Here I was, sitting in my London flatshare, Wandsworth, the dodgy end, when I first set up my OKCupid account to find a boyfriend. My bio on there was readable, funny, a bit sarcastic, it contained all the words I wanted to describe myself, and most of them were true. The description painted a woman you want to love your whole life, or at least for a year or two. My photos were lovely, cute, adorable, nothing too sexy, I wasn't looking for Tinder like attention.
It's been a month since I'd started swiping at it, and here I was, sitting on a shimmery ten quid Primark blanky, looking at my discounted Yankee candle that I got at Westfield whilst on a run for Christmas presents that I didn't have money for. There was only one sad "hi" in my OKCupid inbox, I scratched my head and went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. I opened the cupboard and reached for Yorkshire tea. Then I saw something. It was a box of Italian spaghetti. Italy? - I thought. It was a eureka moment. What if I changed the location from the cold London to something a tad hotter? I put the kettle on the stove and went into the room to grab my phone.
"Change location" I typed in: Rome, Italy. I paused for a second, contemplating if that was the right thing to do, and then hit the save button. I left my phone on the Primark throw and went back to brew that tea. By the time I was back, I already had two messages in my OKCupid inbox. I opened one of them, it was from a guy from Rome, he was asking what my name was. I left it where it was, went to work, and by the end of the day, I had about 15 messages in my app inbox.
Was I more popular in Italy? Or was it that the London guys who weren't into starting the conversation first? And yes, I do start conversations with guys. Anyway, I thought I wasn't being honest, telling guys I would be visiting Rome in the next few weeks, they were asking me for phone number, more photos, or straight up hookups upon my arrival.
I switched OKCupid back to London. And then it hit me. Why don't I combine the two? My Instagram was getting less and less attention lately, I wasn't getting too many followers. I obviously didn't need more numbers for the sake of my own ego, but I was a blogger who simply needed a better engagement. Easy as that. Pathetic as well. When I switched back to Rome, Italy, I added one crucial piece of information to my bio: my instagram is @fictionalwishes. I felt super smart, I thought my follower count would start growing by hour. Little did I know that strangers don't always add you on Instagram just because you posted that photo of you in a lush dress from Alaïa that you couldn't afford whilst bravely browsing at Harrods.
I knew that cute Italian guys and everyone else could see my account, snoop through my artsy photos of Shoreditch outings, Wimbledon almond lattes and Covent Garden matchas (gosh, I sound worse and worse), but none of them actually added me. They complimented me on my photographic talent in private messages, asking me if I was still coming to The Eternal City.
I was puzzled and disappointed. I switched the location to New York City. And that's when I started receiving even more messages, but more along the lines of "DTF" and even worse. Lots of messages were quite "normal", and by normal I mean mostly pickup lines, copy and pastes, things that you can see through if you're a thinking individual. I called some of them out, I didn't reply to the singular "hellos". Nobody had me at them.
I lost my hope of trying to make blokes from around the world follow my Instagram page. My heart told me it was a wrong thing to do, even though my mind and my heart's opinions differ, this time I decided to go back to the reserved British boys, and my unchanged Instagram account. I mean... even if my plan worked...Would I want strange dudes roam my account looking for sexy shots of me, when all I posted was dashing cityscapes and an occasional coffee mug? I did not think this through.
I failed, I deleted the link to my Instagram, I turned down lots of sexy Italians and hot cocky Americans, there's no excuse for me, but I decided to switch my OKCupid location to NYC, from time to time, the place where I get most likes and messages from guys who use pickup lines, who rarely read my bio, or simply read, and who are willing to wait for me to come to the land of the free in three months time. My egotistic self salutes them.
What?.. They did get my groove back.
Olya Gerasimova is an Instagrammer, travel blogger and likes to write about London and the UK in general.