Chapter 16 – Changing Her Criteria

This blog is a book. Maybe better read from the beginning? 🙂


Monday, 25 January 2016.


Day 36


The Citymarket in Ruoholahti is buzzing with special offers, so Anna cycles there after school to get some extra groceries for the teens who’ve come back yesterday night to spend a week with her.

Joey has a Coca-Cola fridge from Verkkokauppa next to his bed, and she likes to please him by filling it with healthy snacks and some other goodies. God, teenage boys eat so much – there’s no end to the expense!

She hangs the grocery bags on her bike and decides to walk home. On the way, she stops to take a quick look at her Tinder app.

How is it possible that all the men near me are finito?

Wait a minute. There are guys to be swiped once more! How does this work? Have they just joined the app??

Now that Anna knows she risks running out of potential matches again, she decides to look at their whole profile and all their pics slowly and carefully.

This guy? Hmm. Still no.

This other? OK, yes.



Ha, what about this one?

Hey, English name! And he doesn’t have Finnish features. Long, manly nose. 

Anna smiles, thinking of how her South American dad always says that men should have long, manly noses. Dad’s so funny – but maybe he’s right.

Why do guys post pictures such as this? A straw hat, sunglasses?? I can’t see his eyes, his hair nor his teeth (he’s sipping a drink with a friend in a summer destination). Aww. His friend is cute. Nice expression.

I’ve never swiped yes to a guy with sunglasses, and he has no profile text either. Hmmm. Hate that. But let me take a look at his other pictures. His name is in English, after all.

Oh-la-la! How elegant!!! Christian (43) is wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. Perfect posture, as he walks toward the photographer with long strides. Wow.

Convinced, Anna swipes yes and immediately gets the happy Tinder popup screen – “Congrats, you’re a match!”

And then, “Sorry, there’s no one else near you.”


I’d better value the matches I have, haha…


She texts Christian a hi and he replies immediately. Cool, a short chat before I get home.

He has joined Tinder literally five minutes ago and she’s the first person he swiped and thus also his first match.

Really? That’s interesting.

Christian lives in Germany, but he’s in Finland on a business trip. Yes, he’s an Englishman. He might be moving to Helsinki to work as one of the CEOs of a start-up, but for now, he’ll be flying here for work on a monthly basis. Would she meet him next time?

Oh, when are you coming again?

In a month?!! Oh, it’s definitely a no-go, then. After all, I’ve decided not to chat for weeks and weeks before meeting in person.

Remember Tino, Anna? Don’t waste your time… The new system is working fine. Chat for two-three days and meet up.


No, please. I promise I’ll be back in four weeks. Three! I love it here! Beautiful Finland. In fact, I’m on a train to Lapland. Nearing Oulu now… Have you ever been here?

Oulu!! That’s where I’ve lived the longest in my life.


Anna has moved 33 times. She’s lived in five countries and twenty cities. Seven years in Oulu! She feels emotional for a second.

She tells him about that and he asks her for her phone number. Please.

She thinks, OK. He’s being polite and showing so much interest. Asking things, interacting. Finnish guys rarely ask me anything, and sometimes the chats are soooo devagar quase parando…

At least this match is making an effort.

She tells him her teens are waiting for her at home and she’ll be busy in the next few hours. But yes, maybe they could chat on WhatsApp later.

If he really messages me. Let’s see…!

© 2017 rf

Obs. All names have been changed, and chat messages were published with the match’s kind permission.



Obs. Day 36 since moving out.


Chapter 15 – Tinder Date #6

This blog is a book. Maybe better read from the beginning? 🙂


Saturday, 23 January 2016.


Day 34


So, Luukas and I text. 

How can we have this much in common?

He’s a teacher too – physics; his father is also a retired pastor; he’s divorced with adult kids; loves volleyball and running (well OK, he runs marathons – I struggle to jog 5km). Just as I have, he’s lived in Oulu, Jyväskylä, Porvoo and Stockholm, and lives in Helsinki now. And more. 

He convinces Anna to call her up immediately. She’s intrigued and a phone call would be a first. Why not?

Oh, no! He sounds soooooo formal. And laughs exactly like Santa Claus, Ho, Ho, Ho. Anna, you are so adorable! Ho, Ho, Ho.”

Still, he seems like a good person. Plus, he’s in very good shape, in his really blurry pic. So Anna decides to accept his invitation to have tea the next evening.


Oh, Thank you, thank you. Ho, Ho. Where?”


She’s slowly started to feel that, when unsure, why go all the way to the other side of the center. Let them come to me.

She doesn’t tell him her neighborhood, of course, but suggests a gaming restaurant on Tyynenmerenkatu.



Day 35


On Sunday, after a pleasant day with a little jogging, she’s not feeling too excited, but still, when a human being gives you their precious commodity of time, the least you can do is get nicely groomed for the date and look as cute as possible. It’s a matter of respect.

Self-respect, mainly.


And what if he ends up being Mr. Boyfriend, huh? I don’t want to regret not showing up looking good.

Nothing over the top. Just the usual.

Shower. Hair, light make up. A casual outfit. A nice overcoat and a beautiful, fashionable scarf.

A sincere smile, self-confidence and eye-to-eye contact are anyone’s most important accessories.



Evening has come, and Luukas walks up to her on the dark street, blond, tall, handsome and… shy! Poor dear.

The restaurant is closed, so change of plans, and they go to the Little Big Café inside Verkkokauppa.

Anna can’t remember anymore all the things they talked about that day. She does remember, however, that he was timid, and…

… kept on talking about all the wrong topics.


(a) His upcoming unemployment and no stress in looking for another job.

Oh, my. His hair looks so oily. Didn’t he wash it for the date?

(b) His illnesses. The pain and discomfort.

This keeps getting better.

Hey, we all have our conditions, but please! Your charm, first.

Slowly. No hurry. A little mystery is good.


Hey you Mr. Wanted out there: win me over and then I won’t mind your brokenness. I have my share, too.

Skills, people, dating skills!

I’m here practicing mine. Hmm.

Oh, poor dear. You have good attributes, but why are you wearing a cheap, old-looking, hoodie? The color doesn’t suit you. It’s too small and has a couple of holes in it. It looks like a teenager’s hand-me-down.

From the last decade!

Dating is comical.



Saturday, 30 January 2016.


A week later, Anna goes to the Educa Messu, an education fair for teachers. Guess who she bumps into there?

Yes, him.

He gets all happy and excited to see her and grabs her hand, pulling her to see different stands.

Walking hand in hand, she panics on the inside and is shocked into passiveness. Wide-eyed.

Akward – does he think we’re on a date??

What if my teacher workmates spot us like this? Some don’t even know I’ve separated yet. They’ll think I’ve found myself a teacher-lover.


She has the idea to seem deeply mesmerized by a pedagogical book displayed opposite them, and thus has to let go of his hands to flip its many, many pages. Phew.

He finds ways of grabbing her hand again, so she repeats the trick.

He finally stops taking her hand in his again and she feels better.


Anna has been fasting today and is feeling quite weak. The fair is over and Luukas invites her to have a hamburger at Sävel in Kallio. They’re on the tram and she’s feeling so weak that she goes there with him.


Besides, she’s told him he’s nice, “But sorry, I realized I’m not ready for a relationship or dating yet.”


They have a chat about work while they dig into their burgers. He’s OK. And he gulps his beers.

Then, after eating he brings his chair – that has been safely opposite hers – to her side of the table. What the heck?

He hugs her and starts kissing her cheeks.

At a burger restaurant?? People are watching!

She shows him with her body language that she’s not interested, but he licks her ear and whispers, “I’m a very passionate man! Must be my half-Russian blood!”

“Sorry! Stop! I’m not ready.”

“Oh, Anna, you’re simply wonderful.”

“Thanks, but no. Thank you for your company. I’m feeling tired, so I really have to go now.”

Being free to go on dates feels exciting, but so far, eurgh, such bad luck!


They bump into other once more, when Anna is with Kristiina at Stadium in Kamppi. Anna introduces the two, and the three of them chat for a minute.

“Mom, he’s so handsome and nice!”

“Yes, he is. But he’s not for me.”

I’ll really have to do that research on how to politely let a man go.


© 2017 rf



Obs. He is nice, but there’s just no chemistry.



Chapter 11 – Tinder Date #1

This blog is a book. Maybe better read from the beginning? 🙂


Sunday, 17 January 2016.


Day 28


What do we have here?

Jani is good-looking in his pictures. Older, over fifty for sure. Good posture, well dressed.

His facial expression isn’t dead – haha – but doesn’t reveal much either.

Anna and Jani have been chatting a little and he seems respectful and intelligent – qualities she admires in a man. The chat flows for a couple of days and doesn’t get dull, so when he invites her to a morning coffee date, she cheerfully accepts.

Finland is such a small country that when she googles his first name along with some personal info he’s hinted at, she easily spots him on Google pictures and finds out he is a high-rank military officer.

After meeting Anna, he’s going to be catching a ferry to Tallinn at the West Harbor near her home. She suggests the Little Big Café inside Verkkokauppa, just across the harbor – practical for both of them.


She takes a long shower, feeling just a teeny bit nervous.

It’s my first date ever, after all! At 39.

She met her ex when she was just 17, remember? They had no money for dates. Besides, they were teenagers, hanging out with friends and lots of relatives in South America (which was awesome, btw).

By the time they started going to restaurants and trips, just the two of them, they were already engaged to be married, and knew each other really well.

So dates with strangers like in the American movies?

Yes, my very first. Yay! 🦋🦋


She blows-dry her blondish highlights nicely in front of the mirror. Anna’s going for loose with natural waves.

Her makeup is subtle and she’s wearing deep-red slim jeans and a long-sleeved basic matte black blouse. The finishing touches are her best black woolen overcoat, a nice scarf, new gloves and leather boots.

Casual, but cute. 🙂

She’s asked her friend Tom for any dating tips he could muster from the top of his head, and he said never to wear perfume on the first date. Or then very, very little. If the person doesn’t like the smell, you’re done.

That makes sense. So, no perfume.


Anna spots Jani immediately after going up the escalator. He’s very tall, elegantly dressed and his overcoat looks expensive.

He greets her with a firm handshake, keeping his back really straight at all times.

She smiles, he grins.


They are standing in line, small-talking, when he turns and asks, “So, coffee or tea?”

“Coffee please,” she answers with a friendly smile, feeling those butterflies in her stomach. This is so cool!!

And so weird.

She hears him ordering a coffee for her and a tea for himself, and quickly changes her mind. If we end up kissing, the coffee taste in my mouth won’t be so great. 😏

“No, no, wait. I’ll have tea, too.” she says in a friendly way.

He turns to her, visibly impatient, and asks again, irritably this time, “Which is it? Coffee or tea?”


To be honest, she can’t even remember what she answered. She’s just thinking, wide-eyed, how very military of him!

Well, at least he’s insisting on paying for our drinks.

They sit down to have their tea (I think), and his well-mannered questions feel like an interrogation, not a date.

Hey, I’m being scrutinized, but I’ll humor him. What a stiff type!

Amused, she’s trying to imagine what a military relationship feels like. It occurs to her that at 50+, he looks much older than in his pictures.

But handsome...

After a few minutes he says he needs to leave and she offers to escort him to the harbor, in her normal social manner.

“That won’t be necessary. Nice to meet you. Bye.” A final handshake and he marches away: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4.   Yes, sir!

That went, uh…?


That night they send each other their final messages. She politely asks him about his cruise and thanks him for the coffee  no, tea!

He is polite, too, but says he didn’t feel any chemistry.

Uh, really?

They wish each other well and unmatch.

Had I only been decisive about what I wanted to drink, Anna sulks.

Yeah, right. 😂

Next time, I’ve got to be better prepared: always know your coffee from your tea, Anna!

© 2017 rf



Obs. Day 28 since moving out.