Looking Past His Tinder Profile, and Her Fake Name

Something on Robert Alexander Sparks’s Tinder page made Katherine Leonard Turner hesitate.

“His profile read ‘I don’t have kids, I don’t want kids,’” said Dr. Turner, who has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Delaware — and two children. But she was just looking for something fun so she messaged him anyway, saying: “I have kids, but you don’t have to like them.” This turned out to be untrue and it wasn’t the only falsehood they would encounter.

Their first date was on Dec. 2, 2018, one week after matching online, at Stitch House Brewery in Wilmington, Del. Mr. Sparks, 39, was sitting at the bar when Dr. Turner, 46, arrived. “I walked in and I was still wearing my wedding ring,” she said. Her divorce was in progress and she wanted to retain a sense of normalcy with her children. Dr. Turner took it off in front of him, “which felt like a great start,” and the second thing she did was tell him her name was Katie because she had used a fake name for Tinder.

Despite the divorce, the kids, the ring, and the fake name, the date went very well.

“I didn’t want to make a snap judgment,” Mr. Sparks said.

The pair had drinks and dinner and discussed their lives and work. Mr. Sparks, who is from Syracuse, N.Y., has bachelor’s degrees in English and ancient Greek and Roman studies from the University of Delaware. He is currently a senior vice president, working as a technology risk governance manager at Citibank. Dr. Turner, who grew up in Encinitas, Calif., is a lecturer in the history department and the coordinator of the American studies program at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.

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