Like most people, 2021 was a rollercoaster for me.
I’d been living in London for four years, had been in a relationship for three years, and worked as a journalist for six years. A visa ending, a devastating affair (his) and a redundancy later, it all came to a screaming halt.
I found myself back in my bright green childhood bedroom in the Sydney suburbs with no job, no partner and back in lockdown.
I took the time to process everything that had happened, went to therapy and started creating my new life back in Australia. I was starting to feel like myself again, working on new projects, studying and adjusting to my new life.
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My 27th birthday rolled around and after a wine-fuelled picnic with some girlfriends, we decided it was time for me to dust off the dating apps and put myself back out there.
It began with the initial fun of swiping and scrolling, the optimism that there are plenty of fish in the sea — and plenty of cute guys to have a nice time with. That very night, I instantly clicked with a guy. Let’s call him Dylan.
Dylan had also lived in the UK for four years, had an enviable job that made the world a better place, and we bonded over a mutual interest in social issues and indoor plants. What more could a gal ask for?
I stayed up texting him well past my bedtime. We had so much in common, down to sharing the same favourite Messina flavours and stand-up comedians. It was nice to feel that spark again after such a romantically monstrous year.
I didn't realise it at the time, but this was a red flag. Don’t text too much with people you meet on dating apps before you meet them in real life. I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way a number of times yet the combination of being in lockdown and clicking with someone saw me dip on this standard. Never again!
The next day, Dylan told me he was writing me a letter. At first, I thought it was a joke. In the age of video call dates and the Metaverse, why would someone I’d never met want to send me a letter? But then my inner romantic, cultivated from a steady diet of Disney movies and Zoe Foster Blake’s Instagram, thought let’s give this a go and told him where to send it.
Dating safety note: Ladies, it probably goes without saying, but don’t give your address to strangers on the internet. If you find yourself in this unlikely situation, use a PO Box or another mail pick up solution.
Dylan and I continued texting FAR too much and the letter finally arrived a few days later.
It was quirky, sweet and made me smile. I was filled with equal amounts of hope that I might be speaking to someone great as well as a distinct feeling that sending a letter to someone you’ve never met is a red flag.