On dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, plenty of folks describe themselves as "outdoorsy" on their profiles. But "outdoorsy" can mean very different things to different people.
In 2019, the Outside/In team ventured onto the dating apps to ask people about the role of the outdoors in their love lives. Plus, a year and a half later, the team wondered: where are they now?
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Justine Paradis and Taylor Quimby
If your relationship to the outdoors is a priority, it can be a big deal when it comes dating. From picnicking to peakbagging and fish photos, what is the importance of being outdoorsy?
Phoenix Yung, for instance, is a bowfisher living in Texas. Sometimes, when prospective dates expressed interest, she doubted the motivation.
"I got a bunch of guys who were suddenly interested in bowfishing. And I’m, like, uhh… are y’all interested in bowfishing or are y’all interested in me? Or is this a way for y’all to pursue me?" said Yung.
For Erik Bertrand in southern New Hampshire, hiking isn't a casual thing.
"As I started hiking again in earnest about ten or so years ago, I think that's when I really started realizing this is not just a phsyical exercise for me, or even really a way to take a trip somewhere. It was really a retreat of sorts, kind of an escape," said Bertrand.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth in New Hampshire enjoys hiking, foraging, and gardening - but her version of "outdoorsy" doesn't mean peakbagging.
"I feel like I see other people stating their level of outdoorsyness.... I feel like it's a coded message that says, 'I don't want to date a fat person and... I'm ableist,'" she said. "And I have invisible disabilities and health issues. To me it's not about like consuming the outdoors in this way."
Featuring Keith Testa, Phoenix Yung, Erik Bertrand, Elizabeth and Kenny.
Curlifying the Outdoors
Fernanda Jardim grew up in Brazil but lives now in Seattle. She self-identifies as Afro-Latina, and in recent years has become an avid outdoorsperson: hiking, kayaking, rock-climbing, and more.
She’s also in the 4s in the Curl Type chart, which is something she just doesn’t see too much out there on the trails. She's the host of the podcast Curlify the Outdoors, which aims to bring people together to talk about hair care, hiking, and communities of color in outdoor spaces. The podcast was recently featured on Spotify's Fresh Finds.
"The process of spending time outdoors influenced how I started seeing myself," said Jardim.
But it can be challenging to find gear and products that work for her and her active lifestyle. For instance, it finding rain jackets with hoods that fit or beanies made of materials that don't dry and damage her hair.
"I myself hadn't thought about it until a couple years ago, like my first winter, I was like, how do I do this?!" said Jardim.
"It is a barrier. It seems like the silliest thing, like it's just beauty or she's only caring about how her hair looks. It's not that... it goes deeper than just beauty."
Beyond outdoor spaces, people of color have long faced discrimination for natural hairstyles in the workplace. Some states have passed versions of the CROWN Act, which aims to protect against discrimination on the basis of hair.
But the podcast has helped Jardim find community, both around natural hair and getting outside.
"You are not alone," she said.