reminiscing düsseldorf

The current travel restrictions put in place due to the pandemic means that most of us have been stuck at home and can only flick through holiday albums and fantasise about about the trips we were due to take this year.

For me, it’s Düsseldorf. The prominent German city which sits east of the Rhine river and hosts an array of luxury brands and museums. I’ve visited Düsseldorf multiple times over the past 5 years, but no visit was more special to me than my most recent trip there. It was during the beginning of the Christmas period and the lights in the town square had just been switched on. My previous visits to the city took place during the summer months, hence why this trip was the start of a new experience for me.

There’s nothing better than visiting a typical German Christmas market in the months of November. Although Düsseldorf remains one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in Germany, the Christmas markets are far cheaper and more value for money than the ones near my home in London. Whether you prefer to splurge on Bratwurst hotdogs, chips and gravy – the national favourite – or browse the stalls with individually handcrafted nutcrackers and tree decorations, then the Christmas markets are just for you.

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It wasn’t only the Christmas markets which made my holiday. It was also the weather. I’ve always loved the winter season. It includes the combination of my favourite holidays (Halloween, Christmas, Birthdays…) but also the satisfaction of wrapping up in my winter coat, wearing thick walking socks and boots, longing for snowfall and only cringing at the approach of warmer seasons. Düsseldorf was cold but magical. From the minute I stepped off the plane, I felt a harsh wind pinching at every inch of my face. The best way to make the most of the weather was to take a stroll down the river in Königsallee. You will see a multitude of picturesque bridges and streams of small canal boats docked up for the winter. Beware though, Königsallee is also the ultimate shopping destination, boasting high end brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Rolex. This entire street would be filled with lights and Christmas decor so you are bound to bump into overly excited tourists one way or another. I hope to return to Düsseldorf soon – preferably again during the winter and perhaps explore more of the Christmas markets.

If you would like to see more of my trip to Germany, check out my video here.

If you liked this post, check out my other travel articles; Top 10 highlights in Amsterdam and 48 hours in Prague.

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Questioning

Part I

I sat awkwardly between two people on the train home. My shoulders tucked and my hands were resting on my knees. I longed to stretch my legs but before me were a herd of school children of whom I was afraid to look at, let alone to almost touch.

On my right was my fiancé of 9 months and one week. The wedding planning had recently become stagnant after we had disputed over every other detail. I imagined a small intimate wedding of perhaps 10 guests from each side in a converted barn with wooden tables, wholesome food and only to be lit by candlelight. He wanted 2 weddings – Hindu and Christian to represent both of our backgrounds, a party with an open bar and a stag do in Vegas of course.

It’s not that we can’t afford it. He’s a respected chef and I’m one of the chief editor at a major newspaper in London – the youngest editor, in fact, according to Reuters. His ideas of marriage were just different to mine. I already knew this, of course, as this was one of the topics which came up in conversation on our first date – or was it second? I can’t remember. Anyway, he had done some catering for some extravagant weddings during his teen years, which, I believe started his lifelong fantasy of seven-tiered multi-flavoured cakes, fireworks and the brides arrival in a helicopter (yes, he really suggested this).

We met at university, about 8 years ago now. He studied Law, presumably by ‘suggestion’ from his mother. I had only met her once, since she died just 3 weeks after her son graduated, but I presume she said something along the lines of:

‘Why don’t you get a degree and you can focus on your cooking after that’

A doctor herself, I always wondered what she must have thought after being told that her only son wanted to pursue a career as a restauranteur. I don’t know if she would have be proud, even today. I digress. 

My fiancé had put up a notice about wanting volunteers to taste test his new recipes. Of course, he was a complete stranger to me back then – much like everyone on campus, since I only left my dormitory to attend lectures. However, something sparked when I saw his notice and I found myself walking over to his dorm that afternoon. 

He lived in the building directly opposite to mine. It had a pool and a screening room. I remember, he smiled as he introduced himself to me as he met me on the ground floor. He was tall, had neatly trimmed hair, a prominent jawline and a growing stubble perhaps after three days on not shaving. He was wearing a white t-shirt which was carefully matched with the black jeans I saw underneath the apron that was wrapped around his waist.

‘Why did you go so early?’ I thought to myself. ‘He’s not even finished cooking yet’.

I don’t remember much from the conversation we had that evening, nor much of the meal but it was something along the lines of fried quail and sage butter. There was a glimpse in his eyes which oozed a certain charm that I cannot describe. I found myself returning to his kitchen every weekend before it became every day. He was my first ‘I love you’ and the first person I had ever truly embraced.

After graduating, we took our first holiday abroad to Vienna. We were on the famous ferris wheel when he asked me to move in with him – romantic, I know. You see, I was forced to move back in to my old bedroom in my parents’ home, since I had not yet gathered enough savings for a place of my own. My fiancé’s father, however, was the owner of a music label (the name of which I cannot disclose), and had gifted his son a car and a three bedroom apartment in London. 

I decided to move in 5 months after the funeral – it was best to give him some space at least. 

Over the years, we both established good portfolios in our chosen industries and eventually saved up enough to buy a house together in Hampstead Heath. Like traditions go, we went on a vacation just before the big move, and to my surprise he popped the big question:

“Tara, please make me the happiest man and do me the honour of becoming my wi- ”

‘Excuse me Madam, you’re sitting on my coat’ 

An angelic voice bought me out of my daydream. It was a woman on my left. 

Back to my homeland part II

Read Part I here

I got out of the car and approached the worn blue gate, remembering the day my father had put it up. He told us it was for the animals in case they were to escape, but we all knew the real reason. Nevertheless, it had stood long and proud for so many years. Father had always locked the gates after sunset, opening them again at the glimpse of dawn. One day it was to be locked for three decades only to be opened by me.

I turned back to our ride. The children were fully awake now, but reluctant to open the door and face the humid air. Everything around me had changed; the roads, the bushes, the neighbours. My neighbours. I didn’t want to think about what may have happened. Father had told everyone to come with us, but they couldn’t leave. Years of farming, building a home and a family had given them a certain comfort to which they were too scared to leave behind. They waved us off in the middle of the night and wished us well on our journey, each one of them kissing my forehead as I sat confused, clutching onto a bronze coin at the back of a horse cart.

We all promised to write to each other and so we did for a few months. Father would let me write words from the new language I was learning. They would write back infrequently, and only in a code father understood. One day the letters stopped coming. Father told me they may have moved. I told him they could write to us from anywhere. When I said that, he twitched; tears filled up in his eyes. I wondered for many years for what may have happened until one evening when I sat to watch the daily news with father. As the screen flickered, I saw quantities of men and women walking thousands of kilometres to find a new home. Some lying on the side of the roads to rest, their children standing over their rested bodies. I realised then that this may have been the fate of my neighbours but remained hopeful. That was twenty five years ago. 

It was noon now and the sun’s rays had now taken full advantage of my now tender forehead. The silence of the village was interrupted by the loud start of an engine, I presumed the children wanted the AC back on and probably wondered how they could spend an entire month here. I wondered that too.

I remembered the days when the older children would take me to the lake where we’d swing off weeping willow branches that were toys to thousands of children before us. We spent entire afternoons in the lake, cooling down in its waters and taking shade under the old willow. The older children would take turns to lift me up the trees as my small legs couldn’t reach, comforting me each time as I was afraid of falling. 

‘Keep climbing!’ they’d shout, ‘We’ve got you’

They taught me to fish and build fires. I was always allocated to find the twigs, they said I had a good eye for finding the best ones. When it was raining, we’d take shelter under banana leaves and watch the grass turn green and the flowers bloom until there were specks of white, red and yellow across the fields. When the rain stopped, we’d run to pick them, being weary of snakes that were hidden away underneath the tall grass prairie. I always gave my bunch to father who placed them in a tumbler next to the photo of mum.  

They went away one day, the older children. They told to that it was to protect me and everyone in the village. One of them placed a coin in the palm of my hand and closed it very tightly. He said something after that but I was too distraught to listen. I don’t remember their name or even their faces, but when they left that day I remembered a feeling of emptiness. I can’t bear to imagine what he felt when he came back to find my father and I gone. If he came back at all. That same day I went back to the lake and tried to climb the old willow. I clambered up with my small bare feet, a few branches up or so, forgetting they were not waiting to catch me fall. He had always told me to put my foot into the small ledge to push me up to the top. But that day the ledge was filled will twigs and wet leaves; the scaffolding to a birds nest. I misplaced my foot and slipped downwards, scraping my hands against the ever so sharp twigs and landing forcefully onto the soft, damp ground. I cried and screamed in frustration and pain, lying on the ground, sobbing as my bleeding hands were covered in thorns and dirt. I fell asleep in the tall grass, not minding the snakes or the tigers. 

I can’t remember who found me, but they cleaned and dressed my wounds. I was bathed, fed and  well rested until father arrived home from work. That night he hugged me tightly and promised that he’d keep me safe. We left a few months later, taking nothing but a bag full of clothes, the photo of my mother and a key. 

The key I was now holding as the sun continued burn against my scalp. I reached for the padlock that had been unbothered for so many years, now coated in rust. Placing the key into the lock and hearing the ‘click’ of it as it opened. I greeted my children who were now staring at me wide-eyed from the car, welcome to my home.

Back to my homeland.

Part 1

We were delayed in the queue for the visas as it snaked around the arrivals lounge. Why did they work so slowly? Before us stood 4 counters each with a glum looking officer sat behind it, glancing cautiously at the passports of keen tourists, then at them and back at the passport again before handing them back with an even more suspicious look. The queue grew faster but the pace of the officers did not. I looked over my shoulders to three tired children for this was the longest plane journey they had embarked and the furthest they had been from the comfort of their home.

Finally we were let free. 

We caught the eyes of dozens of men asking if we were in need of a taxi. We were warned about them. Ten of them in shirts and ties surrounded us and came up so close as if we were animals at a petting zoo. There were about ten of them and they came up so close as if we were animals at a petting zoo. Our only instinct being to bow our heads and to walk straight ahead without taking notice of them. As I lugged my suitcase out through the air-conditioned airport, I was soon greeted by the sticky, humid air of the capital; its pressure compressing at my throat leaving me gasping for fresh air. It was 4am. ‘Great’, I thought, it could only get worse during the day. 

We waited for what seemed like hours for our ride to arrive. We stood under a perspex shelter; a single sheet of plastic protecting us from the hundreds of mosquitos which were dotted across the early morning sky. It was hard to think through the constant interruptions of screeching tyres and the beeping of horns by frustrated taxi drivers. I couldn’t believe I was finally here after all these years. There were police officers, or traffic wardens – I couldn’t quite tell. They were wearing mud brown uniforms, exactly like you saw in the movies. They blew their whistles at regular intervals, one by one, as if it was the tune to a song. An awful song it was. 

The sun was beginning to rise and the airport grew busier. There was a sudden flurry of locals and tourists wandering in and out of the airport in unison – a sight that was once just merely a dream. We stood still in the middle of it all, mesmerised for this was the place I left all those years ago and had never expected to come back.

We were picked up just before 5 and settled down for our long ride back to my old village. We were driven through the city which was once a place for the rich, now a way of living for everyone. Skyscrapers loomed over us, absorbing in the rays of the rising sun, preparing to start the new day. Just across the road were the waves of the Laccadive sea, crashing against the boulders of the seashore. Stall vendors were situated right along the sea front, preparing their goods for the busy day to come. 

Every road we turned into we were met with an abundance of tuktuks*, motorcycles and school buses, each honking at one another at different tones, competing for their place on the road. The van swayed in and between the lanes, beeping its way passed a motorcycle on which they had managed to fit 4 people. You would think things would have changed since the war, clearly they had not.

There were still no big roads connecting the city to the villages meaning we had to drive almost three hours through towns and villages to reach our destination. It was an extensive and laborious journey. The children were now fast asleep beside me, wrapped in the arms of each other for protection in this unfamiliar environment.

My eyes strained from the sunshine which had now fully emerged and was beaming at full strength across the country. The air conditioning was blasting throughout the car but this still wasn’t enough to replace the humid air. Outside, the villagers were going about their day; elderly men in their lungis** huddled around the tea shops listening intently to the designated reader who was dictating aloud the morning paper. Women hurried around the stalls negotiating the best prices for vegetables and freshly caught fish whilst the stray dogs rummaged around searching for any piece of scrap food they could find, before being shooed off by market owners. I caught myself smiling with an overwhelming sadness. I was now a foreigner in a land where once my future was destined, nothing will change that now.

It was almost midday when we drove passed a familiar pillar. I immediately perked up from my seat, we were almost here. The same old dried Palmyra leaves were being used as fences to separate one house from the next. I opened my window and took a deep breath as the same ocean wind blew across my face, we were by the coast. Cows on the side of the road sat alongside with the stray dogs, taking shade under the looming palm trees. The driver began to pull up by a large blue gate. I was back. I was back after all these years. Back to my homeland. 

*Tuktuk – A three wheeled auto rickshaw that is a motorised development of the traditional pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw.

**Lungi -The lungi is a type of sarong, that originated in the Indian subcontinent, worn around the waist as an alternative to trousers.

Helen of Troy

Let me tell you about Helen. I caught my eye upon her shadow as I strolled alongside the looming castle walls. A figure bathing within the holy waters, reserved for only a deity herself although I could not see that far along the plane. Curiosity had struck too late, as I found myself already heading towards the untouched river. 

“Unto what may you seek from these holy waters” – I exclaimed, keeping a distance from the figure for it may have been armed. I still could not clearly see the figure for the uprising steam from the hot thermal springs scattered for miles. Silence. I looked down at my riding boots which had now sunk an inch deep into the the mud. The mud always remained this way. The King claims it keeps the ungodly off the waters. It was, of course, from the humidity of the steam but one can never argue with the King. 

I exclaimed again “To what may you seek from these holy waters, show yourself”. My words remained empty, a simple echo. But then I saw a shadow approach me. I stood en garde. I may be in danger. What I saw next, though, was far from it. 

She emerged through the waters up onto the bank which was home to a multitude of lotus flowers, both open and closed. This was no time to admire the landscape for this mysterious shadow had now revealed itself. She possessed thundering beauty. Her face, sculpted so much to perfection that only the finest sculptors with much delicacy could have done the deed. Cardinal red ringlets tumbled over her shoulders and passed her bare back. She stood before, bare breasted. Even her voice was angelic as she pronounced, 

“Helen of Troy, Daughter of Zeus and wife of..” She paused, “Wife of Menelaus” 

Paralysis ran through my body. The Gods have come. The Gods have come unto our holy springs. Above all this, a celestial woman giving me a feeling that I have never before encountered. 

I abstained from telling the King about her. About the Goddess from above and her profound beauty. Instead, when he had his daily nap, I would tell the nurse not to wake him and then head down along the murky path where she would be waiting. Each time I saw her, I would be more mesmerised than the last, encapsulated by her world, fascinated by her flawless allure. I sat on the bank and her in the waters. Sometimes we would sit in silence and admire the river and its creatures. Other times, I would braid her hair whilst she sat transversal to me, speaking of her adventures of the past and the ones she’d wish would come. She never spoke of her marriage. I never spoke of mine. With her, I was in a state of infatuation. 

One day she asked me to join her in the waters.

“Come with me”, she said “Let us forget the life we lead and begin again once more”

This surprised me. I spoke, 

“A Goddess and a sovereign belong in opposite realms. We were anointed to take your messages and pass them to common folk. Such interaction with one so high up within the caste will for sure lead to my abdication.”

She lay for a few moments and collected her thoughts. Then, sat up, cupped her delicate hands around my face and spoke with such enunciation. 

“Even if his love has to be silenced, the freedom we possess will be is limitless. Embrace this lust my dear. Without such thing, what job will there be for my sister Aphrodite. How can we have escapades when we are locked up by patriotism. Embrace this love, my dear. One queen may go missing from this kingdom, but another will be dominated by two. So as a holy figure, I beseech you, to come with me. Let us begin once more.” 

And with that, I undressed and and joined my beloved. Only to never look back. 

Confronting an old friend

I recently met with a guy that I had dated for a while back when I was at school,  intending to ask him questions about the relationship we had. What I got from him was so personal that it made me reconsider everything about myself hence why I’ve been holding myself from writing this. This was 3 months ago:

It was a chaotic beginning to say the least. We had both arrived at opposite ends of the park and spent a good hour searching for each other. The butterflies were increasing by the minute as I checked my phone, only to receive a tonne of messages from him threatening to leave if I didn’t hurry up. I ignored them since I knew he wouldn’t have left until seeing me. I did find him, eventually, and he seemed to have calmed down from tone of his text messages, making me look like an idiot whilst I was profusely apologising to him. 

I felt safe under his presence, like I didn’t need to look after myself because I felt as if he was doing it for me. He was wearing his usual. Dark coloured jumper, jeans and the light-weight jacket with a sheen of lambency. I could’ve settled for the handshake but he went in for the hug. Just as well because the scent of his aftershave brought back moments of lust. Our relationship began during the school days. He says he noticed me in a maths class. One night, he finally plucked up the courage and messaged me with one of the most ridiculous pick up lines. Before this, I hadn’t even known of his existence. He told me he was drunk but I didn’t care, I liked him. I liked him because he noticed me. Nobody ever noticed me. As we walked under the bridges and along the emptying canals of East London, the sun was beginning to set but conversations only just beginning.

He told me how the failure of our relationship lay on faults of both of ours. Deep down, we both knew – know – that it was my fault. I continued to put him on a status above mine thinking he was far too good for me when the whole time, we were equal. Was it because he was white and that I belonged to an Asian minority? His confidence? Intelligence? Physique? All of this resulted to a feeling of anxiety and resentment in myself. He thought the relationship failed because of communication but really I had trouble communicating with myself. My mind, constantly competing with his gestures. He’s out with his friends today. Why aren’t I out with mine? Oh that’s right, I don’t have any. But he couldn’t know that. I put myself forward as an optimistic conversationalist which knowledge of politics and a tongue of witty sarcasm. He thought of me as a family girl, a vocal in the church choir, a giver. Really, I am all of those. But I failed with him. I gave him the right key to my heart but changed the locks just as he approached it. I was lost, broken, unfixable. All this I was realising during our meeting, all this he was completely oblivious to. All this he is still unaware of.

It rained today

This poem was displayed at ‘Displaced’ – an exhibition at University College London, showing the never before heard stories of the Sri Lankan civil war. 

It rained today. 

I ran outside as I heard its gentle drumming on the roof of my home. I admired those rare dark grey clouds; a bewilderment of emotions, so peaceful yet so terrorising.

I stuck out my hand and watched as perfectly formed droplets splashed against my palm in an uneven tempo. The rain had bought refreshment for the animals and comfort for the villagers.

It rained today. 

Not like any other. A deafening roar from planes above. Panic waved across the streets. Hysteria within the animals. Neighbours screaming ‘Run Inside!. Hide. 

It rained today. 

Not like any other. A metallic thunder pounding on my roof. Over my streets. 

We run into the depths of our homes. Running before its too late. 

But it got her. They got to her. Now a martyr, a number added to hundreds. Thousands.

She lays very still. My mother lays motionless. 

It rained today,

As I watched her burn before my eyes,

as I watched her ashes swimming away from me. Escaping.

The actions of my people infuriate me from the inside throughout. I want to fight.

But I stand here, shell shocked. 

It stopped raining today.

Over. The suffering is over. The sun emerges through the clouds.

A silver lining. A new beginning. 


Rush Hour Crush

I got caught in the midst of rush hour on Thursday. The worst time of the day when you’re in London; crowded trains filled with business people or tourists. Everyone receives a fair amount of pushes, shoves and the occasional elbow to the rib. All in all, we just want to get home.

Somehow I got onto the tube in one piece. Holding a large shopping bag, wearing my backpack over my thick winter jacket and headphones in, a must, whilst listening to heavy metal to drown out the noises of crying babies and enthusiastic tourists. There I was, looking like a right sort. I was tapping my fingers on the pole to the beat of the music when I saw him. I must have been loud because he saw me tapping and smiled. He was standing about an arm’s length in front. But of course, having been rush hour meant that there were at least 3 people inbetween us – like the wall of Verona separating Romeo and Juliet.

He wore a charcoal grey suit jacket and an unbuttoned baby pink shirt. No tie – which I don’t blame because of the humidity. I couldn’t see his shoes but I presumed they were somewhat smart. He had an olive skin tone but it was his hair that had struck me the most. Locks of brown glossy hair, curly and remained at the scalp yet dead straight on the edges.

He got a seat after a herd of people got off at the train at Turnpike Lane, leaving me still standing. I thought it’d be a good idea to bluetooth him a picture of what I was listening to since he had cared enough to smile. He didn’t appear on the Airdrop list. To my unfortune, nothing came up with his image and instead I accidently sent the image to ‘Danielle’s iphone’ – boy I bet she was confused. A few stops went by and the seat next to him became available. A message from the heavens. This was my chance. I sat beside him and took off my headphones and adjusted my hair using the help of my reflection in the window opposite. He smelled strongly of a freshly applied JPG – a smell which was fairly familiar to me.

The remainder of the journey was a quiet one. We both left the train at the same stop via a different set of double doors. He smiled again when I turned to look around for him. Is he just polite or playing with my feelings?

The train jolted to a stop. I ran out through the doors and up the escalators to catch my next bus in time. This was it. Time for the love of my life to run up behind me and ask for my number so we could stay up all night and talk on the phone. Tonight was the premiered night of many that we’d spend together and live to have a life of four children and live in a country home and own the biggest farm. Tonight –

“Excuse me?”

I stop. Eyes wide open in shock. Heart pounding against my chest. Legs turn to jelly. My prayers just keep on getting answered today. The angels are by my side.

That’s when my farce o’clock struck. I turned around to find it wasn’t him. It wasn’t him at all. I knew who this person was though. He sat diagonal to me on the train I had just been on. Gym bag, jogging bottoms, baggy t-shirt, expensive trainers and wearing AirPods. He was probably one of those exercise people – oh no – a personal trainer. He’s not going to ask if I needed any help did he?

“Yes?”

“Would you mind if I had your phone number?”

I politely declined and walked away, still searching for my twilight tube man. He was gone and so was my bus ride home.

Crowd surfer. By Tallulah Stone

Crowd surfer. Me, on a swarm.

Surfing the crowd to search for you, my love. My love?

You look the same. A duplicate. Fourty hundred people. All the same as you. Peach in tone from intoxicant, eating you from the inside through out, bubbling away a new corpuscle.

Hands prodding on my back. Backwards, forwards. Forwards and backwards. Fingers stabbing into my back. Any pain will do, to get to you. My love.

     You look the same as them. Bandana, Bindi, Booze. But different, droned my conscience.

I spot you. Far away. Staring. Stinging.

I spot you. Whiskers, sculpted, hair of blondey auburn. Bern. You’re holding something, Rhine. I told you, same as everyone else. But different. Too good for me.

You see my umbrage from the prodding hands yet you stare. Staring at my beauty or gratifying at my discomfort? I can never tell. That’s why you’re different. Too good for me.

But when I’m released from the prodding hands, you’re gone. Right, Left, Up, Down. Nowhere to be seen.

Gone, but you’ve left something behind. An electrifying sting. I want more.

Unconventional methods of dating

Online dating is not a brand new concept; In fact, it’s been around for almost three decades. Although the discovery of new technology allowed websites such as match.com develop into applications on our mobile phones, the objective of matching with a stranger online and having a potential relationship with them has remained the same. Popular dating apps include Eharmony, Zoosk, Tinder and the budding Bumble. Having previously tried Tinder before, I was keen to use Bumble as I had not really heard of it before and intrigued to find out what was in store.

As ironic as it may sound now, I wasn’t actively looking for a relationship. I strongly believe these things should never be forced and so, without much anticipation or expectation, I opened up the app.

Initial thoughts: I particularly liked the colour scheme; a strong golden yellow, which was attractive to the eye and useful for making your profile radiant. The concept being to find the pollen to your queen bee, in other words, your soulmate/best friend. The app allows you to have up to six images of yourself, a short biography as well as connect your Instagram and Spotify. This is what my profile looked like: (excluding images)

When writing a biography, it’s best to include your passions and something that represents your personality. In my case, this was something quite comical (as I find myself to be quite the comedian). The profiles that didn’t particularly catch my attention and immediately made me swipe left (reject) were the ones that said something along the lines of “swipe right for a good time” or “life-guard, so actually certified to give you mouth to mouth”. Yes, this was a real one.. I mean, it’s good to be a little enigmatic but there is a fine line between mysterious and unpleasant. Additionally, the best profiles also had the most intriguing images. They were often filled with colour and showed a genuine personality. Selfies are mediocre but the bee wants the flower with the most character, so perhaps use pictures of you travelling or partaking in a hobby. 

Unlike other dating apps, an advantageous feature Bumble is that it only allows the female to start a conversation with their match. Having an app that is so female orientated creates a sense of safety and a has a non-traditional value in which the male does not make the first move. Another compelling feature is that there is a 24 hour time cap to begin a conversation with your match including an additional 24 hours in which your match can respond. This gives only 2 days to strike up a conversation with someone, differing to other dating sites where the match can be kept on hold and dragged out for several months. This urges you to make a move as fast as possible meaning more bees buzz faster! Although, if the female does not start a conversation with her match, then there is an option for the male to use a ‘daily extend’, where you can remain matched for an additional day.

In my experience, the best conversation starters go along the lines of “Hey, how you doing?” or simply asking about their day. This will allow your match to open up and get the conversation going. A simple “hello” will not give your match a lot of work with, neither will a cringey pick up line. I started nearly all my conversations with a “Hey, how you doing?” followed by something that intrigued me about their profile. Once I received a reply from my matches, I was able to see who really had a genuine interest in me. 

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This was the only person who responded to the likes and interests of my profile which definitely got my attention, and I was intrigued to know more about them.
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I was a little confused by this one… he loves reading but hasn’t finished a book yet? I didn’t think it would be necessary continuing this conversation.
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And of course some just weren’t as serious as others.
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This was funny and flirtatious, again drawing me closer for more conversation.

The best response were the ones to reciprocate my questions and ask more about me.  My passion for crime novels and English literature was shared with a complete stranger and we were able to connect on a deeper level and speak more personally about ourselves so I began to develop a genuine interest in this person. This was my Bumble boy .That being said, this is how you can ‘over’ do things:

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You will know once the foundations of a potential relationship has been set when you begin to connect on other social media platforms other than the app itself. You begin to have a mix of constant flirting as well deep, meaningful heart to heart conversations and sending each other pictures of what we’ve come across in our day. For example; myself and Bumble boy would send each other pictures of the books we’re reading or bargains we’ve found at the supermarket for a few weeks or so (Yes, this is what adulting feels like). Then came the conversation of meeting up. He was always reassuring me that he did not want to push anything or make me feel uncomfortable in any way. Even so, just like most people, I felt anxious about meeting a stranger from the internet. He would always say “The worst case scenario is that I’m 50 and I’m fat but we are meeting in a public gallery and I most definitely not kill you!” – bearing in mind we both love crime novels and always come up with ways to kill each other when we’re flirting (grim, but sexy). 

The thought of meeting someone from online may sound daunting, and there are correct ways to approach this. Do meet in a public space – you will never know the intentions of the person you are meeting and even if you think you know them, you can never be sure. Make your place of meeting easily accessible for the both of you. You don’t need to travel lengths to meet someone for the first time, why not meet in the middle? Always let a close friend or family member know where you are at all times and what you’re doing – prepare for the worst case scenario. My match and I decided to meet up at a gallery in London during the afternoon. It had many visitors but was also quiet enough so we could communicate with each other clearly. We went on a long walk through Hyde Park and I showed him my favourite spots in London (since he was new to the city). Don’t pressure yourself to make a move with your match, first let the conversation flow and learn to feel comfortable in each others’ presence. If it was not meant to be, you will know so always prepare to be disappointed at least in the slightest.

I have a humiliating history of not being asked out on a second date. To my surprise, Bumble boy messaged me after our meeting and told me he enjoyed my company and would like to meet again. Triumph! I mainly think this was because I went to our date with no expectations. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to look amazing or be funny like I would do on most other dates, I also didn’t have any expectations from him..