Well not exactly, but kinda. Each time we've met a local English speaker in Rio (which is rare) we have gotten such amazing tips and recommendations from them, that it's driving us to both learn more Portuguese and to seek out more English speakers everywhere we go. We want the local experience, but it's ridiculous to ask every person we walk by if they speak English (can't take the face to face rejection). So we took to the Internet!
On Instagram, you get a chance to see so much about people, and interact with them naturally before ever asking them on a "date." I can easily see that they speak English, what music they like, what they really care about and are interested in, if they're artistic/creative, if they're into fashion, what kind of work they do, are they social/partiers...and so on. In theory, it's the perfect place to meet someone cool online, but don't get me wrong, you still feel like a creepy stalker.
So the thought is, we look at hashtags that we're interested in (#riostreetart, #riodejaneiro, #brazil, etc.) and we find really awesome people. At least, people whose internet-lives look awesome. Like their posts, comment, hope for reciprocal, then drop your best hang-out line.
RESULTS: Searched #riodejaneiro, saw an awesome, artsy shot, checked out more photos, and Adrienne and I agreed that we'd be friends with her. She lives in LA and is traveling in Rio. So we go back and forth commenting and I make the move - "Looks like you've found some cool things in Rio that @admcdermott and I would love! You up for being a tour guide?" ....crickets, for a week now. Apparently, over the course of 5 minutes, I left the internet-friend-zone and moved onto creeper status. Crap, too forward, we should have known better! You'd think that by putting both of our heads together to make friends with strangers that we'd be pretty good at it. I want to post her @name here because I'm mad and want you to hate-comment on her stuff, but I won't....for now.
Can't let that rejection keep us down, c'mon team, you can do this!
Onto my next target. This time, I "pursued" a guy from Brooklyn, runs a men's fashion site and he actually liked 2 of my posts first. This should be like taking candy from a baby.
We like and comment back and forth about how cool the other is, I drop my comment about meeting up and patiently wait.... A few hours later, I got my first direct message!!!! Woot! We went back and forth on how best to meet up, but he soon stopped responding. I assume because he had to go to something extremely important like deliver a baby or save a house from burning down, because why else would he stop talking to me? This guy was really interesting looking and would have been an awesome artsy friend for us, but again, crickets. No luck.
Adrienne and I went out that night and took a break from Instadating. Walking down the street in Lapa, I got a tap on my shoulder and a "hey!" It was my Brooklyn guy, with his glorious beard and super-hip outfit. He was with another really cool guy from NYC, we all chatted for 20 mins, exchanged info and planned to cross paths in the future! Instasuccessful. Turns out he was delivering a baby for some lady on the beach, so I accepted his apology for going dark on me. :) See you on the road @thebowlernyc!
Next up, Adrienne tried it out. Found a local; fluent english, really awesome photos. She made her move...home run (obviously Adrienne looks way more approachable than I do with my creepy beard). He gave us great tips on Rio and took us up on having a drink! After an amazing tour & sunset at Sugarloaf, we met up with our (hopefully not a "Catfish") internet friend (Insta-friend?) for drinks at a locals bar in a neighborhood we hadn't visited. Everything about this was nerve-racking, we were just hoping not to be kidnapped! Well, Brunno was as advertised and took us out for one of our best nights in Rio! We checked out the really awesome neighborhood that he lives in, Urca, walked along the bay with a beautiful view of the downtown skyline, randomly toured this amazing brand new French Design school, saw the ruins of this beautiful 100 year old casino, ate and drank with the locals while dodging cockroaches (baratas). And now we're friends forever. Thanks @brunopessoa!
Boom we're successful online daters.
@admcdermott and @andrewRmcdermott are looking for local English speakers in every city that we visit, so Instagrammers listen up; we're not creeps. The beard is weird but please believe me, we are really fun and will spice up your life. Please, please, please be friends with us and show us how amazing your city is! And don't you dare Catfish us!
For you readers; if you want to make some like-minded friends at home or abroad, Instagram is actually genius. (Try it - we've since made friends with 2 couples that we plan to see in Buenos Aires! I look forward to writing the posts about meeting them!)