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I was involved in a discussion with a girlfriend last night about a man she met online STALKING her after she decided not to see him again – they’d had an awful, very creepy first date. I am not talking about lurking on her Instagram or creeping her Snapchat…it escalated to the point where she had to go to the local police station and file a report. I began keeping my last name, phone number and basically, my entire identity, a secret after I dated the first Army Guy last year. So I never gave Army Guy my last name or told him my blog info, and we didn’t exchange social media.But I did give him my phone number after chatting on Tinder for about an hour.This is kind of intrusive but also maybe essential.
I didn’t realize that this was an option, but it TOTALLY IS! So she began using a free app called Sideline, which allows for texts, photo sharing, phone calls – all from a phone number different than your own.
My friend in NYC advised that I use a Google Voice number, but then we realized that when you send pics through it, it reveals that it’s coming from an alternate number. When someone calls the Sideline number, it rings directly through to your phone and says “Incoming call from Sideline” and your texts from people will still pop up with a notification just like any other app, as long as you have notifications turned on. And you can save their numbers and add to your contact list – it will even show up in your phone contacts. PLUS, since you have their – what we will presume to be real number – you can totally go to Facebook and Instagram and stalk their social media profiles to try and make sure they aren’t married before you agree to a date. I’ve blocked out their nicknames to protect their privacy, but you can see I used the bee emoji to signify meeting them on Bumble, and the fire emoji to signify meeting them on Tinder.
This method seemingly works for a while because most people are only talking to a few matches at once, and it’s likely they don’t share names with each other. You’re bound to end up with multiple Mike Tinders after three years of online dating. My friend Dami Lee says that in Korea, changing a partner’s saved name to a nickname is a big deal.
Good luck figuring out who’s who, or even trying to remember what they look like! Like, it has implications for the whole relationship and could maybe even cause a break-up? Other people polled say they don’t save numbers until they know they’re going to see the person again.
If they want to connect off an app, they have to get a person’s number, but then, how do they save that number?
A phone book can only store so many Jeremy’s and Tom’s before it becomes an absurdist critique of the rotating door that is dating in the 21st century.
Maybe you don’t want someone you just met to read your old newspaper clippings from 2008. Is getting a last name the ultimate relationship milestone?
If you’re set on finding that last name, though, apparently a pro tip is to look at their mail when you’re at their apartment.
To be fair, I didn’t save name in my phone until we had been hanging out for a month because I don’t save numbers unless I know a guy’s last name, or I intend to see him again.
Did I mention I used a burner number when we first met? Online dating has created a strange predicament where daters know a person’s first name but often little else.