Sometimes dating apps can feel less like an endless stream of compliments and potential dates, and more like a barrage of animal selfies and opening lines you can't help but screenshot for the group chat. But every now and then you hear an adorbs "success" story that keeps you logging back on and swiping as though your love life depends on it. With everything from chance meetings to long-distance love, deviated septums to LOL-worthy condom stories, these are six such meet-cute tales. Hold on to your heart (and your iPhone).
RICHARD AND LUISA
LUISA: When I was 22, my full-time job was paying miserably, so for some extra cash—and much to the amusement of my friends and family—I worked as a speed dating host. One Saturday night I was hosting an event in Surry Hills for over-40s, but a few people didn't show up, and I didn't want to face a room of people to tell them we had to cancel. I started trying to recruit people off the street, but no one was biting. Then I saw two guys and a girl walking toward me—all wearing black jeans, R.M. Williams boots and leather jackets—and while they looked way too young, I thought I’d make one last-ditch effort.
RICHARD: I had just finished seeing Star Trek with some mates, and walking down Crown Street we found ourselves being catcalled. I was surprised to see a young woman standing on a balcony above us waving a bottle of wine. “Want to come up and speed date? I’ll give you a bottle of wine,” she called out. We thought it would be a bit of a laugh and besides, the host was hot! That night I "dated" two ear, nose and throat specialists, and even had a speed consultation on my deviated septum. I tried to make some chat with Luisa, and had my mate Ollie ask if she wanted to have a drink with us afterward at the Cricketer's Arms (thinking she'd say yes if another girl asked) but she wasn't having a bar of it!
L: I thought Richard was quite attractive, but he kept trying to talk to me when I really needed him to just sit down and participate in the speed dates. His friend asked if I wanted to go the pub afterward, but I was completely sober and a bit shy. Before I knew it, they’d left! When I got home I looked through the match cards, hoping he'd left his name or number, but there wasn't anything—and that was that.
About six months later I discovered Tinder. I’d never been one for online dating, but it was addictive. Still, I mostly swiped left. I saw one guy who looked really familiar, with a candid photo that someone had taken at a party, so I swiped right.
R: One Saturday morning this cute girl (and an equally cute giant fluffy orange dog) popped up on my Tinder, and when I swiped right we matched straight away. I said hello and she said “I swear I’ve met you before!”
L: I couldn't place where I knew him from and we didn't have any mutual Facebook friends, but I couldn’t let it go.
R: One Saturday morning I asked what she was doing that night, and when she said she had to work I assumed it was at a bar (and that I could swing by). But then she said “Well it’s kind of embarrassing, but I actually host speed dating!” That's when it clicked.
L: At that point, it all came back to me! From there we chatted as friends almost every day on Facebook, but then didn't meet up for ages.
R: It took about three months! I asked her to hang out a few times but she kept having to cancel or was busy. Eventually, she said there was a movie with Geoffrey Rush that she wanted to see, so I suggested we go see it together and then to a Japanese restaurant. We were probably the only people under 70 in the audience...
L: I was petrified, especially because I wasn't drinking (I'd given up alcohol for a year to raise money for Animal Welfare League NSW) and had nothing to break the ice. Because of my sobriety things took a little while to kick off after that first date, but we kept chatting and eventually met again a few weeks later... at which point it kind of snowballed and we became completely besotted! This year will be going on four years since we got together. We live together, have been overseas a handful of times, and even plan to do the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal this year. One thing that hasn't changed? Richard still wears black jeans, R.M. Williams boots and leather jackets...
NICOLE AND ALEX
NICOLE: I was on Tinder for a while on holidays overseas, but once I got back to my home town of Newcastle I really didn't want to turn it on because I knew I would know everyone! When I did, Alex was the first person who came up. I'd seen him out before and thought he was a looker (you could say I had a little crush on him), so when he Super Liked me back I was pretty happy! He initiated the conversation but after that, there wasn't much chat. That weekend I unexpectedly saw him out, so I went straight up to him and said, "We matched on Tinder and you hardly spoke to me!"
That night he asked me on a date, which we went on about a week later: we ended up getting really drunk at his favourite restaurant and going out to a nightclub afterward with some of his friends. It was quite a funny first date! The thing that struck me about Alex is that he's a big softie. He is so romantic and loving—I knew that from the first day I met him. We kept dating for about six months, at which point I was meant to move overseas, but a big part of me didn't want to leave Alex. I ended up getting a great job here, and at the end of last year I moved back to Newcastle from Sydney (where I'd been for 11 years) to be with him. We've been overseas together a couple of times and are about to launch my swimwear label as business partners—so I'd say it was worth it!
MADELINE AND RORY
MADELINE: When Rory and I matched on Tinder we were at very different stages of the online dating game. I was a veteran, with a year’s worth of highs and lows under my belt, and he was fresh out of five-year relationship, looking to "man whore" it up. Unfortunately for his Playboy aspirations, he matched with four girls, went on a date with one of them (me), and two-and-a-half years later, here we are—he jokes he has a 100 per cent success rate. His bio read simply: "Hooray for things!", and being a perpetual optimist I liked that straight away, along with his killer cheekbones. He was charming, sweet and flattering (though he would die if I repeated any of his chat), and as soon as there was an opening to ask me on a date, he took it.
On my way to meet him for our date he was walking about 10 metres ahead of me for ages, but I pretended not to notice because I thought it would make things awkward. I shouldn't have worried, because when we both got to the restaurant he said, "Hi, you must be Madeline. Nice to meet you," loudly enough for everyone around us to know we were on a blind date! I could have died. By the time we said goodbye to each other—at 8pm the next day—we were both doing a terrible job of not being too smitten. The day after that he left for two weeks of working in India, but he got in touch on Facebook a few days into his trip… and we’ve been in non-stop communication ever since. We’ve now been living together for over a year, have travelled overseas, and bought a van that we're working on turning into a camper van so that we can do more weekend getaways. It’s our first car/home/child all in one. We’re weirdly similar (only getting more so as time goes on) and he’s my best friend. Oh, and I'm still into his killer cheekbones.
TOM AND DENIS
DENIS: I'd been pretty active on Tinder, chatting with guys consistently for about five months before I matched with Tom. What stood out was not only that he’s crazy handsome, but he also had a refreshingly warm and non-pretentious picture and profile. One night we were marathon texting for a good couple of hours before we discovered we lived around the corner from one another and decided we should just stop the texting and chat IRL!
The next night I took Tom to dinner at a cute Italian restaurant in Surry Hills, and thinking I should be prepared, I picked up some supplies on my way to dinner and put them in my jacket pocket. Toward the end of the night Tom asked to try my jacket on and I'd forgotten what I had stashed in the pockets, until he put his hands in them and fished out a packet of condoms! I was mortified, but it made for quite the ice-breaker. We've been together for six months now and it's truly been such an amazing journey for the both of us. We're both incredibly honest with each other and communicate openly about everything, and Tom is a naturally very funny person—I've never laughed so much with anyone. I read somewhere once that love should be friendship on fire, so I feel pretty damn lucky that Tom is also my best friend.
TOM: I was on and off Tinder for a few months prior to meeting Deni. When I saw he'd described himself as "glass half-full" type, I figured it could be interesting as I’m quite the pessimistic, cynical type. 'Date' is a probably too glamorous a word to describe our first face-to-face encounter… we were messaging each other on a rainy evening and upon discovering we lived five minutes from each other, we decided to have a friendly cuddle. As I was walking to his place I couldn’t help but feel nervous, considering I had basically committed to spend the night at a complete stranger’s house. There were so many variables that could have made those next eight-plus hours unbearable… Luckily from the first few seconds of meeting him, I found him incredibly outgoing, well-spoken and polite (plus he looked even better in real life than in his photos). The feeling I got when meeting him for the first time hasn’t faded over our six-month relationship. I stopped using Tinder a few months ago, but Deni and I have a very open and honest relationship, so it could always play a role in our social activities should either of us ever need it. Deni hasn't changed—he constantly intrigues and surprises me, and I'm just as attracted to him now as I was during our first late-night escapade. (Provided he hasn’t been faking laughing at my jokes this entire time.) I'm turning into more of a "glass half-full" type of guy, and Deni's also becoming a tad more cynical. Together we can cover the full gamut.
LAURENCE AND NATASHA
NATASHA: I downloaded Tinder because my guy friends seemed to be having so much fun on it, and I soon became obsessed too. When I matched with Laurence, I remember thinking it was a fake account because he seemed like such a catch (although I’ve never told him that before), but we had a mutual friend which helped persuade me to meet up. We went to a ~trendy~ new bar in the city, and when I rocked up in my prettiest dress, the place was pretty dead, so I stood at the bar waiting. I saw someone sitting on the sofa at the back of the bar but didn’t want to go all the way over in case it wasn’t him, so I bought myself a drink and thought, "If it is him, he'll recognise me and come and say 'Hi'." He didn't—turns out he's short sighted and couldn’t tell if it was me! He was a little arrogant at first, but I like to semi-slag people off when I’m flirting with them to see if they can take it, and Laurence definitely could. He was also pretty good at giving it back, which made for good competition.
After we'd been dating for a few months he asked me why I still had the app on my phone, and I said I hadn't really thought about it. He said he'd deleted his a long time ago... Oops! We’ve been going out for over three years now and even lived in the same building (but on different floors, long story!) for awhile. Laurence just moved to New York City after studying, so we’re doing a long-distance relationship for now. I hope to move over there for work too so we can travel and live together. We're still incredibly competitive, but the only difference is that now we root for each other.
LAURENCE: I hadn't been on the app for long—maybe a week or two—when I matched with Tash. She had a really cute photo so I initiated conversation, but it took her ages to respond. (As in, I'd given up hope of getting a reply!) When we decided to meet up, I was nervous I was going to get stood up! She seemed so much more mature than I was expecting, and had a cute English accent, which surprised me. I think we both went away with mixed feelings, but we had a second date and the rest is history! We now live on the other side of the world to each other, which is a big change from when we lived in the same building. Tash is very principled with a strong backbone, and isn't afraid to speak out against things she thinks are wrong, but generally we get pretty silly/weird together. I kind of assume that's normal for a relationship, but who knows…
HOLLY AND ALEX
HOLLY: The whole Tinder thing really took off while I had been in the Amazon rainforest for six months while travelling. When I got back home to Australia, I was still in love with someone else—I'd been in a long distance relationship and was pretty heartbroken. I told my friends I was only going to get it for something really casual because I wasn't emotionally ready. Alex and I matched on the first day. I thought he had great teeth and there were no pictures of him and some enslaved tiger in Bali. When I read how he once saved a sea turtle caught on some rocks, I was sold! He referenced how in my bio I'd written that I do a pretty solid impersonation of Christopher Walken, and I thought it was really nice that he had a genuine interest in me and actually bothered to read my profile.
I had actually been on a date the night before I met up with Alex that weekend, which took away some of the nerves. I felt like I was keeping it super casual dating two guys in one weekend! Turns out our date was a billion times better. When he said he'd call to arrange another date and actually did, I was like, "Uh, this man!" I wanted to keep it casual and preserve this long distance love affair I still had going on, so after our second date I was like, "we can be friends, or date casually, or nothing. It's not like we're going to move in together and get a couple of cats…" But after long, I knew there was no way it could only be platonic. Now, we live together, fostering kittens as well as looking after our three cats and one dog. Last year we went on a month-long trip to South Africa and hope to travel more soon. He's still shy and still overwhelmingly a gentleman, but he's more of a crazy cat man now.
ALEX: I was pretty active on Tinder, for about four or five months before matching with Holly, mostly because I was living on base in the Navy, and Tinder made it a lot easier to meet girls. What stood out about Holly was that she'd said she was a dog walker, which I found interesting. She's also very good looking! After I initiated conversation, we chatted non-stop for a couple of hours and I decided I had to meet her. On the date, we went to a burger bar in Fremantle, then went for a swim and sunbaked for ages, before going for a big long walk. I pretended not to notice her trying to wriggle over closer to me on the beach—plus I didn't know how to react, so I just didn’t do anything! We'd noticed some of her friends at the pub across the road, so when we went to say goodbye it was sort of awkward—I did an awkward hug and peck on the cheek thing instead of kissing her, because I was embarrassed they might see it. We saw each other pretty consistently over the next few weeks before I had to go away again for the Navy, but once I got back we pretty much moved in together straight away. We just moved into our second house together a couple of months ago and have three cats and a dog, two of which were foster kittens. She's still a lot of fun to be around!