This here is my handsome fiancé whom I met on Tinder. A quick Google suggests that I am not alone in this; this article suggests there have been over 1000 Tinder engagements.
I got Tinder at my friend Becca's dinner party just after the end of a fairly long (for me) relationship. Becca suggested that even if I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, it might be a nice ego-boost to know that some good-looking guys had also right-swiped me. It sounded fairly harmless so I thought I would give it a go.
It being London, I decided there were enough people for me to set the radius fairly small, so I went for two miles (who wants to spend time travelling to hang out with someone? Not me.) James was very lucky indeed that he was at a party in Crossharbour that evening, since Kennington (where he lived at the time) is actually 5 1/2 miles away from Greenwich.
With Tinder you can't write much about yourself (I think it's maybe 125 characters but I can't quite remember), then just your first name and your age. I thought this was an absolute godsend because I think most dating site profiles are a complete cringe to read, and this way was more like being at a party, seeing someone you thought was hot, and only getting to talk to them if they thought you were hot too. They might turn out to be boring, but at least you tried, right?
James' facebook name was formerly Shetland James, so his name just came up as Shetland. Bereft of Scottish men in London, I decided I would right-swipe him for that alone, because it couldn't hurt to have another Scottish friend down South. I could also see that he played guitar, worked in parliament and had an adventurous side from his few photos. He also had very questionable taste in clothes.
James spoke to me first and asked me where in Scotland I was from. I'll be honest, I wasn't loving his Whatsapp chat because he seemed a bit distracted, and I thought, it's Sunday, he says he's going to Brick Lane, it's busy enough that he won't be able to murder me so I'll just invite myself along.
I am reliably informed by James that normally if a girl speaks to you or invites you out first on Tinder, chances are she will be a weirdo. He accepted on the basis that I was Scottish. I told him that was a load of nonsense. My first impression of James was that he might be a vegetarian, because he was really skinny. I could also see that he definitely didn't have a sister because he didn't know how to dress himself. None of that stopped him from being one of the cockiest people I have ever been on a date with. I smiled through the date with a mild detachment, thinking that he might be ok to hang out with sometimes since, well, he was very good-looking, but probably a bit too cocky for anything longer-term.
When he Whatsapped me later, as is my wont with arrogant people, I made a wee dig at him about his outfit (which he genuinely thought was nice - scruffy brown brogues, grey skinny jeans and a white t-shirt that was a bit too short in my opinion). When he replied I sensed I had hurt his feelings - then he told me a story about a girl from work who dumped him after he went shopping for clothes to try and impress her. Whatsapp James was a completely different and much nicer person who was much more open about his real feelings, ate porridge at his desk, stayed in work until 10pm and sent me funny gifs to watch. I liked him much better than first-date James.
A week later James came round to my house and, but for two days when my mum was down, basically never left. We never, ever fight, partly because James hates confrontation, and partly because he's really difficult to ever get annoyed with. He is one of the kindest people I've ever met but he still has a disturbingly wicked sense of humour. My mum wholeheartedly approves of him, and that accolade is accorded to very, very few - probably about 1 in 20 of my past boyfriends have had Mum Approval.
I knew he was going to propose because we had already discussed our holiday dates for the coming year (thanks work, for adding that element of romance) and neither of us wanted to have a long engagement. We got engaged on the 27th November last year in Hudson, NY after Thanksgiving dinner at our friends Seth and Mairead's house. We went for a walk in the snow while they cleared up and I had a sneaking suspicion it might happen then. I'm so glad James waiting until we were away from New York City to propose - Hudson is quite a quiet town, and there was nobody else in the street - just gently falling snow, fairy lights in the trees and silence. I would have been embarrassed if lots of strangers had been watching.
Hudson is a really pretty little town, and it kind of reminded me of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls (which I love, so really it was the perfect place to propose). It has lots of lovely antiques shops and gift shops, and Mairead and Seth have a shop there called Flowerkraut, selling flowers and sauerkraut (she's a florist, he's a sauerkraut farmer).
This is the little square where James proposed, next to this big Mexican Radio mural. I am also down with that, because I love most everything Mexican-themed. It's almost as if he planned it or something?! OH, and when we got home, there was champagne waiting for us, because Mairead and Seth are awesome.
Aaaaand here it is: the ring. I love my engagement ring because I think it looks like a constellation. It's from a super-hip jeweller in Brooklyn called Catbird NYC and is by designer Claire Kinder. Girls, if you want to make sure he gets you a ring you like, best you pin it on Pinterest - worked a treat for me. It never gets in my way either, which is great because I work with my hands a lot.
The best thing by far about it, though, is catching a glimpse of it and knowing that you're getting married to someone you love.
And here is Flowerkraut, probably the coolest florist I have ever been in. Since we were flying back we weren't able to take any flowers or plants, but we did buy some of Seth's sauerkraut and I got some lovely cards, a wedding planning notebook and the most gorgeous grapefruit-scented candle that is still going strong.
[All the plants made me wish I lived there so I could buy them]