They Met on Chasabl: Ciarán & Phil
This interview is part of the “They Met on Chasabl” series—which attempts to document a cross-section of some of the couples who met through Chasabl. Our hope is to demystify the online dating process and tell some stories from couples who’ve made it work.
Chasabl: Who messaged who first? Was it love at first sight—or first message, rather?
Phil: It all started out on the 25th of April 2013 at precisely 8:49pm. I had messaged Ciarán (yes, he has a name!) with a quick (my signature conversation opening, I might add!) “Hey, how are you? Phil” message and since then, it was love. I personally had never been in a relationship with a male specimen *giggle* in the past and nor had Ciarán. It was only in recent times that we were either both coming out or had came out to friends/family etc.
Chasabl: So you were both pretty inexperienced when it came to gay dating?
Phil: Both of us had been in relationships with girls, ladies, whatever you want to call them, in the past. (Side note: My ex-girlfriend turned me gay! Long story.) In terms of dating online, I had looked around and stuck my nose into a few dating sites but nothing like what was to come had blossomed before.
Ciarán: Meeting Phil was a first for me in a number of ways. He was the first guy I’ve dated and the first online date that I ever went on. I’d been in probably only one other relationship before this when I was 17, so it had been a while since I had been with someone longterm.
Chasabl: What did you first notice about each other?
Phil: Ciarán was the first person whom I found on Chasabl that I could relate to and have a full blown (cyber) conversation without ever meeting them in person. But yes, the first thing I noticed about Ciarán. His big green eyes and his smile, we both loved music. I for one listened to 99.5% of all genre and he listened to mainly rock/indie which I had a huge following of. We also both loved comedy and did talk for hours on end about that.
Ciarán: Phil messaged me first and I did the customary check of the photos. When I liked what I saw I messaged back. It was all very natural, we got talking about music and just general chit chat. I think a bit of character in a profile is always important, even if it’s not massive it gives you a sense of the person.
Chasabl: Seeing as you met online, was the conservation ever… awkward?
Phil: Personally I didn’t find the conversations awkward at all, they just seemed very fluid and flowed smoothly. I will put my hand up now and say that a few days did lax between us talking but that was purely down to me being bogged down with assignments in college. The life of a first year student in two words: Hectic and chaotic.
Ciarán: Phil messaged me, I was in the middle of exam prep so it was a welcome distraction. I think we mainly talked about hobbies, what we like to do etc. I remember quite early on Phil was threatening to power hose me down, I don’t remember the context though… And he was always fast to draw his invisible shotgun if I disagreed with him. We really got on though and we quickly got to texting and skyping. Phil was the first guy I gave my number, in that way.
Chasabl: What was it like meeting in person for the first time?
Ciarán: After a few weeks of chatting online we were able to meet in person. It was both exciting and terrifying, we were both getting public transport into Dublin city and I remember going through in my mind all my best anecdotes and stories that I hadn’t already told him. On the journey we kept texting each other with updates of where we were, then we decided it was a race to the Spire, where we’d agreed to meet. Phil’s bus got stuck in traffic and so I arrived first. When Phil arrived he shook my hand, I thought that was funny, how formal a date was this?
Chasabl: Were you nervous, Phil?
Phil: As with every first time meeting someone, there will always be that little thought in the back of your mind like “What if he isn’t as he describes?” “what if?” “what if” “What if he is rude?” but personally—I say that word a lot—we had spoken on Skype/Facebook for perhaps two weeks before we met up for the first time and we were well used to conversing. So much so that we barely even shook hands when we first met in person!
Chasabl: So what was on your first date itinerary?
Ciarán: We went for burger a chips (no surprises there) and then went to tea room in the city. It was quite romantic, the two of us lying close in the dimmed lights, with ambient music in the background. But we were both nervous and awkward and neither of us quite made the definitive move, I remember the closest we came was Phil poking my nose and I giggled.
Phil: After burgers, we wandered across Dublin City to the Tea Gardens where we both got the chance to relax, and get to know each other in a quiet/relaxed atmosphere. We traded thoughts, strawberry and pineapple Shisha (no, we don’t smoke normally!) and some fruit tea which was recommended to us.
Chasabl: When did things start getting serious between you two?
Ciarán: Emmm, I think it was a few weeks into dating that we said we were officially ‘going out’. If you’d asked me at that time if we were in a relationship I’d probably have said no, but that’s the date we use for our anniversary. We actually still struggle to agree on what actual date that was, but it was the 19th May, don’t let him tell you anything different! I think that was the only conversation we really had about where are relationship is/was. Oh god, does this mean we’re overdue another one? XD We’re both quite easy going so I don’t think we’ve been too bothered about relationship status or anything like that.
Chasabl: Were either of you hesitant about dating someone you met online?
Phil: I think with the whole age of Internet that we live in, finding true love on the internet/online dating is becoming more and more popular. In the first place, when joining Chasabl, I was quite hesitant in talking to people and opening up about my life. But over time I realised “whats the point in holding back?” and just gave up and dropped all my social barriers that I was holding against people.
Ciarán: I didn’t personally have any hesitations meeting dating someone I met online. We spoke for a couple of weeks before we met up for the first time, so I knew he wasn’t a weido. Now I learned I was wrong! I think online dating is becoming kind of the norm now, especially with the likes of tinder becoming so mainstream. The other day I had to describe grindr to a co-worker, she summarised it ‘so it’s basically a gay tinder’ I took immense joy in telling her that we came first!
Chasabl: Have your friends ever found your Chasabl profile?
Ciarán: When I told my friends I had met Phil online they decided to try and find my profile by Googling my name followed by ‘gay dating profile’. They found… nothing. Ha!
Chasabl: So now that you’re in a relationship, what do you get out of continuing to be a part of the Chasabl community?
Phil: I have built up a small number of longtime friends from Chasabl whom I mainly keep in touch with outside of the network itself but nevertheless check out their lives on Chasabl on occasion. I go on Chasabl to socialise and as one would say “window shop” the odd time.
Ciarán: As well as meeting Phil, I’ve made a few really good friends on Chasabl, people who I speak to almost every day. The great thing about sites like Chasabl is the strong possibility that you’ll find the guys you talk to quite hot. Nothing gets conversation flowing like a bit of flirting. Having a browse of the photos and jumping in on discussions is always a bit of fun too.
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