She couldn’t decide if what she saw was something to be highly offended over, or just brush off as another digital disappointment.
And it only got worse the closer she looked. There were posers and fakers everywhere, of course, but this was a whole new level.
Natasha Reid had a love/hate relationship with dating apps.
On one hand, there were the fibbers and creeps. But on the other, at least in her busy life, digital dating was the only way she could possibly meet people. With her simple “photo filter” method, she was able to weed out most profiles that would be a waste of time.
Anything with a guy showing off a car or motorbike was automatically out.
Next were the ones who tried to show off their gym work with far too many shirtless snapshots. And, the worst ones, posting only group photos. She wanted to get to know someone. Not play ‘Where’s Waldo’. But that didn’t fix all her profile problems.
For this single mom of Englefield Green in Surrey, anything leftover still felt like a wary game of hit-or-miss coffee dates.
So, when “Lee” showed up on her screen, she was immediately intrigued. There were more than a few things that made him stand out, and she dared to hope.
He seemed well-kept and witty.
The joking picture of him sitting on the toilet (with underwear still on) was actually funny and automatically made him far more memorable than anyone she had met so far. Then there was a matter of his apartment photos. They were very unexpected.
The entire setup was amazing. Either this guy was an interior designer, or whoever he rented from had amazing taste.
She had never seen a guy so clean! Did he hire someone to keep the space so spick-and-span? It was so surprising, that it felt almost too good to be true. So, she looked closer, and noticed something odd in the background.
A white slip of laminated paper dangled from the bookshelf – with bold red print screaming with excited looking-numbers.
There was another on the wall clock and one more on the deep blue rug that was in his living room. “It can’t be,” she muttered.
Everything was staged. And the paper? Dangling IKEA price tags!
The hint of hope she had felt flew completely out the window. This guy had the nerve to lie about his apartment in such a brazen, sloppy way? At that point, it was just morbid curiosity that made her read the bio. What else would this guy dare of fib about?
Natasha shook her head in disgust as she scanned the bio.
However, there was something at the very end that made her do a double-take and revaluate the entire profile. It was only six, little words but they explained everything and made her bellow with laughter.
“Fan of taking photos in IKEA.” This guy wasn’t a lair at all. He was a cheeky prankster.
She went back through the collection of images and, this time, had a nice long giggle at the unique set up. Now, she also wondered how he managed to snap the bathroom pic! More importantly, what would happen if she swiped right?
It wasn’t easy to stand out in the sea of Tinder faces, but this guy had done it – and with flare.
And she wasn’t the only one who agreed. It was such a great profile, she just had to share it on social media, and the responses were just as priceless.
Not only did everyone totally understand her first reaction, but some also thought she should go one step further and “marry that man!”
Hyperbole aside, the 24-year-old mum was more than a little excited to see if there was a match. So, she finally swiped right. Guess what happened?
It was an immediate match!
With the chat tool now open and free, she quickly messaged him to tell him what she thought about his photos. The answer came back just as fast, and he said he was quite proud of them – while attaching a smiley face at the end. The common ground for any future date was already set.
Since Natasha loved the movie “500 Days of Summer”, she would love nothing more than to recreate the IKEA date scene with Lee.
Being a bit of a prankster herself, she had a deep appreciation of the lighter things in life that made people smile. There was also one thing she had no doubt about.
Even if things didn’t click between them, Lee’s amazing personality and quirky approach would definitely land him several dates. The spotlight has also sparked a new fad.
More then one other profile popped up on the dating app – with many guys doing their own staged home “joke” pictures. Another woman named Laura, however, shared that she wasn’t so lucky on her first Tinder date.
She looked seriously uncomfortable. A few of the other diners heard what he’d been saying, and it was getting more concerning.
When it looked like the girl was in serious danger, one diner decided it was time to intervene. A cop stood over the table – and he wasn’t about to play this one by the book.
Laura had just joined the Student Government at college and was excited about meeting a group of students that shared her passion and motivation.
The students were charged with managing a wide range of events, activities, programs, policies, and initiatives around the school. She thought it would be great to make some new friends.
As fate would have it, Laura made a new friend on the very first day and was quick to agree to swap numbers since they were working in the same department.
What she didn’t know was that he was not what he said he was, and it would be a lot later before she saw his true side. Soon, she would look back and regret every decision leading to the trap he laid.
She had finished up class for the day and was headed home when a text message came through, “Really enjoyed meeting you today. Care to join me for a bite to eat later?”
For a new girl at college, Laura was quite pleased with the idea of not having to eat alone and dinner with a new friend sounded like a great idea. He seemed so nice.
“I’d like that a lot!” She texted back. He recommended a casual place that was definitely further than walking distance away and offered her a lift, saying he knew it was out of the way. Strangely, no alarm bells were going off, he just seemed like a really nice guy. Laura sent him her location and they set a time.
She threw on some fresh clothes and spent some time touching up her make-up since there was some time to kill before heading out. A new town to explore, new people to meet, good food and a new friend. It seemed the new school was turning out to be pretty great… or so she thought.
Laura was all dressed up for her night out. According to witnesses, she seemed nervous, but they assumed it was probably just the couple’s first date.
But it soon became apparent these weren’t simply a few jitters from spending time with someone new. Beads of sweat appeared on the woman’s forehead as the situation unfolded into something more sinister.
By the time they had found a table at the restaurant, the alarm bells were ringing in full force. It was like something out of Jekyll and Hyde. Who was this guy? Because he certainly wasn’t the ‘nice guy’ who had asked her to dinner which, to make matters worse, he clearly thought of as a date.
Laura became more uncomfortable the more he spoke. He was dropping inappropriate comments that she was pretty sure most of the tables around her could clearly hear.
The appetizers finally came to the table and she grabbed onto hers like a lifeline. By now, it was just a matter of sitting through the nightmare and moving it along as quickly as she could.
Her plan backfired when he commented on how quickly she ate her food and she blushed a deep red. He was so loud, she just wanted to be swallowed into the ground. She couldn’t believe what she had just heard him say.
“Well, at least I know you can swallow, right?” said Laura’s creepy date, loud enough for other restaurant-goers to hear.
A few looked at each other from across the room as if to confirm that they’d heard right. Nobody spoke up. But rather than back off after the restaurant’s reaction, the man doubled down.
“Oh, calm down. I was going to find out in a few hours anyway.” The man spoke with the confidence of an untouchable mafia boss who owned the restaurant and everyone in it.
The frightened girl made a hushed reply that no one could hear, but it clearly wasn’t enough to get him to change his behavior as he continued with a threat that would have most onlookers calling the cops.
“Sweetheart… I picked you up. I know where you live.” The color drained from Laura’s face. It was clear she was dealing with more than just a bad Tinder match.
She fumbled together an excuse and went to the bathroom to compose herself, but returned to the table, not wanting to leave the safety of the restaurant. Luckily, a young man in the restaurant had had enough and stood up.
The scraping of a chair next to their table snapped her back to reality, looking up they both are a bit lost for words. While it looked like the man was going to rescue the woman from the nightmare situation, the twenty-something guy must have had second thoughts and sat back down.
No one else dared to intervene. Laura was in seriously hot water. There was nobody she could call and she didn’t have a car to leave the restaurant.
Laura’s eyes darted around the room desperately as the man plowed forkfuls of food into his mouth. Was he just an exceptionally vile pig she’d met online?
Or did the “I know where you live” comment mean she was destined to end up in tomorrow’s newspaper headlines? She was about to find out.
The shadow of a tall man fell across the table. Now in shock, Laura was reluctant to look up to see what the next chapter in this horror story had in store.
Eventually, she was relieved to see a police officer standing there. But she’d been out with smooth talkers like this before and knew he’d be able to diffuse the situation. She’d soon find herself trapped and desperate.
The cop – who stopped the young man from approaching earlier – placed his badge on the table. He was going to handle this piece of work his way. “So, I’m quietly celebrating my daughter’s birthday with my family,” The cop begins, addressing her ‘date.’ “When I distinctly hear you threaten this young lady. Would you care to explain yourself?” The cop asks without expecting much of an answer, so he continues promptly.
“Now see, we take a very dim view of that kind of thing, so right now I’m deciding if I want to have some of my buddies come pick you up.” Laura fought to keep her mouth closed at the unreal events taking place in front of her. She didn’t know whether to laugh out loud or cry from relief.
“But that would disrupt everyone’s dinner, so how about you hand me your ID because I wouldn’t want you running off on me. Then you go see one of the staff here and settle your bill… the full bill now. This young lady shouldn’t go hungry on account of your poor behavior. Or I can have some of my buddies pick you up.” Disgusted by how he had treated the woman, the man’s response was exactly what the cop wanted to hear.
“Yes, yes. Of course. I’m so sorry,” stuttered the creep. Having made a note of the man’s personal information, the cop made it clear he was never to see the woman again. After he left, the officer made a point of calming the woman down. But this was far from the end of the frightening evening for the woman.
As the officer took down the information on the card he, incredibly, apologized to Laura for interrupting, “Sorry about that miss, I hope I’m not intruding, it just seemed like you could use some help. Oh and don’t worry, if you want to pursue this further I’ll have some of the boys pick him up on his way home, we can definitely take this further.”
Maybe she just wanted this all to be over and done with, or perhaps it was just that she was so certain she was safe from this creep after the ‘talking to’ he got that she didn’t feel that it was necessary.
Then the officer offered her something she never expected: “Well, I’m here with my daughter, she’s about your age, perhaps you’d like to finish your meal with us?”
“We can run you home afterward if you’d like unless you’d prefer to call someone else?” How could she do anything other than accept?
Mr. Nice Guy returned from paying the bill and, suddenly possessing a lot more manners, and asked for his ID back. “There you go… now I have your details right here so I highly recommend you don’t go near or contact this young lady ever again.”
It was the best thing that Laura had heard all night, explicit instruction to ‘get lost’ was the cherry on top of this turnaround.
“Yes, yes, of course, I’m so sorry!” He stuttered and then turned to flee from the restaurant without so much as a goodbye, which was a huge relief. The restaurant felt bigger, as though she could breathe again. Laura picked up her plate and joined the police officer and his family, thanking him again.
They spent the evening celebrating until almost all of the other customers were leaving, relaxed and laughing, Laura’s evening had gone from a dangerous, ugly night to one where the creepy guy learned an important lesson. Laura did enjoy her evening in the end and was happy when she was dropped off at her front door. But she still looked around to make sure everything was safe.