I’m back! It’s bloody freeeeeezing, friends. I have the fire on, and a cup of tea and a blanket (like the good OAP that I am) and yet I feel the need for my COCKLES to feel warm. It seemed like the solution was to spread a pinch more ONLINE LOVE STORIES. If you have’t been paying attention (WHY NOT), then I am on a quest to share the love after The Shittest Year Ever™ – and as such have asked couples who have met in unusual places to tell me their love story. I started with Twitter, because I LOVE TWITTER, and because people are ace, some great couples agreed to take part!
Next up are the lovely Llia and phenomenal Phil (see what I did there?!) … I got downright nosy with them and here are the results…
So, who made the first tweet move?
Llia: I did! It was Valentine’s Day. I was single and in a pub with a single mate. I saw Phil’s photo on Twitter, he’d done a kind of “lol I’m single on Valentine’s” thing with a photo of himself. (https://twitter.com/philgibson01/status/434441845528330240)
I opened the photo, held the phone up to show my friend, and said “I want this one.” This sounds like I’ve made it up, but it’s ACTUALLY what I did. (I was a bit drunk.)
Anyway, then I followed Phil on Twitter and tweeted him something horrendous which was a joke, but basically it said “I want to have sex with you.” I’d never done anything like that before, and didn’t expect it to lead to anything. Because… come on, REALLY?
Llia, I have seen the tweet and IT. IS. AMAZING. It’s inspired me to be way more forward!
Phil: Llia did. Prior to this I’d been single for several years, and wasn’t making any real effort to meet anyone. I tend to be pretty impervious to flirting, even when the other party is apparently laying it on. So despite what in hindsight was a fairly…err…direct first tweet to me, I didn’t really think it would lead to anything and ended up just playing it deliberately naive rather than escalating it into serious flirting.
What were your thoughts on each other – did you fancy their online personas?
Llia: I thought he was handsome and very funny, but he also seemed really sweet. In other words, I thought he was WAY out of my league. It was part of his online persona that he regularly bemoaned his singleness, so armed with that important piece of information, I thought there may a tiny chance that I could be in with a shot.
Phil: I think a few days later she then tweeted me (as part of a wider conversation) to point out that I wasn’t following her. The weird thing is that this would normally be a surefire way to ensure that I continue to not follow her. Also her avi at this point was a black and white photo of her wearing a woolly hat and a fake moustache, and at first glance I wasn’t 100% sure whether she was actually male or female! So normally if someone was to tweet me about not following them it’d kind of get my back up, but for some reason I decided to have a quick scan of her timeline, and she seemed funny and clever and nice, so I followed back.
It didn’t cross my mind that she might be a potential romantic partner until a couple of weeks later when she DM’d me asking if I was on any dating sites, as she’d apparently seen a profile that looked like mine. I told her I wasn’t, but even with my imperviousness to flirting, I thought this was a strange question to DM to someone, and suspected that it might’ve been a ploy to find out my relationship/dating status. I guess she made all the moves (first tweet, switching to DMs, switching to email, suggesting meeting up etc), but I was more than happy to go along with it every time.
What circumstances did you first meet in real life?
Llia: Over the next few months we moved from the odd tweet to each other, to DMs (which were only 140 characters long back then,) then to email. We discovered we had a lot in common, we grew up a few miles apart, and later discovered we knew some of the same people.
I eventually suggested that we go for a drink. We met up in Wimbledon on a boiling hot Friday evening in July, both of us sweating. We drank a lot and talked a lot. He ended up staying at mine for most of the weekend.
Rudies! (Nice work. Llia!)
Phil: From exchanging emails I’d discovered that we had an awful lot in common, and we just seemed to have a similar outlook on things.
I’d been meeting strangers on the internet from forums and communities for many years, although I’d never dated any. Whilst it was never explicitly said by either of us, when Llia suggested meeting up, I interpreted that as a date. I just hoped that she was who she said she was, and was as cool and nice as she seemed online!
Did you feel paranoid about your tweets after that first interaction?
Llia: Not so much. He didn’t follow me back straight away, and I thought he was mainly oblivious to the fact that I fancied him. Besides, if someone reads my tweets for a few months and still wants to date me, that’s probably a good thing.
Phil: Well the moment it occurred to me that this might develop into a relationship I became VERY wary of my interactions with other female tweeters. I didn’t overtly flirt with people in general, but I didn’t want to tweet anything that might put her off. Also I played on the “poor me so lonely” trope a LOT already, and tried to ramp this up a bit more in the hope that she’d see it like sort of a “come and get me” thing.
Ahh Phil, this is Good Work. MEN TAKE NOTE (Did that sound threatening…? GOOD)
Was it an instant attraction IRL or a slow burner?
Llia: For me, IRL it was instant. My stomach flipped when I spotted him in the bar when we met.
(That sounds like THE DREAM, Llia)
Phil: Slow burner online, I’d had plenty of false dawns in terms of relationships so didn’t want to build it up too much and end up disappointed. But the moment I met her and realised she was as cool as I’d hoped she would be, and that we had even more in common than I thought, I very much hoped it would turn into a serious long-term relationship.
Do you ever get jealous now if you see your partner tweeting other boys / girls (delete as appropriate!)
Llia: I’m quite a jealous person thanks to some shitty ex-partners, but I really try not to be… To be honest, he’s never given me a decent reason to worry.
Phil: No, she has plenty of male acquaintances but I trust her and would never want her to feel like she has to moderate her tweeting style. She knows I’ll see most of her tweets anyway, but she’s never given me any reason to be jealous.
Is there any competitiveness between you guys in terms of the #numbers?
Llia: Christ, no. His #numbers beat mine any day of the week. He’s properly funny.
Phil: I can’t speak for Llia, but I certainly don’t see it like that. If she has a tweet do well I’m genuinely delighted for her.
Have you ever asked your partner to RT one of your tweets if you feel like it’s killer content but just not getting the love?!
Llia: My tweets are not usually not good enough to warrant that. He’s RTed when something’s made him laugh, but that’s off his own back. Having said that, the exception is when I’ve asked him to RT things I’ve done for charity.
Phil: I’ve never asked her. I’ve signal-boosted the odd tweet of hers now and then, particularly the serious ones relating to charity and stuff like that, but I rarely retweet her just for the sake of #numbers, particularly when we tend to move in fairly similar circles on Twitter so I’d just be retweeting it to many of the same people.
Has your partner ever posted something about you (pics or content!) that you weren’t happy about?!
Llia: We usually run things by each other, just in case. Ages ago, I said something funny to him IRL and he tweeted it without credit, but CLEARLY I don’t hold a grudge… (I actually can’t remember what it was, THAT’S HOW GOOD IT WAS.)
Phil: Not really. If we’re going to tweet something about one another we’ll always run it past them before we do it.
Do you ever get annoyed if your partner is ON TWITTER when you’re hanging out together?
Llia: Not really, that would be hypocritical. I only poke him if he’s glued to his phone when we’re at my parents house or something.
Phil: Very occasionally, but to say I’m “annoyed” would be an exaggeration. I’m probably worse for playing PokemonGo in public so I’ve hardly got a leg to stand on anyway.
What’s your favourite quality in your partner?
Llia: He is incredibly thoughtful and therefore, very kind.
Phil: I can’t just pick one. She’s funny, clever and kind, has a similar outlook on life, and she seems to love me for who I am.
What’s the status of your relationship right now (it’s the DEEP question, sorry!!)
Llia: He moved in at around 8 months in to the relationship and is truly a joy to live with. We’re pretty much equal when it comes to cooking and cleaning – this really means a LOT to me. I feel like we’re a team and that’s the best thing! We tackle challenging times together and communicate well on the whole. We knew from the start that we wanted similar things in life, which is really important.
Phil surprised me by proposing a few months ago and we’re going to be married in July 2017. If it wasn’t for 2016 generally being such an utter arsehole, I’d be the most disgustingly happy person right now!
Phil: We’re getting married next year.
Congratulations guys!! This is so beautiful! Now finally, if you could give me one piece of advice on how to meet a new love via Twitter, what would it be (you are definitely qualified to answer!!)?
Llia: Oh GOD, I don’t know really, I was so surprised that we ended up together. I guess… look what their Twitter tells you about them – use it like a dating website profile. That means finding all the things you have in common and like about someone, but also keeping an eye out for red flags too. If you meet up in real life, I think it’s a good sign if their online persona matches their real life one. If they seem wildly different, that could be a sign that something’s not quite right. You will have to make some leaps of faith though, there’s always risks involved with any kind of dating.
Phil: I’m not sure what I can offer here as it was Llia who did all the hard work! I guess one thing I could say is that when it switches to DMs/emails/etc to not leave it too long before replying, and keep the conversation moving.
Guys, I can’t thank you enough for taking part. You are a truly LOVELY couple. My cockles feel totes warm. (That sounds weird). Anyway… bye for now! X