dating

"I stalked my boyfriend before we met."

Ladies, help me out. You’d do this too, right?

I have a confession to make. I ate two Tim Tams for breakfast. No, wait, that’s a different confession.

I’m an excellent internet-stalker.

One time, I saw a cute guy playing saxophone in a pub band. He winked at me.

And then I Googled the name of the pub and found the name of the band and found the name of the saxophone player and found him on Facebook and found out he had a wife and a child and left the pub before he’d even finished the song.

I am an excellent Internet-stalker.

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Lucy Gransbury. Image supplied.

It’s almost one year since I met my (non-saxophonist) boyfriend on Tinder. We chirted (chat-flirted. I just made that up. Like it?) casually. We met for a drink.

And by the time we met face-to-face for our first date, I had stalked him to the far corners of the Internet. I’d even heard the sound of his voice, before I’d ever spoken to him.

Creepy-ass bunny-boiler, right? Well, maybe. But a lady’s got to do what a lady’s got to do.

‘Stalking’ is a harsh term. I prefer to use the term ‘vetting’. Or ‘innocently trying to look at every photo of him ever taken to see if he is actually real/creepy/married/a grandfather/a dickhead’.

This is how it happened. Stalking 101: The Internet Way.

Step One: We matched on Tinder. We started chatting. (10/10 for wit. 11/10 for not asking me if I’m ‘DTF’. 2/10 for not immediately giving his last name so I could stalk him then and there).

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Step Two: After chirting (actually, it sounds dirty. Let’s go back to ‘chatting’) through Tinder for a while, he sent me a link to a photo he had posted on Instagram (to prove we both had an obsession with brightly coloured sneakers. Important).

SUCCESS. I had his last name. LET THE STALKING BEGIN.

Past the point of stalking and managed to score yourself a date? Listen to Osher Gunsberg shares his first date advice, on Mamamia’s Love Life podcast. Post continues after audio. 

Step Three: I looked through all of his Insty photos. And then the photos of anyone tagged in his photos. And then found him on Facebook (private. Dammit). And then cross-referenced all of his friends on Facebook to find if he was in any of their photos.

Step Four: And then I went a little further. He told me he was a lawyer, so I Googled his name + ‘lawyer’ and went through all the results. Oh hey there, LinkedIn profile. How you doing, law firm newsletter?

And then I got really creative.

Step Five: I saw that he and his friends on Instagram kept referencing some fantasy football club they started. So I found the webpage. This page was quite obviously only intended for the boys in the club, but pffft. That wasn’t going to stop me. BINGO. I clicked a little tab that said ‘videos’.

Step Six: I watched every single video of him I could find. About twenty times. You know, just to check he didn’t have a really nasal voice or some weird twitch. Because that would be creepy. Unlike me, spending hours trawling the Internet just to hear his voice before we imminently met.

By the time we had our first date (he passed the vetting process, evidently), I knew what he wore to his 21st birthday party. I knew his best friend’s name. I knew which countries he had visited on his Europe trip with his mates in 2008.

I spent so much time acting ‘surprised’ in conversations on that first date, I deserved a frigging Oscar.

friends gif

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After we’d been dating for a while, I confessed my behaviour to him: “Do you realise I’d seen pictures of your friends shaving your head before I’d even met you?”. Fortunately, he found it funny. Because some people probably would have called the police.

I asked if he’d looked me up on the Google machine. He hadn’t. I didn’t know whether I was relieved or offended.

Creepiness aside, I stand by my actions. And having spoken to some of my female friends, I don’t think I’m alone. Meeting up with strangers (or almost-strangers) is scary, not least because they could be pyschopaths with ambitions to wear your skin as a dress.

Mostly, because I wanted to make sure I was interested in him and wouldn’t have to awkwardly refuse a second date (presuming he liked me, of course. It’s the worst case scenario of a first date. Other than being murdered by a stranger).

I think that’s why some of us Internet-stalk. Despite the fact my future boyfriend and I were having witty conversations through an app, I was more terrified of getting into an awkward situation than I was of being skinned. I was trying to make sure I was attracted to him before we’d even had a chance to meet. Which is ridiculous, because you can’t tell much from profile pictures, or Instagram, or random videos from the far corners of the Internet. I had to do the scary thing and go on the actual date. And I’m so glad I did blah blah lovey-dovey eskimo kisses etc.

Ladies, if you’re also the type to Google stalk, then good on you. Never change. We’re not creepy. We’re just studious. And curious. And okay, a bit creepy.

But whatever.

Thanks, Google. You’re the best matchmaker of all. Because if you’d accidentally shown me a psychopathic police record or an Ashley Madison profile of someone of the same name, then maybe I wouldn’t be this happy.

A girl’s gotta have standards.

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