On Valentine’s Day, Elaine and Jamie Found Love on Bumble
By Ashley Edwards Walker
Elaine was living in Melbourne, Australia when she downloaded Bumble on New Year’s Day in 2016. Having never used a dating app before, she chose Bumble because she liked that women make the first move. “It was really nice to have the upper hand,” she says. By early February, she’d gone on two dates when she came across Jamie’s profile. In it, he mentioned photography was one of his hobbies. She was struck by his first photo, which featured Jamie looking off into the distance, in good lighting. “He just looked stunning,” she recalls. “I remember it popping out from all the other guys that were swirling around on the app.”
For Jamie, who also lived in Melbourne, the attraction was mutual. He’d been considering taking a break from dating but decided to give it one “last go” when he saw Elaine’s photos. “She is the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen in my life,” he says. “I stand by that still. I’m not being mushy.” He also liked that her profile mentioned being a fan of whisky and a niche British sitcom from the early 00s, which he describes as “a little bit fringe” and made him hopeful they shared a “similar warped humor.”
They matched and Elaine sent Jamie a quick hello, which he saw when he opened the Bumble app on what happened to be February 14th. At first he replied with a simple, “Hi, how’s your day?” Five minutes later, he realized the date. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m on the apps on Valentine’s Day,’” he says, laughing. To make light, he followed up his question with “Valentinesy?” Given that they were both single and “Valentine’s Day is just another day-slash-annoying-day,” as Elaine puts it, she found his quip funny. But when she pulled up Jamie’s profile again, Elaine, a climate scientist, spotted a red flag she couldn’t ignore: Jamie worked in marketing for a large energy company. She balked at the prospect of dating someone whose career—and, seemingly, values—were so starkly different from her own. “On paper, we shouldn’t even be in the same room together,” she says.
After that, Elaine gave Jamie “the cold shoulder” for about a week. In addition to being put off by his career choice, she was busy celebrating her birthday month with friends. But Jamie persisted, and soon the conversation they were having on Bumble discussing their favorite cocktails and television shows piqued both their interests. Elaine was pleasantly surprised when Jamie sent her one of his favorite disco songs, a genre she loved but hadn’t mentioned in her profile. “I think that was a really bold and good move on his part because sending a song is quite a personal thing to do,” she explains. “Someone could hate it or rip it to pieces. But I loved it.” When work came up they realized that, even though they came from different backgrounds, they were both “big science nerds” who care about the environment. “He’s working from the inside,” says Elaine of Jamie’s job. “That’s what he tells me to make me feel better!”
Their conversation continued over the next two months, but their relationship might not have ever evolved beyond that had it not been for Elaine’s flatmate Chloe. “You’ve been talking to this guy for two, three months,” Elaine recalls Chloe saying. “Get over the fact that he works for energy and probably kisses coal before he goes to bed and just go on a bloody date with him.” They agreed to meet at a whiskey bar in Melbourne where a band was scheduled to play. But Elaine doesn’t remember any music because, once they started chatting, “the whole world became quiet and we were in a bubble together talking for five hours,” she says. Upon returning home that night, Elaine remembers writing in her journal, “‘I’m on such a high, I cannot stop grinning the whole way home.’” “So that was a good first impression,” she says. Jamie was equally smitten. “I was shocked that I could meet someone from an absolutely different universe and be so compatible,” he says.
They continued texting “all that night” after saying their goodbyes and discussed ideas for more dates, including going to see a dinosaur museum exhibition and shopping for records, even tiptoeing around the idea of traveling together in the future. “You know when you’re trying to play it cool and not commit?” says Elaine. “For us, all that pretense was dropped.” Soon after, they both deleted Bumble.
Elaine and Jamie continue to make having fun together a priority in their relationship, whether it be drinks at a pirate-themed bar, making sushi and listening to Japanese jazz, or taking violin lessons together. A year into dating, they moved in together. And when Elaine was missing her girl’s nights during the pandemic lockdown, Jamie obliged her by dressing up in a wig and Elaine’s clothes and makeup. “It was a great girl’s night,” she says. “We had rosé and got drunk.”
Recently, they purchased their first home together. But after embarking on homeownership, “our knee-jerk reaction was we don’t want to settle,” says Elaine. “We went to keep the fun going.” They decided to take a service leave from their jobs to travel the world—and it was on this trip of a lifetime where Jamie proposed to Elaine on a secluded beach in Thailand at the end of 2022. Now, as they continue on their world tour as an engaged couple, Elaine and Jamie are excited to keep eating well, learn about other cultures, and visit friends. They’ve even discussed the possibility of maybe working in a winery, or at a school in Vietnam. The point is to do something meaningful together. “I know with Jamie by my side, whatever we choose, we’ll make it work,” says Elaine.