This story is part of the July 3 edition of Sunday Life.
I met my husband in 2002, so our relationship predates the era of dating apps. I’ve never had a chance to try Tinder, work my way through Bumble, or log into Hinge.
But I recently sold used furniture on online marketplaces like Facebook and Gumtree, and I think I have a feel for what it’s like to be on “the apps.”
It was a move and a late break with a sofa bed that got me into it. The first step was to take a flattering photo of the sofa. I didn’t cheat by using a filter but I used smart lighting to bring out its best features. I knew I had to be honest in the description by mentioning its flaws because there was no point in pestering potential buyers. The word “easy” was deliberately put in the title – I needed buyers to know that there would be no obstacles to sleep with.
Instantly, the messages poured in. “Is it still available? they all wanted to know. The market equivalent of a right swipe. “Of course,” was my return shot. And then, nothing. Left on read. Phantom. What did these buyers want? Just to be titillated to know he was available?
Sometimes there were jokes beyond the opening line. “Where is it situated?” they asked (even though it was mentioned in the description). Or “Is the price negotiable?” (although it was already very cheap). Sometimes it even evolved into “Can I come see it?” And then, nothing. Left on read. Phantom.
After weeded out the counterfeits, flakes, and players, there were a few potential buyers left. Some even suggested quitting apps and swapping phone numbers. After a few days of messaging with the most interested buyer, a date was finally set for an in-person meeting. It went so well that the couch moved into her house the next day.
The next flirtation with the online market came from the sale of an antique cabinet. This piece was older and sophisticated, so not to everyone’s taste but perfect for the right partner. It was undeniably a good catch, but interest was slow. There was the occasional “Is it still available?” and then nothing. Left on read. Phantom.
Eventually a guy got in touch, saying he wanted to meet in real life. A date was arranged and he showed up at just the right time. He spent time alone with the wardrobe, getting to know it both inside and out. All the signs were promising. Then he left and said he would keep in touch.