O2 Presents #NewNormal

These Mobile Dating Stories Will Melt Your Heart (Sort of)

The days of 'if anyone asks we met at a farmer's market' are long gone, and there's no need to be ashamed of meeting your partner online.
03 August 2016, 4:37pmUpdated on 05 August 2016, 4:52pm

These real life, heartwarming stories of mobile love (and one that includes £1500 worth of vintage porn) have been brought to you by the #NewNormal, O2's mission to question, explore and understand how mobile is changing the way we act and interact as humans. Read more #NewNormal stories here.

When Tinder first came out, a lot of people had a description on their profile similar to, 'let's lie about how we met', 'if anyone asks we met at a farmer's market', or 'if you know me for the love of god don't tell anyone I'm on here.' A few years ago, online dating still seemed like something more suited to divorced dads, so even if you met the love of your life on an app, you might struggle to reveal this fact to your nearest and dearest.

But like avocados and Razor scooters, as more people saw the benefits, the more ubiquitous dating apps became. Nowadays, most people know someone who is in a successful relationship because they took a chance and right-swiped on a stranger. It is the new normal, as expected and encouraged as any dating ritual that's come before it. If you're not convinced, I tracked down four people who are currently loved-up thanks to not just dating apps, but a wide variety of mobile interactions.

In this progressive era of techno-love, there's no longer a need to lie about how you met.

Anna and Adam

I was on OKCupid after my last boyfriend stole all my money to go on a stag-do in Skegness. I saw Adam's profile and thought that he might be this guy from my hometown who famously crashed his Clio into the sign of the local Toby Carvery. Not perfect, but at least we had mutual friends. If I was bored or on the train or whatever, I'd always scroll through everyone's quiz answers on OKCupid's app to get a gauge of what kind of character I was looking at - I mean only if they passed looks-wise first. So I read his quiz answers. One of them was something like "how do you feel about escalators?" and his answer was "They scare me." I knew he was either funny or he shared the same level of anxiety as me, so I messaged him. At the same time I hit send I got a message from him. We had messaged each other at the same time. Cute, right?

We messaged back and forth, on and off, for a couple of months or so. We finally met up at a bar. We hit it off and really liked each other. We hung out, went on walks, to the movies and all that other usual dating type stuff.

Two weeks after our first date we went out with a big group of friends. It was just before Christmas. He got really drunk and fell asleep in the pub. Embarrassed, I managed to guide him out of the bar and back to the tube so we could go home. Before we got on the escalator, he paused. "I'm scared" he told me.

It was very sweet. I promised I'd get him to the bottom. Halfway down the escalator, he told me he loved me and he asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him OK, but knew he wouldn't remember the next day. Which he didn't. I knew that he hadn't because a week later he asked me to be his girlfriend again. I said yes, again.

Four years later, the drunken nights have been replaced by sleepless ones, as we're married and we've had three kids together. And he didn't even have a stag-do, thank God.

Zach and Sienna

After school, me and my mates all went our separate ways. Some headed off to uni, some immediately ventured into the working world, and one or two got married. Even though we all live in different places, we still keep in touch. Every year we meet up for a golf tournament, which is basically an excuse to drink and be outside and joke about how lame it is to be a real adult.

One friend takes it very seriously, I'll call him 'Dave'. This one year for banter I coughed really loud when Dave was taking his swing so he tried to beat me to death with his driver. Luckily, all the lads managed to grab him and hold him down so I could lay a few blows on him as payback. Another time, he was lining up a tricky shot by a pond, so my mate Doug ran up behind him and pantsed him so good - balls out an all. He tried to chase after Doug but he tripped over his trousers (they were around his ankles) so we ran over and bundled him. He didn't speak to us for like three months. We all had a good laugh about that one.

Then a few years ago, he bought us each a green suit jacket - like the one they give the winner of the Masters - with our names stitched on the breast pocket. He said if we were wearing official uniforms we'd be more inclined to take the game seriously. It was so stupid.

After we finished our round that year, Dave asked us all to pose for a 'winner's photo' in our new jackets. One at a time, we stood in front of the club's trophy cabinet and grinned like idiots as he took our portrait. To make matters worse, he stitched the four portraits into a single photo. Moments later, it was uploaded to Instagram. He hashtagged it with, among other things, #BestFriendsForLife. We thought that was really lame, so when he was distracted we took his phone and used it to buy $1,500 worth of old porno mags from some dude in California. Man, he was so pissed.

Anyways, once the golf stuff was over and Dave and stopped crying about his new vintage porno collection, we hit a few bars in town, got drunk, reminisced about being teenagers with zero responsibilities, all that good stuff. My phone had died soon after Dave had uploaded the pic, so I didn't see it on IG until I charged my phone the next morning.

Below the photo, someone had commented "who's that guy in the bottom left? He's cute." I thought, I'm that guy in the bottom left! I'm not sure if I was still drunk, but I felt brave enough to slide in her DMs right then and there. My message said: "I'm that guy in the bottom left!" We met up the next week. And the week after that. We were in a relationship a few months later.

By the time our next golf tournament came around, we were engaged. Dave, who uploaded the photo, promised to turn up to the wedding in the green jacket. Our wedding was a few months ago and he did, which was adorable of him.

Jacob and Dorothy

This isn't exactly a typical mobile dating story. But if it wasn't for the existence of the internet, the meeting would've never happened. I had just moved to an unfurnished flat, so along with a bunch of other stuff, I needed to buy a bed.

Because I'm not yet at the stage where I take trips to IKEA, I opened up the Gumtree app on my phone. After a bit of searching, there it was: An all singing, all dancing bed with storage drawers underneath and no visible signs of a gross bug infestation.

A friend loaned me his car so I could go pick it up. I arrived at the location where the seller, a man in his thirties, was waiting. As the bed had to be dismantled into several parts, my interaction with the guy needed to be more than the usual 'hello-here's the money-goodbye' mode of Gumtree communication.

While we loaded the bed into the car we got into a conversation about our jobs. Turns out he was in a similar field to me - medical research - and he'd just left his old job to start his own company. As it was, he needed to hire a couple of research assistants. I took his email, sent in my CV, and, after a short interview, he hired me the next week.

I want to regale you with tales of eyes meeting as we harmoniously rose up from our microscopes, or of bunsen burners touching, or of how we released a new plague when we smashed a load of petri dishes during sex in the office, but I can't. There's really no miraculous love story from hereon. The other assistant and I just happened to get on (and fancy each other, which was a plus). We went on a few dates and started going out. We now regularly sleep together in the bed I purchased on Gumtree.

Which is a bit weird, because our boss has slept in it too.

Harry and Luna

So a while back I matched with this girl on Tinder. Because I'm such a hilarious guy I sent her a link to some website where you can play chess, with the message 'wanna play chess?'

Immediately followed by all of these messages:

"Look gurl if ur gonna get with me ur gonna have to become part of the chess club....

Me being your white knight.

The opening gambits of love.

Of watching pawn and bashing the bishop.

I'm tired of that.

I wanna be the king to ur queen.

I'm talkin bout rookin up."

She did not reply.

A few days later a mate alerted me to something he'd seen on Twitter. It was a screengrab of my hilarious chess conversation with this girl, sent from her account, accompanied by "is this guy serious?"

So I logged back into Tinder and messaged her "yes."

"Yes what" she replied.

"Yes to the question you asked when you tweeted a screengrab of my chess proposal."

Although it may be hard to believe, a convoluted story involving chess, Tinder, Twitter, a screengrab, and more Tinder is actually a pretty good way to break the ice. We spoke on Tinder for a few more days (not about chess) before meeting for a drink.

One date turned into a few more, and we're now going out. I've been asked if my chess move was an OK thing to do. Honestly, I'm not sure. But seeing as dating apps are now the new normal, you've got to do something to stand out. I guess the moral of the story is, message girls on Tinder with gimmicky requests related to board games and you will find love. Possibly.

By Jack Blocker

Find out more about the #NewNormal right here.