Single in Nairobi: I swiped right on Tinder and got more than expected

Beard gang

I stared at the sleek SUVs, puzzled as to why our brief conversation or our photos made him think I was in the market for a car.

Photo credit: Igah | Nation Media Group

My online dating journey took an unexpected turn right from the start. My first match on Tinder, a certain handsome young man from the Beard Gang – as I heard this is how bearded men are referred to in these dating streets – turned out to be a seller-meets-buyer and not a boy-meets-girl affair.

I launched into an enthusiastic and charming introductory message as soon as we matched, armed with tips from my extensive research on boosting my chances of finding a match.

“Hi, my name is Florence, but my friends call me Flo. You can call me Flo. I’m a hopeless and incurable romantic, and I believe in fairy tales, even though I watch documentaries to look serious, hehehe. Anyway, I also enjoy walks in Karura Forest. Tell me a little bit more about yourself.”

And so I waited... and waited. After three long hours, a feeble “Hi Flo” appeared, followed by silence.

Optimistic yet cautious, I replied, “Hi, Mr. Beard Gang,” sensing something was amiss. My intuition usually serves me well in these matters.

An hour later, he sent me a poster of the cars he was selling. I stared at the sleek SUVs, puzzled as to why our brief conversation or our photos made him think I was in the market for a car.

“I'm not interested,” I replied, contemplating reporting him to Tinder management. In my imagination, they had an entire department dedicated to handling complaints from women, especially after the “Tinder Swindler” exposé on Netflix.

I began to wonder if my photos, taken during a vacation in Lamu and on my way to catch a plane, gave off the wrong impression. Did they scream “Rich Aunty” instead of “Adventurous Spirit, Wanderlust”? I wanted men to see me as a spontaneous and adventurous young woman.

My friend Sue, who fancies herself an expert in navigating the tumultuous waters of online dating, offered her advice. “Nobody visits a dating site to read personalities. The only personality they care about is the one on your chest and your back,” she quipped, finding her joke clever. Leave it to Sue to laugh when my dating life was on the line!

“Show some cleavage, just a little. Loosen up!” she insisted.

I wasn't convinced that showcasing my “assets” online was the way to go. It sounded crude and clashed with my feminist beliefs.

“I guess online dating isn't for me,” I lamented.

That’s when Sue introduced me to an app she promised would align better with my prudish nature. Stay tuned to hear about my new adventure on this app!

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