Dating Diaries: He Was Nothing Like His Profile Picture – Temi’s story

Temi is 35, “self-employed, after a lot of corporate experience”. She says “I work for myself. It’s made me confident.” Temi says “I used to play competitive sports, but now I drag myself to the gym a few times a week.” She likes to hang out at home, “bond with friends” and travel. Temi says “I think I’m stylish. I’m edgy, but I keep it classy.” She adds “My main activity lately is dating. I need some new activities.”

Desmond messaged me on a dating site. He said he was new — many people claim to be “new,” like they don’t want to admit they’ve been on the site or app for a year — and wasn’t savvy about dating. Unfortunately, I am very date-savvy. Desmond was slightly older, which is a plus. He was handsome and tall, based on his profile pic, but there was only one photo and it was blurry. Usually I would consider this a red flag, savvy dater than I am, but I let it go.

He was very attentive over text, and always funny. When we talked about meeting, he seemed to shy away. He told me he could meet me in two weeks, and that he was really busy with work. If someone doesn’t want to meet within a week of a good connection via phone and text, there’s something wrong. Is he in a relationship and looking for a virtual affair, or is he not who he says he is? I joked that I would be married by then, and he stepped it up.

Sidenote: he took it upon himself to text me that he didn’t make a lot of money. It was so weird. I responded that I hadn’t asked. I don’t choose men based on income.

We were going to meet for a drink, but the timing didn’t work. We were both free on a weekend day, and he said he would drive to my part of the city to meet up. He asked if it was OK if he brought his dog for a walk. I was hesitant to accept a dog-walking date, because I had done it in the past and it was bad, and then you’re stuck somewhere with your dogs and can’t leave as easily.

On the day of our date, Desmond messaged me almost an hour before our scheduled time to say he was at the park already. I told him that I was busy, and would only be able to meet him at the time we’d agreed on. I felt guilty about him being there so early.

When I got to the park and saw him, I was shocked. He looked nothing like his pic, and he was totally dishevelled. It looked as though he had literally rolled out of bed, put on jeans from a decade ago, and threw on a totally inappropriate dress shirt … and running shoes. He also looked significantly older than me.

I knew I would just be focusing on making small talk and keeping the dogs occupied. I suggested we take the short route around. We walked and talked, but it was extremely awkward for me, and I rarely have awkward experiences. At the end of the walk, Desmond told me he was happy that I looked like I did in my pics. What!? He looked nothing like his one blurry photo, but he was happy I looked like me?!

He seemed mostly nice, and his dog was cute, but I couldn’t get over how he had dressed for the date, and how he had acted. I wondered why no one in his life had advised him about dating. He asked if I would be interested in going out again, without the dogs. I said yes — it’s unlike me to lie, I just didn’t have the energy or heart to tell this man that I had no interest.

That night, Ted texted me and asked me to have dinner sometime. I wondered how it was that he didn’t sense my discomfort on the walk. I waited a day and texted back, politely, that I didn’t feel a connection. A few weeks later Desmond texted and asked if I would tell him why I hadn’t felt a connection. I was torn about how to answer, and ultimately just said “chemistry.” Once again, I was tempted to give him some objective advice, but I felt that I wasn’t the right one to offer it.

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