One of the strangest experiences I’ve encountered online dating is the curious case of Cindy Bumble. Her profile says she is tall, to which I am partial, and purportedly a nurse practitioner living in Denver (certain to have a brain). All good from a cursory review, it doesn’t take much thought to swipe right and move on. I like Bumble’s approach, in the event of a match the woman has 24 hours to initiate the conversation. Saves a ton of time for men, I can’t begin to tally the number of custom missives I’ve sent on other services without a reply of any kind. Cindy sends a thoughtful message, asking questions and providing additional detail about herself.
I read her message, sat down and wrote a response to her questions as well as asking a few more of my own. I signed off with my full name. I do this for several reasons, first is that the potential match can do some background due diligence if they prefer and to demonstrate my honest intent. More on this shortly.
After several weeks of online conversation, we decide to meet up in person. Even though we both play pickleball, she is not willing to meet up in her vicinity and reluctant to drive all the way to mine. Eventually we decide to do a happy hour instead at a location in the middle.
The first thing I notice about her is that she has had significant plastic surgery to her face. The set of her bosom compared to the rest of her frame suggests she has done work there as well. My innate prejudice suggests women who do that are insecure, unhappy, and will always be doing more in an attempt to forestall the inevitable. Give me a woman who embraces her age, with wrinkles on her face as a testament to a lifetime of smiles and laughter. Our conversation seems to gain momentum however and I try to overlook those things.
The date goes well enough, and we both head home in falling snow with a promise to check in upon safe arrival home. A nice touch, no matter who is involved.
Over the next couple of weeks, we talked often through the holidays. At some point, I realized I didn’t know her last name or the city she lived in. When dating someone like that, I add them to my contacts with the name given and the last name being the service where I met them. In this case, she was Cindy Bumble in my contacts. I considered and thought she might have had bad online experiences or it might just be an oversight. Regardless I resolved to bring the matter up when next we were in person.
Our next date was a reprise of the first, Cindy said she liked the place and wanted to go back. The weather was marginally better and I was seated early to wait for her late arrival. Again, I was taken by her surgical “enhancement”, in particular the face which had clearly had been treated with Botox, lips which had been plumped, and a face that barely moved when she spoke.
“So, Cindy, two dates in I would like to update my contact to something other than Cindy Bumble. What’s your last name?” I asked after our first glass of wine.
“You never gave me your last name,” Cindy said quickly and brought her phone up as though she was going through my texts to confirm it.
“I gave my full name in my very first message to you,” I replied.
She spent the next few minutes searching her phone, as I watched sipping my second glass of wine. She eventually changed the subject and we went off in a different conversational direction. Finishing up the evening, I walked her to her car and kissed her good night. It wasn’t an instant connection, but I’ve had worse first kisses. But on the way home, I realized she hadn’t answered my question.
Not only that, but she had engaged in the classic diversionary tactic of accusing the questioner of the same thing. I had been managed. My only interest now was why?
My daughter, who is also in the dating world recently, is a good resource for explaining the vagaries of feminine behavior. I outlined the situation to her and asked why a person would act in the ways described.
She confirmed a couple of points, Cindy’s reluctance to do things close to her home, the things she had mentioned about work, and so forth.
“This one is easy, Dad. Cindy is married or otherwise attached. If you knew her name, you’d be able to figure it out. She doesn’t want to potentially be seen with you close to home. Also, her first name might not be Cindy. You could always do a reverse search on her phone number if you’re curious.”
“No need for that,” I said quickly.
I sat there stunned. Of course, it is obvious, but I didn’t go there as a possibility. I had already decided not to continue with Cindy, based on the diversion tactics, but this extra data piled onto a done deal.
So good bye to Cindy Bumble, I barely knew you!
Image by Erika Wittlieb