepared for a heated argument on some random topic (cheese aside), but it never materialised. Yes, she can be sceptical and doesn’t take fools gladly, but she’s a sweet natured and I sensed a strong caring side to her. While I felt that she’s emotionally guarded, I also imagine she can be spontaneous, is more than capable of letting her hair down and is willing to take on a challenge.
What we discuss after the cheese I’ll not disclose, not out of privacy, but because of the wine. We talk, we laugh, we plot and we agree that there should be a date number two. In a sign that the first has gone well, we are the last ones in the bar and only leave when a member of staff practically has to manhandle us out of the door.
We walk back to the tube where we part ways: a kiss on each cheek and Lucy descends down the stairs into the station, her long flowing dress catching on her heels as she disappears.
So, the verdict. Was there chemistry on the night? I’m not sure. Did I see an opening to steal a kiss? No. If I did, would I have taken it? Yes. Did we connect? I think we did. Will there be a second date? I certainly hope so.
* In case you were wondering, about 16% of cheese consumed in the UK is Irish cheddar.