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Here is Tammy and Sarah's story:
In 2007, in the early days of online dating, two individuals were searching for love on two different platforms that hooked into a central matching system. Both were women. *Sarah was open to meeting a man or a woman - she was more interested in the person underneath than his or her gender. *Tammy, who had been in a relationship with a woman in the past and had decided it wasn't for her, had ticked the 'searching for men' box.
But for some mysterious reason, despite the very exact algorithm of the system, there was a glitch, and one day Sarah's profile popped up as a match for Tammy. Tammy, who was categorically not looking for a woman, was taken by surprise and, despite herself, clicked on Sarah's profile.
She was completely intrigued and couldn't help but reach out to Sarah. When Sarah saw a message from 'Miss Purple hat' in her inbox, a handle Tammy had chosen after the poem about aging with abandon and non-conformity, her interest was piqued.
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The two women started chatting via email and got along exceptionally well. This led to phone calls, which eventually led to a plan to meet up in person. After three failed attempts to do so, they finally arranged their big first date at Moyo restaurant at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg.
Sarah had just undergone a third or fourth operation on her left arm to deal with a severe burn that had occurred a few years back. As a result, she was unable to drive at the time, and Uber did not yet exist. This meant that Tammy would have to fetch her, and the two strangers would have to confront the awkwardness of going in one car.
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They arrived at Zoo Lake, and what was meant to be a two-hour date lasted from midday until 7 pm. They laughed and spoke all afternoon, walking around the lake, and sharing stories about their lives. A comedic moment they both remember well that has become one of the humorous quirks of their dating history occurred when they were doing one of their rounds of the lake.
That day Sarah was wearing fisherman's pants with wraparound strings. As she was walking, her pants came undone, and because she didn't have the use of her left arm, Tammy had to bend down to tie the strings of her pants for her. This intimate and highly awkward moment set the tone for laughter and humour in their relationship. It was the beginning of the beginning.
They started seeing more of each other and discovered that they had many friends in common. They found several strange coincidences. Tammy used to attend parties that were thrown at the house next door to where Sarah was living in Parkhurst a few years previously.
They had thus literally been one house apart on many occasions, without either of them knowing that their future life partner was within shouting distance. Sarah had heard singing from the house next door on many times, and Tammy's voice had been among the chorus of drunken late-night revelers!
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They started to realise that it was strange that they hadn't met somewhere along the way before. It took a fortuitous glitch in an online dating system to bring them together, although Sarah believes that they were destined to be together and would have found each other regardless.
Fast forward 12 and a half years, and the couple now find themselves married with an adopted daughter, living a beautiful life together at the coast in the Western Cape. They go to sleep with the sound of the ocean in their ears, surrounded by mountains and forests. They fall more and more in love with each other every day.
It's hard to imagine that their love story originated with a glitch in an online dating system. But sometimes life gives us unexpected choices, "wrong" matches, and flawed algorithms. And sometimes this is where everlasting love can be found.
Have life ever gifted you with love in an unexpected way? Tell us about it here.
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